A blog about movies and the Sturbridge area, including The Brookfields, Brimfield, Charlton, Holland, Wales, and Spencer as well as adjacent towns.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Financing independent film-Is Pirate My Film a scam, a dead end or does it work?


I originally put this up on Examiner.com. Filmmakers in this area of Massachusetts are always struggling to find funds. Here is another scheme.

If Indie filmmaking is lush in its ability to lure capital investment, It’s a secret to me. So when I hear of a novel method of fundraising, three questions arise. Is it a scam? Is it a dead end? Does it work? Did you notice the subtle order of the questions. My natural assumption is that of Finley Peter Dunne, “Trust your fellow man, but always cut the cards.”

Pirate My Film is the creation of Max Keiser, a man who opines on matters of economics and finance at maxkeiser.com. I may be wrong, but I would characterize his attitude as “the world is going to hell in a hand basket and boy are there a lot of people to blame.” To be honest, if I made a study of it, it is my guess that I would find it hard to gainsay your man.

So what is the big idea? Well, I’ll let the site speak for itself,

Pirate Myfilm - The Film Futures Market for Pirates

Some film makers want to have copies of their films pirated by millions. Some want to sell copies. In either case, producers can raise money for their projects on Pirate Myfilm by selling future copies today. When enough future copies have been reserved to fund a project a group-debit occurs and the funds are made available to the producer.

Producers also have the option of offering members who reserve future copies a piece of ad or retail sales. In addition to getting a copy of the film you might also get some money back. For example, if a producer has opted to share ad revenues of future pirated copies or a percentage of future retailed copies of the next "Saw" or "The Blair Witch Project" the producer and future copy buyers like yourself could make a bewitching pot of gold.

Keep in mind, nobody is debited until 100% of the future copies needed to fund the project have been reserved and you can cancel at any time. And keep checking your Pirate Myfilm account because producers can change any aspect of their projects - including the percentage of future revenue splits on ads and retailed copies - up until the group-debit.


It sounds logical but so does Zeno’s Arrow. Does it work? Well, I browsed through the projects listed. Keep in mind, this is beta, and membership is restricted, but most did not have any contributors yet. Some are substantially funded. For example, Max Keiser’s project Where’s Kenny Boy? is 85% funded. It is for a short documentary that posits Ken “Enron “ Lay is alive in Paraguay. I don’t know how true or plausible it is, but if you couldn’t make a Dan Brown type show on Kenron you are slow.

Eden 2015 which is Post Appocallyptic(sic). One Man's destiny to defeat evil forever, and Rein in the everlasting Kingdom of God. Paradise on Earth, is 0% funded.

Though one would say Pirate My Film has some potential, and an exchange market is a good idea, it is not enough. Users will have to do a lot of marketing on their own to take advantage of the efficiencies this model offers.

I don’t feel qualified to judge Pirate My Film. I hope some of the indie filmmakers can figure out if this is a viable method of movie financing.

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