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Star Trek Luminaries Behind the Fastest Funded Film Project On Kickstarter

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the movie-of-the-people dept.

Movies 158

An anonymous reader writes "Legendary sci-fi writer Marc Zicree (Star Trek, Babylon 5, Sliders) and special effects wizard Doug Drexler (Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica) are behind the fastest funded film project on Kickstarter. They're using crowd-funding website kickstarter to directly communicate with and enlist the support of fans for their latest project Space Command. Maybe with direct communication, sci-fi fans can rest easy and not have to worry about their favorite shows being cancelled like FireFly."

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first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40128257)

first

Great (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40128283)

It would be nice if finally they made a Star Trek that wasn't male dominated for a change. Or use all black actors to play the Klingons, because agression and violence is part of the Klingon culture.

PS. Janeway doesn't count, since that show was so bad that she was really a minor character.

Re:Great (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40128471)

Just to clarify, before the crazy racists jump in, what I meant was I hope they *didn't* make some lame association between the Klingons and black people. I love NG but it can be painful to watch at times. I also love Firefly, but I am so tired of scifi where every other woman is a prostitute. Prostitution is gross. And I don't know any prostitute. They are not common among the lives of most people. And they are sad and unsexy. But you would think from the writing of creepy old school scifi writers that they were as common and great at offering useful advice, enjoyed their jobs and always quite attractive. I prefer the depiction of prostitutes in Breaking Bad to that of Firefly or Game of Thrones. I love Game of Thrones, but it bums me out that it has this flaw.

Re:Great (3, Funny)

El Torico (732160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129013)

You're the racist, stereotyping Klingons that way, you Federation petaQ! [raises bat'leth]

Re:Great (1)

El Torico (732160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129043)

To clarify my previous post - I meant "stereotyping Klingons that way" to mean stereotyping them as violent, not as black.

Re:Great (1)

bjwest (14070) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129445)

The Klingon species is a warier species. While I highly doubt a species that warlike would survive long enough to advance that far, war and battle is part of who they are, it is not "stereotyping" them. 99.9% of interactions shown with a Klingon are with one from the military or Warier Class, so even if they weren't so aggressive as a whole, you'd not see it anyway.

Not to mention it's a made up fucking species that was written to be aggressive. Saying you wish they wouldn't stereotype them as violent is like saying you wish the media wouldn't stereotype cars as squarish boxes with windows and tires.

Re:Great (2)

El Torico (732160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129799)

Yes, Klingons are wary. With sneaky, dishonorable Romulans and the annoying Federation as neighbors, of course they are wary, and yes, they are aggressive and violent.
Of course they are fictional too, but I was trying to use humor to make a point. What's Klingon for "whoosh"?

Re:Great (3, Insightful)

u17 (1730558) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129339)

You don't know any prostitutes? You are very lacking in knowledge. But you are right that the depiction they get in sci-fi TV series is misleading. Here, let me show you what real prostitutes [dailymail.co.uk] are like.

Re:Great (2)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129867)

Takes it away!!! It burns, it burns precious!!!

Re:Great (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129887)

I hope you know, I could sue for the eye damage alone... Now that's kinky. The mind reels, collapses, crawls across the floor, vomits then goes comatose!

Re:Great (0)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128473)

To prove what? Star Trek is formulaic entertainment, change the formula, risk losing the entertainment. If they took a random star trek episode and swapped a female captain for Kirk with all the same lines and directions, do you, for a moment think it stands a chance of being as good as the original? Now, take that same random episode and not only swap a femalecaptain for Kirk but also re-work the Kirk part to be more feminine - how could you even consider calling that Star Trek?

Want an all (or mostly) female crew on the space ship? That has been done to death, but because of the obvious lesbian overtones, those films have been relegated to the porn industry... Or so I've heard. ;^)

Re:Great (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40128695)

So, captain James Kirk making out with scantily clad alien chicks on a spaceship with an all male crew stuck there for months (hallo, sailor!) doesn't have porn overtones, but captain Jane Kirk making out with scantily clad alien hunks on a spaceship with all female crew does?..

Re:Great (0)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128943)

So, captain James Kirk making out with scantily clad alien chicks on a spaceship with an all male crew stuck there for months (hallo, sailor!) doesn't have porn overtones, but captain Jane Kirk making out with scantily clad alien hunks on a spaceship with all female crew does?..

Yes. Because the former is a power fantasy for most of Star Trek's audience, the latter is the same exact thing (as you are quick to point out) but -- and here is the rub -- it's no longer a power fantasy for the adolescent or socially and emotionally stunted geek crowd that would find the former satisfying.

Now, having said that, I would love to see that show, if only to see how uncomfortable it would make the average geek feel.

Or how about this: How about a Star Trek where the Captain is married, with children. (No Al Bundy jokes, please -- although hell, I'd watch it.) That would be an interesting dynamic, I think -- seeing how the Captain balances the needs of his crew vs the needs of his family, his work and home life, etc.

Re:Great (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40128969)

Did you not see DS9 then, or something?

Re:Great (4, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129949)

DS9 was not about a married man balancing the needs of his family with the needs of his job.

It was about a single father workaholic who was barely present in his son's life....

Re:Great (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129965)

So apparently you didn't see the episode of Star Trek where the captain is forced to exchange bodies with Dr. Janice Lester? Or perhaps you also missed the episode of STNG where Riker spends a little quality time on a planet where the female/male roles common on earth are reversed and he is now some kind of sexy Amazon to the local female inhabitants.

As for the conversation regarding the homoerotic aspect of Star Trek, I'm sorry, but the whole conversation is left wide open, with a society that appears to have become civilized about so many things, I'm just guessing sexual practices and acceptable behavior had come a long ways by the 23rd century, though (from the comment made by Lieutenant Ilia), it seems even in the 23rd century that human beings are a sexually immature species.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40129255)

Now, take that same random episode and not only swap a femalecaptain for Kirk but also re-work the Kirk part to be more feminine - how could you even consider calling that Star Trek?

You mean like Star Trek: Voyager?

Re:first (-1, Offtopic)

wesharris6 (2514704) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128293)

First in post. Last in fame. Death to AC.

Writers that don't own the show (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128267)

Maybe with direct communication, sci-fi fans can rest easy and not have to worry about their favorite shows being cancelled like FireFly.

That would work only if the writer actually owns the copyright in the show's setting. If the publisher owns it, and the publisher wants it canceled, no amount of crowd funding is going to bring it back.

Re:Writers that don't own the show (4, Interesting)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128323)

That would work only if the writer actually owns the copyright in the show's setting. If the publisher owns it, and the publisher wants it canceled, no amount of crowd funding is going to bring it back.

I think what they mean is that this project is not beholden to a publisher.

Re:Writers that don't own the show (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130025)

I don't agree with the "legendary writer" characterization.

He wrote episodes that were some of the weakest in the TV shows, incsuidng Sliders 5th (and most boring) season.

Re:Writers that don't own the show (1)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129913)

If the publisher owns it, and the publisher wants it canceled, no amount of crowd funding is going to bring it back.

That's true, but I am assuming that publishers are self-interested entities. FireFly was not cancelled as a result of vendetta but because it was too expensive to produce.
Perhaps if they had all or most of the costs pledged and available, they'd film the 2nd season? I can't wait for this to become an option for shows. All those DVD-buying campaigns were too indirect.

Re:Writers that don't own the show (4, Interesting)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129987)

That's true, but I am assuming that publishers are self-interested entities. FireFly was not cancelled as a result of vendetta but because it was too expensive to produce.

Not saying you're wrong, but when half the episodes took place in the southern californian woods and were about people riding around on horseback through old west towns, and half the remaining episodes took place entirely within a single five-room spaceship set, It's hard to believe that it was particularly expensive to produce....

I suspect the real reason is that it just wasn't watched in big numbers, in part because people want their sci fi to be sci fi, and not 83% "old west shanty town"

Sci Fi Luminaries? (3, Insightful)

Narrowband (2602733) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128287)

I hope they succeed, but... all that talent, and they couldn't think of a name better than "Space Command?"

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (4, Interesting)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128335)

I hope they succeed, but... all that talent, and they couldn't think of a name better than "Space Command?"

Given the 1950s atmosphere in all the concept art, I'd guess that's deliberate.

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128343)

Well, Missle Command [missilecommand.com] was already taken...

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (5, Informative)

phrostie (121428) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128857)

so was Space Command. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045439/ [imdb.com]

btw, guess who was in the original?

either way, i hope it works out. even B scifi beats ghost hunting and wrestling.

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (2)

owlnation (858981) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128983)

so was Space Command.

Doesn't really matter -- you can't copyright a title. Although, you could register it as a trademark, perhaps.

There's plenty of movies with the same title. As long as the content, concept and characters are unique, there's no legal issue.

However, you DO run the risk of confusing your audience and making it harder to search for your movie on the internet, etc., if you use a previously-used title. It may also upset distributors for just that reason.

Having said that, the target demo for this kind of movie does not seem to be one that would respond well to a movie named "Space Command". Do you really think that would impress and interest a 14 year old? Because your distributor will be expecting you to target that demographic, and dropping you like an hot stone if you don't.

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129185)

I'm actually a tad concerned about that, too—I don't think they quite realise that we're talking about an audience that predominantly grew up on the optimistic side of science fiction from the past three decades, rather than the fifties. It would really suck if the movie series failed to continue because fans felt it the first one was too campy.

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (3, Funny)

MsWhich (2640815) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128355)

Agreed. "Space Command Ninja Cops" would have been better.

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128435)

Agreed. "Space Command Ninja Cops" would have been better.

Space Command Mutant Ninja Turtle Transformer Klingon RepliCops.

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (2)

Svartormr (692822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129039)

Agreed. "Space Command Ninja Cops" would have been better.

...who will obviously have to face off against Space Pirates... >:)

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128409)

Frankly I'm confused that they couldn't scrounge up $100k amongst all those names...

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (4, Insightful)

wytcld (179112) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128533)

Spending their own money, they wouldn't be creating advanced buzz. This way when they take their product to market they can say "See, we've already got all these people invested in it." And every investor will make sure to see it ... with friends.

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (5, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128765)

Frankly I'm confused that they couldn't scrounge up $100k amongst all those names...

Yes... that's exactly what does not make sense here.

These guys aren't civilians. These guys aren't naive students, fresh out of college; arrogant, idealistic, and with unrealistic dreams, with no sense of demographics, and no experience of making motion pictures -- i.e. your typical kickstarter client.

Getting funding for a motion picture is very difficult if you have no industry connections. However, it is surprisingly easy if you do. In this case, all you would need is a script written by someone with experience (check), some directorial or VFX experience would be good (check), and at least one B-List named actor who has signed a letter of intent. That might not get you all the money you need, but it would definitely get you enough to get started, you could easily get a million or so that way.

Considering they've worked on shows with plenty of actors who are not exactly busy right now, you'd think there's at least one person they can call to get them interested. Admittedly as a writer and vfx designer they'd have little contact with on-screen talent. However, they MUST know people who know people.

If you have experience and some sort of name in the industry you can sell to people who have real money, just as easily as you can sell to some guy on the net with $10.

Ergo... something does not add up here.

Plus the fact, I'm pretty sure most professional distributors would look down on any kickstarter funded project. I would seriously doubt the ability of any kickstarter project to ever get into cinemas. I assume none have as yet, I doubt many ever will.

Admittedly, I am of the opinion that kickstarter is just another parasite that looks to suck the dreams out of the desperate, idealistic and naive. There's no shortage of similar parasites in the industry. And there's no shortcuts to success in the industry. You have a sellable product, or you don't -- it's a business, and that is what most new filmmakers forget. (along with demographics -- it's only teenagers that go to the cinema in enough numbers to make real money from a movie. If your movie doesn't appeal to teens, kiss your profits and distribution deal goodbye).

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40128933)

naive students, fresh out of college; arrogant, idealistic, and with unrealistic dreams, with no sense of demographics, and no experience

You mean like these guys [kickstarter.com] or these guys [kickstarter.com] ?

If you have experience and some sort of name in the industry you can sell to people who have real money, just as easily as you can sell to some guy on the net with $10.

Yes, and may be you don't want to sell to people who have real money, because they want to buy you to make product, not to buy the product you make. That was a big part of Fargo's motivation to go to Kickstarter.

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (2)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130059)

I dunno... could be they wanted to go straight to the people who would pay for this in the first place, and cut the whole felating an executive at Paramount to get funding part. Personally I think its creative and interesting, and if it works might be a great way to get a whole bunch of independent productions created. Or not. Only time will tell.

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (4, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129431)

First rule of Hollywood. NEVER use your own money.

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (5, Informative)

Dock (89815) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128555)

"Stark Trek Luminaries?" was my first thought. Best I can tell, Marc Zicree only wrote two treatments (a detailed outline) for all of Trek. One episode for TNG, and one (bad) one for DS9. He didn't write the script for either. That means he was a freelancer, not a staff writer, and the writing staff didn't like his treatments enough to let him write the scripts. He only has one credit for Babylon 5 and his five credits for Sliders came at the end of the show, when it was garbage.

I wouldn't bet on much quality coming out of this "legendary sci-fi writer". That's a joke. Did Marc Zicree send this in himself or something?

Doug Drexler's resume is hardly legendary either.

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129163)

He also was a big part of "World Enough and Time," which even though it's basically a video fanfic, is actually quite watchable and done on a very low budget. I don't think it's realistic to compare this to a top-end science fiction show, but I'm definitely looking forward to this.

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40129183)

meh, Lets see your Scifi Resume....

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40129237)

That's an awful lot of griping directed at the people standing in front of their cabinets full of Emmy's, Hugo's, etc.

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (3, Funny)

MsWhich (2640815) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129409)

If Marc Zicree is standing in front of a cabinet full of Emmys, he better move out of the way, because he's blocking the view of the person who actually won them.

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40129819)

I don't think he was standing in front of Drexler and his multiple Emmys, Oscar, Saturn awards, etc. Zicree had the Hugo. Well, and 30 years of writing sci-fi for TV.

It's an impressive team and I hope they do well.

Re:Sci Fi Luminaries? (3, Insightful)

IICV (652597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128615)

I hope they succeed, but... all that talent, and they couldn't think of a name better than "Space Command?"

Yes, and it's a perfect name. Did you watch the video? They're hearkening back to Asimovian science fiction stories (there's even a theremin in the background music!), when things were simpler and more optimistic. Just look at the semi-retro style of their spaceships; they scream 1960's scifi, and they look exactly like the kind of ship that would be built by an organization named "Space Command".

Am i just too stupid to understand kickstarter? (1)

StormyWeather (543593) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128321)

I don't understand kick starter. If you fund a project you don't get any shares and don't get to share in the profit, and if the person leading the project blows all the dough on ale and wenches you can't interject any authority right?

Sounds like its for suckers sorry. Why not find a bright young person and partner with them to try and get something great done? Is it just because kick starter is easier to fire and forget some cash on?

Re:Am i just too stupid to understand kickstarter? (5, Insightful)

MsWhich (2640815) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128337)

It's because Kickstarter allows you to get $10 each from 3000 people (as an example) rather than trying to hit up one person for $30k. Or two people for $15k each or whatever. Yeah, if I throw down $15k I'm going to maybe want a say in the final product. For ten bucks, though, the dude can do whatever he wants. If he spends the cash on hookers and blow, well, I won't contribute to his next Kickstarter project. (Unless the Kickstarter project was for funding hookers and blow, of course.)

Re:Am i just too stupid to understand kickstarter? (1)

StormyWeather (543593) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128723)

But the project is still getting the 30,000 but because they are possibly stealing from 3000 people instead of one they get away from the fiduciary obligations of a direct investment. I'm a capitalist and I don't see any problems as long as the contract is well defined whatever the amount raised. I don't think its for me, but I guess if someone was wanting a product in the market that didn't exist this might be a good way to show market demand.

Re:Am i just too stupid to understand kickstarter? (4, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128877)

I won't contribute to his next Kickstarter project. (Unless the Kickstarter project was for funding hookers and blow, of course.)

I may have an exciting investment opportunity for you.

Re:Am i just too stupid to understand kickstarter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40128393)

It's the lottery ticket principle.

You put a buck into a lotto ticket, for a potentially but unlikely payoff.

Well, so what? It's a buck, you gamble, you lose, you expected that.

Now if you did that with some other product, you'd be more upset.

That said, they do have SOME verification and credentials, but as they said about Preston Tucker, it's not a crime to take investments to build a car and fail.

Can you see the difference?

Re:Am i just too stupid to understand kickstarter? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40128401)

I don't understand kick starter. If you fund a project you don't get any shares and don't get to share in the profit, and if the person leading the project blows all the dough on ale and wenches you can't interject any authority right?

Sounds like its for suckers sorry. Why not find a bright young person and partner with them to try and get something great done? Is it just because kick starter is easier to fire and forget some cash on?

Investment always have to do with how much you trust someone with your money. Even when you invest in something the 'traditional' way there is always the risk that they didn't actually know what they were talking about or that they ust were a scammer that ran away with the money.
What makes Kickstarter work is that a lot of people go together and invest very little each, this means that they don't have to trust the proect maintainer as much.
In the case of movies kickstarter pretty much is something like a pre-paid ticket but with the difference that the movies that get made are the once that the audience thinks will be good, not the one that the publisher thinks they will make the most money from.

Actually it sounds more like movie tickets and rental are for suckers and that kickstarter is for those who know what they want. (It also cuts out the middle man so you get more bang for the bucks.)

Re:Am i just too stupid to understand kickstarter? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128403)

Yes. You're pre-buying the product (and swag), not investing in the company. There is still the risk of the second thing you said, but the contributions are also very low, so your liability is limited in that case (and you probably will still get the swag....)

Re:Am i just too stupid to understand kickstarter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40128449)

This is true of pretty much any investment, in that they could just run off with the money and if smart, not even be found.
Or they could make it look like they spent money, but really never spent a thing.
This could either go towards a project that outright failed or something that had already been worked on previously and they just wanted to make some free dosh.

Also, I'm pretty sure that if enough people got together, they could sue.
The courts don't give a damn about laws, remember. They make shit up as they go. Enough money and you could outlaw the ability of people to say "and", probably.

It is a gamble, a lottery. You could get something pretty neat after it, such as a game, a useful food storage container or something to help you lucid dream.
Or you could get nothing.

Scams have been found out before and blasted.
And most people are smart enough not to just fund random people straight out of nowhere without a little research in to the companies.

Re:Am i just too stupid to understand kickstarter? (3, Interesting)

sribe (304414) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128463)

I don't understand kick starter. If you fund a project you don't get any shares and don't get to share in the profit...

Kickstarter would absolutely love to be able to allow users to offer a share in profits in return for funding. However this is prevented by all the regulations around public ownership of companies. Recent (or in-progress?) rule changes will substantially lower the compliance bar for small investments in small companies--whether the regulations will be relaxed enough to allow Kickstarter projects to offer shares, I don't know.

Re:Am i just too stupid to understand kickstarter? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128601)

I don't understand kick starter.

Perhaps instead of complaining and characterizing the people funding these projects as "suckers" when you don't know jack about shit, you should visit the site and glance at some of these projects. Next to the donation amounts, it tells you what you get. Some projects never give you anything other than a warm feeling. Some projects will put your name in the credits. Some projects are there to make a thing, and you get parts for the thing for some donation levels, complete kits for some donation levels, and complete products for other donation levels. Some projects only offer kits, some only complete products, some only plans, etc etc. There is usually plenty of information about the developer and their qualifications online, so you can make a relatively informed decision like any other investment. And unlike taxes, there's no reason to bitch or complain or make ignorant statements, because no one is forcing you to participate.

Re:Am i just too stupid to understand kickstarter? (-1, Troll)

StormyWeather (543593) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128731)

Yea I got the same idiot responses when I called people buying overpriced property pre bubble bust suckers. You also have a long history of douchebag responses which is why I set you to red years ago.

Re:Am i just too stupid to understand kickstarter? (2)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128925)

When a Kickstarter project is for a physical device, it generally aims to take advantage of economies of scale. I saw one for an aluminum bodied flashlight with a hexagonal cross section (presumably to make it less likely to roll when laid down). The creator showed how much cheaper it would be to make if he had precommitments for at least a thousand units, and if I recall, for 5000 and so on. This suggests to me that people who don't understand the kickstarter approach would be saying the same thing about all sorts of newer economics related ideas, such as print on demand, or selling excess solar power back to the grid. There's a difference between saying "Don't believe a stranger offering to sell you the Brooklyn bridge!", and "Don't believe bridges have any economic utility!".

Re:Am i just too stupid to understand kickstarter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40128607)

I don't get what's so hard to understand. You're not investing in anything. You're chipping in a few bucks for a project you support and, in turn, you are usually also pre-ordering the finished product (videogame, board game, video, album, piece of clothing or furniture or art, etc) and for a little extra you usually get some recognition in credits of some sort and special experiences, like having a say in the project or having lunch with the people involved or special limited edition items just for certain backers.

Also - the problem with this particular project is THERE IS NO DIGITAL DOWNLOAD OF THE CONTENT. Sorry, but I was all ready to pledge some cash for the project, until I had scanned through every level of every backing option and NONE of them offered more than a copy of it on a physical disc. Meh. I'd have chipped in $20 for an HD download.

Re:Am i just too stupid to understand kickstarter? (3, Interesting)

UttBuggly (871776) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129263)

I don't understand kick starter. If you fund a project you don't get any shares and don't get to share in the profit, and if the person leading the project blows all the dough on ale and wenches you can't interject any authority right?

Sounds like its for suckers sorry. Why not find a bright young person and partner with them to try and get something great done? Is it just because kick starter is easier to fire and forget some cash on?

I have coughed up $$ to 4 different projects on Kickstarter and don't regret any. One of them is the TouchFire flexible iPad keyboard. I thought it was kind of neat and since I own an iPad2 and an Apple KB, it appealed to me personally.

Another project involves some local folks in my area, so again, I had a personal interest. A side note is that a brief talk with the project director led to me getting directly involved. I'm jazzed, they're pleased, and it was unlikely to have happened without the Kickstarter catalyst.

So from my POV, this is a great idea!

Re:Am i just too stupid to understand kickstarter? (4, Interesting)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129467)

Kickstarter is not about investing.

Kickstarter is somewhat about supporting a project you believe in.

Kickstarter is mostly about buying a product. Most successful projects offer a 'reward', a product, for the 'pledge', payment, by the 'backer', customer. Kickstarter just likes to call it Backers, Pledges and Rewards. They try hard to avoid the term investment as that is dangerous. See below.

In return for pre-buying you get product and you get some satisfaction with helping to be an early buyer that helped make something possible. But it is really a transaction in most cases, a payment for goods or perhaps services.

When you buy a Pepsi you don't expect to get a share in the profit. You're buying a product. With Kickstarter the product doesn't usually exist yet so it is different in that it is a pre-buy.

An example is our family raises pastured pigs. We're building our own on-farm USDA inspected butcher shop (http://smf.me) and as a part of raising funds we pre-sold our product, pastured pork. We did this initially locally through CSA Pre-Buys and then this spring we did a Kickstarter project that raised an addition $33,456. When we finish construction and have our licenses we will then ship product from our farm to customers, some of whom joined our adventure via Kickstarter.

In our case the product already exists, we've been raising pigs on pasture and selling our pork for almost a decade. What is new is we're bringing the meat processing on-farm. This resolves a major bottleneck and helps to keep more of the money on-farm while also providing more humane handling for the animals and better quality for the customers. 369 people thought that was worth doing so they backed our project on Kickstarter. About a hundred more had already backed us prior to that. We provide product for backing. This is different than going to a bank for a loan (they aren't lending) or giving away a share of the business to investors (we're rather small for that as the project is only about $150,000).

Until recently it was illegal to solicit investment such as on Kickstarter which is why it is not an investment angle. With the new law that just passed there may soon be other web sites like Kickstarter that do offer investment opportunities. Alternatively, if you want to own the project and get profits then start your own business. That also gives you control.

With any project that's buying on the future, pre-buy or investment, you need to carefully consider if the project creator can deliver. Kickstarter says about 50% of the projects succeed. What they mean is 50% get successfully funded. As anyone with significant investment or business experience knows, not all funded projects will get to the production stage or be sustainable businesses. I have seen several Kickstarter 'successes' that never produced. It happens. But I think that most do succeed once funded. Caveat emperor.

Our project already successfully completed its Kickstarter run. Check it out at http://smf.me/ [smf.me]

Cheers,

-Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
http://sugarmtnfarm.com/butchershop [sugarmtnfarm.com]

Re:Am i just too stupid to understand kickstarter? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#40130081)

And compare the above description to Kiva, the "micro loan" program that has a very similar example about a farmer expanding their operation (by purchasing a tractor, iirc) in their sales pitch as well.

Except your donation is actually given to loan sharks to lend out at usury rates and you don't get anything in return at all, unless you really love the feeling that some of your money has increased the wealth and power of third world moneylenders...

Not quite... (3, Insightful)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128329)

"Maybe with direct communication, sci-fi fans can rest easy and not have to worry about their favorite shows being cancelled like FireFly."

"(C)ommunication" isn't the issue, it's having demonstrable ratings that appeal to advertisers - TV is not an entertainment medium, it is a mediumm for conveying advertising. They attract you by offering you some entertainment, but until you realize the networks don't really care what they show, they just want an audience to watch the commercials in it.

The best thing a Sci-Fi fan can do is get themselves a nielson box [yahoo.com] and then set their TV to watch all their favorite shows.

Re:Not quite... (2)

dmbasso (1052166) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128415)

Communication is the issue. If you have direct communication you don't need TV neither ads. The best thing is Bittorrent and VODO.

Re:Not quite... (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128465)

"TV is not an entertainment medium, it is a mediumm for conveying advertising."
That is both the most correct and saddest thing I've read in a while. The talent (actors, directors) want to entertain, and the producers just want money (well of course the actors and directors want money, too). Which I can understand, since they are in a business, but what chaps my ass is how quickly shows will get cut if it's not a producer/studio's "favored child" and it doesn't do well in the first 2-3 episodes.

Re:Not quite... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40128497)

Who are you kidding? Most sci-fi fans are the paranoid freaks against such things as services that monitor what you watch.

God forbid your viewing habits will be known, you might get advertising about THINGS YOU LIKE! THE HORROR.
Worse, your favorite TV shows might actually survive! DAMN THAT WILL SUCK, all this awesome TV I will get to watch.

You're honestly better off trying to troll-teach children in to thing all colors are something else. Just shift the entire visual spectrum a major unit forward and teach that.
You'd likely get more success than getting people to manually allow for people to know what they watch. To hell with society.

The worst part about those stupid Nielson ratings is exactly this.
Yet entire companies base their funding on the awful things.
THEY DON'T WORK.
Neither does watching chit-chat about shows online.
Certain shows get more chit chat than other shows.
Reality TV, for example, gets far more people talking about stupid inane crap than an educational show, for example.

Why do you people not want a TV monitoring service?
Are you scared that you might be labeled as someone who watched an awful show for 5 seconds?
Or do you think you actually have any privacy in modern society?
Why are you killing good TV shows?

Re:Not quite... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128579)

yeah, they don't give ratings boxes to just anyone, they give them to the people that fit their economic profile. just another subtle form of social manipulation. I mean, it's not especially subtle, but they're not shouting about how discriminatory their policies are, either.

Re:Not quite... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40129195)

you might argue that this is manipulation, but I'll argue that they know that that they can't generate ad sales revenue from this demographic like the kind of revenue they can from other demographics. Minority loses in this arrangement. Of course our demographic isn't much different than others that complain about being underserved but think they are special.

Re:Not quite... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40128657)

Let me add a detail. Conveying advertising to targeted groups. Harry's Law was cancelled not because it had low ratings, but because it had undesirable ones.

NBC the new Fox which was the old CBS.

Re:Not quite... (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128895)

I disagree. I want to watch enjoyable and entertaining shows. Writers, producers, and actors want to produce things that they enjoy working on and they want to get paid. There are two possible business models:

  • Studios produce something I want to watch
  • I pay them money.

Or:

  • Studios produce something
  • TV networks buy it
  • TV networks sell advertising space on it to cover their costs
  • I (possibly) buy something that's advertised on it, which justifies the purchase of advertising, which justifies the show.

Now, from the perspective of a studio, do you think the business model with zero or two intermediaries between the people who want their product and them makes more sense? Which is more likely to result in long-term funding for their project?

Marc Zicree (4, Informative)

MsWhich (2640815) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128411)

I was a bit surprised to see Marc Zicree listed as being a Babylon 5 writer, because my vague recollection was that J. Michael Straczynski wrote the entire show. But some quick research revealed that Marc Zicree wrote one of the 18 episodes (out of 110) not personally written by JMS. It's legit to list it as one of his writing credits, but I'm not sure it really contributes to his "legendary" status.

anyone else here think. (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128483)

That star trek and star wars stuff should stop being made, as in movies and tv shows? they had their run and there really isn't much new they can offer. even more if there is a star trek show or star wars one they seem to crowd out other sci-fi shows even if those shows are better. babylon 5 only became successful be was out in between major star trek tv shows. firefly died because it had the bad luck of being out at the same time a star trek show was out despite how horrible that star trek show was.

Re:anyone else here think. (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128589)

Is that really why you think firefly died? Because I know from experience that sci-fi fans are perfectly happy to watch multiple sci-fi shows at "once" (provided they don't occupy competing time slots.)

Babylon 5 would have been successful regardless of what else was on the air because it is different from anything that has been on before or since, despite its failings. I am far more interested in rewatching B5 than Trek, and I own pretty much all of both. (Literally all in the case of B5; I might be missing some TNG or something still, and maybe one or two movies I don't want to watch anyway.) I have a bunch of box sets etc. I don't want anyone to think I'm just a B5 fanboy, I'm a sci-fi fanboy in general. I like almost all of it, except BSG ;)

Re:anyone else here think. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128967)

It also helped that the (region 2, at least) DVDs of Babylon 5 were cheap. At launch, play.com had each series for about £20. £100 for the whole set, spread over a few years (I think they released one series every 9 months) was a simple choice for anyone who enjoyed the series. They now sell the entire series (5 seasons) for £42 - £1/disk. In contrast, the original series of Star Trek is £41 (for 3 seasons, 23 disks) for £42, and TNG is £111 (7 seasons, 49 disks), although you can get them for about £70 if you buy one season at a time. I was actually quite surprised by the TNG prices, as they were about £35/season last time I looked - at launch they were almost twice the price of B5. The BBC seemed to be having a laugh when they released Blake's 7 on DVD - something like £2.50/episode (I remember paying about £6/episode to get about half of them on VHS as a teenager, but it still felt overpriced).

Re:anyone else here think. (2)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129473)

it took me a while to admit this, dedicated scifi nerds/fans(fan is short for fanatic after all.) are a minority. too small to through traditional means to keep a show alive.
it's the main stream and / or the casual watcher's that are the determining factor. with star trek or star wars still around they will always pick them over another scifi show despite if the other show is better.

the movie studio's and the tv studio's know this. this is why they kept pumping star trek all the way down the drain to enterprise. and then did that bad(sci-fi wise) reboot movie of star trek to try to restart it.

these franchises need to stop, they are drowning good talent and good shows simply because they are viewed as less risky then a new sci-fi property. the sad thing is due to the sheer amount of money needed to produce either a movie or tv series in the traditional sense. no studio is going to risk that on a unknown franchise. the new one may turn out to be a hit like babylon 5(i loved it too). they just simply WON'T take that risk unless they are garenteed a return.

that is why babylon 5 was a success, there was no star trek to draw the more main stream crowd away if you wanted sci-fi it was basically the only show on. and it's why firefly died. enterprise despite how bad it was, was backed by the star trek name. when people in this group only have a short amount of time to watch a show, they go for the one with name brand recognition.

Re:anyone else here think. (3, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129665)

In my opinion, B5 was great because of the 'flaws'. Humans weren't depicted as the oldest and wisest race around. Compared to the Vorlons and the Shadows, they were kids playing with capguns. Even the Mimbari had them out-teched. Londo was certainly seriously flawed, feelings of inadequacy due to his career peaking late in his life (in his opinion), after being punted off to a 'joke assignment' just to get him out of the public eye. And Garibaldi's personal flaws are many. All this contributed to one hell of a storyline.

Re:anyone else here think. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40128907)

"That star trek and star wars stuff should stop being made, as in movies and tv shows? they had their run and there really isn't much new they can offer."

Is that why there are no more lawyer, cop or hospital shows?

Impressive - and yet, not (4, Insightful)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128513)

I know it sounds impressive... fastest funded (a claim made), blowing past their $75k goal, etc.

But does anybody actually remember the average cost of an episode of Firefly? Low estimates - and I do mean low are $500,000. Per episode.

Now, I know.. they don't need seasoned actors. They don't need expensive VFX firms. They don't need extensive sets. Perhaps they don't need people for wardrobe, catering, location scouting, etc. etc. etc.
And yes, I did see Star Wreck. But if that is the sort of result that one can expect*, it's entertaining enough but certainly not nearly as good as most of the TNG or DS9 episodes, Firefly, BSG, StarGate, or even Red Dwarf.

* I actually have, or had, higher hopes for Pioneer One. But Season 2 still seems very much up in the air, with the crew behind it admitting that they'll have to secure far more substantial funding first.

Still, best of luck to them.

Re:Impressive - and yet, not (1)

Kagato (116051) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128885)

You have a lot more overhead for a network show. Starting at the top with studio management and producers. Add to that the various guilds and unions that actors, writers, directors and other creative staff might belong to and it can really balloon. Even at minium scale the labor costs for a two week production would hit about $400K for 70 people @ 2 weeks.

These productions trim costs because they don't have studio overheads, and have much cheaper costs for creative staff. In particular if the creative staff if willing to do something like Dr. Horrible, where they are looking for a paycheck based on DVD royalties, not upfront costs. It's a different market and I think the creative community is willing to trade the guaranteed paid check for more creative control and a stake in the final production.

Re:Impressive - and yet, not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40129109)

I bet they could get a few hundred thousand to make a few more episodes of Firefly. I know I would put up some money.

Re:Impressive - and yet, not (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129149)

Yeah but that figure is with Hollywood accounting.

Re:Impressive - and yet, not (1)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129733)

Yeah but that figure is with Hollywood accounting.

You don't see much of that with television series, it's mostly for movies. Besides, $700,000 does sound a bit low. Scriptwriter scale (absolute minimum they are required to be paid) for a tv series episode script is roughly ~$14,000 for the story plus ~$22,000 for the teleplay (sometimes those are not the same person, so it's separated). Minimum for major role performer (pretty much everyone who gets listed in the title sequence) is ~$7,000 per episode. For firefly, that's 9 actors, and I doubt every one of those was earning scale. The director minimum for a primetime network show is ~$40,000 per episode. So far, we've already gotten to $139,000 per episode for salaries only, while assuming that everyone got paid absolute minimum the networks are allowed to pay them, without including the salaries of the producers, actors playing non-recurring characters, extras, non-performing crew members...then you've got to consider the cost of building the non-permanent sets, paying the special effects company...

$700k per episode sounds positively cheap...

Re:Impressive - and yet, not (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40129951)

But does anybody actually remember the average cost of an episode of Firefly? Low estimates - and I do mean low are $500,000. Per episode.

Well, if "Space Command" can gather 100K+, imagine what actual Firefly can do. With Joss Whedon behind it, rather than some people who (apparently) wrote a VERY small number of Babylon/DS9 episodes
Plus it doesn't have to be fully covered. Perhaps 50% or even 30% of a season pre-funded would have been enough to motivate another season of Firefly into life.

*sighs* Ah, Firefly ... (4, Funny)

arisvega (1414195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128553)

" [..] and not have to worry about their favorite shows being cancelled like FireFly."

Yea I am still not over that either ..

But there was this follow-up movie, where all of it was wrapped up, right? *ducks*

Who? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40128605)

Heilein is a legendary sci fi writer. Who the @#$% are these people?

Re:Who? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40129081)

Don't be silly, "writer" means someone who scripts TV or movies. Heinlein wrote books, which makes him not a writer, but a historic curiosity.

Re:Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40129807)

Wouldn't it make him an 'author'?

Someone please bring a better story to big screen? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40128641)

Re-run after reboot after re-run.

So many more great novels exist in the world that would be incredible on big screen.

Isn't it time to give some other hugo award winners [thehugoawards.org] a chance on the big screen?

My personal vote, tho not hugo class is the amber series [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Someone please bring a better story to big scre (1)

Mybrid (410232) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129033)

+1, Mod up! Make sticky! and all that!

Well said! The should also make Lord of Light!

Be careful what you wish for... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 2 years ago | (#40128649)

> "Maybe with direct communication, sci-fi fans can rest easy and not have to worry about their favorite shows being cancelled like FireFly."

And the downside, which they may learn the hard way? They may end up with something exactly like FireFly.

Sliders (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129007)

So this guy, Zicree, saved sliders? Or at least, that's what they claim in the kickstarter video.
In that case I have little trust in the quality of this kickstarter project. Sliders pretty much went to shit in the season Zicree came on board.

Re:Sliders (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130017)

Sliders went to shit in Season 3, when they ditched exploring alternate histories for spoofing alternate genre flicks. Zicree pulled it back to alternate histories in seasons 4 and 5, making it mediocre instead of actively bad. While I wouldn't say tbat speaks well of bim, I can't hold the mediocrity against him, either -- it's a bad mess all around trying to recover a show from failure, while fighting off the demands of clueless execs who caused the failure in the first place.

Director: Neil Johnson?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40129029)

Wasn't this guy credited with making one of the worst low-budget scifi "movies" in recent memory? ... A straight-to-Youtube kind-of deal?

Re:Director: Neil Johnson?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40129177)

Zicree has a long history of screenplays nobody can remember, including for Smurfs!

Re:Director: Neil Johnson?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40129283)

Could you share the name?

Please let firefly die finally, (2)

mallyone (541741) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129141)

It's like watching a poor soul on life support begging to be let go. Slashdotters, do the right thing, pull the plug and move on with your lives. Sticking to the topic though, I'm very interested in seeing this movie.

Re:Please let firefly die finally, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40129199)

You don't pull the plug on someone that could still live.

Re:Please let firefly die finally, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40130083)

You don't pull the plug on someone that could still live.

You do if you're a Fox exec.

Bullshit (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40129189)

Fastest funded for getting 75K in 3 days? the Double-Fine Adventure project reached 1.000.000$ in 24 hours!!! and they reached the 400.000$ they wanted in the first 8-10 hours.

no snailmail address (1)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129381)

No address no dead-tree check ... I love dead trees.

Hating the current TV network business model (1)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 2 years ago | (#40129995)

Of course, I'm not the only one who feels this way. It looks like the current TV business model has changed little over the past century (since the dawn of commercial radio), with consumers now being asked to buy packages from their local cable TV providers that are more expensive than ever despite the prevalence of broadband Internet connectivity.

What it comes down to is money and monopoly power. All I want to see probably adds up to a maximum of 10 hours a week, including the news, some sporting events and one or two TV series. Yet, the only way for me to gain access to that specific content legally is to buy a cable subscription, along with one or two supplemental packages, that include dozens of other channels, and hundreds of other program items that I have no interest in. Yet, my only choice is all or nothing, and on top of that those few shows that I am interested in are regularly interrupted by advertisements, which makes the experience a lot less enjoyable.

On the other hand, many people would be more than happy to pay to watch just those shows they want to see via their broadband Internet connections -- and without any advertising. That way also, more of the money would go to the show's producers, who in turn would have a much better idea of how many people were actually watching their show every week. We know consumers want this, because of the huge scale on which TV shows are being pirated and distributed via the Internet. Nevertheless, the only things that consumers can expect to receive directly from the studios today are personal lawsuits regarding their involvement in file sharing networks.

Perhaps getting what we want as consumers will depend on the success of sites like fora.tv, although the prices they ask for access to their content can be pretty steep (e.g. $5 to $25 to watch a single program) -- hardly a strategy likely to make much of a dent in the numbers of people watching Game of Thrones illegally. It seems to me that if an entire season of that series costs $60 million to produce, that HBO could double their money if, at 10 episodes season, 10 million Internet viewers would be willing to pay $1.20 per episode to see it. However, none of the big U.S. studios seem willing to even entertain the idea of giving consumers a choice like that. How come?

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