Disintermediation. There’s a good buzz-word. But it actually works. Crowdfunding. Another buzz-word but… well, you know where I’m going with this.
Kickstarter kicked off a revolution in the creative world. No longer do you have to rely on asking a bored guy in a grey suit to give you some money. Got a good idea? Ask the audience to fund it.
That’s what I’ve just done with my internet talk show The Breadcrumb Trail. I’m working with our executive producer, Willard Foxton – whose credits include The Madoff Hustle and Battle for Dale Farm – and J L Lynch – an experienced director who is directing at the Olympics prior to shooting The Breadcrumb Trail.
What is The Breadcrumb Trail? It’s a fully crowdfunded talk show presented and written by me. It’ll feature guests from the worlds of politics, journalism, film, television and the arts.
You might wonder how that’s different to the average Jonathan Ross Show. Well, firstly, there’ll be a great deal less lisping. But more seriously, this will be a show where guests are encourage to be discursive about their passions. We’re putting the talk back into talk show.
The key with crowdfunding is that it frees us from the concerns of commercial or even licence fee-funded broadcasting. The shows will be released free via iTunes, YouTube and Vimeo and our producers – the backers who have funded the show – will receive rewards to thank them for their support.
Producers who kick in £25 or more get themselves a producer credit in each and every episode of The Breadcrumb Trail series 1. People who go a little larger and offer £40 or more get an extremely limited edition t-shirt as well as their producer credit.
Those real high-rollers who go for the £100+ funding level earn themselves an invite to a producers dinner and a custom piece of work written by me.
There are plenty of arguments for funding a show like this through advertising or a funding round from friends and family. I’m not suggesting those approaches don’t work, but the benefit of crowdfunding using a site like BloomVC – the Scottish-enterprise that hosted The Breadcrumb Trail’s campaign – is that you are also recruiting supporters.
The hope is that The Breadcrumb Trail producers will also promote the show when episodes are released and get involved with suggestions and help when required.
Crowdfunding is not an easy option. While some projects – notably, anything involving Apple hardware – can rake in huge amounts of cash very quickly, for most, it is a slog.
The Breadcrumb Trail is fully funded as I write this, but it took two months of heavy promotion and tireless efforts from our team and our backers to get it there. Expect to work for your money.