Financing / Crowdfunding : Looking for feedback by Sara Adams

Sara Adams

Looking for feedback

Hey guys! I'm looking for some thoughts. I'm producing a local production of Rent through my new company, Bad Investment. We're about to launch a crowdfunding campaign, but we don't have the rights yet. This isn't an issue, except when it comes to the rewards. I'm thinking of offering things like posters and tshirts with original artwork inspired by the musical. Does this fall under fair use if any money from that just goes to the play's budget?

Cfa Weiss

Best to use your own artwork due to copyright laws. Read "Crowdfunding for Filmmakers" ask others which they like more and keep in consideration their subject & social media presence. Kickstarter is nice but sucks when you lose it all when you are close to your goal. IndieGogo lets you keep whatever you raise which I find better because then a better pitch video can be made for another go around

LindaAnn Loschiavo

When your group pays for rights for "Rent," it will include the TEXT + it may specify the set. It will not include graphics -- and don't even attempt to steal artwork. Get an entertainment lawyer ASAP, too.

Tim Barden

I've had some involvement with a community theater group who always produces tshirts and posters with original artwork (including for Rent) and never ran into a problem. However, they never sold them to the general public so I suppose that could be an issue. I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. Your mileage may vary but I guess you have to measure the value to your project of something like this Vs. the potential risk. Why don't you consider inviting contributors to a rehearsal. Special private advance performances of a couple of songs, dinner with a cast member or two, etc?

LindaAnn Loschiavo

If you know about "Rent," then you know a clever way they raised $$$, Sara. They gave one minor non-speaking role to the highest donor (per performance). Do "Rent" research & it will help a lot.

Sara Adams

Thanks for all the thoughts guys, I'll have to think it over. We don't have the rights yet, we're raising money so we can buy them/put on the production. As you know, this isn't a small feat, so I'm trying to think of anything and everything to pull some cash in.

Regina Lee

Hi Sara, I think you're in a gray zone, not black and white. Before you retain an attorney and shell out hundreds of dollars, at least try to reach out to the Indiegogo crew (or whichever platform you're using) and ask how other stage producers have handled rewards. Email or tweet them, and I bet someone will offer you some tips. Or tweet some of the crowdfunding experts/consultants who answer questions on Twitter. Break legs!!!!

Vasco Phillip de Sousa

Why not contact the rights owner for the play, and ask to get an option agreement in place? You're going to have to ask for permission anyway, if you get the money, so why not talk about it now?

Regina Lee

Hi Vasco, for RENT, you must license.

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