Ok, after much discussion this is the current plan.
[Synopsis: We're using Kickstarter to raise money for production of the Occupy Comics digital comic series, hardbound collected book, and "illustrated film" DVD. With the money raised from Kickstarter, we will pay all the contributors. The contributors and publisher are all choosing to donate all their compensation (not just profits) to the protesters. So Occupy Comics is a work of art inspired by the Occupy protest movement, and, beyond that, the individual creators are opting to use all the money earned from their art to fund protests.]
- As stated elsewhere, my original idea was simply to spread the message of the protests to the 100,000 or so idealistic non-billionaires at the Javits Center for NYCC, but that was a few weeks back during the media blackout. Now “exposure” seems less critical and basic necessities (bathrooms, winter clothing & ideally some legal form of outdoor heating so the occupation can persist through winter) seem more helpful.
- The current thinking is we can do something similar to Womanthology–recognizing that its huge success can’t be replicated and it’s like saying “we’ll do something like the Obama campaign,” but if we stay smart and focused and efficient then Occupy Comics won’t even have to be even 10% as successful as Womanthology in order to make a big difference.
- Right now we’re putting together a roster of popular artists/writers who want to support the protests and are willing to donate their creative contributions so long as a floor of money pledges are received via Kickstarter.
- We still have to determine the minimum pledge amount, but say for argument’s sake it’s $5k or $10k. The money flow (like any Kickstarter project) works like this: pledge amounts go to the work of producing the book… i.e., hard costs, creative costs, publisher costs. But with Occupy Comics, the creators and publisher are all donating 100% of their compensation to the occupiers. And the intention is to keep the hard costs as close to zero as possible. So we get to make an awesome book and the creators get to support a movement they care about.
- At the minimum number of pledges, the book will only be released digitally so ALL the pledge money (as well as whatever revenue is generated by digital sales) will ultimately go directly to the occupiers. If my company Halo-8 produces the project, not only will we not take a cut of revenue but we’ll instruct the distributors to pay out directly to the occupier fund. The money will not even pass through our company. Total transparency.
- We are also setting a tier of pledges that will enable us to publish a printed book. The minimum pledge amount to hit this tier depends on whether or not we have to pay to print/ship/distribute the book or if a third party publisher steps up to distribute and eat those hard costs. It would be nice if the publisher distributed at cost, but it’s not necessary… comics aren’t very profitable to begin with, so those revenues aren’t really the point. The goal will be keeping hard costs as low as possible and passing as much money as possible directly to the creators. If a publisher is willing to cover hard costs and recoup from sales, it means the creators will earn more and can thus send more money direct to the occupiers.
- There’s the possibility that at a higher tier we could adapt the book into an “illustrated film” like Godkiller, which would involve a whole new level of creators (actors, editors, musicians, sound designers, etc) and thus it would be complicated but still feasible to put together a likeminded roster. The thing about an illustrated film vs a print comic book though is that illustrated films are actually profitable. Godkiller (despite being called Godkiller) was distributed on DVD to massmarket retail and reached 80 million homes on VOD (Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Dish, Xbox, Playstation, etc) before eventually going out on Netflix Streaming and Hulu. It remains to be seen if the Occupy Comics content will work for that type of animation, but there is real money going that route.
Profits from a book or illustrated film are almost tangental though because the book will take months to create and if we were to do an illustrated film it would take even longer (plus the money trickles back pretty slowly). So that’s all longterm.
The beauty of driving the main portion of financing with Kickstarter is that we can pay the creators up front (they’re all professionals with track records for delivering on time), so they can elect to donate their compensation to the occupiers shortly after launching the project. If we move quick, they might be able to get honeywagons downtown by Thanksgiving.
To clarify: we’re using Kickstarter to raise money for production of the Occupy Comics digital comic series, hardbound collected book, and “illustrated film” DVD. With the money raised from Kickstarter, we will pay all the contributors. The contributors and publisher are all choosing to donate all their compensation (not just profits) to the protesters. So Occupy Comics is a work of art inspired by the Occupy protest movement, and, beyond that, the individual creators are opting to use all the money earned from their art to fund protests.
What if we get a bunch of money and the protest movement falls apart before we donate? Well, again, the Kickstarter pledges are allocated to artists and writers who are all opting to donate their compensation. In the event the movement dissolves, then each contributor can spend their compensation however they see fit… it would be nice if there was some consensus on the best use of the money that maintains the spirit in which the pledgers backed the project, but that can’t be guaranteed.
Obviously this is still a developing strategy, so please chime in with thoughts on how we can refine the idea or better implement the strategy.