Is crowd-funding still "amateur"?

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Dave Watterson
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Is crowd-funding still "amateur"?

Post by Dave Watterson » Sat Oct 17, 2015 11:51 am

As more film makers seek crowd-funding for their work ... is this the next boundary between amateur and professional that we must face?

Traditionally we think of an amateur film as being made by a one-person-band from her or his own resources. Club films were traditionally more of a learning exercise than anything else. But does that mean a rich film maker who can spend more has an unfair advantage over others?

Does crowd-funding cross a line?

col lamb
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Re: Is crowd-funding still "amateur"?

Post by col lamb » Sat Oct 17, 2015 6:03 pm

What is an amateur?

What is the crowdfunding going to be used for?

If it is for expenses, equipment and props then these are "benefits in kind" and hence professional or at least semi professional.

Also either way, if the completed movie then makes money then that is not an amateur movie in my book.

A side issue, a movie is put on Youtube and it takes off and makes cash for the person who put it on Youtube, is this still an amateur movie?
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ned c
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Re: Is crowd-funding still "amateur"?

Post by ned c » Sat Oct 17, 2015 7:33 pm

I am deeply suspicous of Crowd Funding; it smacks of "I have this incredibly expensive hobby and I would like you to pay for it". A begging bowl held out to a gullible public. Substantial funding does not make good films; it may make them possible but of itself makes no guarantees.

I cannot see how money/services provided that are not payments to people can be interpreted as "professional", arts grants, club funds, loan of equipment would fall into this category and should not affect the status of the film or its makers. There is no such thing as a "semi-professional", that is a label for part time professionals to hide behind when it all goes wrong.

Back to the challenge of "what is an amateur" in this age of access to high quality equipment no different to that used by paid film makers. Given that professional film makers openly enter films into BIAFF then the interpretation must be that it is the film made for fun, not reward that counts. Once financial reward to people sets in then the status changes.

I am finding loading this forum increasingly difficult and long delays in opening the individual forums, yet all my other connections seem to be normal. Is it just me?

[No,Ned, it is not just you. Our web host has been having problems with some sort of attack on the servers which host our forum and other sites. They are working to track down the attackers and prevent the problem. Apologies all round ... - Dave]

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Re: Is crowd-funding still "amateur"?

Post by TimStannard » Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:11 pm

I tend to agree with ned. I see no reason to change the understanding that we've had for years that an amateur movie is made for no financial gain and no-one involved is paid for their services.
Yes, there is potential advantage for the person who can afford to hire or buy better equipment (or locations for that matter), but:

a. That has always been the case - and was surely even more prevalent in the days of ciné when making home movies was a rich man's sport.
b. No matter how the rules are structured there will always be areas where being able to throw more money at the project can give a potential advantage.
c. Better equipment/location/pros does not make a better film.

Certainly at BIAFF I see the judges (and audience) looking for more than just technical competence. A film that looks particularly slick and cinematic will be rightly rewarded for being so, but low budget films with better content will generally do better.

Oh, and ned, I too have problems with this site quite frequently, but it usually sorts itself out by my next visit.
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

Michael Slowe
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Re: Is crowd-funding still "amateur"?

Post by Michael Slowe » Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:36 am

Back to the age old topic! This debate started when most of you lot weren't born. Much as I hate the divide between amateur and professional film making I have to agree the obvious yardstick. If the film is made with the object of commercial gain and financial reward then it's professional. Simple, (as the Meerkat says in the adverts). If subsequent to the production the producer gets money the line becomes rather blurred. Personally I think that such payments should be either refused, or, paid say, to a club or the IAC. I was in this very situation with some of my films (as I've often stated here), when they were broadcast and I designated the payments to the IAC.

But, and this is so often misunderstood, using professional people, kit or locations does not necessarily result in a superior film. We have all seen stunning work from amateurs, youngsters shooting on iphones, little gems posted on You Tube or Vimeo, all made for the joy of film making and using kit that any of us have access to. Personally I deplore the constant attempts to redefine the boundaries, let's all be film makers, period (as they annoyingly say over the ocean- sorry Ned).

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