Lately, it seems like every morning we wake up with a choice to make: optimism or pessimism? Either the world is collapsing around our ears or else we’re gonna make it through this pandemic and everything will be fine again. Sometimes it feels like we’re faced with this decision multiple times each day!
And that brings us to the topic of crowd-funding campaigns. At the moment, with the global economy teetering on the edge of a second Great Depression, there aren’t any new Kickstarters or Indiegogo’s or GoFundMe’s starting up for Star Trek fan films. The odds are simply too long on reaching one’s goal. But what about those campaigns that launched BEFORE the pandemic (or just as quarantining was beginning)?
In the case of Neutral Zone Studios, owner RAY TESI reports that he’s suspended (not canceled) plans to move his TOS sets to Orlando and start up an Escape Room business. Their WeFunder campaign kicked off in late February with a goal of $100K and stalled at $30K. Ray suggests that they’ll have to see when things start getting back to normal. “No change in plan, only time,” he says.
But another February campaign that was caught by surprise was the Indiegogo for SQUADRON from the Czech Republic. These hardworking and humble folks put everything they had into their campaign. But with two weeks left in their two-month campaign, they were barely 23% of the way to their $15,000 goal, and donations had essentially flatlined. Squadron show-runner JAKUB HOLÝ was hopeful that they could make it at least to 50% ($7.5K) of their goal in order to afford all of the VFX shots they needed to tell their story properly. As a battle tale set during the Dominion War, CGI effects shots would be super-important.
But with seven weeks gone and only 13 days left—and during an international health crisis and economic collapse—how could Squadron possibly manage to double their total when it had barely budged for nearly a month?
That’s when I tried to help them out, not just with this blog and interview that I posted on April 8, but also with an e-mail blast update to my donors for INTERLUDE. Naturally, I didn’t want to pressure anyone who was struggling financially at the moment to make a donation they couldn’t afford just to help a bunch of Trekkies in Central Europe produce a fan film. So I began the e-mail update with this introduction:
Hey there, folks. If your finances are super-tight at the moment, please ignore this message.
But if you have $10 or $25 to spare, please consider helping my friends in the Czech Republic complete their fan production SQUADRON.
I only have about 300 or so folks on that mailing list, but over the following week, $1.1K came in, much of it from Interlude donors who stepped up. With just six days left, the Squadron folks released a new trailer, which I featured in another blog entry.
At the same time, ALEC PETERS of AXANAR began mentioning Squadron regularly on his daily live video podcasts, and even had Jakub on as a guest. Over the next few days, another thousand dollars was raised and donations crossed the $5.5K mark from about a 90 donors.
Then came the final 36 hours….
Typically, many crowd-funding campaigns get a “surge” at the very end. But the times they have a’ change’d. Would Squadron be able to rely on the kindness of donors to get them $2,000 in a single day and a half???
A concerted effort was made by Jakub, Alec, and myself to get the word out as best we could. For Jakub, it was a final donor update emailed to the supporters on his mailing list. On my end, it was a quick reminder update to my Interlude donors. But the big move came from Alec. While Jakub’s and my donors number in the triple digits, Alec has a list of thousands of donors. His e-mail was short and to the point:
We are really excited about Squadron! It is a Star Trek fan film set in the Dominion War and made in the Czech Republic. You will love it too, watch the trailer as it is AWESOME!
They have ONE DAY left in their Indiegogo and need our help! Please donate here:
We are so excited that we will be working on a whole new Star Trek production WITH the Squadron crew in 2021! If you love Axanar, you will love where we are going with this new project.
The result was almost immediate. Donations began coming in just as Jakub was headed for bed in Prague (early afternoon for me here in Los Angeles). He went to sleep Sunday night (his time) having reached about $5.5K and crossing the 100 donor mark.
By the time Jakub had woken up, donations had reached that magic half-way point of $7.5K that would allow them to afford all the VFX shots they needed. And when the campaign finally closed, even though they were only 54% of the way to their original goal, they had still reached about $8K with an amazing 143 donors…the last 50-60 of which included many Axanar and Interlude donors. Jakub IM’d the following message to Alec and me…
Guys, thank you so much for helping us achieve this incredible amount of 7384 Eur/8000 USd. We wouldn’t make it without you! You made some great friends in Europe, and if there is anything we can help you with, let us know. I really hope that we can help and support each other throughout our journeys and that we will make some film to remember! Thank you from everyone here.
And when I see something like that happen, it just strengthens my belief that all hope is NOT lost. The world WILL go on, and there’s other people out there who believe that, too. They donate to crowd-funders because they share the dream of the campaigners, and they want to help. Sure, many of us are struggling financially at the moment. But at least a few can afford an extra $10, $25, or even $100. They choose optimism, and I just can’t help but feel encouraged by that.
And speaking of optimism, another active crowd-funding campaign is just about to cross the 1/3 mark on its way to an ambitious $30,000 goal…and that’s the private fundraiser for Axanar‘s major “alien” shoot in Los Angeles, scheduled for sometime after the world is no longer in quarantine. Donations have slowed, of course, but they haven’t stopped. In the 18 days since I last made a graphic like the one below, another $1,450 has come in!
If you can spare it, feel free to click the link below to donate behind the Ares Digital firewall: