Why Spike Lee’s Kickstarter campaign is not the success you think it is

What? You didn’t think Spike Lee’s Kickstarter campaign was a success? You didn’t even know he had one.

Sheesh! Get with the program, kids. How else are you/we ever gonna be taken seriously as, you know, being in the biz?

Luckily for all concerned, The Bitter Script Reader’s been keeping his eye out for all of us:

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by The Bitter Script Reader

Spike Lee’s Kickstarter campaign ended this morning with him topping out at over $1.4 million dollars in donations.  He’s the third-highest film campaign in history after Veronica Mars ($5.7M) and Zach Braff’sWish I Was Here ($3.1M).  After Veronica Mars walked away with its windfall, there was no shortage of editorials proclaiming that this could be the start of a trend – for good and for ill.  Some hoped it would bring independent filmmakers more opportunities, while others feared that studios and the privileged would take advantage of their supporters by getting them to essentially pay for the movie.  So does Spike Lee’s success confirm any of that?

No.  In fact, I’d submit that when you stack up the number’s on Lee’s Kickstarter against Veronica Mars and Braff’s, you’ll find it hard to declare it a genuine success.

The website Mars Investigations has done a fantastic job of breaking down the numbers for all of the high-profile Kickstarters.  If you have any interest at all in crowdsourcing, you owe it to yourself to look at their charts.

First, let’s consider the average donation to the Kickstarters.  Veronica Mars had 91,585 donors and a total of over $5.7 M, which makes their average donation $62.36.  Even though Braff raised less, $3.1 M, his average donation was pretty close – $66.76.  Spike Lee’s average donation? $220.98

If you look at the “Pledges” chart, you see that Veronica Mars (36%) and Braff (40%) got a sizable number of their donations from the range of $100-$499.  Lee’s donations at that level come out to only 9.1%.  So what’s going on here?

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