Illawarra creatives turn to crowd funding for projects

Megan Rowlatt, a student at Chaplin Arts, with general manager Nicolas Johnson and Victoria Standing. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Megan Rowlatt, a student at Chaplin Arts, with general manager Nicolas Johnson and Victoria Standing. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

The success and failure of creative projects no longer relies on shaky promises of government funding or corporate sponsorship, as Illawarra creatives turn to new technology to get their projects off the ground.

It is called crowd funding, and thousands of artists, filmmakers, inventors and entrepreneurs are raising much-needed coin for their ambitions. Websites like Pozible, Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow people to share their ideas and aims, and ask for donations.

“We can’t always generate enough money ourselves, so we call on the community and invite them to contribute to our same passion,” said assistant manager of Chaplin Arts, Victoria Standing. A Wollongong-based performing arts and creative space, Chaplin Arts is currently running a Pozible campaign to raise $3000 to expand their services.

“It’s to pay for staff, our studio space, buy better equipment and instruments for students. Basically to let us do more from the studio,” Ms Standing said.

Chaplin Arts is one of many in the Illawarra turning to this new way of funding creative ideas. Kangaroo Valley’s Peter Botsman is one of the most successful, raising more than $30,000 to fund his documentary ‘Noomool: the Aubrey Tigan Story,’ about an indigenous pearl shell carver from the Kimberley region.

Mr Botsman said crowd funding meant less reliance on traditional external funding models – such as government grants or sponsorships – with limited funds.

“It allows us to do things at a grassroots level that don’t involve people conforming to corporate structures,” he said.

“Ordinary people are usually very responsive and understand better than government and big business what’s best for the community.”

Albion Park artist Jacqueline Sneddon hoped to use Pozible to fund the pilot episode of her television show The Afterlife.

An animated series exploring what happens after death, Ms Sneddon had received $1100 from 42 supporters, with a goal of $7000. She said crowd funding boosted chances of artists seeing their dreams become reality.

“It’s a great way of bypassing all the in-between people, getting straight to your audience,” she said.

“It’s good to get out and get people interested at a grassroots level.”

Crowd-funding campaigns often sweeten the deal with incentives or rewards for supporters, ranging from signed merchandise or inclusion in film credits, to meet-and-greets with talent or sneak peeks of the final product.

Ms Sneddon’s campaign offers posters, T-shirts, and even the chance for supporters to have their image and voice included in the series as a main character.

Mr Botsman warned that crowd funding “is not a magic bullet,” but did present a huge opportunity to start projects that might normally be abandoned due to funding shortfalls.

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“It’s going directly to the people and asking for support.

“It shows there’s a weakness in Australia in the funding for all sorts of different areas, a big gap in what people want and what they get,” he said.

For more information, search for Chaplin Arts on Indiegogo or The Afterlife on Pozible.

Source: Illawarra Mercury – By JOSHUA BUTLER July 22, 2013


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