PDA

View Full Version : Clyde Butcher Kickstarter just failed :(



Randy Moe
31-Mar-2015, 18:35
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/39823887/clyde-butcher-passion-preservation-and-power-of-ph?ref=email

vinny
31-Mar-2015, 18:53
It would have had a chance if he offered some prints whether they were inkjets or otherwise. I mentioned that a couple weeks ago on his facebook page but what do I know. It wasn't nearly as refined as it should have been considering they were asking for nearly $200k.

Light Guru
31-Mar-2015, 18:53
I'm not surprised they were asking way more then what a niche documentary subject can realistically expect to get on kickstarter.

Randy Moe
31-Mar-2015, 19:08
I agree, he got bad advice somewhere, or he knows it all.

DennisD
31-Mar-2015, 19:54
I was very sorry to hear news that funding failed.

While I know relatively little about the costs involved with creating a video or film documentary, it seems the goal of $200K was a bit far reaching for such a project. Long time friends and associates were behind the production and a significant amount of the documentary content has been gathered over a period of almost 25 years in this case. From the Kickstarter description, much of the cost now involves going thru archived material and converting to video.

Clearly, a great amount of the financial and personal investment has already been made. Does it really take $200k more to pull everything together ? On the other hand, it's probably easy to spend big $$$ if there's a lot of material and you're paying for top dollar production.

Clyde Butcher is certainly a man of significant talent and accomplishment. His efforts are deserving of a thoughtful documentary. I've always appreciated how Clyde's devotion to the Everglades parallels Ansel's to Yosemite. (Rest assured, I'm not comparing the two otherwise -- I consider Adams a more dynamic character - with no disrespect to Butcher.)

However, if funded, it would have been a wonderful and worthwhile project (as well as a real gift to Large Format PR).

AtlantaTerry
1-Apr-2015, 03:20
The correct spelling of the name of the person is "Clyde".

Would it be possible for an administrator to correct the Title of this thread?

Ken Lee
1-Apr-2015, 06:40
I fixed the tytle of the thread.

paulr
1-Apr-2015, 06:50
I agree, he got bad advice somewhere...

Looks like it. That kind of goal is a huge gamble. I'm working with an editor who suggested I use Indiegogo, since you get the money even if you come up short. But I'm skeptical; the site looks like a wasteland of depressingly amateurish projects.

I'm now looking at Hatchfund and Kickstarter. The former is much more heavily curated, and gives you a project manager to advise you, and claims 75% success rate. The latter is better known, has a much better site, and seems to have a better record of funding bigger projects. My friend Vince Cianni just raised over $40,000 for a photography book on KS. I'm looking for less than that, but still an amount that seems out of reach unless your project strikes a nerve and gets pretty broad support.

I'm thinking about setting my minimum goal at around a quarter what I'll need for the whole project, and know that I may have to pick up additional funding elsewhere.

Randy Moe
1-Apr-2015, 06:54
I fixed the tytle of the thread.

:)

adelorenzo
1-Apr-2015, 09:27
I backed it and am sad it failed but, based on other similar projects, I agree that $200K was a big goal. Especially since most of the footage is "in the can" what are the remaining costs? Editing? Music rights? Distribution and marketing?

Randy Moe
1-Apr-2015, 09:30
I was also a backer and that's why I got the quick failure notice.

I'm going to be real careful with my KS campaign. It will be LF based.

Bill_1856
1-Apr-2015, 09:31
:)

+1 (lol)

Jac@stafford.net
1-Apr-2015, 10:20
[...] I agree that $200K was a big goal. Especially since most of the footage is "in the can" what are the remaining costs? Editing? Music rights? Distribution and marketing?

To recover expenses accumulated over the years of development.

Darin Boville
1-Apr-2015, 14:18
To recover expenses accumulated over the years of development.

I hope not...seems a bit unethical to claim it is for future expenses and then really pay yourself back for prior expenses.

Their project was amateurish. The video was goofy. The pitch lame.

Take this bit:


This is an all-or-nothing campaign. Yes, it's risky, but we believe in this project and think that there are enough people who will rally with us to reach our goal.

Risks and challenges include first and foremost getting the full amount of funding on Kickstarter to make the project. A big challenge is going to be sorting through all the archival images and photos and converting it into video format.

The biggest risk the project faces is not getting the money? So funding the project eliminates the biggest risk? Well....ok. Good to have success guaranteed!

Looks like it was thrown together in a short afternoon.

--Darin

paulr
1-Apr-2015, 15:02
I see two issues.

The film maker failed to show why the film would be interesting. Let's assume it will be interesting to people who are already his fans. And to his wife (really? His wife is one of the three or four endorsers on the video?) A successful documentarian always finds an interesting angle. Some story we haven't heard before. All I get from this is that Clyde's a really good unsung photographer and a helluva guy. This won't send crowds to the movie theater or to their wallets.

And $100,000+ is just an awful lot to ask unless you have a project with unusually broad appeal. Black+White landscape photography = narrow appeal. Pictures of the Everglades = slightly less narrow appeal. Bio of an old guy with a funny old camera = extreeeeemely narrow appeal. Add these all together, it's just hard to imagine how they'd get to their goal. I'm impressed that they made it 1/4 of the way. They raised more than I'll need for my project, and I'm nervous!

StoneNYC
1-Apr-2015, 20:13
Coming from 7 years working in the movie industry, an entire film, even documentary, shot on the lowest of acceptable digital video (like a Canon 5DmkII) not even using a RED or similar camera, with any serious intent, equipment, editing, filming, crew costs, etc, $200,000 is a TINY budget.

Even the smallest of any realistic movie budget I worked on was ONLY 1 million to 2 million dollar budgets. And they were tiny, no food for the crew, really rough sets, etc.

Think about it, for 1-2 months of work, if it's a real production you need a camera operator a focus puller, boom mic operator, mixer, color video manager(that's the wrong word I'm blanking, DXS or some acronym), gaffer, best boy, grips. I mean, how can you expect to pay all those people, that doesn't cover the Director, producer, DP, or Clyde if he even gets anything. Then the whole thing has to be cut together and edited, sound mixed in, etc. on $200,000 that's pennies.

Even if it's some ultra low budget non-Union crew trying to make their days on set so they can join the union (read = all Newbs with no experience) you're really stretching it on $200,000.

No one is being dishonest or "pocketing" the money at all. You should really check what you say before you throw out accusations like that.

Darin Boville
1-Apr-2015, 23:20
No one is being dishonest or "pocketing" the money at all. You should really check what you say before you throw out accusations like that.

You need to reread the thread, Stone. The claim was made by another poster that the $200k was for past expenses. The Kickstarter page explicitly stated that the money was to cover future costs. Referring to the prior claim I wrote, "I hope not...seems a bit unethical to claim it is for future expenses and then really pay yourself back for prior expenses."

--Darin

Randy Moe
2-Apr-2015, 00:11
Well, I guess we just don't know how to make a documentary. My closest friends made this 2 Docs, I pitched in when needed. I could add movies to this list but both cost a fraction of $200K to produce.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1466072/

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/nelson-algren-the-end-is-nothing-the-road-is-all

I consider editing perhaps the the most important and difficult part of any movie. I cull footage, and advise. No unions. We make movies.

These movies were made right in my building with ancient Macs, crappy monitors, borrowed DSLR, HD Prosumer Camcorders, and anything we else could find. I researched, scanned magazines stills for both movies on an old flatbed. Ed Asner did voice over in DIY audio booth in a closet.

Making movies and especially Docs is Art driven by need, the need to tell a story. Just like we need to shoot pictures. Money...

As an interesting side connection, another thread today is about Photo Booths and I said I could be in one in 10 minutes. If you scroll down the IndieGoGo link you will see a shot of RAINBO Club which is where I would go, and it is the same bar, same signs Nelson Algren talks about in his essay, 'City on the Make'. Nothing has changed in 64 years. Still junkie Hell.

paulr
2-Apr-2015, 06:35
Coming from 7 years working in the movie industry, an entire film, even documentary, shot on the lowest of acceptable digital video (like a Canon 5DmkII) not even using a RED or similar camera, with any serious intent, equipment, editing, filming, crew costs, etc, $200,000 is a TINY budget.

I think that's absolutely right, unless (as Randy demonstrates) we stretch our ideas of film production into what's possible today. We live in an era when surprisingly good looking movies get made by a pair of people who do everything themselves, using cheap gear that they already have, fueling the whole project with fast food. It's not an imperative ... there are reasons to have a real crew and to work at different levels. But technology has enabled some crazy possibilities.

(I just looked up Lena Dunham's Tiny Furniture—a really good feature film from 2010. Budget $65,000. And yes, it helps that it stars the film maker, and that the main character's mom and sister are played by the film maker's mom and sister)

paulr
2-Apr-2015, 06:47
Well, I guess we just don't know how to make a documentary. My closest friends made this 2 Docs, I pitched in when needed. I could add movies to this list but both cost a fraction of $200K to produce.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1466072/

That Burroughs documentary was fantastic.
Impressive they made it for what they did. I'm assuming all the famous people participated for free, out of their enthusiasm for the project.

CropDusterMan
2-Apr-2015, 06:57
It is a shame that the film funding project failed...would have been nice to see. I must say, I found the trailer very
flat and uninteresting. Take a look at the 2002 Ansel Adams documentary for instance...it grabs you from the moment
it starts...especially with the early narration of John Szarkowski. It is dramatic. Created with voice, imagery and a great
soundtrack. Szarkowski talks of the simple construction of poetry...he compares Ansel and his work to that...it's a
comparison that captured me immediately.

Were the filmmakers financial goals a little lofty...perhaps. You only get one chance to grab a viewers attention, and Clydes
images are dramatic. They are of serene nature, but there is drama in them, and that engages interest in a viewer. The fundraiser
video was boring. Great, I see some production...setting up camera dolly track in a swamp...production value was there,
but then you show such a banal example of the films content.

I don't care who or how many accolades a filmmaker has...you must engage the viewer immediately in this day and age, as the attention span of the average person is less time than it takes to soft-boil an egg.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvt1ImIKi0U

paulr
2-Apr-2015, 07:06
I must say, I found the trailer very flat and uninteresting.

Yeah ... you'd think that a documentary film maker would at the very least make a compelling kickstarter video.

Old-N-Feeble
2-Apr-2015, 08:11
What I want to know is if it's really true he claimed the kickstarter funds were intended for future expenses but then kept the money to pay himself back for previous expenses. If he really did, that appears to be fraud and he deserves to have a class-action lawsuit brought against him. Attorneys would keep it all but a conviction might at least dissuade a few others from repeating similar fraudulent activities.

Randy Moe
2-Apr-2015, 09:08
In defense of Clyde.

He is an ultimate DIY Artist. I believe he prints all his work directly himself with help. He setup and made his Darkroom himself.

Most likely he is very idealistic and wanted to pay his young minions. Good for him, maybe bad for him and them.

While a great traditional photographer and wet printer, he is in danger of weakening his position with his recent DSLR adventures.

I think he should keep on with his traditional methods even if he must work from a wheelchair directing his crew in his continuing life work.

His Documentary needs a good 30 second elevator pitch, a script writer and and most of all a genius editor. The raw materials exist already.

For Burroughs, I watched endless days of footage and marked sections for the editor to look at. Post production is time consuming. Then I spent a lot of time watching Ilko edit, free lessons for me.

And yes Paul, very few even got airplane tickets or a beer.

I would add more, but at this point on, it's political.

Old-N-Feeble
2-Apr-2015, 09:21
I have tremendous respect for Clyde Butcher as an artist and technician. I don't know who's responsible for the 'alleged' deceit and misappropriation of funds but if they did something wrong then they deserve to be brought to justice.

CropDusterMan
2-Apr-2015, 11:09
Me too....I am in huge support of Clyde....I think he is a gift to photography!
To understand what's involved with his work in the everglades....he can never put anything down!
A true master.

Oren Grad
2-Apr-2015, 11:11
What I want to know is if it's really true he claimed the kickstarter funds were intended for future expenses but then kept the money to pay himself back for previous expenses. If he really did, that appears to be fraud and he deserves to have a class-action lawsuit brought against him. Attorneys would keep it all but a conviction might at least dissuade a few others from repeating similar fraudulent activities.

The Kickstarter campaign failed, so no money was collected from backers.

Vaughn
2-Apr-2015, 11:13
From the info I got from the Kickstarter page, Clyde is not the one doing the film, nor did he start the Kickstarter project.

It sounds like a worthwhile project, but I do wish to volunteer my time (money) to pay others to do volunteer work. If this is an actual money-making project (as in earning revenue), then greater rewards needed to be provided (as mentioned before, prints).

DennisD
2-Apr-2015, 11:31
While the KS funding goal might seem high, the project did show (via pie chart) the relative breakdown regarding the intended use of funds. I have to believe the intentions were good.

It seems unfair to conjecture about possible misuse of funds or the motives of those involved...especially because we are outsiders -

- we have no knowledge of the producers' intentions regarding management of the funds
- nor do we fully understand the detailed financial requirements to bring the project to reality
- besides all that, the funding unfortunately failed.

Old-N-Feeble
2-Apr-2015, 11:35
The Kickstarter campaign failed, so no money was collected from backers.

Good to know. So, why did someone post that the funds were used to reimburse previous expenses???

Drew Wiley
2-Apr-2015, 11:37
Stone - numerous award-winning documentaries have been done on shoestring budgets. Not every project needs a significant support staff, fancy props, or huge
travel and accommodation expenses, let alone paid actors. A bigger hurdle is getting something distributed after editing.

Randy Moe
2-Apr-2015, 11:45
Stone - numerous award-winning documentaries have been done on shoestring budgets. Not every project needs a significant support staff, fancy props, or huge
travel and accommodation expenses, let alone paid actors. A bigger hurdle is getting something distributed after editing.

+1

DennisD
2-Apr-2015, 11:55
Good to know. So, why did someone post that the funds were used to reimburse previous expenses???

That comment was purely conjecture -
Someone assumed there might be reimbursement of previous expense.

There was NO statement to that effect in the original KS Writeup.

Light Guru
2-Apr-2015, 11:58
Yeah ... you'd think that a documentary film maker would at the very least make a compelling kickstarter video.

Exactly. If I find your kickstarter video to be bad why would I want to give you money to do more video work.

Randy Moe
2-Apr-2015, 12:10
KS does advise a homespun personal video.

Read their tips, before doing anything.

Always read the rule book, is my rule.

Old-N-Feeble
2-Apr-2015, 12:10
That comment was purely conjecture -
Someone assumed there might be reimbursement of previous expense.

There was NO statement to that effect in the original KS Writeup.

I hate rumors and am ashamed that I bit that bait and added to the confusion.

CropDusterMan
2-Apr-2015, 12:16
Stone - numerous award-winning documentaries have been done on shoestring budgets. Not every project needs a significant support staff, fancy props, or huge
travel and accommodation expenses, let alone paid actors. A bigger hurdle is getting something distributed after editing.


+2

StoneNYC
2-Apr-2015, 14:56
I think that's absolutely right, unless (as Randy demonstrates) we stretch our ideas of film production into what's possible today. We live in an era when surprisingly good looking movies get made by a pair of people who do everything themselves, using cheap gear that they already have, fueling the whole project with fast food. It's not an imperative ... there are reasons to have a real crew and to work at different levels. But technology has enabled some crazy possibilities.

(I just looked up Lena Dunham's Tiny Furniture—a really good feature film from 2010. Budget $65,000. And yes, it helps that it stars the film maker, and that the main character's mom and sister are played by the film maker's mom and sister)

And that she has rich successful parents who are already in the industry.

I've met her, she's earned her spot and as talent of her own for sure, but she got off the ground because she had the $ and access backing her.

StoneNYC
2-Apr-2015, 15:03
Stone - numerous award-winning documentaries have been done on shoestring budgets. Not every project needs a significant support staff, fancy props, or huge
travel and accommodation expenses, let alone paid actors. A bigger hurdle is getting something distributed after editing.

Yes, I agree, HOWEVER as artists, are we really going to defend getting a whole crew together that we don't pay at all just to keep the cost down? Like someone asking you to do their wedding for free or low cost because they are your friend, it's insulting.

Yes it can be done, if everyone's a producer and they split the profit in the end, but it's very hard to get it right. Only one movie I can think of has ever truly been a "success" that was on a shoestring budget, and that was "Clerks". Shot on B&W film it because it was cheaper than color film, because lighting equipment wasn't needed for B&W to balance color of the Florescent lighting or increase the lighting as B&W could handle the darker environment.

AND the person who helped fund the project WAS the director who threw his own money in the pot, including I believe selling his car to help cover some of the cost.

It's do-able, but rare.

ScottPhotoCo
3-Apr-2015, 11:20
In defense of Clyde.

He is an ultimate DIY Artist. I believe he prints all his work directly himself with help. He setup and made his Darkroom himself.

Most likely he is very idealistic and wanted to pay his young minions. Good for him, maybe bad for him and them.

While a great traditional photographer and wet printer, he is in danger of weakening his position with his recent DSLR adventures.

I think he should keep on with his traditional methods even if he must work from a wheelchair directing his crew in his continuing life work.

His Documentary needs a good 30 second elevator pitch, a script writer and and most of all a genius editor. The raw materials exist already.

For Burroughs, I watched endless days of footage and marked sections for the editor to look at. Post production is time consuming. Then I spent a lot of time watching Ilko edit, free lessons for me.

And yes Paul, very few even got airplane tickets or a beer.

I would add more, but at this point on, it's political.

Randy is right on here.

As a marketing and communication guy (25 years working with some of the most successful companies in the world) this effort failed from the start and has nothing to do with Mr. Butcher. After seeing the promotion video and reading the KS set-up I couldn't bring myself to support it.

If the filmmaker is a good documentarian, editor and story teller then his film promoting the piece should be incredibly compelling and engaging. If he didn't have the knowledge himself he should have worked with a writer and a communications specialist to make sure his message was well planned, written and delivered. This COULD have been a great film and it is still a good idea. It seems that the filmmaker just didn't have the expertise to communicate, or perhaps even execute, that idea well.

In regard to weakening his position with his "DSLR adventures" you are 100% correct. It makes me sad, as both a lover of quality photography and as a respecter of Mr. Butcher's work, every time I see the digital work on his page.

Drew Wiley
3-Apr-2015, 12:14
Well... that Kickstarter link itself... One more gray-bearded guy with a cowboy hat, mahogany camera, and b&w opening shot of Yosemite Valley from the scenic turnout. Probably not the best way to try to feature someone in his own right.

Richard Rankin
3-Apr-2015, 12:31
I fixed the tytle of the thread.

I actually looked for a 'like' button to click on your reply, Ken. Too much FB time for me, I guess...

paulr
3-Apr-2015, 13:44
And that she has rich successful parents who are already in the industry.

No doubt. I'm not saying she raised the $65,000 babysitting ...

StoneNYC
3-Apr-2015, 14:17
I actually looked for a 'like' button to click on your reply, Ken. Too much FB time for me, I guess...

There's actually a "like" feature (which I really wish they would implement, it would give those who don't like to post a chance to show support of certain comments) would actually give us a better take on who really appreciates certain viewpoints.

They just won't implement it here for some reason, but it's an option in VBulletin.

Bill_1856
3-Apr-2015, 15:31
There's already an excellent PBS(?) video which takes Clyde up to the death of his son, and the escape to the everglades and B&W photography. It was my first introduction to him. Based on the excellent written biography.

Kodachrome25
3-Apr-2015, 19:19
Coming from 7 years working in the movie industry, an entire film, even documentary, shot on the lowest of acceptable digital video (like a Canon 5DmkII) not even using a RED or similar camera, with any serious intent, equipment, editing, filming, crew costs, etc, $200,000 is a TINY budget.

But....John Maloof raised half that amount for "Finding Vivian Maier" and came up with an Oscar nominated film (albeit a sensationalistic one), something that the life and times of Clyde Butcher would likely never do.

I know several indy film makers who could have done Mr. Butcher's film for the $43,000 they raised....

Randy Moe
7-Apr-2015, 12:26
Clyde on his KS page announced they are looking for solutions and will persevere.

One commenter wrote this,

'Elam,
You need to plan a gala affair for the rich and famous who reside in the area and love to attend well reported events !
Maybe hook up with a established organization and get them to put their efforts behind the project.
Good luck , name redacted

Kirk Gittings
7-Apr-2015, 13:32
Well... that Kickstarter link itself... One more gray-bearded guy with a cowboy hat, mahogany camera, and b&w opening shot of Yosemite Valley from the scenic turnout. Probably not the best way to try to feature someone in his own right.

Drew Wiley
8-Apr-2015, 13:29
Just so you know, Kirk... I shaved off my beard once the gray started showing.

Randy Moe
8-Apr-2015, 13:51
So did I, then it grew back.

Old-N-Feeble
8-Apr-2015, 14:51
I shaved a couple years ago... took a bath too!!

Drew Wiley
8-Apr-2015, 16:06
If it was all consistently gray I'd be fine with it. But the hair atop my head is just starting to gray, and my beard gets a lopsided skunk stripe.

Randy Moe
8-Apr-2015, 16:16
If it was all consistently gray I'd be fine with it. But the hair atop my head is just starting to gray, and my beard gets a lopsided skunk stripe.

Me too, I gave up. The hell with it.

jbmia
15-Jun-2015, 10:37
Too bad this project failed...

That said, I live in the area and during the last open house Clyde was selling prints hand over fist, one of which was a large $6000 print and that was just while I was wandering around in the gallery. My guess is, if he wanted to, he could finance his own documentary and he and his family would make a ton over the years reaping the benefits of the added notariety it would bring.

FWIW, he shoots with an A7 and adapted lenses these days and has a separate section with digital photo's in the gallery.

welly
15-Jun-2015, 16:33
I shaved a couple years ago... took a bath too!!

And it's not even 2016 yet!