Call it a scam, or call it meta, but whatever it is, the Indiegogo project that was an independent film called It’s All Good may go down as one of the most talked-about crowdfunding ventures in history. That’s because the project creators, Chicago-based comedy group FND Films, managed to raise a whopping $77,900 to produce a feature-length film, and then blew it all on traveling, partying, and, er, the finer things in life. But that’s not even the best part — there actually is a movie. It’s called It’s All Good, and it’s an action comedy about three guys who turn to a crowdfunding platform to raise money for a film, then blow the cash.
Sound familiar? Great, you’re catching on.
In what can only be described as an elaborate hoax of rather epic proportion, FND Films first posted the campaign back in 2014. The group revealed very little about the project, saying only that they sought to create “an action-comedy starring Aaron Fronk, Vinny DeGaetano and Cooper Johnson that blends absurd humor with an intricate plot.” Somehow, they managed to convince over 600 backers to donate nearly $80,000 on that descriptor alone (though to be fair, FND Films does run a popular YouTube channel that likely contributed to the public’s willingness to lend its support).
But then, after reaching their goal and issuing what seemed like a heartfelt thank you in November of 2014, the creators disappeared. The alleged release date first shared with backers, June 2015, passed with no film. But those paying close attention did start noticing some other footage online that depicted the filmmakers living it up on boats, traveling to Italy, partaking in other adventures. Confusion quickly turned to fury, and contributors voiced their frustrations, even threatening a lawsuit.
It looked like it was all over when the filmmakers resurfaced, tails seemingly between their legs, apologizing for their failure and admitting that they’d only completed 10 percent of their project. A local Chicago news station even covered the story.
But as is the rule in show business, things are rarely as they seem. Late last week, FND Films released a trailer for the real movie, titled (as promised) It’s All Good. In this case, art absolutely imitates life.
As Esquire reports, “The plot mirrors the filmmakers’ experience on Indiegogo and dealing with angry contributors, but spins off into a fictionalized account of how they blow it.”
“We felt this was a unique move, something that had the potential to get big, so we ran with it,” FND President Aaron Fronk told Esquire. “The whole thing has been a tricky process — we were constantly worried about blowing it … we posted stuff that looked a little fishy — hashtags like #tooexpensive or me in Italy from a trip I went on with my wife — and then deleted them to make people even more upset.”
And while there might be questionable ethics (or lack thereof) involved in the project, don’t worry — at least Fronk feels badly about it. “It’s been awful. So stressful. Lying to people for two and a half years is rough — we’ve had to take a hit in our careers because we wanted to make it look like we disappeared,” he said. “We couldn’t tell certain actors in the film what the movie was about, and you’ve got these people who donated thousands of dollars based on the most vague pitch that you can’t clue in. I’ve so badly wanted to say, ‘No no no, it’s just a joke.'”