Hey, creative types who’re thinking about crowdfunding your latest project on a site like IndieGoGo or Kickstarter! Here’s a question that you might want to ask yourself before signing up to your crowdfunding website of choice: “Do I have any celebrity friends who can serve the dual purpose of not only bringing attention to my campaign, but also contribute wildly extravagant amounts to help it reach the necessary total amount before the deadline?” True, some people might consider such questions mercenary or something that could put unnecessary pressure on their relationship with their friends, but that’s only because you don’t have any friends like Russell Crowe.
Ask screenwriter Mark Staufer, if you need some proof. Staufer is the creator of The Numinous Place, something that he describes as “a bold new way of storytelling… where technology and imagination come together to form a unique entertainment experience” that was trying to raise $75,000 via Kickstarter. Approaching the topic with the appropriate mix of humility and self-promotion, Staufer called the project a “historic publishing event” that would merge multimedia app with e-book for an augmented storytelling experience that would be “like if THE DA VINCI CODE came to life in your hands showing you actual video footage of the clues and interviews with suspects, presented the real life historical documents and artifacts, and played you recordings of crucial pieces of evidence.” Sounds pretty great, right? There was only one problem: It looked as ifThe Numinous Place wasn’t going to make its total in time for the fast-approaching deadline.
Enter Russell Crowe. Staufer and Crowe have known each other for some time; both grew up in New Zealand, and have gone on to collaborate on a biopic about the comedian Bill Hicks that Staufer has written the screenplay for and Crowe will direct. As might be expected of friends, Crowe promoted The Numinous Place Kickstarter campaign on his Twitter account, driving his many followers to the site and to pledging amounts in order to fund the project. But Crowe’s involvement went far deeper, as he also pledged a full third of the required amount – $25,000 – to the campaign to ensure that it met its cut-off point before the deadline passed. For those curious, that earns him the pledge level reward for “$10,000 or more,” which is defined like this:
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CREDIT or A MAJOR CHARACTER NAMED AFTER YOU (one who will live through all four books!) + personal “live” Numinous Dreaming flotation tank instruction with Dr. Rory MacSweeney (you’ll have to get yourself to London for this) and/or personal consultation via phone/skype from start to lucidity lift-off in the dreamspace guaranteed + your LIKENESS included in the comic “The First & Last Terton” in TNP I and the original artwork yours to keep and signed by our artist Larry Soileau + a signed copy of the blueprint manuscript + a GUIDED TOUR of LA visiting the locations in the book with creator Mark Staufer who’ll also discuss your project/script/book (you’ll have to come to LA for this) + ALL downloads and paper-books before release + you’re welcome to come ON SET and be an extra when we SHOOT in LA.
Something tells me that being an extra – or, for that matter, an executive producer – on the project will have held that much lure for the star of such films as A Beautiful Mind and Gladiator, but you never know. Still, the whole affair should teach all aspiring crowd funders one worthwhile lesson: Before launching your Kickstarter campaign, make sure that you’re on good terms with Russell Crowe. Just in case.