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Marcelo Gomes: Anatomy of a Dancer (Documentary)

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$25 for a digital download is cheaper than most DVDs, even at $19.95 pre-sale prices after adding in tax and shipping.

It's worth contributing, too, because there will be people who will cancel their pledge before the deadline, when all credit cards are charged, or will have their pledge amount declined. (Not to mention unexpected issues that come up during filming or opportunities that come up which a little extra bit of cash can enable.)

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This was originally sent to backers, but PNB just posted it to Facebook, so it should be generally accessible. I'm not sure if it will be part of the documentary, especially in this format, but it may be indicative of the types of "film outtakes including some priceless personal moments with Marcelo" that will be provided as digital downloads to backers of $50 or more.

The project has added a video for the film in Portuguese and what I assume is an explanation of the project in Japanese on the project page, as well as a link to an article about it in Russian.

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With 10 days to go, the project has surpassed it's goal, but, they're putting the funds to good use. Today the directors announced that they got permission to film Vishneva, Simkin, and Gomes with Tokyo Ballet in "La Bayadere," and they've been interviewing like mad, taking the opportunity to catch Bullion who is in NYC for the Paris Opera Ballet tour, and who studied with Gomes in Paris.

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The documentary made if officially this morning, with over $41K in pledges. Billing went through: I'd be interested in knowing the success rates of the initial and subsequent billing attempts. I know there is more than one attempt: for my first attempt at backing, I had forgotten that amazon was doing the payment processing, and I hadn't yet updated a replacement credit card number in my amazon.com account when the first attempt went through.

It's never over until it's over: some people will remove their pledge after the project exceeds the target goal to spread the wealth. The directors were very clever in several ways: first to appeal to Gomes' fan base in Japan, Russia, and Brazil in their own languages, and second to contact backers after they exceeded their target relatively early to explain how they'd use the additional money to make a better film, citing a trip to Japan to film Gomes, which otherwise was not in budget.

What I find interesting is that because kickstarte's philosophy is that they only allow funding that at least makes a target, because the project is unlikely to succeed with its stated goals if it's underfunded -- this is squarely within the Project Management Institute's (PMI's) guidelines -- by allowing the project mission to change/expand with additional funding, I suspect PMI might not approve.

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What I find interesting is that because kickstarte's philosophy is that they only allow funding that at least makes a target, because the project is unlikely to succeed with its stated goals if it's underfunded -- this is squarely within the Project Management Institute's (PMI's) guidelines -- by allowing the project mission to change/expand with additional funding, I suspect PMI might not approve.

I'm not familiar with PMI, but I find this puzzling. If one of the National Endowments (Arts or Humanities) awards a matching grant, in which they will match private fund-raising with Federal dollars by a certain ratio (1-1, 2-1, 3-1), they have no prohibition on raising MORE money than the target. For the Challenge Grant program (which is for capital expenditures -- buildings, endowed chairs, etc.) they do require you to raise the target before the Federal funds are released, but they don't prohibit raising more.

I'm wondering if Kickstarter guidelines encourage projects to develop contingency plans for greater amounts. For films, at least, there are so many budget contingencies that could make good use of additional funding (as the Gomes project plans), it would be a shame to discourage additional funds. And I'm guessing they encourage people to build into their budget planning a certain loss % (changed minds, cancelled credit cards, etc.) just as businesses plan for a certain amount of loss.

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There's a difference between fundraising and project funding. Kickstart is a project funder: it is not fundraising for an organization or person. Backers are project sponsors, not donors. For project funding, there is a defined output for a limited duration effort in the project charter, which is a contract between the project team and the project sponsors. The budget is supposed to take into consideration all costs, not only for pledges that don't come through, but also for the fees that Kickstarter charges for processing and administration. The budget should include risk contingency, and often management has its own contingency fund, I would guess, in most Kickstarter cases, the project manager's credit cards.

Just about every project can spend more money to do something cool, but adding features and spending money to increase quality above the stated quality metrics without proper change controls is called "gold-plating," which is one of the ethical no-nos in project management, at least defined by the leading PM organization in NA and Asia. Yes, it happens all the time, and there are so many incentives in business to spend the budget to get more budget, but it's pretty much stealing from the shareholders, tax-payers, and private owners. Europe uses a different certification process, which is based in management public projects, and I don't know enough about this to speak to their stance on gold-plating.

The directors of the Gomes documentary were smart in that they told people what they would do with the incremental funds: new donors would know why they should give instead of passing, and they announced in time for one of the original backers to pull out, because it wasn't signed up for, because they thought this would change the focus of the project or endanger the original promised output, etc., and not feel ripped off. There's no "change control" mechanism in Kickstarter, though: no one is obligated to explain what they'd do with additional funds. If a filmmaker is creating a film, for example, and s/he decided to hire Eric Fischl to design the DVD cover for the film, or to travel first-class to Cannes, there's no accountability to the sponsors beyond the original target. (They're still obligated to deliver the original output.)

IndieGoGo is a bit different: the type of project is not defined as a creative project, and anyone could use the site to raise funds for sitting on their couch catching up on their reading, if they could get people to contribute.

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Again, I'm no expert on project management of this sort, but I just looked at some of the information on the Kickstarter site for how to start a project:


This appears far down on that page, in the Q&A:

Can I raise more than my project’s goal? Yep. There's no limit to how much you can raise — projects continue to accept pledges until time runs out. 94% of successful projects raise more than their funding goal.

I'm guessing that more detailed advice urges that people explain where the extra money will go, if raised. Kickstarter could have set this up so the site for a project is closed when they achieve their goal, but didn't. Of course, Kickstarter wouldn't then make its 5% on that extra funding either. But they have an interest in seeing projects succeed and avoiding scandal, so they must be comfortable with this policy.

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This isn't specifically Kickstarter-related, aside from being publicized to backers, but the filmmakers are trying to win IndieWire's August Project of the Month, which is awarded through online voting. The prize is a consultation with the Tribeca Film Institute, the August Sponsor of the Month.

Voting is open until 31 August, 5pm (I assume EDT):


The film is up against a film about Greg Louganis, which is, as of now, edging Gomes' film in votes.

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The first thing I was told about any Kickstarter campaign is that

1) It is almost a full-time job

2) You need to be hooked into 'social media sites' on a daily basis to interest people, communicate progress, and 'drive' them to the website, by postings, blogs, film clip uploads, incentive/premiums etc.etc..

3) You need a team, you cannot do this alone.

I know how to film ballet and dancers, I know how to construct and edit a doc. But I am not an expert at social media, and don't have constant access to the internet. I have also been working alone for 4 years. All of Which explains why I haven't been able to do a campaign yet for my doc on Corella.

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