The Wisdom of the Crowd #1: Boat

In the first of two articles on the phenomenon, looking at the stories of two very different Scottish shorts both seeking funding via the collaborative route of crowd-funding, Katie Crook of Edinburgh-based Blue Iris Films tells us about Boat.

Getting funding for arts ventures and short films in the current climate is tricky business but the short film my production company, Blue Iris Films, are currently embarking on is a CGI-heavy, apocalyptic drama meaning we've had to navigate uncharted waters. Pun intended.

Currently in pre-production, Boat, from writer/director David Lumsden, takes place in an Edinburgh covered in water where Charlie is restricted to his boat, searching for a home he may never find. He's plagued by memories, nightmares and hallucinations along his travels. The question is will Charlie ever find what he's searching for?

The film is a nine minute short CGI-meets-live-action film about a very personal apocalypse. We'd like to think of it as a low budget take on The Road, Inception and William Golding's 'Pincher Martin' (with hints of Magritte). It's an eclectic and ambitious project that we hope will be a little different to the usual social realism most shorts attempt.

Boat is currently up on a website called IndieGoGo; a crowd-funding site where art projects ask for small and slightly larger cash donations from friends, family and random internet surfers to fund their projects in return for perks. By way of perks we've offered things like Executive Producer credits, DVD copies of the finished film and a ship in the bottle for the more highfalutin funders.

Why aren't we funding through the normal channels? Pretty much because there aren't any. Money for short filmmaking has dried-up with the announcement of the UK Film Council's closure and the drawn out transition from Scottish Screen to Creative Scotland. So we thought we'd ask friends, family, colleagues and 'randoms' to help us in our creative plight.

Crowd-funding is a recent phenomenon and one that will only become more normalised as other funding routes disappear. I know, I know. Why can't we pay for the film ourselves? you may ask. Well we're not wealthy people and we're putting our time and thought and love into it for free. We're not asking people to pay our wages, simply to help buy the materials, equipment and fuel to make this project come to life.

It's a really nice, collaborative way to make films. We've had great responses so far from other crew members offering to help out on the film after getting excited by the premise and the method of funding that we've chosen. Crowd-funding also means that we don't have to go through the sometimes lengthy project development process. That's not to say we haven't worked very hard on the script but it means we retain creative control over the whole project and retain the rights for sales and distribution. Plus it means we all get to do what we love: make films!

IndieGoGo is a great platform to generate interest for your projects and allow more people to access and support your films, David Lumsden reckons. "It's never easy to get a film off the ground but this crowd-funding site gives us the chance to reach many people and they can give as much as they want and can see exactly where their money is going.

"Boat is the most ambitious project I have ever written. I have been able to go a bit over the top with the narrative and style within the project due to the majority of the film being computer generated. I didn't expect to get away with the shots I had in the script but Nik Taylor, our CGI Artist, has created striking images that I'm looking forward to seeing in the final film.

One of Boat's CGI shots. Thankfully.

"I'm hoping this short will be able to give exposure to all the crew. Each department and individual on the project are key factors in bringing the film to life and I want everyone to benefit from making the film. I want Boat to generate a buzz around the festival circuit and help towards getting support to make more films in Scotland."

Nik Taylor, the CGI artist adds: "I've known Dave for some time and we just talked about doing something together. This seemed like the perfect idea where it's something that has the drama of a short film but also has a lot of CG where we can make Edinburgh, the town where we both live, look really amazing.

"This gives us the opportunity to put a different facet to Edinburgh onscreen. You've got Greyfriar's Bobby and stuff like that but you know showing Edinburgh in the future, in a dystopian future, is too good a opportunity to pass up.

"The biggest challenge is recreating the city. It's a great challenge but one that I am looking forward to undertaking."

Please take a moment to check it out on IndieGoGo and also share it with absolutely everyone you know on Facebook/Twitter/e-mail/even by post. You can make a funding contribution, or simply just follow our project updates.

To find out more about Boat and to donate, visit the Boat page on IndieGoGo