Crowdfunding – Who is it for?

I have enjoyed getting more involved in comedy in the past 12 months and I’ve really enjoyed the trial and tweets of Richard Herring (@Herring1967) with his crowd funding attempts for video recording his RHLSTP and his successful attempt in bringing back AIOTM (aiotm). However recently there have been two crowd funding requests that have court my eye.

The first is this

I’m not sure why it annoys me. Perhaps its that at least 3 of the cast are currently on mainstream TV already. Perhaps it is the creative team being a collection of existing TV writers/producers. I’m not sure. But something feels wrong when you have the likes of Jack Dee and Harry Hill both asking you and me to fund a creative project of theirs. And to the tune of £75K.

This is Jack Dee, who in 2013 was reported to have earned £5.2 million and Harry Hill, who in 2011 was reported to have turned down £4 million.

Should I be annoyed? I’m also not sure. There is no reason why Harry & Jack (and Michelle and Romesh and Bredna and David, et al) shouldn’t be allowed to ask for crowd funding as that is how it works but for everyone who donates to their cause, they are taking money away from other venues and other crowdfunding opportunities where the people arranging them aren’t household name TV Stars. They are very close to their target and I expect them to meet it. What I don’t understand is why rely on Crowdfunding at all. I would have thought that the people involved (cast/crew) could have got £75k together to make this. They mention on their pledge page

Crowdfunding makes it possible to produce the quality show we want to, funded entirely by the comedy fans who want to see great new comedy. It connects the fans with the comedians directly – giving us all a unique sense of ownership – YOU can make it happen.

Which makes sense, comedy fans usually want to see more comedy but I’m not sure why they are needed to pay for it. The pledge page does give some more details on this.

Because this fabulous cast believe in the project so much, no-one is taking a fee for this show. Everyone is appearing for FREE. The stars are investing in the project themselves by lending their names and time to turn it into a brilliant show just for you.

So, the budget is ONLY for the production costs, camera crew, edit, location fees, costumes, transport costs and background artists.

And this makes me feel a little better and I do understand that costs for making a TV show must be massive. It just doesn’t seem a fair way to make the show. Or maybe it is the fairest way to make the show? I’m so unsure its crazy.

I think my issue is that I don’t want this being the future of comedy TV. The BBC, for all its faults, still produces some comedy which isn’t mainstream but has an audience. If stars like Jack Dee and Harry Hill need to fund projects through crowdfunding then what hope do lesser-known people have in having their scripts/creations featured on TV? If the big names were not attached to the project, would it have received that level of funding? I doubt it. Do the fans ‘Own’ it as the pledge page suggests? the easy answer to that is answered when this gets picked up for a series – will all the people who back it get a cut of the profits/refunded?


I suppose this is one of the reasons I like Richard Herring’s output as he puts on all this stuff and creates it ‘for free’, selling only tickets. His crowdfunding for videoing AOITM have been very similar to this crowdfunding request for The Mayoress but the major difference being I think if Rich approached ANYONE wanting to film it, they would turn him down, let alone offer to pay for it. When Jack Dee owns his own production company (Open Mike), sometime doesn’t seem right that he is asking you and I to pay to record this, rather than fund it himself. Obviously they must be short for cash, what with making The Last Leg and Alan Carr: Chatty Man.

The more I look into it the more it just doesn’t feel right. I suppose that’s the benefit of Crowdfunding…people donate or not…no-one holds a gun to your head.

I’ll post about the 2nd Crowdfunding request I’ve seen recently on another blog post.