NZ writer gets donations to fund project
Tue, 22 May 2012 10:43p.m.
By Elizabeth Puranam
Duncan Sarkies is one of the country's most prolific script writers, having written the movie Scarfies and for the TV show Flight of the Conchords.
But when he needed funding for a psychedelic radio podcast set in a parallel universe, he went to the public for money and got it.
Sarkies is just one of many people using "crowd funding" to get their projects going.
His project is called Uncle Bertie's Botanarium.
“Joseph banks in a parallel universe travelling through the boiling ocean to go to the very source of pleasure, which is a plant known as heaven's clover to cut if off at the roots and destroy it because he wants to destroy pleasure,” Sarkies says.
As well as providing the laughs in the studio, musician Lawrence Arabia is in charge of the sound track for the podcast.
Illustrator Stephen Templer's drawings bring the accompanying short film and graphic novel to life.
After working on the idea for two years, Sarkies says they were determined to make it their way, so they went to crowd funding website Pledge Me.
They raised almost $8000 - $1000 more than they asked for - to make the first episode.
Depending on how much money they contributed, pledgers received anything from the pod cast or Templer's art to a dinner party with the creators.
Pledge Me co-founder Anna Guenther is not surprised they got so much support.
“Those guys, they're all really well known for what they do and they're really well known in their fields. But they had a crowd and they had people interested and they're quirky. I think that's what really sold them is how quirky and random they were.”
Anna Guenther launched Pledge Me in February of this year. Since then, it has raised $210,000 for 35 projects.
The website gets 5 percent of all pledges that reach their target.
Megan Salole is Pledge Me's most successful case yet. She wanted enough money to start an organisation that would help Kiwis mobilise and campaign around issues like social justice and the environment.
Her pledgers raised $11,000 in five days.
“New Zealanders are extremely generous and when they care about something, they can put their money there.”
The money raised for Ms Salole will only cover her first month's work, just as the money raised for Uncle Bertie's Botanarium only makes one episode.
But with more than 300 websites like Pledge Me around the world, it looks like crowd funding is catching on as a way of getting a creative project under way.
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