Popcorn Preview: Capital C

Capital C (2014)
Cast includes: Zach Crain, Brian Fargo, Jackson Robinson
Writer/Director: Timon Birkhofer, Jørg M. Kundinger
Genre: Documentary (87 minutes)

As Jackson Robinson starts an intricate drawing with traditional tools -- pen, paper, French curves, etc. -- we learn some basics about money and crowd funding. "In crowd funding, money isn't just money... that's almost always the case with money," says David Weinberger of Harvard. "To think about it as just money is to misunderstand what's going on. It's a way in which an individual gets to participate in something that matters to her or him." Artist Molly Crabapple says, "You can't just beg strangers to give money for something that benefits you." She explains that it's the cap on a long career and a body of work... and then you ask, "Hey guys, do you want to help me create my greatest work ever?" The thing about crowd funding... my words now... is that many different people have used it successfully in many different ways. Capital C shows us a variety of personal stories, but focuses on 3 in particular. It begins in Wilmington, North Carolina. A funky looking truck pulls up to a funky looking little building: "Freaker USA." Zach Crain tells us that crowd funding on Kickstarter gave them an opportunity they wouldn't have had before. "We would'a gone to this business guy... 'Hey, you wanna give us money for this?' And he'd be like, 'No. You guys are crazy!'"

We get a quick lesson on strategies, such as setting goals and deadlines... also about finding creative ways to make an effective appeal. Jackson Robinson always wanted his job and his art to be the same thing, but something needed to change. That's when he got the idea of creating a deck of cards using his exquisite money-theme drawings and seeking crowd funding to get it off the ground. He did his research and figured out he needed to raise $7,990. In Newport Beach, California, we meet Brian Fargo, the creators of Wasteland, a late 1980s video game that developed a significant cult following. He knew he had a winning concept that could become something beyond the crude first edition. Everywhere he went, gamers asked about a sequel. He pitched the idea again and again, and got no traction. That's when he tried crowd funding, making an appeal directly to Wasteland users and fans... raising a record amount... close to 1.5 million.

Because of the public nature of the funding, the development becomes public, too. It can be do or die, and the film shows us some of the pitfalls. In addition to potential business loses, indie-developers need to develop really thick skin. It's not fun being called a "jerk, idiot, thief, rip-off, etc." You get the positives and the negatives when you put yourself out there. If you have no interest in this topic, you may not be interested in the movie. However, anyone who has ever thought about crowd funding should see Capital C because it's highly informative and full of helpful insight. It's a very well made film with an effective story flow and excellent cinematography. The 3 primary entrepreneurs are a good cross section... a free spirit, a fine artist and a game developer. Even if their projects are successful, crowd funded entrepreneurs have many challenges. "What's next? Am I going to be able to repeat this?" It isn't just about the money, and the film illustrates this.

2 popped kernels (Scale: 0-4)
An insightful look at how crowd funding has changed the paradigm in business financing

Popcorn Profile
Audience: Young Adults
Gender Style: Neutral
Distribution: Art House & Small Screen
Mood: Neutral
Tempo: Cruises Comfortably
Visual Style: Nicely Varnished Realism
Nutshell: Crowd funding
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Informative