Update: The Indiegogo page in question below has been taken down. We’ll keep this page up as an example how to not run a fundraising campaign, and to post any future updates as to where and from whom this scam may have come from.
Last year about this time, Bloody Cuts Films released DON’T MOVE, an engaging short horror film, to online audiences. The short, directed by Anthony Melton, concerned a group of friends who accidentally open a doorway during a ouija board session that goes very wrong. It’s not exactly the deepest thing in the world, but it’s pretty solid and well-crafted, and utilizes its scant running time to good effect. You can watch it below!
A couple of days ago, a fellow using the name “Ron Forbes” started a project on Indiegogo in order to raise funds for a feature-length version of the film. Here’s his video pitch:
It looks… awfully familiar. Now, “Forbes” has nothing to do with the original film, and he’s edited out all of the credits in order to suggest that he did. (I’ve yet to track down any applicable “Ron Forbes” who lives in Los Angeles, but he’s sure as hell not this guy.) To his credit, he never suggests that he actually directed the film, and, in fact, derides the short and suggests that he could produce something of much better quality:
The suggestion is, honestly, pretty laughable considering the lack of effort that’s gone into the pitch video. After the film ends, we get white-on-black text that resemble the laziest PowerPoint presentation ever conceived backed by narration that doesn’t match the words on screen (the budget listed goes to different places depending on if you’re watching or listening), and an admission that the perks are terrible.
Bloody Cuts has certainly noticed the appropriation of Melton’s original film, Tweeting the following notice:
— BloodyCuts.co.uk (@BloodyCutsFilms) May 8, 2014
The community has (obviously) been very supportive of Bloody Cuts, and Indiegogo has not yet taken down the short, though it may be a slightly grey angle as “Forbes” never says that the film is actually his own. In any case, it’s a terrible campaign with no perks, put together poorly and almost entirely utilizing someone else’s material. It may be the worst Indiegogo campaign ever conceived. It’s not surprising that it has, at this time, raised a total of $0.
So why point it out? First, it gives us an excuse to mention Melton’s well-made short film.
Second, because it encapsulates everything that can be wrong about an online fundraising campaign, and serves as an example of every warning sign you could possibly see in one. An unknown author with no contacts? Use of someone else’s material? Incredibly terrible attempts to explain what the money will do? A complete disregard of understanding as to exactly why anyone makes genre films, coupled with bad grammar? (“These kind films have a great cult following. amazing fans, great effects and are usually action pack.”)
The DON’T MOVE campaign, and the “Ron Forbes” behind it show the worst aspects of online fundraising — that is, how easily it can be used for scams. Crowdfunding can be used for so many good things (and it certainly has been), but unless obvious scams like this one are pointed out and shamed to the point where potential campaign heads seriously think before clicking “submit,” they’ll never reach their full potential due to skeptical audiences.
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