“I’ve got to hold myself back a little bit and pinch myself every once in a while that the response has been as good as it has been from the talent that we’ve asked to become involved with the project, that the response of the fundraiser has been so good. I’ve kind of got to sit back and say, there’s still a long road to go before the final reel is shot. Wait until the long ride is over until you celebrate.”

– Gary Hauger, Clockwork Pirate Productions in Lisbon, talking about the movie “Spirit Island” and its fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo.com

Gary Hauger wants to make a movie.

He’s got a screenplay (there are archaeologists, an ancient spirit, the specter of death). He’s got a big-name supporting actress (Patricia Tallman of “Babylon 5” and “Night of the Living Dead” fame).

Hauger does not have a film company.

Yet.

That’s where you come in.

Hauger and three friends have a brand new venture they’re calling a “screenwriting think tank” based in Lisbon. To kick off their company — Clockwork Pirate Productions — and their movie “Spirit Island,” they’re fundraising on IndieGoGo.com.

They want $2,000 for the phone bill, software and LLC fees. But it’s not for nothing.

For $5, you get a very nice thank-you note. For $10, a bumper sticker. For $60, a booty bag.

Hey. That’s pirate booty.

“If you can take care of your day-to-day expenses, it frees up your money to do the more creative aspects,” said Hauger.

That sort of online fund drive is called crowdsourcing, and it’s crowded out there.

Mainers have used web-based IndieGoGo, Kickstarter and Pledgie to raise money, from sometimes perfect strangers, with the hope of launching everything from independent movies to debut CDs to even a line of gamer/eSportswear that includes the T-shirt “She thinks my (keyboard) is sexy.”

It’s not for naught: Kickstarter, which claims to be the “world’s largest funding platform for creative projects,” says 45 percent of all campaigns raise as much as or more than they hope.

Kasandra Radke wants to make “Highlander” comics. (Brooding guy, sword, “there can be only one” — that Highlander.)

The price for the property license for three years, plus other comic costs? $90,000.

As of Friday, deep into a 60-day campaign, she had raised $5,828.

“Sadly, it’s coming in very, very slowly, but that doesn’t really mean anything. If we get funded in the last week it still works out,” said Radke, who owns Grail Quest Books in Bangor with her husband, Josh.

“Our biggest challenge is that people don’t seem to understand how Kickstarter works,” she said. “Something that we’re definitely battling. People come to us, ‘Hey, if you’re a legitimate publisher, why are you going through Kickstarter, shouldn’t you just have the money?’ I’m like, ‘No, we’re a small publisher in Bangor, Maine.’”

How does it work?

There are different nuances, depending on the site. IndieGogo rewards partial success — raise $10 of your $100 campaign goal, keep the $10. Kickstarter is all or nothing: Pledges toward unsuccessful campaigns never have to be paid up. IndieGogo allows raising for causes; Kickstarter doesn’t. Pledgie aims at the small scale: fund someone’s MRI or donate to a charity Wiffle ball tourney. Fees range from about 6 to 12 percent.

“The idea of crowdsourcing has been applied to funding for maybe five years or so,” said Jon Ippolito, an associate professor of new media at the University of Maine.

It has roots in micro-lending (think very small loans that might help a village in a remote part of the world install a well), he said. “It’s not just a fad, it’s a movement that has taken on some steam.”

Those running campaigns spread the word via press releases, Twitter, Facebook or e-blasting contacts. Anyone, anywhere in the world can kick in. Ippolito said people click “donate now” to be altruistic, or for personal reputation — “that’s its own currency”— or to get something back — what he calls the “public radio model.”

Maybe it’s physical swag. Maybe it’s a website shout-out.

Maybe it’s a role as an extra in the independent film “Dudleytown Curse” starring York native Emily King.

You can share a scene with King for $500.

She wants to leave her web job for a few weeks to star in the movie, which is about what may be the spookiest town on Earth. It’s filming in Connecticut and Massachusetts this month.

“It’s ultra low-budget, but it has a lot going for it,” King said.

She’s done lots of community theater and was an extra in the movie “What’s Your Number?” This is her biggest role yet.

She’s trying to raise $3,000. On Friday, she’d raised $100 on IndieGoGo.

For $1,500 you can name and develop a character in the maybe-future Highlander comics. Radke has one taker at that level so far. Before heading to Kickstarter, she said they tried to go the more traditional route of finding investors.

“Once we got very close, but at the last minute somebody got cold feet,” she said. “We’re hoping that the community can help us out, the business can get to the next level.”

Hauger said a Michigan company has signaled interest in producing “Spirit Island.” He’s thinking feature-length, made-for-TV, likely filmed in Michigan.

“It’s (about) a group of college archeology professors and their students that end up embroiled with this ancient spirit,” he said.

Hauger works in tech support. All four principals in Clockwork Pirate Productions have full-time jobs and mortgages. Two have children.

“The extra money that may have been there five or six years ago just isn’t there anymore,” Hauger said. “That was the impetus to try crowdfunding to launch things, so we can ride this wave for our film.

“You may only know a hundred people, but your hundred people know a hundred people.”

He hopes to raise $2,000 by January. As of Friday, he’d raised $330. Yarr.

[email protected]


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