14 July, 2020 at 2:36 pm (film, imdblr)

November 2015 was my fifth anniversary of my first joining and participating in the Kickstarter community. Slightly less than a year later, I backed my one hundredth project. In that time, I’d spent approximately $1,200 each year on autographs and comic books and albums and wedding presents and lithographs and fundraisers and film productions. I’d read articles decrying the fact that Kickstarter took advantage of funders because it wasn’t an investment system. If I’d been a producer on those films and albums and comics, and they’d proved to be successful, then I would have enjoyed a return on my investment. Instead, I would receive a shipment of tat, critics scoffed, and someone else would reap the real benefits.

I’m sure that somewhere in those 17 projects each year that I backed, one or two of them would be considered “successful”, but for me, the main draw of Kickstarter has always been the projected sense of “participation” in a given creative project. The updates from the creators are key to this: a regular series of follow-up messages about the progress and process of the actual project do make me feel like I’m involved, even if all I did was be part of the crowd of funders. It’s the — perhaps illusory — feeling of participation and pride that is the best part. And so the ability to point at one’s name and say, “I made this happen!” has become the real reason I continued with Kickstarter so avidly for so long.

Shortly after the end of the projects listed here, I backed off of Kickstarter. Not because of the money — although that clearly should have been a consideration, now that I crunch the numbers — but because I did come to the understanding that my internal sense of my “involvement” in these things was overinflated, and that they were part of a larger project of retail therapy I’d been participating in for some years. I enjoyed the vicarious thrill of the projects and the stories I was able to absorb from the production updates, but what I was really doing to a large degree was spending money to have exciting mail show up at some unexpected future date — and with Kickstarter projects, that date was almost always in significant flux… I needed less stuff in my life, and I needed less momentary novelty and excitement provided via the acquisition of said stuff.

There are still eleven outstanding film projects that I have backed — only four additional since I hit a hundred backed projects four years ago — and only three of which I believe will list my name in any manner (not including the Kurt Vonnegut documentary that already has me listed on their website). While I’m no longer actively chasing this kind of validation, I might as well keep cataloguing the last five projects that do name me and the last five that didn’t…

STANDING IN THE STARS: THE PETER MAYHEW STORY (Raised its minimum funds on Sept. 14, 2013, still unreleased)

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IMDBLR: I’d Just Like To Thank The Academy

22 August, 2018 at 11:55 pm (film, imdblr)

It’s been more than four years since I last sat down and catalogued my contributions to the credits of movies made with the assistance of crowdfunding platforms. This is, in part, because my commitment to ego-blogging wanes considerably with age, but also because Kickstarter is a slow and patient process. The first project I ever backed is still years from completion, and while I’ve received my backer party favors for believing that Detroit deserves a Robocop statue, it’s taken Detroit quite some time to find it a proper home. So films that I excitedly send off my support for don’t always turn around and fly into my mailbox as quickly as my donation flew out of my inbox. So to speak.

But I do enjoy the process of opening up the old Kickstarter account and checking in to see how many projects have actually finished up. Many of them have done the Robocop route of sending out rewards to contributors, but haven’t yet been able to finish wrapping up the project those rewards represent. And with film projects, that’s rarely surprising. Films seem to regularly cost more than expected, and so frequently one of the Kickstarter “prizes” for backing a project is a digital download or stream of the finished video. When this is the case, I leave the little “Got it!” box unchecked in a fit of pique, even if I have accounted for all the sparkly physical gewgaws and whatsits that were promised.

All of which is to excuse my lack of urgency in checking up on how many times I’ve appeared in the credits. But let’s not only make this about me. Let see how often and in what way crowdfunding is acknowledged in the credits of films…


WISH I WAS HERE (Raised its minimum funds on May 24, 2013, released on July 25, 2014)

WISH I WAS HERE -- Title Screen

WISH I WAS HERE -- Kickstarter Credit
Availability to be in the credits: Originally, pledgers at the $200 level were going to have their names be graffiti in a scene in the film. If memory serves, the select backers listed in the credits were those people, as the scene didn’t scan sufficently.
Expectation of me being in the credits: None. I backed at the Special Q&A in Boston level.
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I’m Comin’ Up, So You Better Get This Party Kickstarted…

15 March, 2014 at 10:26 am (benjamin, film, imdblr)

Comedian Doug Benson has a weekly gig called Doug Loves Movies, a trivia show about films that he runs at least partially because of his impressive recall of films he has idly consumed over his personal and professional life — both as a casual audience member and as someone who travels with some frequency and therefore watches a number of films on planes. He occasionally refers to himself as “IMDB”, because he an impressive depository of films and film credits that only the Internet Movie Database could rival, Deep Blue/Watson stylee, and because it allows him to say, “I am DB” — he is Doug Benson. (Not unlike Irwin Maurice Fletcher.)

This is a personal blog, and has been since November 2000, so ego-posting is hardly surprising. And while I (still) don’t (yet) have an entry on IMDB, I have been keeping track of my appearances in various DVD credits, a feat that is much easier to accomplish now that Kickstarter seems to be regularly offering it as a low-impact, high-cost perk for various film projects.

Unlike posts in the past, I haven’t actually made it to the credits of anything new, but I have created my own Doug Benson-inspired tag for this post and for the future: imdblr, or “in movies desperately: benjamin lawrence russell”. And while I haven’t been specifically named in any recent Kickfunded projects, I am thanked as part of a mass in two, appear unbilled in a third, and am thanked in the website credits for a fourth.


THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH: BEYOND EXPECTATIONS (Filmed in 2012, funded for distribution in 2013)

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Credit Sequence

6 February, 2011 at 7:04 pm (benjamin, film, imdblr)

Well, I’ve done this twice before, and I think it’s officially becoming a trend. That is, in so much as if I’m going to keep contributing financially to fly-by-night DVD releases so that my name ends up in the credits, there will eventually be a string of these on the blog. Until I get my own IMDB page, at which point tooting my own horn in this fashion will become slightly redundant.

Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins title card Hello to Jason Isaacs... and Benjamin Russell ...and Fizzlebang Wonderpop.

This year’s DVD credit comes from the bizarre fan-film Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins. Unlike most of the fan films of the nerd spectrum, from Troops to Browncoats: Redemption, this is based not based on a film, but on a film review. BBC film reviewer Mark Kermode said, whilst castigating Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, that the plot was such an identikit punchcard knock-off of Harry Potter that it might as well be called “Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins”. This made me laugh uproariously, and I did what most people do when they find something delirious: I made the comment into my Facebook status for the moment.

But Jeremy Dylan wasn’t most people, and instead of just parroting someone else’s punchline, he took it and ran with it. Read the rest of this entry »

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27 May, 2010 at 7:13 pm (benjamin, imdblr)

Mystery Team: Special Features: Sword Club: Credits

Yeah, that’s right. I am once again in the credits of a DVD. And not like those namby-pamby people who got to be in the credits of a DVD that people actually watched, nosiree… I’m on the credits of a DVD whose primary fans are used to getting their content via YouTube, and are more likely to torrent this than buy it. And with the demise of the video store, there’s increasingly little likelihood of this video sitting in it’s minuscule niche on a shelf next to a hundred copies of The Tooth Fairy, hoping against hope it gets noticed. But now? Now, one hopes that Donald Glover does well enough on Community and Ellie Kemper does similarly swimmingly on The Office so that their profiles are linked to Mystery Team‘s NetFlix credits, and people take a risk. Or that everything else has been checked out of the RedBox, and someone takes pity on it, like an orange-ish tuna sandwich at an automat, or one last Zagnut bar in the creaky vending machine at the auto mechanic.

But I don’t really care about that. I’m in Sword Club, boy-ee! Bring it!

'We are made to persist. That's how we find out who we are.'  -Tobias Wolff

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Shocking Truth

25 April, 2005 at 8:11 pm (imdblr)

Collage of stills from 'The Swarm', a section of Kaiju Big Battel's new video, THE SHOCKING TRUTH

Woo! Pete and I are now officially film stars! Next step: IMDB records!

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Official Kaiju Bootleg

16 August, 2004 at 10:44 pm (benjamin, imdblr)

Got the Official DVD Bootleg from Kaiju Big Battel today, and there is definitive evidence of both Peter and me in the trailer for the upcoming Swarm feature. I rack in a fantastic three visible appearances with two offscreen or weapon-only shots, while Pete makes do with two recognizable cameos and the same number of offscreen or special effects appearances.

Granted, almost all of the above tally occur for mere fractions of a blurry second. We each have one clear, obvious moment of screen time, but Pete’s hand gets another few seconds of very obvious camera time, so he wins on that front.

For those of you without the DVD or with crappy Pause/Still functions on your player or computer, here are some stills from the trailer:

Click on image for helpful identity guide

I’m in off-blue, on the right, with the dagger and the hair.
Uchu Chu is about to land on Peter, who is offscreen.

Click on image for helpful identity guide

Peter is dead center, with rusty pipe raised over his head.

Click on image for helpful identity guide

In order from right to left:
The big blurry maroon thing is Commuminion, then Pete, then me.

Still can’t figure out where we are in the above images? Click on each for images with clearer indication.

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