James Deen Disses Crowdfunding To Throw A Sexy Party: Is Crowdfunding Done?

I recently got some PR explaining that James Deen is going *old school* by hosting a wild party to benefit his upcoming short film project, OverKill.

Said wild party will be held at the end of July in LA and is open to the general public. It costs to get in, and the event will include raffles, a silent auction, games, and booths. And – and this was what I found most important – the entire thing is being sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon. PBR, bro!

Deen (via the PR) stated:

“I am sick of crowdfunding sites. I think they are annoying and have reached a point where they are tacky and just reek of desperation… I know that technically this is crowdfunding, but the idea is to do it in a more awesome and fun way. I don’t want to harass people online to donate to something. I want to provide people with an awesome time where they will get instant gratification and hopefully the satisfaction of helping some kids make a movie!”

Deen added, “Crowdfunding sites are so 2011 – let’s party!”

James Deen has spoken, which leads to my question: Have crowdfunding sites jumped the shark?

In terms of porn, crowdfunding sites have always kinda been jerks. They generally define their terms of service such that funding for “pornographic material” isn’t allowed (see, for example, Kickstarter), or the terms are unclear and/or arbitrarily enforced. Both policies are obviously a site’s prerogative, but they’re also more than a little discriminatory and sex-phobic.

Jiz Lee of Pink&White Productions told me that two of their porno-contemporaries – Eden Alexander and Andre Shakti – had their porn-related crowdfunding projects canceled by GiveForward and Fundly, respectively. Fundly, ironically, operates under the banner “Raise money for anything.” Well, not anything, clearly. In an interesting twist however, Lee is currently in the middle of running an IndieGoGo campaign to help fund SNAPSHOT, an erotic suspense thriller from writer/director Shine Louise Houston.

Lee told me, “Oddly, I never considered IndieGoGo a viable option until I saw things like ‘Feminist Tentacle Porn’ using them as a platform and took a look at their TOS. We drafted the campaign [for SNAPSHOT], contacted their representative, and were told that we were good to go.”

Pink&White’s campaign seems to be humming along nicely, and a handful of other boutique porn-specific crowdfunding sites – things like Offbeatr and CumFundMe – also exist, though with nowhere near the traction of their mainstream counterparts. And people use the hell out of crowdfunding sites to get money for everything from Hollywood films to legal defense. Adam Carolla, for example, has used FundAnything for both Road Hard and his fight against patent trolls. And don’t even get me started on Super Troopers 2.

But I gotta tell ya – crowdfunding irritates the hell out of me. Now, I get that crowdfunding facilitates significant community-building opportunities. Requests for crisis support, the Girl Scouts earning over $100,000 in one day (!!), that sort of thing. All that aside, I hate the sensation I get when my compulsion to encourage everyone’s everything gets caught in one of those shame spirals sparked by the irritation I feel over requests to help buy birthday presents, pay tuition, and fund a PR campaign for a new product your cousin can get into the market if only he could have five more dollars from youuuuu… I digress.

I suppose that it varies from person-to-person and project-to-project, with people getting behind the campaigns they believe in in whatever form – be it via crowdfunding online or crowdfunding via par-tay. What both these crowdfunding forms speak to though are the changing way we fund media and creative-types’ investment in their vision. And maybe one of the things crowdfunding has democratized is making people more able to see the dollars going in – and to realize the magnitude of the difficulty therein. Because from porn to politics, someone’s gotta pay.


Reprinted from UPROXX/FilmDrunk (7/3/15).

And ICYMI, you can read all my work featured on UPROXX/FilmDrunk right –> here

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