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Ask Slashdot: Is Crowd Funding the Future of Sci-Fi? 116

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-of-show dept.
First time accepted submitter TBNZee writes "Mainstream TV has has for a long time under-served the sci-fi loving viewers, but with declining production costs there seem to be two potential sources of alternative production/distribution: digital content (e.g. Netflix, Hulu) and crowd funded projects. There's still not a lot of sci-fi shows that are being produced by the major streaming services, but we'll probably see more with the success of Hulu's exclusive U.S. distribution of Misfits or Netflix's success with Buffy and Doctor Who. On the other hand, you have many enthusiastic upstarts on Kickstarter that look novel and engaging, while having a surprisingly professional look to them. Which do you think will ultimately be more successful? Will either be able to replace network content?"
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Ask Slashdot: Is Crowd Funding the Future of Sci-Fi?

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  • I think what a lot of people (particularly Slashdotters) fail to realize is the cost to produce some of these shows. Take a show like Portlandia - You'd think you could shoot it with a handycam and a Macbook, but in fact there is a large crew of professionals behind the scenes -

    http://images.amcnetworks.com/ifc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/winter-in-portlandia-2.jpg [amcnetworks.com]

    ...so if you're going to Kickstart the most basic of shows you'll need a lot of money.
    • by firex726 (1188453)

      Yea, remember that failed scifi show, Terra Nova?
      Thing cost $2million an episode.

      Game of Thrones?
      $6million for the first season episodes.

      Short of something unprecedented with Kickstarter it's won't be crowdfunded. While the cost drops over time, you still need a ton of money to get it off the ground and sustain it for several years.

      • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @01:07PM (#46260493)

        Yea, remember that failed scifi show, Terra Nova?
        Thing cost $2million an episode.

        Game of Thrones?
        $6million for the first season episodes.

        Short of something unprecedented with Kickstarter it's won't be crowdfunded. While the cost drops over time, you still need a ton of money to get it off the ground and sustain it for several years.

        They don't *HAVE* have to be expensive. The expensive is a side effect of the massive Hollywood egos.

        TV shows are expensive because of:

        Producers, Directors and actors all demanding huge salaries.

        Multiple Producers, Assistant Producers, Executive Producers -- I've seem 8 or more "Producers" listed in the credits for various TV shows. Then there are Directors, Editors, etc.

        Everybody -- EVERYBODY -- has an assistant ( or several ) because God forbid they might have to get their own coffee or wipe their own ass.

        Sets and special effects are all outsourced to various companies who charge the TV studios the same way that government contractors charge the government for their work.

        The Tonight Show (Jay Leno ) which is nothing more than a guy sitting at a desk talking to people has a staff of over 100.

        • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @01:49PM (#46260695) Homepage

          OK Mr. Do-it-yourself. Grab a copy of Blender and see how far you get attempting to create a broadcast quality 30 second CGI clip. By yourself. All of those 'Producers' and 'Assistants' don't make all that much money. The screen credits are to pad your resume and stroke your ego.

          Sure, you can save money and there are a couple of low budget / high quality movies out there (Monsters [wikipedia.org]), but it's much more expensive than you think to create a 30 minute show with a dozen or so people in it.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Yea, one extremely cheap example I can think of is the movie Mars & Avril which "only" cost the director 2.3 million dollars to make. For that the director had to constantly beg or borrow things in order to get stuff done. For example, he convinced Cirque du Soleil to finance some of his zany future props in return for them eventually owning the pieces.

        • by k6mfw (1182893)

          They don't *HAVE* have to be expensive. The expensive is a side effect of the massive Hollywood egos.

          And there is "Hollywood Accounting" (I read someplace all Harry Potter movies lost money. Distribution costs ate up the profits so movie makers didn't have to pay taxes). I also wonder if there are some that make lots of money, others not so much except bragging rights. Perhaps going OT, an article about music piracy/studios losing money, etc. someone posted a link to an article written in 1990s about several musicians that have "sold" millions of albums but received meager amount from the studios. And some

        • by westlake (615356)

          They don't *HAVE* have to be expensive. The expensive is a side effect of the massive Hollywood egos.

          Disney's Frozen "Let It Go" Sequence Performed by Idina Menzel [youtube.com]

          3 minutes. 38 seconds.
          50 animators
          30 hrs to render each frame of the castle.
          Tony award winning writer and lyricist.
          Tony award winning singer and actress.
          Full orchestra plus orchestration, music direction, etc.
          At least four new computer programs for animating hair, particle effects, and so on, are on display here.
          Script, story and direction.
          Concept designs. Set designs. Background art. Textures, Costumes. Props. Lighting...
          Post-produ

      • Short of something unprecedented with Kickstarter it's won't be crowdfunded.

        Not so many years ago, Kickstarter itself would have been unprecedented. I'm not sure whether it's The One, but the funding model is one of the first genuinely interesting alternatives to up-front production and relying on copyright to bring in sufficient revenues, because it might actually work at a larger scale if awareness rises and increases the size of the potential funding pool. They've had a few projects raise high six or low seven figures already, and obviously this method of finding/funding shows i

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          One of the problems with Terra Nova, IIRC, was that it was filmed on-location in Queensland, Australia. The weather there can be really bad at times (it's basically tropical, which of course is why they picked it), and they had lots of delays in filming because of the weather. Weeks of sitting around waiting for the rain to stop costs lots of money since you have to pay everyone to do nothing.

          Shooting stuff on sound stages or other Hollywood sets is much cheaper usually, since you don't have to travel far

    • by Zumbs (1241138) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @11:34AM (#46259991) Homepage
      It is possible to raise some impressive amounts, e.g. Wayside Creations raised $130K for Fallout: Nuka Break season 2, Zombie Orpheus raised $400K for The Gamers: Hands of Fate, and Far From Home raised $125K for Star Trek Continues. By comparison, a top-of-the-line production like Game of Thrones costs $6 million per episode, so one cannot assume similar production values from a crowd funded project. On the other hand, the projects mentioned earlier are of a decent quality. As noted by the submitter, the price of reasonably good visual effects is falling, which will make it a lot easier to produce on small budgets while still making it look okay. I'm not sure that crowdfunded TV will displace the networks, but it is a good alternative for independent film makers to raise money for their projects. Hopefully, we will get a lot more brave and high quality TV from that.
      • Hands of Fate, and Far From Home raised $125K for Star Trek Continues.

        Modern sci-fi and fantasy fiction begins with the pulp magazines of the twenties and thirties.

        There would be films, comic strips, radio and television productions to follow. Vast resources in every media and genre which could be mined, but go untouched. Because Star Trek sucks the life out of everything. Because the geek hasn't had room for a new --- old, or better --- idea on his head since 1964.

        From Pixar, we have had The Incredibles and Wall-E.

        From Annapurna, Her. From Warner Brothers, Gravity. From L

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          You're listing a lot of stuff which isn't sci-fi.

          Incredibles is fantasy/superhero, and it's animated.

          Her is just bad sci-fi. The idea that people will give up display screens in the future and just have computers talk to them is idiotic in the extreme. I can read a LOT faster than listening to someone read to me.

          Gravity is not sci-fi, any more than Apollo 13 was, or a movie about deep-sea diving is. Sci-fi has to involve future technologies. A movie about people going to the ISS is not futuristic; we al

    • That's a network produced show. There are examples of equally high quality shows produced on a much more modest budget.

      Furthermore, if you want to get really cheap you can just pull a blair witch project...

      • by westlake (615356)

        Furthermore, if you want to get really cheap you can just pull a blair witch project...

        Blair Witch was released in 1999. Production cost, $500-750,000. The Blair Witch Project [wikipedia.org]

        In the movie business, it is first past the post who wins. Theaters are flooded with copycat productions, everyone knows what is in your bag of tricks --- and you have nothing more to offer.

    • I think what a lot of people (particularly Slashdotters) fail to realize is the cost to produce some of these shows. Take a show like Portlandia - You'd think you could shoot it with a handycam and a Macbook, but in fact there is a large crew of professionals behind the scenes -

      That's not a large crew of "professionals". That's a large crew of people standing around doing nothing of value. You need a director, somebody to hold the camera and somebody of hold the microphone. Everything else is all Hollywood bullshit. Assistants and assistants to assistants. Lackeys and assistant lackeys.

      • That's not a large crew of "professionals". That's a large crew of people standing around doing nothing of value.

        The people to the left of the ladder are the actors & extras in the episode in question. The people to the right of the ladder are the professionals.

      • by isorox (205688)

        I think what a lot of people (particularly Slashdotters) fail to realize is the cost to produce some of these shows. Take a show like Portlandia - You'd think you could shoot it with a handycam and a Macbook, but in fact there is a large crew of professionals behind the scenes -

        That's not a large crew of "professionals". That's a large crew of people standing around doing nothing of value. You need a director, somebody to hold the camera and somebody of hold the microphone. Everything else is all Hollywood bullshit. Assistants and assistants to assistants. Lackeys and assistant lackeys.

        Lighting. Multi camera shoots.

        Then things like props and costumes, makeup, etc, all need to be on set.

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @11:18AM (#46259915) Journal
    What I have noticed with main-stream sci-fi is that it doesn't involve actual science. Oh, it might have a shiny, modern or even futuristic veneer, but it is really just fantasy. Firefly was really a western set in space in a very different solar system. Even Star Trek seems to often resorts to magical thinking and the "lone hero" narrative, devolving into a morality play or social drama with a futuristic backdrop and technobabble.

    The biggest offenders are the modern science fiction movies. Think about how often in science fiction movies the plot is "clueless mainstream scientists ignore dangers and the warnings of lone genius who spent his whole career pushing an unsupported theory leading to impending disaster requiring said lone genius to do 'science' and save the day".

    I think the closest thing I have seen to an actual science fiction movie in the last 30 yeas is "Deep Impact".
    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      If you extend to 50 years you suddenly get some shows and films that were quite novel at the time; Star Trek and 2001.

      As much as Star Trek was an adventure it was also a view back upon contemporary issues - especially racial. Star Trek broke the "rules" of the time by being the first TV show aired where a kiss between a black and a white person occurred.

      And we also have this story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

    • by Immerman (2627577) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @11:36AM (#46260007)

      Indeed. Mainstream "scifi", especially movies, seems to operate on the principle that the defining qualities are fancy high-tech window dressing, whereas most of the best SF I've read takes place in settings that are for the most part not so very unlike today, with the story being less about the technology itself than about how humanity (as embodied by the characters) is adapting to the impact of that technology, and what the long-term implications are. Also there tends to be a common theme among the best stuff that only very few or very minor changes are allowed to the laws of physics. We're dreaming possible futures here, not just looking for empty entertainment!

      Hmm, and suddenly I understand why Hollywood has been so very, very bad at it...

      • by westlake (615356)

        most of the best SF I've read takes place in settings that are for the most part not so very unlike today, with the story being less about the technology itself than about how humanity is adapting to the impact of that technology, and what the long-term implications are

        The problem lies in translating analysis into entertainment.

        We're dreaming possible futures here, not just looking for empty entertainment!

        Science fiction is not predictive. I'll cast my vote here for entertainment, which is often more perceptive and provocative than the geek's crystal ball.

        • by Immerman (2627577)

          Predictive, no. Speculative yes. If you throw known science completely out the window it just becomes laser-pistol fantasy.

          • by westlake (615356)

            If you throw known science completely out the window it just becomes laser-pistol fantasy.

            To be fair, the phaser or stun gun solves major problems in-story and in production

            a) no six-shot limit
            b) a plausible weapon for use in tightly confined or hazardous environments or in the presence of non-combatants
            c) a plausible weapon with a range of tactical settings for every situation

            d) an easy to build prop that can be effectively combined with simple post-production effects

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Meh, some just like to hate on Hollywood anyway. Take for example Elysium, it's about a low orbit space station and a not entirely unplausible split between the <0.01% and the rest and instead of trying to build a billionaire fortress on Earth they've established their own extremely exclusive space colony. Granted, their medical tech is pure magic but it's just to quickly get the point across that up there they can cure anything. It's more realistic than particle-of-the-day Star Trek, it doesn't have any

    • by mysidia (191772)

      Even Star Trek seems to often resorts to magical thinking and the "lone hero" narrative, devolving into a morality play or social drama with a futuristic backdrop and technobabble.

      Yeah, but at least they get the math mostly right.. Spock famously calculates the right number of tribbles there would be after so many days, given the assumptions that he stated :)

    • I think the closest thing I have seen to an actual science fiction movie in the last 30 yeas is "Deep Impact".

      I'll give honorable mention to "A.I.", as it did a similar job of having the true story be how the people reacted to there being artificial children who could be programmed to love.

      Additionally, I think that amongst the better true sci-fi series made in recent years was "Defying Gravity". One could possibly make the point that it was a 'soap opera in space' to a certain extent, but its focus was on the characters and their personal struggles, not the window dressing.

      Oh well...I do hope to God that they don'

      • by lennier (44736)

        I do hope to God that they don't remake "Forbidden Planet" though...

        Of course it will happen. But in these liberal times it will be retitled "Permitted Planet".

    • Some would argue that there are no genres. Everything is fluff around a few basic stories. Whether it was gods and warriors, kings, princesses or magical forests, the settings were just trappings around a quest or a boy meets girl or journey. I've heard folks argue that sci-fi requires some element of science to be truly sci-fi, but I think that precludes a lot of good fiction. There's a story about a machine that (placed railroads/mined/logged). It would be considered a folk tale today (or even a faux tale

    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      What I have noticed with main-stream sci-fi is that it doesn't involve actual science. Oh, it might have a shiny, modern or even futuristic veneer, but it is really just fantasy. Firefly was really a western set in space in a very different solar system. Even Star Trek seems to often resorts to magical thinking and the "lone hero" narrative, devolving into a morality play or social drama with a futuristic backdrop and technobabble.

      Science fiction has never really been about the science. Sure, a "realistic" portrayal of the future of technology can be fun and is one popular avenue of sci-fi, but there is one fundamentally massive problem with that approach: it's actually unrealistic in and of itself. Look at it this way: 50 years ago, the modern smartphone was considered "fantasy" even in sci-fi (hell, Star Trek communicators were large bulky devices with only a fraction of the capability, and they were still considered implausible).

      • by Gr8Apes (679165)
        Primer and Sunshine are both fantasy rather than Sci-Fi, and Sunshine was rather unwatchable (IMHO), Armageddon with the Sun as a target, or a really long Twilight Zone episode.

        Some of the better sci fi movies that have come out over the past 30 years that seem in the realm of the possible and do not use time travel, aliens, or faster than light travel for their story lines include in no particular order:

        • Gattaca,
        • Elysium - excluding the space station, it would have to be considerably further away than i
    • by maestroX (1061960)

      I think the closest thing I have seen to an actual science fiction movie in the last 30 yeas is "Deep Impact".

      Try The Big Lebowski, it's like, you know, friendly too.

    • Yeah.

      Another one: "The Man From Earth". Someone told me it wasn't science fiction, because, well you know. No spaceships. No aliens. No time travel.

      Someone could make a case for it not being SF, I suppose. But not on those grounds.

      Spaceships do not science fiction make, or "Spaceballs" would have been a science fiction movie.

  • Sci-Fi? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @11:20AM (#46259931) Homepage Journal

    Neither Buffy nor Misfits is Sci-Fi.
    No idea about Dr. Who, never saw it.
    I mean: come on, get at least a single simple thing right in the article ...

    • by Nemyst (1383049)
      Buffy and Misfits are non-realistic fiction, which is the point the author was trying to make. Currently, most streaming services-produced shows are grounded in either current day or historical fiction, not sci-fi or fantasy. If fantasy shows like Buffy work out, perhaps they'll expand more.

      Also, not even knowing what Dr. Who is? What the fuck is wrong with you?
      • Re:Sci-Fi? (Score:4, Funny)

        by cyberzephyr (705742) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @11:35AM (#46259995) Journal

        Also, not even knowing what Dr. Who is? What the fuck is wrong with you?

        I think the original poster should turn in their Sci-Fi card.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Dr Who isn't Sci-Fi either, and it's over rated. There are a couple of good episodes but other than that it's just a nostalgia machine.
          But then again writing a coherent science fiction story that involves time travel is very difficult.
          Most of them include some reason why using the time machine is very inconvenient. i.e. no guarantee when or where you will end up, or only being able to go in one direction.

          If you take out the time machine and look at each episode as a short story then some of them could be co

        • I know WHAT Dr. Who is, I just have not watched it yet. As it was not aired nor do I have a TV, so I need to wait till Inhave time and it is on an internet TV. actually it is right now, just did not find it that appealing to look when I can watch old SG 1 or BSG 1 instead :)

    • by Cammi (1956130)
      And Dr Who and Buffy is NOT being produced by Amazon so .... this is a funny non-article.
  • Ask Hollywood: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by globaljustin (574257) <justinglobal@gm a i l . com> on Sunday February 16, 2014 @11:32AM (#46259977) Homepage Journal

    "No"

    I'm not saying we won't see (crappy) sci-fi movies or TV show pilots funded by kickstarter. We might even have some kind of sci-fi scene champ that starts as a web series, gets a kickstarter, makes a pilot, gets picked up for a season, etc.

    Books or comics might happen too...but again it will mostly be a space in the industry that is of less quality.

    That all **might** happen...but my point is, crowdfunding is not the "future" of sci-fi.

    We need to get real sci-fi fans producing sci-fi films!

    Hollywood has fucked up sci-fi in the last decade or so...the JJ Abrams Star Trek, the new 'Alien' movie, the new 'Predator' movie....they all have dumb fucking titles...the list goes on...heh...Avatar...the only really awesome sci-fi has been from Independent Hollywood...ex: Moon

    Cheap Computer Effects (thanks to ppl like /. readers) are what helped make sci-fi financially viable for Hollywood...go tech industry!

    However, shitty producers & executivces...the guys with the money to make these films happen....**we have been giving them our money for far too long**

    The argument used to be, "We have to go see the [beloved sci-fi franchise] even though they have [idiot hollywood directory] making it...I know it looks like they butchered [fan favorite storyline] but the special effects look great & we need to prove that [scifi franchise] can make money so they'll make another better one"

    It's a feedback loop of shitty sci-fi

    We need to stop going to see these films, and support indpendent films, including crowd-funded ones...but not as an end, but a means to access better factors of production and more capital

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Moon was great. I think Primer was also a good sci-fi.

      • yeah I enjoyed Primer immensely, Upstream Color almost as much (but it isnt as good on repeat viewings like Primer)

        there are other examples...i'm always down to hear a film recommendation, but there arent as many as there should be

        District 9 broke the mold in my mind...the special effects are off the chain & the storyline has the bite of real sci-fi...its not Blade Runner but its a hell of a lot of fun

        Thing is, there are *tons* of scifi being made right now...Elysium, the Will Smith one w/ his kid, the

  • by SpankiMonki (3493987) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @11:40AM (#46260029)
    If Kickstarter would accept Space Bucks, Flanian Pobble Beads, Jangles, bitcoins, and other fictional currencies, the projects would get fully funded overnight.
  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @11:44AM (#46260049) Homepage

    There's still not a lot of sci-fi shows that are being produced by the major streaming services, but we'll probably see more with the success of Hulu's exclusive U.S. distribution of Misfits or Netflix's success with Buffy and Doctor Who.

    Since you couldn't come up with a sci-fi show that actually is being produced by a major streaming service, is that because there aren't any?

    All of those shows were produced for TV. They may well be successes as far as Hulu and Netflix are concerned, but they didn't have to pay to have them made. And for every Buffy or Doctor Who, there's a Flashforward or The Event clunking their way to first- (or even mid-) season cancellation.

    That said, if throwing money at someone will get a second series of Outcasts made, sign me up.

  • I think the trouble with getting Science Fiction shows broadcast has nothing to do with the costs of making the show.

    I think the trouble is that the audience size for sci-fi show(s), no matter how excellent they are, is a fraction of a mainstream drama, police show, etc.

    So the money that a broadcaster makes, based on selling advertizing (commercials) to that small audience, never allows them to make enough money.

    Maybe, just maybe a streaming service like Netflix could do it, as I will guess a larger fractio

  • by rossdee (243626) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @11:46AM (#46260061)

    Whatever happened to JMS ? Babylon 5 was the best SF on TV IMHO

    And also what happened to the creators of the Stargate series's . I admit SGU wasn't as good as SG1 or SGA, so I wasn't that surprised to see it cancelled, but it would be nice to see some more of Stargate.

    I don't watch anything on the PsyPhy (or whatever they are calling it these days) channel. The only channel with SF on is the Beeb (BBC America), they even have ST:TNG although what that has got to do with the BBC I am not sure.

    Maybe the best thing will be if some of the Amazon produced stuff gets popular. (I subscribe to Prime)

    • NBC / Comcrap messed up scifi channel at least the shows they are importing from canada are good. continuum is very good

    • by phorm (591458)

      The first several episodes were written like a basement-dwelling geek's fantasy, and turned off a lot of people.

      Basement-dwelling gamer-nerd gets high-school in game. Game turns out to be simulation for real alien artifact. Geek gets beam onto spaceship with high tech and hot girl.

      It's not exactly a new phenomenoa. Some producer comes up and says "hey, our target is drooling anti-social nerds, right? How can we appeal to them? I know, let's through in some smart dork who can save the world and get some T

  • Given the furious pace of technological change, there's no reason to assume any current distribution model will last 50 years. Maybe not even 20.

    The following used to be important distribution channels or outlets:

    • American News Company
    • Blockbuster
    • Borders
    • B. Dalton
    • Walden Books
    • Drive-in movie theaters
    • Hastings
    • Newsweek
    • The American Mercury
    • The Houston Post
    • The Chicago Daily News
    • Tower Records
    • Newstands
    • AM Radio
    • FM Radio

    Where are they now? Dead or dying.

    Push the timescale out long enough, and the future of Apple, Amazon,

  • You had me at Buffy. Netflix is producing Buffy? When, how, who? Somebody take my money, now. Please don't suck. A quick search on this subject reveals nothing informative, does any one have any details?
    • You had me at Buffy. Netflix is producing Buffy? When, how, who? Somebody take my money, now. Please don't suck. A quick search on this subject reveals nothing informative, does any one have any details?

      Of course, Buffy isn't sci-fi so isn't really a part of this discussion.

      • Lies! Lies! They had at least three robots ( Joyce's Boyfriend, creepy guys love 'bot, Buffy 'bot), one Cyborg/Demon villain, aaaaand a freeze ray. If Captain Horatio Hornblower in space ( Start Trek TOS ) can be called SciFi, then I have enough things that go ping! to call Buffy SciFi.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well as long as they would make the vampires look decent instead of ugly face.

      but one might ask, why the fuck mention it in an article about science fiction when it's more like oldie superstitions fantasy.

      • Oh why mention it? Because the original story mentions it. I quote: "but we'll probably see more with the success of Hulu's exclusive U.S. distribution of Misfits or Netflix's success with Buffy and Doctor Who. On the other hand" Notice that the conversation STARTED with a Buffy mention.
    • by jo7hs2 (884069)
      I think they just meant Buffy and Dr. Who have been successful when the old episodes are aired on Netflix. I've heard nothing about a new Buffy series.
  • How do you figure Buffy is Sci-Fi? I like the show (up to a point), and find it was well written, but sci-fi it ain't.

    As for Doctor who, it has that veneer, but is mostly sciency, but not, strictly, always science fiction. And Netflix as a bastion of Doctor Who? Not so fast: they only really have the modern series from Christopher eccleson on, and one show each of the previous doctors.

    When I can watch the Doctor from "An Unearthly child" on, then I'll go along and say Netflix carries the Doctor.

    [end

    • by Pop69 (700500)
      You can't watch The Doctor from "An Unearthly child" anywhere, not even here in the UK on the BBC due to lost episodes.

      Perhaps set your sights a little lower there ?
  • The massive media attendance at Comic Con indicates that producing Sci Fi (and I do use the term loosely) is almost the sole occupation of the entire movie, TV, game, and publishing industry. Try going to your local multiplex and not have to choose science fiction as some thematic component. Of the top 10 box office hits of 2013, nine are sci fi [boxofficemojo.com] (only the Fast and the Furious 6 is not)...

    Implied in the Kickstarter funding concept is that somehow the hard core genre fanbase would do a better job of bringin

    • by lgw (121541)

      Say what? Are we so far gone now that we confuse "SF" and "effects movie". There's not a single SF movie in thse top 10. Even "Gravity" belongs in the same bucket as "Titanic": a fictionalized historical adventure with good effects, only with a more recent kind of ship.

      No one knows what John Carter was: it certainly wasn't "hard core allegiance" to any book. OTOH, the "Hunger games" movies stick as close to the books as time permits and seem to do quite well, since the books were pretty good YA action/d

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Of the top 10 box office hits of 2013, nine are sci fi [boxofficemojo.com] (only the Fast and the Furious 6 is not)...

      Erm, most of those films are not Sci-Fi by even the loosest definition of the word.

      1. Hunger Games - Children/Fantasy
      2. Iron Man - Superhero/Fantasy (I'll give you this one on a technicality that the Iron Man suit is technological)
      3. Frozen - Children/Fantasy
      4. Despicable Me 2 - Children/Comedy
      5. Man of Steel - Superhero/Fantasy
      6. Monsters University - Children/Fantasy
      7. Gravity - Sci-Fi
      8. The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug - Fantasy
      9. The Fast and the Furious 6 - Action
      10. Oz The Great and Powe

  • Mainstream TV has has for a long time under-served the sci-fi loving viewers, but with declining production costs there seem to be two potential sources of alternative production/distribution

    I've been wondering-how much does each series of post-2005 "Doctor Who" cost to make? A friend told me it cost about 1 million sterling an episode.

    The geek will be content with re-staging fifty years of "Trek Wars" on his home made scratch-built sets. But to build a mass popular audience for science fiction and fantasy you need to show them something new --- something memorable ---- and for that you need money and talent in abundance.

    Dragons 2
    Game of Thrones
    Her.
    Hunger Games
    Frozen
    Gravity

  • Back in the day, writers earned their keep from underwriters (subscribers). I believe that with tools like Blender, relatively inexpensive broadcast and DVD quality cameras, the ability to collaborate across the world, cheap/cloud storage, and a plethora of amazing stories, we could back to that model. I for one would welcome alternatives to big studio garbage that assumes that because it has a spaceship or an alien race (aliens that look exactly like humans, especially) we'll just buy tickets.

    And we often

  • Need more SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe! At one point there was both a large petition and some offering of funds to continue this show. I'm sure many would still support it.
    • by detain (687995)
      Only problem with stargate was the absurd assumption that only 36 constellations could somehow give thousands of combinations of 6 point addresses in space all landing at planets. Another problem along the same lines is which star in each constellation do you use as your reference point to find the planet, because yo ucould arrive at a variety of different locations depending on which star in each constellation was used to find the intersecting point in space. (6 constellations formed the X/Y/Z axis and a
      • Also, constellations aren't groups of stars. They simply appear to be because they are in the same direction to an observer on Earth. Some of the stars in most constellations are orders of magnitude more distant than the others.

        "The seventh symbol is the point of origin" - but this point would also require multiple coordinates, or would be unnecessary because it is implicit in the gate you are dialing from. Hello? As if you had to dial an extra single numeral at the end of a phone number to specify the un

      • by k6mfw (1182893)
        another problem is everywhere they went, they all speak English.
  • Pioneer One hasn't put out a lot of episodes lately.

    • According to Wikipedia the last episode of Pioneer One came out on December 13, 2011. I appreciated the first season for what it was, but it's hard to keep interest in a TV series if it takes more than 2 years between seasons.

      I don't know if they'll be able to continue the series. I hope do since it's got a lot of promise, but it needs a higher profile if they want to secure better financing.

  • In another /. I ranted about spend $50M on CGI, $5K for writers. Someone replied, "why don't you contribute to this group making a sci-fi using pre-CGI techniques?" And a link to a Kickstarter type of webpage as this indie group relied on donations. I didn't followup so missed their deadline. But this indie group intend was to do what used to be done. Take a compelling story with engaging characters, have some special effects to add to the story. But since their special effects was not superior to current H

  • by sir-gold (949031) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @05:23PM (#46262087)

    Dr Who isn't made by netflix, and the fact that netflix carries it has nothing to do with the production of the show

    Dr Who is created using a third method that you completely glossed-over, which is government aid for the arts.

    The BBC has been making great entertainment and news programs since the early days of radio, paid entirely by every Americans favorite dirty word: TAXES

    • by lgw (121541)

      The budgets for the early Doctor Whos was incredibly tiny. I suspect most kickstarted indie SF effort would laugh and walk away at the modern equivalent of those budgets. Heck, for the most part they didn't even have editing - the scenes were shot "as live" and scenes with only minor errors went out the way they were shot. And yet many of them were more interesting than the modern CGI effects fest. There was certainly some magic happening at the BBC back then, but it had noting at all to do with how it w

      • by coolmadsi (823103)

        Heck, for the most part they didn't even have editing - the scenes were shot "as live" and scenes with only minor errors went out the way they were shot.

        Back in the early days of Doctor who, that was how most TV shows were filmed.

  • I think crowdfunding will eventually replace big entertainment companies, and the transition actually won't involve a huge change. The movie/television business has already evolved away from the monolithic studio business model of the past, which used to do entire productions. Since the late-1980s most movies and TV shows have been made by temporary assemblies of small, specialized production companies and services. The part the big studios still play is putting up the money, and thereby controlling the who

    • by Twylite (234238)

      But to get there we need to move from crowdfunding-as-advance-purchase (which is how most Kickstarter campaigns are set up) to crowdfunding-as-investing.

  • Crowd funded and produced with high quality.

    I was thinking of all the cross-over series and walk-in characters that are possible in my favorite Sci-fi / Fantasy shows.
    NBC Universal owns both Sanctuary and Lost Girl
    Helen Magnus could show up at the Dahl looking for Ashley vamps are a normal character in both series.

    Geffen that produced BeetleJuice would never work with Sony that now owns Ghostbusters. Imagine the actors budget for BeetleJuice V.S. The Ghostbusters Keaton$$$, Aykroyd$$, Murray$$$, Moranis$$,

  • Crowdfunding is not the future of Sci Fi, well unless you have infinite amounts of patience it's not. One of the things I have learned is that people will pay for Star Trek. Sometimes they'll pay for other things. Sometimes they won't. DC Fontana and some others tried to raise $600,000 for a new 4 episode Sci Fi series that had nothing to do with Trek but did involve a few Trek actors and they didn't even come close to getting the money necessary. Tim Russ, who played Tuvok on Star Trek: Voyager, raise
  • Seems to me that a real problem is what people expect from SciFi. Fundamentally the genre isn't about effects, but ideas. Sure, it's gonna cost some serious cash to convince me that the park is full of dinosaurs, but a computer network coming to life is basically just screenshots. There is a wide range of stories that can be told, and not all of them require running and action. Will it be a blockbuster hit? Not likely, but maybe the scale of production doesn't need the broader audience. This is actual
  • Which science fiction novels or short stories would make the best low budget crowdfunded movies? http://www.quora.com/Which-sci... [quora.com]

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay

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