By the Way

A monster of a crowdfunding

By Jeff Clark

jclark@sunherald.com

I used to be somewhat, well, actually, very skeptical of crowdfunding, a do it yourself way of getting money for a particular project by allowing fans and friends to be financial stakeholders.

It just seemed like a lazy and narcissistic way of getting money from the fans, as it is a common tool used by bands, authors, filmmakers, etc.

But, somewhere along the way, I had a change of heart. After doing some research on crowdfunding, I now think it’s a very  organic, punk rock business model. I’m all for anything that keeps profiteers such as record labels and film studios out of the picture.

It also eliminates managers and agents and other pariahs that make money off of someone else’s art and it allows the fans to be directly involved.

There’s a crowdfunding campaign on the Coast that’s entering its final days.

“Mallrats” and “Party of Five” star Jeremy London, who has called Ocean Springs home for more than a year, is one of several locals attached to a Kickstarter campaign to bring “Monsters Anonymous” to fruition. Coasties Darnell Fayard Sheffield, Michael Anglin, Jason Edwards and Wallace Phelps are all also involved with the short film, which London is slated to direct.

The premise of the film, which was written by Jason Robbins, Phelps and London, surrounds a therapy/self-help group for “classic” movie monsters like Frankenstein and the Mummy.

It promises to deliver a very existential question: In a world where the “Twilight” franchise has made friends out of vampires and where zombies are all the rage, are the old school monsters even relevant nowadays?

There are probably a lot of “non-monsters” in the world who are asking themselves the same thing, especially those “monsters” over the age of 35. Everyone wants their existence to have some relevancy.

With five days left to go of the campaign, “Monsters Anonymous” has raised $10,156 of its $15,000 goal. This is pretty remarkable. The “Monsters” gang is pushing hard to meet the goal because if they don’t,  they do not get any of the money.

The campaign has several different levels to pledge with a variety of rewards including a role as a zombie in the film. Plus, you get to work in a film directed by London.

London was one of the stars of Kevin Smith’s “Mallrats,” along with Jason Lee, Shannen Doherty and Michael Rooker, who stole the show in James Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

“Mallrats” is the second of Smith’s beloved trilogy, which started with “Clerks” and ended with “Chasing Amy.” The three films remain among Smith’s best work.

“Monsters Anonymous” is going to shoot exclusively in Woolmarket and it will feature some cast and crew of local people. This is reason enough to hope the filmmakers reach their crowdfunding goal.

There’s a pretty hilarious pseudo-PSA made by the “Monsters” crew that is a spoof of the gut wrenching animal abuse commercials, complete with a sad Sarah McLachlan song. While there is nothing funny about animal abuse and neglect, this PSA is worth a glance.

And then ask yourself -- do you want to be one of the many people who are going to neglect the monsters and their chance at redemption?

If you don’t want to see the monsters suffer another day, the Kickstarter can be found at help the monsters.com.

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