Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Crowdfunding the Ridiculous

Posted by Sean Hull on April 16, 2017

Out of April 18th’s reading, the section on film drew my attention the most: its mention of Star Wars Uncut was of special interest, as that fan collaboration is perhaps one of my favorite pieces of fan-derived Star Wars media. My other reason for choosing to focus on film in independent media is because it lets me talk about the short film Kung Fury.

A ridiculous comedy drawing inspiration from 1980s popular culture, Kung Fury was pitched on Kickstarter in in December of 2013 with a short trailer made for $5000; on this investment the Kickstarter eventually received a total of $630,000 in support [1], an excellent example of crowdfunding at work. By May of 2015, the half-hour film was released for free via Youtube & for purchase via Itunes and the film’s website. This distribution method hearkens back to the “Swedish Model” discussed in-depth in last week’s readings, and it could be proposed that David Sandberg —Kung Fury’s Producer— intentionally duplicated this distribution model, being Swedish himself and thus perhaps already familiar with it. Whatever the case, this distribution method paid off in terms of media & individual attention, with Kung Fury gaining 27 million views on Youtube alone [2], and being the subject of multiple articles from entertainment news sites.

Does this make Kung Fury a success? In terms of popularity, it certainly seems so. However, I can find no data on its profitability, data which could perhaps reveal issues with the distribution method. Still, it is nonetheless a noticeable example of independent media being supported by the will of individuals, as well as an example of a unique distribution method that prefers spreadability over strict control.



[1] https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kungfury/kung-fury

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS5P_LAqiVg


One Response to “Crowdfunding the Ridiculous”

  1. Drake Kizer said

    I think you made a lot of great points in this post, specifically in regard to how a well of individuals, if they are passionate enough, can drive content creation to completely new heights. As you mentioned, a Kickstarter campaign that was probably only expected to get $100,000 at most, ended up receiving $630,000, which shows just how critical a supportive community can be for independent creators and their content-creating process. Independent media creators will always be at a disadvantage when it comes to producing their content, but as long as people support them not only financially, but also by engaging with their content in droves, then they will be able to produce dynamic and engaging content that it is unconventional and unlike the strict norms and stereotypes of major studios and productions.

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