Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo


Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

A number of my blogging entries so far have focused on the way that digital technologies are enabling consumers to interact directly with media producers to get the kind of content they want – whether we are talking about the blogging community paying to send its own reporters to Iraq and New Hampshire or the Dean campaign drawing on small donations from a larger mass of contributors. This idea is extending to film production.

Billy Dead, which tells the story of childhood violence and sexual abuse, and is scheduled to star Ethan Hawke, is trying an interesting approach to film financing. They are offering 900,000 shares at $8.75 apiece to everyday consumers who want to feel like they have played a part in making the film a reality. This plan is interesting in that it could allow films which have solid constituencies – in this case, one assumes readers of the book or perhaps victims of sexual abuse – to gain an early boost without having to go through normal media channels. This process could be important, for example, in supporting films made by women or minority filmmakers who might have difficulty breaking into the mainstream film industry. The web plays a key role here in getting the word out to potential contributors.

In this case, the fact that there is a major star involved increases the credibility of this early effort, but other factors may play a large role in determining what films will get made.

Hollywood shouldn’t close up shop just yet – this idea won’t work in most cases, but I can certainly imagine a range of groups who could get movies made this way.

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives


Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me