Crowdfunding on a Tenner

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 9th July 2013.

Have you got $10* burning a hole in your pocket? Well, here are a few exciting crowdfunding ventures that could do with your dosh. Best of all, they come with some sweet rewards too.

Great Scott!! It’s hard to believe that Back to the Future will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in October 2015. Filmmaker Jason Aron has big plans for a documentary examining the cultural impact of Robert Zemeckis’ franchise which spawned three films and launched Michael J. Fox to motion picture stardom. Back in Time will premiere at the We’re Going Back celebration to be staged in Hollywood in 2 years time. For $10 you’ll assist with raising the $33 120 required for the project and receive a digital download in HD of the final film. Think of it as buying yourself a little present and sending it forward to 2015. How’s that for time travel? Of course, if you have a spare $4000 lying around you can earn yourself an executive producer’s credit on the documentary. You’ll find this project on

Artist Clint Cure in Melbourne wants to produce an unauthorised comic book biography of Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson. Why? Who cares? It’s Peter Jackson with all his hobbitty goodness in comic book form. Cure began his animation career with Walt Disney Studios in Sydney and needs a measly $250 to get his project off the ground. For $10, you’ll get a printed copy of the comic delivered to your door, signed by the artist. You can support this project on

I bet you’ve never heard of actor Jesse Heiman, but I also bet you have seen his work. Jesse is one of the most prolific extras working in Hollywood today and you’ll catch glimpses of him in Old School, Catch Me If You Can, American Pie, Spider-Man, The Social Network and the TV series Chuck, amongst many others. With his rotund figure, curly hair and glasses, he’s pretty hard to miss once you know his face. Magic Happens Productions, based in LA, are hoping to make a feature length documentary, Jessie Heiman: World’s Greatest Extra, which will follow a year in the life of the actor. For $10, you’ll contribute towards the $65 000 budget for principal photography and get acknowledged with a shout out on twitter and facebook, plus gain access to the exclusive production blog. If getting officially listed on IMDb is a priority for you, $10 000 will make you an executive producer. This project is on

Lastly, Brisbanite Robin Bristow has invented a set of useful kitchen funnels. Bigmouth Funnels pack flat and unlike standard funnels, have a wide mouth that allows you to refill almost anything. With several design awards under his belt, Robin is seeking $5000 to fund a new manufacturing process. For just $10, you’ll get a small and large funnel sent to you, and help an Australian designer on

Published in: on July 23, 2013 at 17:55  Leave a Comment  
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Crowdfunding Conundrum


This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 12th March 2013.

In my very first column for the Central Western Daily way back in 2009, I discussed my interest in microloans via This fantastic non-profit organisation allows investors worldwide to collectively loan small amounts of money to entrepreneurs. No interest is charged by Kiva and when the loan is repaid, investors may reinvest their $25 share in another project.

Since then, this model of collective finance has become popular and is now known as crowdfunding. There are many different platforms for investors and entrepreneurs but the emphasis has shifted away from loans towards investment and incentives.

Music fans can purchase “parts” in musicians and bands through and receive limited edition CDs should enough investors pledge to fund a new project, usually an album., and allow punters to invest in creative and technological projects in exchange for incentives.

There are literally thousands of projects available, from short films and theatre productions to books and inventions, each with its own range of incentives and offers. For a dollar or so, you might get a thank you acknowledgement online. For $20 – $50, you may receive a DVD, CD or t-shirt. For $1000 or more, you may receive an executive producer credit on a film, or a private gig with your chosen band.

Like all investments, there is an inherent risk. There have been reports of some entrepreneurs disappearing after funding has been released as well as complaints about extended delays with fulfilment of incentives.

One of the many success stories of crowdfunding has been lounge singer Richard Cheese, portrayed by Mark Jonathan Davis. With cheeky album titles such as I’d Like a Virgin, Aperitif for Destruction, Tuxicity and Lounge Against the Machine, Cheese has developed a cult following for his swinging arrangements of popular hits.

To date, two new Richard Cheese albums and a biography have been crowdfunded via  With a busy tour schedule, online merchandise store and worldwide fanbase, I assumed RC could be considered a successful independent musical act, so I was surprised to receive an email inviting me to participate in another Richard Cheese crowdfunding project, corneal transplant surgery.

Cheese is seeking $19500 to help fund the surgery on his left eye. Cursed with congenital eye problems since birth, RC has been unable to get health insurance and had been saving towards the vision restoring operation until two unplanned abdominal surgeries over the past year wiped out his finances. With failing vision, it has become almost impossible to tour and music piracy has decreased his income from record sales.

After pledging $35 towards RC’s operation in exchange for a signed photo, I went for a quick scout around and found over 1000 different health related projects seeking funding, from assisting a stroke victim to return to work, to a couple wanting financial help to adopt twins.

I was floored.

A week later, I still have mixed feelings about crowdfunding shifting into the realms of health. Firstly, it’s a sad indictment of the American health system and I’m really glad I live in a country with Medicare. However, I’m impressed by the ingenuity of Richard Cheese and others to seek alternate means to improve their health. On the other hand, I’m concerned about the lack of fairness in an open market where the flashiest project may get more attention than others, which may be just as worthy. What do you do if you don’t have CDs and autographed photos to give away?

Anyway, whilst pondering the pros and cons of health crowdfunding, please visit and send a few bucks towards my (or your new) favourite lounge singer, Richard Cheese.

Help Richard Cheese now