Dear Jim: I would really love to see a Dresden Files Movie or TV Reboot on HBO or Netflix. I’m a huge fan. I’ll spare you the details but a visual depiction of the Dresden Universe on my TV would really take my weekends to the next level.
I have heard rumors that projects are in the works and that you want to reboot the series on screen. I have also heard that the biggest obstacle is that the right deal just hasn’t come through yet. Please forgive me for poking into your business, but have you considered a mini-IPO as a crowdfunding mechanism?
Jim replied to this post over at the Jim Butcher Appreciation Society page on facebook. It turns out that the weakness of the idea is that organizing and directing a business team in Hollywood is the exact opposite of blessed cat-haunted solitude… Hmmm…. hadn’t considered that important angle.
That said, I left the post here because I got a ton of positive feedback and variations of the idea in other forums.
Although a mini IPO for crowdfunding isn’t a good fit in this specific example, the idea is interesting and I would still love to invest in expanding my favorite stories, art, and music.
I didn’t remove the original post or edit the Dresden files references, but instead left them as an example and/or springboard for somebody else to take the idea in a different direction if they wanted…
And now back to the original program…..
The Mini IPO for Crowdfunding
You can follow this link that describes what a mini-IPO is. Long story short, it is a simplified IPO mechanism that has been used to crowdfund small businesses so that they can launch big ideas. It is the same investment vehicle that a company called Royalty Flow is using to acquire Eminem’s music catalogue.
Royalty Flow’s parent company, Royalty Exchange, buys and sells royalty assets of all type since its 2011 inception. The move would make Royalty Flow stock the first equity backed by music royalties to individual investors.
So I was thinking… if businesses can use this mechanism to acquire music rights, why couldn’t somebody use it to build a movie or TV series?
The Mini IPO to Crowdfund a Dresden Files Movie or TV Reboot
When I heard that a mini IPO was being used to purchase the rights to music royalties I started to think about why it wasn’t being used as an alternative to crowdfunding in literature, television, and movies. If it has been used, why isn’t it used more frequently? And why don’t I know about it? I would love to invest in turning great books into great movies.
Venturebeat posted an article on why every entrepreneur should consider a mini IPO. I copied a few of their reasons and have adjusted them for a Dresden Files Movie project…
Reward Loyal Dresden Fans
First, the Dresden Universe has a large and passionate fan base. Giving fans a financial stake in a Dresden Files movie, HBO, or Netflix project is taking engagement to the next level.
In Kickstarter you can support a project and get a T-shirt. With an IPO the fans would have direct ownership in the venture and be deeply committed to the future of the project. In my opinion, cutting out the traditional investors and allowing fans to invest directly (and reap the rewards) would be revolutionary.
Raise Dresden Universe Awareness
Second, this mechanism would raise awareness of the Dresden Universe. The engaged fans/investors are going to tell their friends, no question. But I actually think that would be only one of many benefits to this approach.
I may be wrong, but I think that this would be the first time an author used this type of mechanism to jump from page to screen. If true, it seems that the press would take care of all of the pre-launch marketing for you.
Imagine if fans could have purchased stock in Game of Thrones before season 1 episode 1…. The fans, financial news outlets, book blogs, etc. would have driven the marketing effort for free.
Maintain Creative Control over Film Projects
Third, this mechanism enables complete control over the project. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to lose creative control over a film project that uses my ideas. But in this structure, the creative control would be maintained through the business governance. You could easily set it up where you maintained majority ownership and complete control. You could make calls on every aspect from final editing to catering… And a shareholder revolt doesn’t seem likely at all.
Augment a Larger Round
Fourth, a mini-IPO could be a step to a larger investment round. A full length Dresden Files Movie series is going to cost some denarius. Even on the small screen, Game of Thrones burns through the $50 million mini-IPO limit in a season. So, if the initial investment isn’t enough to get things rolling you may need a larger offering. In this scenario you could use the mini IPO to augment a larger round. Now that may require some creative and longer term business planning but it is not impossible…
Why I Would Buy Shares
And finally, I would buy in and other fans would too. If you do decide to do this, put me down for a few K.
While I would love to participate as a fan, as an investor I would snatch shares up because I see the enormous value that could be created. I would of course want to learn a little about the business plan, but monetizing good stories is not a new business model. And the quarterly investment calls would be much more interesting than the ones I listen to now.
In any case… if you read this far, I also want to let you know that even if you never make a Dresden Files movie it is on my bucket list to buy you a beer sometime. Hit me up if you are ever in the Seattle area to collect. And thank you for telling great stories.
P.S. A 3D IMAX scene with Sue on the rampage would be worth the ticket price alone. I really don’t see a downside here…