Is Passion First the Next Step in Crowdfunding?

We’re all familiar with Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Some of us have even used Slated, but Richard Guay, longtime indie producer, wants to change the way we fund films online.  Passion First is “a portal for crowdfunders to truly become investors”.  The idea is simple:  instead of simply donating to a film or project of your choice you will now have the option to invest and, assuming all goes well, cash in on a return on that investment (ROI).  However, as with any beta project, there are questions, rules, and regulations involved. has done a great job at asking these questions in their interview with Guay earlier this year.

Tribeca: Do you have an estimate on when the site will be up?

Richard Guay: Well, we have to wait until the regulations are finalized. Everything about this will be driven through the site – whether the investors have to be accredited or not, and whatnot – it will all be determined by the regulations. So we have to wait for those and build the site so it’s in compliance. I’m hoping it goes up this Fall.

Tribeca: The idea of allowing contributors to reap a financial reward is one that exerts a lot of appeal. How do you see your model interacting with the Kickstarter/Indiegogo model?

Richard Guay: I think there are still going to be folks out there who are just fans and understand going in that their contribution is just for a reward of some sort. I’ve contributed to a lot of Kickstarter campaigns, in the spirit of getting something made that otherwise would not get made. That provides a resource of tremendous value. But when someone donates and someone else ends up making an awful lot of money, that’s where things can become problematic. The backlash against Zach Braff was surprising – you would think the people donating to his campaign were just fans who wanted to help out. But when profit gets involved, some people start to feel like, hey, why can’t I participate? That’s where funding portals come in. They’re going to change that dynamic. But of course Kickstarter will keep happening, and of course it’s way broader than film projects. It remains to be seen what happens with Braff’s movie. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when it’s released. You can bet that people who donated to it will follow the release of the film carefully.

Tribeca: Who do you envision your typical user being?

Richard Guay: The way the regulations are written, it’s undetermined if the sites have to be used by accredited or unaccredited investors. Accredited basically means, people who can afford to lose some money. I think the site will not be for casual fans. I think it’ll be for people who are interested in getting involved in investing in films. I mean, if someone has enough money they’ll set up their own company and reach out to CAA or whatever, but there’s another kind of investor who wants to explore the film investing world in a different way. The site could also be for companies who already invest in films – we’re going to open the site up for projects that are in development, seeking development financing. There will be too many requirements for the site to really be for a casual film fan. The regulations are all written from the point of view of protecting the investor, but there are thresholds to people joining the site. I think the fans will keep going to sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.  Read the full interview HERE.

What do you think about this new crowdfunding portal?  Is it something you are looking forward to using?  Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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