As you may have heard, in tones of varying screechiness, Kickstarter has endured a sort of backlash of late, as the crowdsourcing site has been increasingly co-opted by musicians and filmmakers with plenty of means to realize their projects, yet ask you to give it to them anyway. Some have responded by pointedly making their own art for free. Others have taken out their frustrations on Melissa Joan Hart. More recently, comedian Jon Lajoie (best known as “Taco” on The League) witheringly spoofed such endeavors with his “Help Jon Become Super Rich!!!”, a mocking initiative dedicated to helping Jon become super rich “without all the added pressure of actually doing something.” Amid such growing pessimism, it's only becoming harder for people of privilege to ask those without to fund their capricious self-interests without the hassle of first proving merit, like normal people have time to do.
Take, for instance, Zosia Mamet, the daughter of successful director and playwright David Mamet. She's currently best known for playing “Shoshanna” on Girls, but she also longs to be known for playing “body percussion” in The Cabin Sisters, a folk band she launched with sibling and fellow TV star Clara. But because of the current harsh climate surrounding celebrity crowdsourcing campaigns, the Mamets are sadly unable to raise the $32,000 necessary to make their first music video. This, despite being famous and asking nicely, which is how a successful Kickstarter campaign should work.
Instead, the Mamets are left with a mere $2,000 of their goal, unable to find enough backers willing to support their modest, banjo-driven folk music. Theirs is a sound that evokes “the universal feeling of unrequited love,” and now it just needs $32,000 to visually realize the universal feelings and all-embracing adjectives of “opulence to sparseness, French Baroque to a simple, timeless and heartbroken” in order to bring people together. Specifically, Zosia and Clara Mamet, who—as they say in the video pitch below, which they filmed instead of making a music video—started the band as “an excuse to spend more time together.”
And as with "unrequited love" and "opulence," who cannot also relate to the universal feeling of “demanding schedules that prevent attendance at family functions,” because you're too busy making films and TV shows? Indeed, without your help, when will these sisters ever be reunited to play their banjo-and-body-percussion songs in a French Baroque music video, especially if there are parties to go to? For that matter, when will you?
Unfortunately, thanks to the miasma of Internet cynicism, the Mamets’ humble, heartfelt song "Bleak Love"—which was written “in a matter of hours,” on a banjo that Clara humbly, heartfelt-ily says she is “playing very badly”—may never get the humble, heartfelt, “beautiful gowns, statues, a large opulent loft space, extensive make-up, saturated tones needing anamorphic lens (for those technically inclined)” it now needs to properly tell its story. Not for the “Shoshanna”-embroidered director’s chair from the Girls set that Zosia is generously offering for your $8,000 donation. Not for a $2,000 Skype session, in which both sisters will donate a whole 45 minutes of their busy, family function-bereft lives sharing “some tea and songs” at no additional charge, or any additional demand for additional beautiful gowns to play them for you. Not even for the call to “please please join us in the fight against heartbreak!” on their Kickstarter page—which is what giving them the $32,000 is also for, by the way. Fighting heartbreak, with banjo love songs. And loft spaces.
Yes, it seems heartbreak is destined to win again, leaving the Mamets with no recourse to realize their musical dreams besides working on them diligently in their own time, developing a following through live performances and self-released recordings, securing a contract with a label that can provide them with a video budget—or perhaps loan them a moderately priced HD camera—and then fighting heartbreak and buying beautiful gowns with that money. And sadly, there's just no webpage that can do all that.