If You Weren’t So Stupid…Brendan Maclean Interview.

Brendan Maclean is a musician, actor and all round funny guy. Seriously check out his twitter. His work has seen him with a semi regular spot covering songs on 2dayFM and with a role in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great GatsbyHe was kind enough to give up some time to answer some questions for my uni project on crowd funding. See the full prezi, Get the tropics to skins!


1. Why did you decide to take on a crowd funding project?

It was really Amanda Palmer who put me up to it. I was pretty cynical about the idea, but having failed, at the time, to find any studio backing and having lost a sizable amount of cash on a recording session that went belly up I was out of options.

2. Was there any reason you used the Pozible platform in comparison to other crowd funding sites?

I sent out an e-mail to a few of the crowdfunding sites, Pozible got back to me first. It’s as simple as that – I needed a company that was going to respond and really be there if something went wrong.

3. Was there any model or other campaign you took inspiration from?

Amanda’s campaign worked for a handful of reasons – she proved what she had in store for potential backers, she provided consistent updates and she even started delivering before the project ended. Her video was entertaining and had a “viral” feel to it. The financials were well detailed and the prizes were unique. All things that make you feel like you’re getting an “experience”, and that’s really the difference between crowdfunding and sales. The campaign itself is an experience.

4. What did you learn about your audience as a result of the project?

I learned that they are dedicated to music. It’s not just me they wanted to support but all artists – so when I invited other musicians, videographers or designers on board I found that artist’s fans wanted to be involved too. Also, and I think this is a given, people like being included. The more interactive I was the more people seem to give.

5. Did you see a certain type of demographic contributing to the campaign?

It was a real split between fans who had been with me for a while and an older audience from Twitter or Facebook that saw the campaign growing. It makes sense that young people who had really only just heard of me didn’t donate as much because, let’s be real, we don’t have any money to give to people’s campaigns so they can make art. We need it to buy two-minute noodles because our University fees cost too much. So you have to be a little more inventive than just shouting on your Facebook Fan page. It meant radio interviews, newspaper article, video updates on YouTube, the whole gambit – especially in the preparatory stages. You have to warm people up so they can get their wallets ready.

6. What obligation do you have to your funders after the campaign finishes?

Look, it’s weird. Sometimes people take a while, jesus, I’m not even done sending shirts out because I’ve been gallivanting overseas. Some prizes just ended up being impossible, did I really think I was ever going to be able to 30 people in a room to shoot a video clip? The answer for me ended up being an ultimatum, if people thought I had taken too long I offered refunds. There is no legal obligation but I believe if you give a fair amount of cash to a campaign you can make a claim against the artist. But really it’s just more about being an asshole.

7. Is there anything you would do differently on a different campaign?

I certainly wouldn’t have made as many physical objects to post. That was a huge mistake and a blow to the budget. Personally, having signed to a publication contract I don’t think it would be right for me to do another Pozible campaign, there are other crowdfunding platforms that promote an ongoing small donation – and I think that might serve me better.

8. What advice would you give anyone contemplating taking on a crowd funding project?

You are a musician, not a merchandise tent. Get help, crowdfunding campaigns really do require a village to raise. You need to launch it, keep momentum and continually update. Most people I know get sick halfway through from the stress so don’t try to do it alone.