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Fan Mail: Should I Donate to Absinthe Film’s Crowd-Funding Campaign?

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that 2017 has been a crazy year. First an Internet troll was sworn into the highest office in Americaland, then we told you it might be time to be cool with skiers. And now, Absinthe Films is asking for your help to pay for its new snowboard movie “Turbo Dojo”. Some people aren’t sure how they feel about this change to the classic movie-funding model, for example Grant did some crowdsourcing of his own by looking for answers on the Catfish Chronicles Facebook page

Thanks for your great question Grant! First we’d like to say that Absinthe has been in the game longer than anyone else, produced some really cool snowboard films and promoted some really great riders over the years. Also, Nicolas Müller is a genuinely good dude who truly loves snowboarding and is ridiculously fun to watch ride. Now that we have the warm and fuzzy bullshit out of the way, here’s what we really think, point-by-point.

1 I hate crowdfunding…

You, me, and everyone else. I’d wager the phrase “I hate crowdfunding” came out of everyone involved in Absinthe’s mouth several times over the years. Why should anyone want to use money they’ve earned through hard work to pay for someone else’s “dream?” But unfortunately, snowboard industry funding for this sort of project is gone. It’s sad, but true, and so the riders and producers of Absinthe have had to look for other revenue sources. Seeing as Full Moon films successfully pulled this off for its 2-year project in 2015 – it certainly is an option – and there are some rabid snowboard fans out there who make more money than they know what to do with and may be willing to kick down some cash to help.

2 …unless it’s for a good business idea, in which a project is offered.

Big budget snowboard films (ie those that require RED cameras, multiple filmers and helidrops etc) are just not a “good business idea” in 2017. If they were, Drink Water would be paying for the entire project themselves from all their hoodie/water bottle sales or Nico would take the extra $80,000 required out of his savings account (assuming he has one after a career of riding for brands such as Nike and Oakley, of course) to foot the bill.

3 Products are being offered, which is good.

If you’re referring to the video itself – yes a full snowboard video is a product, but unfortunately not one the majority of consumers are willing to pay for in 2017. Even in the gravy days of snowboarding, when everyone wanted in, DVD sales were not the bread and butter. Videos such as these are a marketing tool. And in 2017 brands now have a lot more media options to choose from (ie social media, producing their own videos, independent blogs, etc.)  That said, there are some sweet prize incentives if you donate, so maybe that is the consumer product now?

4 Isn’t Absinthe buy-in like 20 grand?

Because these are considered “trade secrets,” we can only speculate on this based on rumors we’ve heard but yes, that sounds about right. For a brand to have their rider/logos included, they have historically handed over a decent chunk of change for the pleasure aka the “buy-in.” The real budget for something like this though, is way over six figures – that flexible 80k goal only gets the video producers part of the way. Again, heli drops, cat time, flights to exotic locales, baggage fees, camera equipment and filmer salaries do not come cheap. They never have, but in the past things such as energy drinks, footwear giants and huge multi-sport apparel brands have covered most of that cost.

5 Why are they bringing a band and filmers on an expensive premiere tour?

The premiere tour is the only time most people are going to watch this video. Without it, the core Absinthe audience – people who will actually pay for an iTunes download or tune in during the 24 hour web premiere- is “too small” for a brand (of any size, really) to invest in. That said, this seemingly expensive tour is actually not that expensive. Bands play cheap for “exposure” and traveling without snowboard gear – especially around Europe with its amazing public transit systems – is a negligible expense in the grand scheme of things. In fact, charging a $10 cover at the door probably covers most of those costs, and the marketing value of real-world events is actually much more valuable than anything online. It’s a real, tangible experience that actually gets people excited to snowboard – helping to foster the community which we all hold so dear. Plus it’s a place where people buy beer and snacks – which is another way to make money.

In conclusion – if you have the money and want to watch another Absinthe movie or attend one of the premiere parties next year – you should definitely donate. If not, then you shouldn’t.  We really hope this helped answer your questions, college boy. See ya in the real world in a couple years.

Dontate to Absinthe’s IndieGogo Campaign here. Or don’t. It’s up to you.

Update: Grant said he loves Absinthe and plans to dontate anyway.

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