A film documentary producer named Jeff Plunkett approached us in Las Vegas and proposed to create a documentary of the proceedings of the Millionaire Chess. A chess enthusiast himself, Jeff offered to take responsibility of the entire production, and for free. How about that?
We, of course, became excited not entirely because we were getting the services for free but more because we were going to be documented. Any public exposure will be good for MC and will help towards the goal of bringing chess mainstream. Jeff did a great job filming for all 5 days. Afterwards, he told us he planned to create a documentary and would need to raise funds for that. He explained that he would leave the investing to the public, meaning to invite the general public to invest in the project. Then, I learned that this concept is called crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding involves raising money with the help of a large group of people that help you set-up business or a project. In common terms, it can also be called as a donation, except that it is tied to the American Jobs Act which stipulates that you can sell some of your stocks to the investors over the internet to fund your business or project.
This is a good concept to start a business that is already deemed viable, has a business plan but doesn’t have enough resource to kick it off. Crowdfunding can motivate young people with the entrepreneurial spirit and are talented. This group of people is oftentimes filled with creative ideas but does not have the means to launch their projects. And so, their enthusiasm wane. This somehow reminds me of the Kiva. Kiva is an organization that involves the public and extends small amount of loans or microfinancing to people in underdeveloped countries to help them launch their business. My son and I are involved in this and it gives us satisfaction in being able to be help to others. It has also introduced my son, then 10 years old, to manage his own finances and his own “business.”
Back to crowdfunding. Looking more into the concept, I realized that crowdfunding is quite a risk for the originator of an idea. The idea could get stolen by anybody in the “public” who initially shows interest in donating. He could get a lot of information about the business and, one day, the originator realizes that his business concept has already taken off and is now owned by his formerly potential investor. There is also that risk on the part of the investor. How sure is he that the business will take off and that he is going to get his investment back; never mind the interest. Thus, the originator of the idea should not only have the idea for the business but should also have that unique that is more difficult to “steal.”
Plunkett, on the other hand, already made a short version of the documentary, uploaded it – https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/pushing-wood-a-documentary – and is now “selling” the concept to chess enthusiasts and inviting them to participate as investors so that he could continue the project.