Last year, “Scrubs” star Zach Braff turned to the crowd funding website, Kickstarter, to make his second feature film, “Wish I Was Here” and, in spite of his critics, the campaign was a rousing success. He got the money, and not from a corporation, or a production group … he got it from the fans.
And while Braff has certainly had some skepticism as to whether that funding was necessary, it’s the results you can’t argue with and what it is it signifies. In a very real way, the crowd funding of a major feature film implies something huge, a paradigm shift that, up until recently, economists could only dream about: a genuine shift in the means of production.
It sounds like overreaching at first, not to mention a little Marxist, but think about it for a second. The power to manufacture is shifting, and in a positive way; it allows for the creation and distribution of ideas and products that could never survive in a traditional market, and it’s all thanks to the Internet.
Kickstarter. Khanacademy, Reddit, Heck, even such vacuous platforms as Paypal and Youtube have allowed for the broad dissemination of money, concepts, and, thanks to the oncoming advent of the Age of 3D Printing, consumer goods. Only in this case, the catch is that the consumer and the producer are on a level playing field: they’re all people like you. These websites (and others), coupled with the nature of the web to build powerful intersectional communities have already begun to alter the economic climate, and it’s only going to lead to bigger and better shifts.
You can log onto https://www.khanacademy.org/ and take university-quality courses on medicine, on history, on economics. You can design fully printable 3D models and take tutorials with free programs like Google Sketchup. You can publish a product or concept and pitch it to the public with Indiegogo or Kickstarter, and get it funded. Then you can take that product, and with a 3D printer (some as cheap as $1200, and only getting cheaper) and materials, you can print and distribute it.
That’s the entire production cycle, from start to finish, all on the Internet. Created by and for a likeminded community without corporate or government intervention. Pure ideas come to life. The implication here, if you’re willing to take advantage of it, is the dawn of a new age.
An age of innovation.
Never before have people been able to share ideas and information so readily than today. Money and services can be exchanged with the click of a button, and that gives you the power. You aren’t helpless anymore.
Sure, there’s obviously still powerful corporations, and of course there are still laws all the wannabe anarchists in their Guy Fawkes’ masks armed with Cody Wilson’s 3D printable guns in the world won’t be able to completely disarm the bureaucracy of the world but you still have access to more means than anyone in history, and, frankly, that’s something you’re obligated to take advantage of.
You can have the answer to almost any question on your phone in seconds. You can look up tutorials to practically any legal (and most illegal) activity imaginable. You can convince strangers to give you money to fund your projects. And most importantly, you can make those projects happen, those projects can better people’s lives.
Any Anteater out there could start right now you don’t have to be Zach Braff. Let’s say EDM is your passion download some example tracks, watch some tutorials and take to your favorite recording software. A few months and a successful crowd funding campaign later, you could be a serious musician. Or maybe you want to change the way the world looks at your community, your religion, your culture. You have that capability. You could become a hacker, an artist, a politician, an inventor, and all you need is the drive.
All you have to do is try.
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