Friday, November 2, 2012

Bronycon: The Documentary: The Interview!

Welcome to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I’m joined by Michael Brockhoff executive producer of “Bronycon: The Documentary” which had a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign back in June.  Thank you for joining us today Michael.

Thank you for having me James. 

Where to begin?  You had a wildly successful campaign that ended June 10th in time to allow the documentary to film during the July Bronycon in New York.  With an initial goal of $60,000 did you think you were aiming for the “bare minimum” to film this project?  How did you react when you actually cleared $300,000?

We were initially prepared to shoot the documentary strictly around the BronyCon convention weekend. As additional funds were pledged it was exciting because we were able to expand the concept first to include visits to the homes of people who were planning to attend the convention, then to include international stories and film at Galacon in Germany and B.U.C.K. in the UK.

Since John de Lancie voiced Discord on the show his connection to the project and the convention is obvious, but how did you get involved?  

I’ve known John for years. I was having dinner at this house one night and he told me about voicing Discord and the Bronies. I was fascinated. After thinking about it, I called John and said, you know there is a documentary in this and we should make it. The rest is history.

As someone who has staffed a convention for several years I know how hard it is to do anything at a convention, let alone try to film a documentary of it!  How hard was it to manage a staff of 30 crewmembers with 10 cameras and the assorted sound equipment used in shooting this documentary?  

It was a huge undertaking. I’ve been involved in a number of reality shows with large crews and tight schedules. I called in a number of crew members I’ve used in the past and we went to work to figure of the best way to capture this large event.

Obviously the Brony community was open to your project during the Kickstarter, how accommodating were they during the actual shooting?

The Bronies have been amazing. They were excited to have host us and make sure we were able capture the best material.

How did the shoot go from being just about one convention, to three, to shots all across the globe?! How well do you think it’s all coming together as one solid narrative?

We were excited to include the worldwide community, but we weren’t sure how it would all come together in one documentary. Initially we planned on creating one big film and two mini films on the other conventions. When we got to editing, we found that all three actually cut together well and complimented each other.

Your latest update announced a pre-screening at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, CA for November 4th.  How excited are you to finally be showing it in an almost completed state?  

A lot of hard work and passion has gone into creating this documentary. We feel a lot of responsibility to deliver and we’re very excited to see how it is received.
Do you think your documentary will improve the reputation of the Brony community?  Did your opinion of them change at all?  

Hopefully those who see the film will have a better idea of who Bronies are and the challenges they face. Knowledge goes a long way towards understanding. When we started, I didn’t have a negative opinion of Bronies, I was just confused about who they are and why they liked the show. I feel like I have a grasp now.

How well has funding gone after the campaign?  I know your website allows Paypal purchases even now.  

There has been a steady trickle of people who missed the Kickstarter campaign but found our site. We’re happy that we have been able to include them in the process and every bit of funding helps. Anytime additional funds come in we see it as an opportunity to make the film better.

One of the keys of a successful Kickstarter project is backer participation.  How did you engage with your backers? Did you plan any of your updates ahead of time or where they all done “under fire” during the campaign.

We were lucky. The Bronies were so excited about the project that they engaged us. As the campaign become more successful we added pledge levels, changed our goals and crafted the project to become bigger and more ambitious.

What kind of media attention did you receive with your project?  I noticed John’s comments about some unsavory press.  

The Brony media was incredibly supportive and made the campaign fun. Without Equestria Daily in particular I don’t think we would have been as successful.

Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?  
Do you think Kickstarter is becoming the for smaller film projects and independents to go for funding?

The most important key to success is finding a community that can get passionate about your project. You have to see Kickstarter as only an easy tool for collecting money and as a gathering place, not as a funding source itself.

Thank you for spending your time with us Michael!  Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

To those who have funded the project, we thank you so much for your faith in us. For those who want to see the film, please go to and pre-order your copy.

Thanks again and I look forward to seeing the final release!

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