Back to IndieWire

Whoopi Goldberg Sets Up Kickstarter Campaign To Fund Moms Mabley Doc (Some Questions…)

Whoopi Goldberg Sets Up Kickstarter Campaign To Fund Moms Mabley Doc (Some Questions...)

Whoopi Goldberg has been talking about making a documentary feature on the life of pioneering comedian Moms Mabley for at least 2 years now, and it looks like she’s reached the tail-end of the production phase (I didn’t even know that she’d begun), interestingly taking to the web to raise funds to complete the film.

Whoopi has set up a Kickstarter page for the project (titled I Got Somethin’ To Tell You), asking fans to help her fund the project. How much does she need? $65,000.

A quote from Whoopi from the campaign:

“Moms Mabley was a pioneer in the comedy world and this documentary will showcase her talent and pay homage to a woman who is still relevant today. … Moms helped shape the idea that comedy could make a political and social statement and still be hilarious. She’s one of my role models and her comedy is still poignant today. This documentary will delve into the comedy of Mabley, as well as help define her significance through clips, old photographs, television show appearances and interviews, conducted by me with famous and influential people who either knew and worked with Moms or were inspired by her.”

In return for those who contribute, she’s offering rewards that include signed photos, personalized thank-you cards, and a mention in the DVD credits on the lower end of the contribution scale; but if you give the top amount ($10,000) you’ll get dinner for you and a guest with Whoopi at a restaurant of her choosing in New York City.

The campaign’s goal is to raise the $65,000 by July 26. Thus far, as of this posting, she’s raised just over $7,000.

The very first thought that came to me when I first heard about this campaign earlier today was: couldn’t she have come up with the additional $65,000 in finishing funds (really not a lot of money for someone in her position I don’t think) herself, or reached out to her wealthy friends for assistance – especially in light of what I referred to in a previous post as “Kickstarter Fatigue.”

Or is this all really just part of the film’s early marketing and audience awareness campaign?

I wonder what percentage that $65,000 is of the film’s total budget, and if she’d consider audiences investing in the film (as opposed to donating) so that they’d really feel like they’re part of the project, and will, in essence, be part owners of the finished work, which would mean a stake (no matter of small) in its profits. Which some may be more enthusiastic about than a signed photo, or thank-you card.

Your thoughts on all that?

This Article is related to: News



You people are freaking clueless!!! Whoopi Goldberg was not the only celeb this month to use kickstarter. Eliza Dushku actress of the former defunct TV show’s Doll House and Tru Calling use it to fund her Albania Documentary project. One of Eliza's twitter fans asks her why she was using kickstarter to raise 60k. Eliza response was it was the new NOW for fans to get involve in supporting a celebs project. Twitter fan said you and your bf Rick Fox (former NBA player) clearly and go have and half on this thing. People this is reality check, these celebs do not have the liquidity on hand sometime to do what they need. In Whoopi's case she supports her entire family and she backing Sister’s Act her Broadway show. She has financial constraints people! Sorry. It's not that easy. They have to put in calls, reallocate, and move monies around and sometime they cannot do it. Who wants’ to be over extended in damn bank loans! You know how many celebs got homes foreclosing and owe Uncle Sam as quiet as it is kept. We do not live these peoples’ lives for them! Folks do not assume.


I like Whoopi. But with hundreds, no thousands, of independent filmmakers out here, truly in need of raising funds, this is a complete slap in the face. And Kickstarter has jumped on her bandwagon, making her project a "Staff's Pick". Sure, she has the right to do so, but does she really need to? She wants to raise $65,000 for "finishing costs". Does she not realize that people are making complete films for that price, with money from their own pockets and from donated services of actors, crew, locations, etc.? And, yes, it DOES take us 5 years, whether she wants to wait that long or not. None of us think our projects are "bullshitty", per her IndieWire interview. She has plenty of connections (I bet if she asked, she could get a lot of those items on her list in return for credit), avenues for publicity, and makes $2 million a year on The View alone. That means she'll earn that $65,000 in, what, 12 days? How long does it take most independent filmmakers to make $65,000? It just leaves a really bad taste in my mouth.


Kickstarter is for people who really need funding. If she wants to promote this idea she has access to more channels than new producer/directors to do it.

Michael Golden of Golden2Golden Ent.

It's all about marketing…. With some it's not about the money with Kickstarter… It's about promotion and publicity it's the new Young Hollywood way.


I ain't givin' her–or IT–((EXPLETIVE))…


I don't know what to make of this.

Whoopi could write a check and fund this entire project herself so she's not using Kickstarter because she needs the money. So maybe this is some type of "focus group". She can gauge peoples' interest in the project by the number of people who donate.


This is interesting. I wonder how many other celebs(actors) will use this method if she's successful?


My first thought is that her break-offs from The View and other 30 years of television and film projects plus her books could easily cover the balance.

Bohemian princess

Whoopi Goldberg is worth about 50 million (give or take) so she clearly could have funded the project out of pocket without missing a beat. The only logical conclusion would be that she is indeed trying to create buzz nevertheless this just doesn't sit well with me. There are hundreds…thousands…of emerging artists out there who truly need the crowd funding platform to raise much needed cash. There are other more effective ways to create buzz and Ms. Goldberg knows it. Yes she has a right to do it since there are no rules permitting her to do so but this just stinks.


What she don't make enough money on The View? To fund this project herself.


This is absolutely a part of the marketing plan for the film. Before I begin, I want to point out, I am all for the Moms Mabley project. I grow up listening to Moms Mabley record as a little kid. I'm very excited someone wants to do a project about her life. A few years back there was a one woman show produced in Harlem, NY.
The downside is I'm not sure if using a popular crowd sourcing platform was a great idea for Ms Goldberg to solicit funds or better yet create a buzz for the project. I have to question the crowd sourcing company that approved the project. I was under the impression, this platform was used for small start-ups, orgs, emerging filmmakers/artist (at the very most C&D list stars) that truly need help with raising capital for their projects. It's kind of like how can an independent producer (1 million & under but closer to under with grants from Kodak and other grants programs) compete with a major Hollywood director at Sundance? It really plays into ethics, morals and good old fashion respect for the "true independent" artist who is working hard to raise funds. I guess in order to answer that, one must define independent artist.
Would one feel differently if an emerging producer (1 or 2nd project) created the campaign. What if, He/She had the opportunity to get Whoppi to star in the project but needed to raise $65,000 for her salary and part of production. It's assumed that Whoopi agreed to such a low pay scale in return for ED credit. Would this project be OK to post? Why do I feel like my hard earned $5 – 20 is being taken for granted. I feel had, bamboozled, hoodwinked and straight-up robbed for what little I have or maybe I'm just over reacting.


Get off kickstarter, Ms. Goldberg.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *