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SXSW: 'House of Cards' Producer Rails Against Celebrity Crowdfunding

Photo of Paula Bernstein By Paula Bernstein | Indiewire March 9, 2014 at 9:13PM

Producer Dana Brunetti is a fan of crowdfunding - except when it involves celebrities. The "House of Cards" producer railed against celebrity crowdfunding at a talk at SXSW led by former Facebook executive Randi Zuckerberg.
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Getty Images Dana Brunetti with Kevin Spacey at the Webby Award.

Producer Dana Brunetti ("The Social Network," "House of Cards") is a fan of crowdfunding -- except when it involves celebrities. The "House of Cards" producer railed against celebrity crowdfunding at a talk at SXSW led by former Facebook executive Randi Zuckerberg.

"It's a brilliant idea that's gotten out of hand," Brunetti told the crowd at the session entitled "Are We All Producers Now?" "I think it’s wrong when people like Zach Braff or Spike Lee use that same service to fund their films when they already have access, I think it overshadows and takes away from the little guys who actually need the funding."

He also has a problem with crowdfunding campaigns which offer backers creative involvement. "When they start selling executive producer credits and walk-on roles, that takes away from the artistic integrity immediately…Just because they gave you money, they become an executive producer or a co-producer," said Brunetti.

Dana Brunetti at SXSW

His advice to filmmakers using crowdfunding? "Don't sell credits, don't sell walk-on roles… If people want to back you, they'll back you. But if you have to entice people will walk-on roles and crazy credits, you're undermining yourself."

Here are other highlights from his talk:

On taking a risk with Netflix

"A lot of people thought we were nuts. They didn’t understand what we were doing...Everybody gets it now. The same people who thought it was crazy sit in my office now and say, 'How do I get my show on Netflix?'" 

On knowing your audience

"Listen to what the fans are saying and what they're doing from a content creation side and what they want and what they expect so you can create and make for them. They can make or break a film. Between Twitter and Facebook, early word of mouth for a film can destroy it immediately or take something you've never heard of and make it a huge hit."

Dealing with "haters" online

"Everybody is always going to have haters. It comes with the job. You have to have a tough skin and not let it affect you."

"It's a business full of crazy egos and a lot of assholes. If you can't take what the assholes online are saying to you, it's probably not the business for you."

On the future of television

"I think it's dead the way we know it now. Digital distribution is where it's at….what Netflix is doing, what Amazon is doing, Hulu even… Facebook can easily start creating content and have a huge audience, same with Twitter and all the others. That's where it's all going to happen."

This article is related to: House Of Cards, SXSW, SXSW 2014, South By Southwest Film Conference and Festival (SXSW), Television, Tech, Crowdfunding