How many people does it take to start a movie studio? 1,292 plus according to Wefunder, the crowdfunding platform that was chosen to help fund Legion M, the brainchild of Paul Scanlan and Jeff Annison. These gentlemen had the idea to throw open the gates of Hollywood to people that are true fans not just those in the industry; even though there are several investors that actively work in some facet of “the industry.”
If you had the opportunity to invest in a movie studio, would you? The movie industry is big bucks and has seen several “little guys” fold under the weight of bad decisions over the 100+ years of filmmaking, so what makes Legion M different? Since it’s just beginning, we will have to wait and see.
Here’s what makes Legion M different:
In Legion M’s opening round of funding, investors were able to purchase shares for just $7.00 per share. The next round of funding will be coming at a fairly inconvenient time for those of us in the bracket of less disposable income (holiday shopping season), but it seems that Scanlan and Annison are keeping their commitment to keep it truly fan-driven. That brings me to my next thought. How is Legion M possible with all the investing regulations put in place by the SEC? Quite simply, it all comes down to the Jumpstart Our Business Start-ups Act. ‘What’s that?’ You ask yourself, just as I did. The JOBS Act allows everyday people to invest in companies that they believe in as opposed to before the JOBS Act where a perk system was all that was available. (Crowdfunder, Indiegogo & Kickstarter.) To invest before the act you had to be an accredited investor. (If you’re financially savvy you understand the implications here. But if you aren’t (like me) it means you have to be independently wealthy and able to handle any kind of loss if the start-up tanks.)
Why is the JOBS Act important? It allowed for the concept behind Legion M’s premise, “opening the gates of Hollywood.” That’s every movie fan’s fantasy, right? Owning something that they love. Wefunder helped facilitate the first round of funding. It was user friendly and everything is signed digitally, if you chose. If you had a question, they were quick in their response. (How many customer support centers do you know that get back to you the very next day?) But that is not what impressed me. What did impress me was the cost of each share and the fact that the minimum investment was within reach for the average Joe.
To further The Legion, all of the members or investors have the option to get free swag from the website. Stickers, decals (because there is a difference), temporary tattoos and business cards are shipped quickly when an order is placed; they adorn cars and computers spreading the message. Fans are the best free advertisement any franchise, or business, can have. T-shirts are available for purchase from the Legion M store or partner businesses. (Those businesses also happen to be owned by Legion M investors.) All the profits from the Legion M store go back into Legion M. If you go to a convention or event in the near future and see someone wearing a Legion M t-shirt, you’ll know that person is involved in a groundbreaking endeavor and that they are committed to it because they have put money back into the Legion. You can tell most founding investors by the t-shirt they wear. (Not me, I opted for a different one!) By the way, Legion M launched at the Silicon Valley Comic Con and the Legion even has their own mascot, Marilyn, a 1959 Caddy.
So far the projects have been kept under wraps. There’s one that’s been public since it’s inception. It’s pretty epic and will work to preserve the knowledge of industry greats. It’s the ICONS project, a VR based “library” if you will. The first subject in line is Stan Lee, who is a supporter of Legion M. The Legion M story was featured in the LA Times, with a brief mention of the ICONS project.
Another project was just released this week, and it’s going to appear at Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con (formerly Comikaze), Legion M Presents “Pitch Elevator.” The pitches will be viewed by members of the Legion and the ones with the most votes will be selected to move on. (There’s still time to become a member. It’s free! Just go to the closed group link and request membership.) Once narrowed down, 10 finalists will be selected (There are prizes!) and out of those 10, a winner will be crowned. (More prizes!) Oh, this will also be developed into a TV series as Legion M’s first non-VR project. I can’t wait to see what we get.
One of the things I like about being a part of Legion M is the sense of community. We all encourage each other; share in the triumphs or defeats. Like I said there are several of us engaged in some facet of the industry, we share insight in to the “how things work” with those that are not a part of the entertainment industry. We have input in Legion M and this is the second difference between Legion M and other studios, the first being the obvious “fan-owned.” We have made an investment in our future and our family’s future, as well as the future of the entertainment industry. Won’t you join us?