One-Eyed Man Asks Crowd to Fund His TV Show
Even if you have a good idea for a television show, trying to convince the commissioning-editors to give you the green light to make it is tricky, so one man in West Sussex has decided to turn to the great British Public to ask for help.
The Bald Explorer, aka Richard Vobes, 49, a filmmaker from Worthing, who lost an eye three years ago, has been producing a television series looking at Britain’s lesser-known heritage for a year now. They are shown regularly on the Community Channel, a UK TV station on the digital platform. So far, he has been funding the seven history documentaries himself, but now he has decided to try crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding is the collective effort of individuals who network, usually on the Internet on social media and pool money to support a project and help get it off the ground. Vobes’ TV show is on the Kickstarter.com website, which since it’s launch in 2009 has had more than 4.4 million people pledging over $683 million to fund more than 44,000 creative projects.
Television is a costly business; many producers are having to find innovative ways to spend their ever-decreasing budgets to get the maximum out of them. The Bald Explorer documentary is seeking just over seven thousand pounds to produce one hour of programming and some supporters have pledged amounts of £100 to help get this programme made.
But Vobes is no stranger to television; he wrote, co-produced and starred in a children’s series in the 1990’s Snug and Cozi for ITV with Scottish Television and as an actor, he appeared in many prime time series including The Bill, Poirot, Love Joy and Waiting for God, to name a few.
For many years, Vobes pitched new ideas in the form of video pilots to commissioning editors, ranging from comedy (he painted himself green and pretended to be an alien from the planet Mars) to spoof documentary (as Steve Snoops, he was the UK’s special sex detective).
‘Television executives tell you they are looking for fresh ideas and new talent,’ says Vobes, ‘but you only have to turn on the box and you see the same old faces presenting the same old formats. If I have to sit through another food show, I will explode!’
Vobes believes that mainstream television is too cautious and is frightened of taking a risk. He also thinks that with an ever-increasing population, the industry is marketing programmes to the wrong audience. ‘TV is aimed at the youth, yet they are switching away from traditional media in favour of the internet,’ he says. ‘The broadcast industry should be addressing the larger mature population, and that’s where my heritage series fits in.’
The Bald Explorer can be found on www.CommunityChannel.org or at www.BaldExplorer.com