Gooseberry campaign launched – we need 10k people to help!

9 March, 2014 |  62 Comments | by Ton Roosendaal

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 0.24.56For quite a long while, we’ve been considering using Indiegogo or Kickstarter for the movie fundraiser. These sites are very efficient and attract a lot of people. After careful investigation and a lot of feedback, I decided to not use their service.  Three main reasons I’d like to mention.

1) Even when you get big movie stars on board, or do something to tickle adolescent testosterone, your film funding is not easily going to get more than 500k dollar. Animation film even much less.
The minimal budget for making Gooseberry has been realistically estimated to be 3.5M. Minimally! Optimal would be 6M euro even. (Multiply this with 1.35 to get USD). We can cover with own resources (subsidies, big sponsors) about 1.6M – which means we should try to get 1.9M crowdfunded. That’s not very feasible really.

2) What the popular crowd fund sites don’t have is:
A huge community of people who like to be involved, share and cooperate. gets 40-50k unique visitors daily, about 2M per year. That’s really huge – so why bother trying to get some dollars from film fans on Indiegogo, if we have our audience already right there at

3) Traditional crowd-funding perks are not much related to making the film, nor engage or involve an audience really. If it takes 2 years for you to get a film or film credit, how motivating is that to spend your money on it now?
We can do better – and especially if we use the Blender Cloud as the platform where the Gooseberry teams cooperate. We then can give our donators access to the same facilities to peek inside the making-of-a-film as if you were actually working in the project itself.

And last but not least: Blender is really about PEOPLE first, not about money. I would like to see the commitment and interest of actual Blender users to support us, which is much better than a couple of millionaires or film investors to provide the cash.

So that’s why the target “10,000 people can write film history”. I’m challenging you out there… do you think we’re worth getting supported for 1.5 year by you, for a humble 10 euro per month? Do you think your support is well rewarded by getting a lot of new development for Blender, AND help a dozen of small indie Blender studios to be growing, AND get all of the stuff they make for you free to use, AND get ways to get involved or participate, AND even get a great movie in the end?

Then just consider to subscribe to the Blender Cloud as Gooseberry supporter – and brace for an exciting 2 years to come :)



62 Responses

  1. Tim Blokdijk says:

    I dropped 900 Euro your way. Have fun!

  2. Yigit Savtur says:

    I pledged.Go Blender!

    Will the Blender Fund resources will also be added to Gooseberry Funds or is it separate ?

    • The Blender Development Fund will stay, these contributions keep going straight to developers for support, reviewing patches, bug fixing, and essential development projects (also for game makers, vfx, etc).

      For the subscriptions to Blender Cloud about 20% of the money goes to coding, 70% to making art (the movie, but also tutorials) and 10% overhead (internet services).

  3. warren says:

    You need to add a prominent DONATE button to this site; I just arrived here to donate and can’t see a clear path to the donation page, but don’t worry, I’ll find it :)

    • warren says:

      Ok duh, its on the home page, but still, it should maybe be a global link; some people like me might get a link directly to this or another page.

      • bart says:

        I just added the campaign status widget with a big ‘Support us!’ button to all the pages on the blog. How’s that for a start?

  4. Fred Flinstone says:

    About the cloud membership with the 175 euro option, how long is the cloud membership good for?

  5. BigPilot says:

    What’s this about an ‘exploitation window’? How loing will it last? Will Gooseberry be shown in movie theaters?

    • The window is 3 months, starting at the official premiere (our own, or on film festival or so). Film distributors can pay us for the exclusive rights to show the film in theaters during that period. After that, all gates go open and we release it as CC-BY for everyone.

      Benefits of this exploitation will go to the makers, and to the Blender Institute to fund new Blender projects.

    • I want to make a reservation for 3 months for exploitation. Is long enough for theatrical releases. (and of course we start negotiating it a year before ;)

  6. Anonymous says:

    […] […]

  7. Bob Fuchs says:

    I don’t have any money right now, but will pledge in a couple of days.
    Absolutely love what you’re doing and support crowd-funding for movies/films (and especially with this kind of commitment to open-source and the blender community) all the way!

    Veel plezier Ton! Ik ben zeer benieuwd en zal pledgen voor de per-maand actie. Super interessant!

  8. Tobias Milliken says:

    How much money is it to participate in the movie?

    • The movie will be made by 12 teams + Blender institute. Each team is reponsible for hiring their crews. They get paid for their work. You have to wait for them to call for participation.

      We also will setup ways to collaborate via Blender Cloud. How that goes we don’t know… probably it will be similar to how issue trackers work.

      Cloud subscription is 10 euro (13 usd) per month.

  9. Cessen says:

    Woo hoo! Signed up for a subscription, and am spreading the word!

  10. borisf says:

    Just my thoughts :
    1/ I’ve got big expectations for the project! I think the trailer is good.
    A minor criticism: there is a little lack of continuity in character design and rendering (mix of blender internal, cycles, freestyle I think), perhaps due to the number of studios involved: an important task may be to get the result coherent.
    2/ I don’t understand everything: the project need 1.9 M euros and the goal of the cloudfounding campain is only 500 000 euros ?
    3/ it would be interesting to have a year cloud access. Pay every month is just boring for me. And bank transfer would be ok.
    4/ some people may be interested to have a package (donation + cloud access) for a discount amount, even with two different payments because of VAT difference.

    • 1) The idea is to explore using multiple styles in the film. The teaser was made by few people in a short time. The film will be made by 60-80 people in 18 months. For sure it will look a whole lot better then!
      2) We also want 10k people to subscribe for donating us 10 euro per month. So – we get 100k euro per month, for 15 additional months.
      3) You can make a prepaid subscription, and charge it with 12 months.
      4) The system we have is already hard to communicate… for as now I prefer to separate our cloud from the pledges entirely.

  11. Wen-Hsin Jen says:


  12. Heribert Raab says:

    it looks like you making 12 short movie parallel and not one full-length freature… (like animatrix)

    • The director and writer are working on a compelling story that holds it all wonderfully together. We don’t want it to become like Animatrix, which I found mostly quite boring.

  13. Kevin says:

    This is an amazing undertaking and truly will be film history. I know the Blender community will come together and support this film and the advancement of Blender.

    I do have a concern about getting the word out fast enough. I know you said that you get 10,000 people a day to the Blender site. That’s great. However, on average you will get 1% to 2% conversion. Sites like Amazon will get 20%. I think Blender could get that kind of engagement too based on the nature of the community. However, that add up fast enough? That’s why, in my humble opinion, you should ask other sites to participate to get the word out. Increase your impressions. Sites like your participating studios. For example, I’m on Blender Cookie (CG Cookie) more often than I am Blender Cookie doesn’t have an “advertisement” for the “Support Blender and Make Film History”. I know it may be asking a lot of them. They are selling a service. However, they will benefit from this going forward and in more ways than one. I’d venture a guess that will be the same for the other studios. Additionally, other sites related to and/or care about the success of Blender should sponsor a reasonably prominent spot for the support or even the support widget. When Blender improves and get’s more global recognition it’s a win-win, right?

    Catching the Blender users in their various environments will give you more impressions and increase the likelihood of success.

    One last thing and I’ll shut-up. I promise. I’ve mentioned this before on comments on This may seem not important, but from my experience and profession as a marketer you need a simple social share widget. People like easy and fast. If a visitor can click on a button to share on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter, etc… they are more likely to spread the word than if they have to cut/paste, click to open said social outlet and so forth. Anyway, that’s my two-cents.

    Thank you for providing such an amazing piece of software, being crazy enough to tackle a feature film and under these circumstance AND under CC none-the-less. Wow! Good luck.

    • Our website stats is 30-40k visitors per day. E-shop / donation conversion is around 1 out of 1000 – if you look at past years.

      The trick we have to pull is to make the conversion to become 4 out of 1000 (a half percent). That I’ll be working on the coming weeks.

      CGCookie supports our project (they are part of it even). We’re not pushing this everywhere heavily yet – also to get the campaign website (and cloud offer) finished. I am back from SXSW on friday, and then we go full speed ahead with promotion.

      • Kevin says:

        Great then. The numbers are on your side. Looking forward to the ride. Good luck.

  14. Andre Lewis says:

    Subscribed and donated, I can’t think of a better place to put my money :)

    Any other ways we can get involved?


  15. BigPilot says:

    You claim that 3.5 million euro is the minimum needed and 6 million euro is needed to break even. What is this money used for? Are all the studio’s being paid for their work? What hourly rates are they charging?

    I mean, 6 million euro’s is a lot of money and not easily funded by the Blender community, many of whom are casual users. We’ve struggled to get to 4000 euro’s a month for the Blender Development Fund (to which I’m contributing) even though there are about a million Blender users.

    • Yes, everyone will get paid. The minimum budget is based on paying people a minimum wage – less than half of what normal commercial work would be paying. Ask any entrepreneur to make a budget for a project with 70 employees working 18 months. Or not – it’ll be freaking you out :)

      So – don’t get afraid of these big numbers. It simply comes down to this:
      *** I need 10k people to donate 10 euro per month. For that we can make a feature film. ***

      That’s less than 2M needed, over 1.5 year. The rest of the income we will handle myself – sponsors, subsidies.

      The development fund is great, but for many people not very attractive to support. A film project attracts 20-30 times more people to support. Sintel had 5500 supporters in the end, that is why I think we can be optimistic about Gooseberry’s funding. We didn’t start really yet! (I am at SXSW still)

      • BigPilot says:

        Hi Ton, I will try to support you guys by buying a movie credit and I hope you guys make the film.

  16. frank says:

    Why does and requires me to allow and other Google ‘services’? Blender Institute got no own Webspace to host their site?!

  17. j0en says:

    Maybe it’s a little late, but I think you should consider a third option for donating “under 10 €”. Something like “mini-donation”. One of the cryptocurrencies could fill the gap … I strongly recommend “Dogecoin”, that is backed by a large, fun and generous community.

  18. Josh Strawbridge says:

    i can’t help but think that your reasons for ruling out kickstarter/crowdfunding websites are a little flawed…
    i’ve donated to things that are going to take just as long (or longer) to make than gooseberry. you say things like traditional crowdfunding rewards don’t encourage involvement or that they don’t have a community that wants to be involved but that isn’t true. granted things like “oh hey this reward tier gets a shirt” aren’t very involving but does that mean people don’t want the shirt on top of a lower tier that allows access to say a special member only forum with polls/surveys about things involving the creation process or that simply involves glimpses into the creative process?

    even the lowest tier backers of the Mighty No.9 game, which didn’t include getting the game itself, were able to vote on what design to go with for one of the main characters of the game.
    people will be as involved as you let them be and will include themselves as much as you include them. the Mighty No.9 kickstarter is a great example of community involvement so far. they fairly regularly send out updates about what’s going on with the project that give inside glimpses into the project including posts of art and sometimes small videos. most recently was a very short video of the boss of the project testing a small bit of the game’s core gameplay and giving it a thumbs up along with the newsletter talking about how he previously had tested it and said that while it’s a very basic and simple part of the game that since it was something the players were going to be doing fairly often that even that small bit should be enjoyable/fun on it’s own.

    on the other hand there are other projects i’ve backed that don’t really send out much at all about how their project is going. those projects are the ones that feel more like a long wait for a reward rather than something i’m involved with.

    blender open movie projects have been pretty good at doing this kind of thing openly in the past. judging by the previous open movie blogs, as long as you make some backer only e-mail/newsletter/forum/whatever content it could easily be a lot of the same content as is likely to appear in the gooseberry blog.

    you also don’t have to limit yourself to traditional rewards that require waiting until the film is finished to fulfill.
    things like a digital copy of the script, posters, post cards, usb cards with the previous open movies/a few works from the various participating studios on them (if available and legal), decent quality 3d printed figurines of gooseberry/open movie characters, etc, can be parts of the rewards. while not everything i mentioned there may be i’m sure there are plenty of things that could be fairly cheaply produced to use as lower tier rewards.
    even things like a kickstarter reward tier of $1 with the reward being the heartfelt thanks of the blender foundation and the members of the blender community who want to see this project happen can add up to a decent amount of funding.
    every little bit does help after all and it’s not unusual at all to see people donate to those tiers.

    since the movie is going to be released for everyone to see for free anyway having a dvd of it may not be the best selling point for the masses in these days of online streaming content.
    so you may not want to even include that in the rewards at all since from what i’ve seen on kickstarter, if none of the rewards are actually a copy of the movie or anything that would involve the actual completion of the movie itself (like someone’s name in the credits or a dvd) then you won’t even have to aim for getting the full amount of funding you need from kickstarter. you could just aim for what it would take to create+ship the rewards + the fees taken by kickstarter + whatever amount you’d like to raise from kickstarter.

  19. Max says:

    Sorry guys, a little rich for my taste. I’ve donated and got in the credit scroll for the last two open moves from you guys, and I was going to do the same for this until I saw the prices. I know it’s a big project, and therefore you need a lot more than normal, but you’re risking scaring away people like me, not a lot of money, not going to follow a lot of the development, but willing to throw in 30 or 40 to support it and get in the credit roll.

    I suppose the credit roll would just be two long, looks like I’ll miss out this time :(

    • Subscribe to cloud. Pay 45 now, and then 10 per month. That’s a good deal for a feature film credit… and for the 10 per month you’ll get a WHOLE lotta fun and useful videos and 3d data – and even more! :)

  20. Satoshi Notkamoto says:

    Would it be too much of a hassle to enable donation via Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies? I’m not a laweyer, but it seems to me the payment amounts involved are small enough not to run afoul of currency controls/anti-money laundering laws. This might even make history as the first “Bitcrowd”-funded project.

  21. Dimitris Christou says:

    I’d love a DVD option like in the previous BF projects. I’m sure most people would like to spend say 50 euros for a good 4 DVDs pack (with the movie, project files, tutorials etc) instead of spending 20 euros and getting almost nothing (I know you get to see the film early, but doesn’t mean much imho). Got the past BF projects on DVD and still open the clips and files from time to time. Don’t know, am I the only one who thinks like that?

    • kiriri says:

      I totally agree with you, and as you can see by the amount donated after a whole week, I think most blender users agree with us… I really hope they’ll change it quickly, otherwise the fund raising will likely become an epic failure… and I personally really don’t want that :(

    • It’s a feature film, not a short… so there would be a lot less fitting on the 4 dvds.
      Tell me what you want on it? The film, a docu, and two discs with same files in HD? For 40 euro or so, which then is without getting a film credit? Is that going to sell well?

      That would mean we have to produce an NTSC box, and PAL box. And you would watch this on a normal SD TV, in 2016?

      It was my impression (during Sintel, and especially ToS) that less and less people were interested in video dvds. The data DVD was appreciated, but most users found swapping the discs in and out clumsy.

      I don’t say I am against it, we’d be happy to offer this as support product when we’re over 3/4 production. It’s then much easier for people to decide what hardware format they like to have (probably USB stick with UHD too?).

      Right now, I just think that selling dvds as option would not give us significantly more sales. Nearly everyone who pre-ordered the Sintel/ToS boxes back then, went for getting a credit (and for knowing they help making a film).

      This time it’s a feature film – 80 people to work for 18 months. We don’t get there with dvd box sales, unless we’d sell like 50,000 of them.

      BTW: You need to realize that previously, of the dvds people bought (Sintel, ToS) for 45 euro, that we could only invest 30 euro in the film itself. Rest went to printing costs, shipping costs and taxes.

  22. Dimitris Christou says:

    I would go for:
    1 DVD Pal Movie
    1 DVD NTSC Movie
    1 DVD Videotutorials + Movie (HD)
    1 DVD Blend files – Production bits
    Don’t forget that this time round you won’t be having live footage, tracking stuff and all that (like ToS had and took lots of disk space). Call me an old school guy too but I still watch DVDs (DVD is still dominating the market and not BluRay if I’m not mistaken). Then again, that’s just my opinion!

    • I totally see the point to give out physical goods. It’s nice for on the bookshelf – next to the other films. :)

      But further… we want to ask the teams to make tutorials all the time, We did that before too, but now it’s just going to be 10x more. Really hard to put this on 1 dvd as selection.

      A better solution could then is to decide to open a cloud account once, any time, and cherry-pick what you like best – and just cancel the account!

      Anyway, it’s a good point you make. I sleep it over one more night.

  23. S J Bennett says:

    There’s already well over 200 euro worth of content on Blender Cloud – even if you have one or two of the offerings from the Blender E-shop already, it’s a bargain. Can’t wait to get a glimpse at the actual production content as well!

    If BF is going to be distributing this on optical media for old time(r)s’ sake, I’d prefer to see a BluRay release – 6x more storage per disc and a high def version of the movie make so much more sense than going with DVD. Two BF open movies have been released in 4K format (Tears of Steel and Caminandes 2) so DVD/SD is effectively TWO generations behind already in terms of image res, let alone in 2016 as Ton mentioned.

    We know the movie will have input from 12 different studios working to their own house styles. Let’s say that’s equivalent to 12 individual open movies with separate assets. I personally don’t have enough room to store a 24-48 disc open movie boxset and I have a suspicion such an offering will not sell that well. :) If there’s really that much data once production has wrapped, a USB hard drive would probably work better as a physical distribution medium for the assets – Native Instruments recently changed from distributing physical copies of their software on 20 DVDRs to USB drives, so it’s not exactly without precedent. Maybe a standard BluRay with extras and an optional USB hard drive with the assets included could work if people are that much into their tangible products?

    So given all that, cloud hosting gives good bang for buck – it’s cheap for subscribers to access month to month, the assets are provided in realtime, access to it can be controlled, and having access to production assets as a movie is being made is a unique offering for any amount of money.

    And yeah, it’s pricier than before, but feature films cost a ton of money to make. The difference is that the software, assets and innovations which result from Gooseberry flow right back into the world as GPL/CC instead of being locked up behind closed doors where nobody can get to it – _and_ there will be a software suite for making a feature film with collaborators from across the world. It’s potentially game-changing, and that’s why I think it’s worth digging deeper than we have before as a community to make this happen. An awesome movie about a lost sheep is merely the beginning! :)

  24. Dimitris Christou says:

    I never said I won’t contribute to this; I love BF and that’s money worth spending for the software alone, the training provided makes the deal even more sweet. All I’m saying is that there should be a way for the ‘casual’ users to give some money while feeling they’re actually getting something back. I’m talking about the 20 euro pledge, it doesn’t make a lot of sense imho. Even the 175 euro pledge doesn’t make sense. it’s A LOT better to subscribe and get all those goodies AND the film credit. DVDs, USB sticks or HD, doesn’t matter but it feels like both helping AND getting something back.
    I wouldn’t go for BluRay as (I think) it would shrink the buyers numbers but it could be a second or third option if possible.

  25. Daniel Faulkner says:

    I’ve pre-ordered the DVD’s for the previous open movie projects, but I’m also going to have to think twice before signing up to get a film credit.

    If there was a pledge level between 20euros and 175euros where you get early access to the download + a physical copy (at around the 50 euro level) that would probably be what I would be most happy with, feels a little more special getting a parcel in the post than just an e-mail with a link.

    With regards to how the physical copy should be distributed I would prefer the film on a BluRay disc and any PC only extras etc on a DVD.
    From my experience (in the UK) DVD players seem to be in the process of being phased out and many stores locally only stocking BluRay players, and by 2016 I expect DVD players will nearly be where VHS players are now, except on PC’s where DVD drives don’t look to be going anywhere in a hurry.

    If you decide against providing optical media could I put in a request that a DVD ISO is made available for download so supporters can burn their own, as I suspect quite a few people don’t have there TV connected to there computer in such a way to stream a downloaded video file.

  26. […] Gooseberry campaign launched – we need 10k people to help! | Gooseberry | The Open Feature Film. […]

  27. […] Blender Foundation has announced that they want to make a movie. They’re crowdfunding it with the hope of reaching €1.9 million (that’s $2.626 million US dollars calculated […]

  28. Caleb Fox Huizenga says:

    I think you should use all three campiagn websites, Indiegogo, Kickstarter and I can see this campiaign is sadly, not dong so great. Creating campiagns on other websites will send this project skyrocketing!

  29. Sofus Rose says:

    If this is to succeed, I think some more aggressive marketing needs to be used. Of the 40k visitors to every day, how many donated to Gooseberry? Outside of the Blender community, people seem very interested in an animated movie made with free software.

    What I mean by aggresive marketing is, for example, a big visible banner on, a social network presence, a presence on YouTube, more benefits for donating – every trick there is, short of a paid ad campaign. Just like independent films and documentaries need to spread the word and become noticed without a million dollar ad campaign behind them, Gooseberry needs to spread the word more aggressively as well.

    To help sell it in the 3D community, maybe a more clear prospect of being part of the actual 3D work would help a lot. Donating to a film where you know that your model is part of it, or where your advice about lighting was used, where you can point at it, is much more interesting than donating to an open movie.

    As a side note, perhaps more story details would help sell it to the more average person who doesn’t use Blender but still wants to support a good open film, and not a tech demo.

  30. iamcreasy says:

    How do someone make anonymous donation?

    • pwet says:

      Not to have your name in the credits ? I suppose you just write “anonymous” in the name field, apparently you can also change it later.

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