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How we are funding creative work now

At Vivid Sydney Equity co-hosted a panel about how artists are circumventing traditional fudning models to get their projects off the ground.

022Panellists (from left): Jeanette Francis, Tom Dawkins, Dino Dimitriadis, Nathan Earl and Dan Illic

In May US filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney made crowdfunding history when their movie proposal about abortionist Kermit Gosnell reached its US$2.1 million goal. There are almost 25,000 contributors. 

As traditional funding models for creative content – mainstream media organisations, major film studios, record labels – struggle to keep up with the new digital economy, creators are finding support and resources in new places.

Perhaps most successfully, creators across the arts and culture are drumming up dollars direct from their audiences.  

Crowdfunding is big business here in Australia. In April home-grown player Pozible reached $20 million in total funds pledged, with media and entertainment its biggest category.  The team behind digital comedy Rational Fear has raised in excess of their $50,000 goal. Australian band Eskimo Joe has raised more than $60,000 using crowdfunding. Permaculture magazine Pip exceeded its $9500 target in February to fund its first print run. 

At an Equity/MEAA/Walkley event at Vivid Sydney A Rational Fear’s Dan Illic, Plonk’s Nathan Earl, The Feed’s Jeanette Francis, StartSomeGood’s Tom Dawkins and Apocalypse Theatre Company’s Dino Dimitriadis discussed their successful ventures using non-traditional funding models.


Dan discussed how his web series Rational Fear used crowdfunding platform Pozible raised more than $50,000 – getting people to spread your campaign message is key. They need to know what you are trying to do and why. Dino used a crowdfudning campaign to make a stand on the issue of paying artsits. He refused to put on a production at his theatre company unless the actors could be paid Equity rates. Dino riaed over $5,000 is less than 10 days. Nathan who recived considerable fudning from Destination NSW for his web seris Plonk explained how content creative can align themselves with corporate brands successfully – to get funding from corporates but keep the integrity of the production intact.

Tom – the founder of crowdfundng site Startsomegood – gave a terrific intro to crowding basics; what it is and what it isn’t. He emphasised the importance of crowdfunding’s “game-like” elements. People like the fact that they only donate if the project reaches its goal. As well as the transparency around goals and outcomes, and the fact that it is about more than money. Its often about donating to something you believe in and are proud to be a part of.

A podcast of the event will be available this week.




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