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Chill Tries By-the-Episode Crowdfunding for ‘Vigilante Diaries’
© Image: Vigilante Diaries / Chill
editorial

Chill Tries By-the-Episode Crowdfunding for ‘Vigilante Diaries’

Chill, a direct-to-consumer video distribution platform, this week debuted its first original series, Vigilante Diaries. A crime-fighting mockumentary starring Jason Mewes (of “Jay and Silent Bob” fame), the series is attempting an innovative approach to crowdfunding where viewers pay for two episodes at a time, thereby funding the production of the next two.

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With the first two episodes available now, Chill hopes it can fund an entire season without the help of advertisers or networks, just an audience. If viewers want to chip in more than five dollars to Vigilante Diaries, there are a whole host of perks available — similar to those you’d find for a more traditional, reward-based crowdfunding campaign — from t-shirts and posters to (on the higher end) a chance to help author a future episode.

“This episodic funding model represents an entirely new direction for digital series, working outside of the ad-supported video world,” said Marc Hustvedt, Chill’s head of entertainment, in a statement on Tuesday. “It lets the creators take risks without answering to brands or networks. In its purest form, this is a model for series that cannot be cancelled as long as viewers are willing to support them.”

Vigiliante Diaries will only survive if it hits its $50,000 goal in the next 27 days. It’s off to a decent start, raising $3,500 over the first three days.

It’s surprising that Chill didn’t decide to air the first episode for free, drawing viewers into the series before asking them to cough up some cash. There’s a brief trailer available on the main Vigilante Diaries page, but it leaves much to be desired.

Whatever happens, Chill’s take on crowdfunding is unique, showing that there’s still room for innovation in what is becoming an increasingly crowded market.

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