When film-maker Phelim McAleer needed $150,000 to fund his new documentary, FrackNation, he didn't bother calling a bank, or meeting be-suited studio executives. Instead, he opened an account with Kickstarter, a modish "crowd-funding" website that helps interested members of the public club together in order to finance film, music, art, or other creative projects.
Founded three years ago, Kickstarter is rapidly growing into a behemoth, generating $2 million a week, mostly for the arts. For McAleer, the Kickstarter experience has so far been rosy.
Fracknation is intended to offer a supportive portrayal of fracking, the highly controversial method of gas extraction loathed by environmentalists. He raised $22,000 in his first 48 hours, and $60,000 in a week. He has until early April to drum up the remainder of his proposed budget.
Like many happy customers, he says that he'll never again seek finance the old-fashioned way.