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A New Breed of Crowdfunding – Pay by the Episode

Chill asks fans to put their money where their mouth is

Chill has teamed with "Jay and Silent Bob" star Jason Mewes for "Vigilante Diaries," a new show that will ask its audience to pay for each new episode – an approach the company has dubbed "episodic funding."

The initiative differs from campaigns on traditional crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo in that Mewes will ask people to pay for new episodes of the show through sales of existing ones.

Two episodes of the show, which chronicles an heir who decides to make a documentary about a vigilante crime fighter, debuted on Chill Tuesday at a price of $4.99. Chill co-financed the two episodes, but now Mewes will ask the viewers to fund additional episodes by buying the show.

If he can raise $50,000, he will shoot two more episodes – a process that will repeat for the rest of the season.

"There are a lot of passionate people who can shoot an episode or a pilot but want to be able to create another one," Chill CEO Brian Norgard told TheWrap. "Right now the only option is put it up for standard video on demand or steaming and hope."

Chill became an online video store last fall, eager to entice filmmakers and comedians to sell their latest projects direct to fans from the site. Since the company entered the distribution game, Norgard said he heard the same refrain from several people. They all filmed a couple of episodes of a show, but didn’t know what to do next.

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So Chill combined its storefront with crowdfunding, suddenly one of the most popular topics in entertainment thanks to the millions raised by Zach Braff and "Veronica Mars."

Nogard believes crowdfunding has become ubiquitous because it incorporates fans into the creation of projects they are passionate about. It’s hard for fans to be passionate about a show they know nothing about, so this method gives fans a taste of what they can expect before they choose to fund more.

"There is no more powerful signal than saying if you buy it and your friends do, you get more," Norgard said.