'Send M. Night Shyamalan Back to Film School' and 10 Other Fan Fundraising Drives

By Kevin Fallon

Fans of the disgraced Sixth Sense director want him to re-learn the craft that once brought him acclaim. A look at their campaign—plus more efforts to get celebrities to do the public's will.


Is there anyone who saw the news that M. Night Shyamalan will direct both Will and Jaden Smith in a sci-fi film set 1,000 years in the future and thought, "This. This is a good idea?" The director made a splash with his early films like The Sixth Sense and (arguably) Signs, but recently has turned out critical aberrations like The Happening, Lady in the Water, and The Last Airbender. 1,000 A.E. was the last straw for the organizers of the "Send M. Night Shyamalan Back to Film School" campaign, who used the project's announcement as occasion to launch their new crowdsourcing site.

According to EW.com, the campaign was inspired by filmgoers' reaction to the trailer for the horror film Devil: "When a title card at the end of the spot revealed that the film came "from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan," the theater's audience burst into raucous laughter." Called M. Night School, the project cheekily aims to raise $150,000 to send the director back to NYU to re-learn the craft that originally won him acclaim. As the site explains, "Certainly, there must be 150,000 of us film lovers out there who are tired of his schlocky plot twists, canned dialogue, and over-commercialized image as an 'auteur.'"

And the plan is no half-baked Shyamalan plot either. If the director refuses the money, the organizers will use the funds create a scholarship for aspiring film students. So far, $437.98 has been raised. How does it compare to other fan-generated pop culture fundraising campaigns? Here's a look at the most successful, as well as the strangest:

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This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/04/send-m-night-shyamalan-back-to-film-school-and-10-other-fan-fundraising-drives/237352/