Josh Rottenberg
December 20, 2013 AT 05:00 AM EST

Want to be a big-shot movie producer? It’s easy now! You don’t need gobs of money. Forget about scheduling power lunches at the Ivy. Thanks to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, you can become the next Jerry Bruckheimer in your sweatpants while sitting on your couch.

This year, Hollywood discovered the revolutionary power of soliciting small donations from everyday people to bring passion projects to life. Last spring, Rob Thomas, creator of the beloved but canceled TV series Veronica Mars, stunned the industry by raising nearly $6 million from more than 90,000 fans to fund a big-screen movie, which will hit theaters next March. Then Zach Braff raked in more than $3 million to make Wish I Was Here, a follow-up to his 2004 movie, Garden State. Director Spike Lee funded his thriller Da Sweet Blood of Jesus entirely with cash from fans who decided they’ve gotta have it.

You could argue that giving your hard-earned money to wealthy celebrities goes against the democratic spirit of the Internet. (Robert Downey Jr. poked fun at the fad by announcing a fake $200 million campaign for Iron Man 4.) Regardless, we’re stuck with it now. So the next time you catch yourself lamenting that there’s nothing good to watch, just remember: The only connection you need to get into showbiz is an Internet connection.

How Much Did These Crowd-Funded Movies Raise?
Spike Lee’s Da Sweet Blood of Jesus: Goal — $1,250,000; Raised — $1,418,910

Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here: Goal — $2,000,000; Raised — $3,105,473

The Veronica Mars Movie Project: Goal — $2,000,000; Raised — $5,702,153

James Franco’s Palo Alto Stories Trilogy: Goal — $500,000; Raised — $327,929

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