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The Top 10 Myths of Crowdfunding: According to Indiegogo

The Top 10 Myths of Crowdfunding: According to Indiegogo

In theory, crowdfunding for filmmakers seems like a great idea, but isn’t it a lot of work? And doesn’t it seem a little bit too much like begging people for money? Indiegogo has heard those questions many times before. To address some of them, the crowdfunding platform announced via Twitter that it has published a list of “Top 10 Myths of Crowdfunding,” available to download for free here.

Here’s Indiegogo’s Top 10 Myths of Crowdfunding:

1. It’s online panhandling.

2. I might fail.

3. I can’t raise money without a fancy video.

4. I’m afraid I won’t reach my goal.

5. I have to have a big social media following to be successful.

6. I have no perks to offer.

7. I don’t have time.

8. Crowdfunding is only about the money.

9. I should wait until I have the perfect idea/product/etc.

10. I’m not sure my idea will be accepted.

Indiegogo systematically debunks the above myths, pointing on that “you are not passing the hat around — you are bringing an idea to life.” (Myth #1) The company also says that “none of our campaigns are failures.” (Myth #2). Of course, every experience in life — whether you succeed or not — is educational and informative, but let’s be real. If you’re trying to raise money on Indiegogo and your project doesn’t get off the ground, I think it’s safe to say that your campaign failed. Seems to me that Indiegogo is just sugar-coating the facts with lines like, “If there is an idea you are passionate about, the only way it can truly fail is if you never try to bring it to life.” Um, yeah. Thanks, mom!

Also, of course, a big social media following and cool perks get the word out about your campaign (though, obviously, they’re not the only things that matter either).

According to Adrianne Jeffries’ estimates at The Verge, less than 10% on Indiegogo make their
goal, though it’s not easy to get an exact number. The number is definitely
below 13.68%, as that’s the portion of film projects that make at least
75% of their goal.

The numbers are discouraging, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying. As for #7, none of us has the time, but someone we manage to find time to post pictures of our food on Instagram. So while Indiegogo’s myths are Pollyanish, the company does have a point. Enough with the excuses, and, as Nike says, just do it.

Did they forget any myths on their list? Feel free to add them in the comments section below.

This Article is related to: Filmmaker Toolkit and tagged , ,


Comments

Sicky Hampton

I lose patience with kickstarter campaigns that offer nothing in return. Film is not a charity.

Rob Simmons

I happen to be in the process of an IndieGoGo campaign as we speak, and have been researching ways to not only improve the exposure of my campaign but to somehow stand out from the pack. Yes, there is an over-saturation of projects and perhaps it’s time for the crowdfunding sites to vet projects a little more so we don’t have more “potato salad” incidents. Crowdfunding can work and can be successful but one must actually do some real work i.e. alot of preparation and continued maintenance of the campaign. I’m finding that it also helps if all the members of your “team” get involved and take a personal interest – more often than not, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

My goal, and your goal if you’re considering running a campaign, is to value your contributors and not just see them as a source of funding but a source of fandom. When you are relatively unknown it’s vitally important to build a community of fans among your friends and colleagues who, if you win them over, will spread the word over time to their friends, and so on. Offering perks/rewards is really akin to “pre-selling” music or tickets or videogames whatever; the audience is already shown up and is there, waiting, to see the finished product/project. Only in this case, it’s people who actually know you and have some interest in seeing you and your project succeed. One needs to be realistic when starting a campaign, though; not everyone will be as excited as you are, though if your passion really shines through most will see it and respond.

Your goal should be to see to it that everyone is happy. First, your team members because they are the ones who are going to stand by you — they are on the front lines, are the ones that will go to battle for you. Treat these people like gold. After that come your contributors, naturally – keep them involved and engaged, because you really are building a community of fans as much as anything else.

Beyond that, the biggest problem, in addition to an over-saturation of projects, are: corporate America and celebrities taking over the platform, and some of the scams that have occurred that have soured the experience for some, not enough exposure for projects that are doing reasonably well and deserve more exposure because of it, and a mystical system for said exposure based on a “magic algorithm” or magic number, a number no one has any idea what the benchmarks are, and if they are doing enough to satisfy that. I believe it all comes down to a few factors: the overall execution, the quality of the project itself, the talent assembled, the level of engagement you have with your “fans”, the goals you have (not “I’m going to raise a million dollars to build the perfect cheeseburger”) and, finally, that the project leaders are doing some "self-funding" and not just out for a cash grab. If you have those things, plus a well-designed page (that you’ve checked for copy error!), I think you can expect to do relatively well. (Full disclosure: My campaign is for a short “sci-horror” film, The Forest Eater — just run a search for it if interested, and if not thanks for listening!).

Johan Calitz

Well, I just started my first crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo – Money-Pal Budget – The first smart budget program for everyone. Do you guys have any tips to increase exposure?

Sima

I'm a regular contributor to crowdfunding campaigns and I've run one myself. You have to get people to care about what you're doing, which involves a lot of work building networks, getting media attention etc just like building a business. Cool perks are a bonus :)

Oney Millan

Crowdfunding is not all about money, it matters that we all dance together in that mindful moment.

E-Filmmaker

I think crowdfunding is a sham, I've been trying to raise money on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo for several years now to no avail… what a crock. Unless you have a celeb it isn't worth the time.

Emily Best

I think we haven't begun to scratch the surface of what crowdfunding can become, especially for film. I started Seed&Spark, an audience building platform for film that includes lifecycle support: crowd-funding all the way through distribution. We've been in public beta for about 10 months, and our crowdfunding success rate this week hit 68%. Partly that's because we're just for film, we're highly curated, and we do a lot of work on behalf of our filmmakers (social media support and more). We curate for two reasons:
1) Not everyone is ready to crowdfund. We screen projects for basic crowdfunding readiness signs and we advise projects that aren't there yet. And we do this because:
2) Audiences want to know that what they're getting is worth their time and hard-earned money. They need a sense of inevitability that the project will get made.

Our goal is 100% success rate, although it's a pipe dream. Ideally for us, audiences would be excited for the next Seed&Spark project to launch because of the success of all the previous projects.

For filmmakers, using crowdfunding as a stop-gap funding method is short-sighted and loses the REAL benefit: the CROWD rather than the FUNDING. Because what's the point of raising money for a film that no one will ever see? Our effort is to build a suite of robust audience-building tools that allow filmmakers to build audiences not just for one film but for their entire careers. What we're seeing with Braff and Spike are filmmakers cashing in on years of hard work building audience loyalty – it's exactly what we believe is possible for any filmmaker who makes a concerted effort to engage their audiences at every step. But expectations have to be aligned with possibilities: if you have 1.4M twitter followers like Zack Braff, it's not unreasonable to think you might reach a BIG crowdfunding target. For up-and-coming creators/directors/producers, crowdfunding is a way to start building that kind of relationship with the audience. Start with a small goal. Raise it successfully, deliver on time and on budget, show that small crowd of supporters you mean what you say. They will come back and support you on their next project…and bring their friends! It won't happen over night, but it's working for literally thousands of filmmakers out there right now.

I am thrilled to see all of the reporting, debate and engagement around the topic of crowdfunding for film. If you're in the business, it can seem like that's all anyone is talking about. But there are still lots of people who love movies who have NO IDEA what crowdfunding is. We have a long way to go and a lot of time to build the best possible tools to take advantage of this incredible funding/audience engagement opportunity.

Ron and Sandy: what is it about a project that excites you enough to contribute? What turns you off?

sandylieberson

interesting pov Ron….yes over crowded and will only become more overcrowded. and it will come down to celebs taking the most money out of the system and the small passion project will be struggling. so the indi is going to have to be more clever than spike lee….not hard, and the zach braff's.

Ron Merk

Yes, you forgot one important myth about crowdfunding, that there's a reasonable chance of success "if you work hard enough." My company and a foundation that I co-founded each tried a campaign. For one of them we reached out to more than 200,000 contacts and got responses from ELEVEN people. The real problem is that crowdfunding is overcrowded. Too many people chasing a finite amount of money. With big Hollywood names like grabbing large portions of that pool, crowd-funding looks more and more like a fool's errand, and a little like a ponzi scheme. While I'm not a big fan of regulation, I think the big crowdfunding sites need to start looking at their game plan. Do they really want to fund just a few high profile projects? Or do they want to stay with their original plan to help people raise small amounts of money for artistic or passion projects that have no other way of finding funds? There's no reason why the crowd-funding sites can't limit the fundraising to certain amounts for the lesser-known people to raise money, and then have a separate site for Spike Lee and Zach Braff to do whatever they want. But I think it's definitely time for the likes of Kickstarter and Indiegogo to show us who they really are, and what their goals are for the arts and important social projects.

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