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by Nigel M Smith
June 14, 2012 10:31 AM
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How to Be One of The World's Most Successful Crowdfunders: The 5 Top Tips

"Having meetings all the time is not being a filmmaker. I have to hold a camera." -- Jeanie Finlay

Put Yourself in the Trailer

Finlay: I came to crowdfunding because I was stuck in a legal hellhole on a commissioned film. Having meetings all the time is not being a filmmaker. I have to hold a camera.

I went into it blind – my art will get me money. Indiegogo put me in touch with a very outspoken American filmmaker who had a successful campaign. He just said, put yourself in the trailer and get an audience. I ignored him, cut a trailer and made 10p. It was terrible. So I redid it and did what he said, and the money started to come in. The connection symbolized an idea that there was support for this film.

Say Thank You

"For me building a community is not about making the film, it’s about building something for life." -- Xavier Artigas

Finlay: Making this film let me have a direct connection with my audience, like making a handmade artwork. Everyone who funded the film, I emailed personally and thanked. I dedicated videos to them on our Facebook. You are my audience and I want you to come on this journey with me. It became bigger than making the film; it was about sharing this common sensibility. The way we raised the money reflected the ethos of the film.

The people that took part in the crowdfunding felt that they owned the film. We've done pop up screenings in record shops and town halls. It’s not their film, but they’ve taken it on which is amazing.

Don’t Lose Your Audience After Wrapping the Film

Artigas: For me building a community (I have only built one) is not about making the film, it’s about building something for life. You can use that to empower them, but also to be keep making films and making them for the same people. We are making another project now about police corruption in Barcelona. Of course it appealed to the same community. The other campaign took six months to raise 5,000 Euros. We made the same amount in a couple days. When we mentioned the case we were going to document, they were on board. It’s a good way to start the project.


  • Mebedir | July 3, 2012 4:16 AMReply

    I'm sorry- you are anti-capitalist yet you are using a distinctly capitalist method? there seems to be a disconnect.

  • Janeann Dill | June 14, 2012 6:58 PMReply

    Couple of notes: Crowd funding is an enormous amount of work, and I am always thrilled to see the filmmakers benefit! It is also not always successful as most articles would like to portray,
    and what ends up happening is that the filmmaker is fulfills the roles of fund-raiser, distributor (i.e., building audience for a distributor to walk in and pick the fruit from the tree), the director of the campaign (while trying to be the director of the film), and the publicist (building audience and market for the film). Isn't it enough that the filmmaker be the filmmaker? Evidently, no longer true ...

    My concern here is the systemic transfer of all the heavy load onto the creator, while producers, distributors, publicists, and the agencies of crowd 'funding' (who aren't funding anything, they are earning money off the filmmaker's work) ... all of these 'other' folks walk into the project at a late-enough-date THEIR load is significantly lightened and earnings are significantly increased with no prior effort. Is no one else concerned about this developing systemic use of intellectual property?

    Also, the National Endowment doesn't take a percentage of what the filmmaker and the filmmaker's work brings in, rather, it is a granting agency. Point is, comparing crowd funding and Kickstarter to the National Endowment is decidedly an ill-fit --- and simply put, a wrong comparison. Lastly, one imagines IndieWire (an organization of writers) might want to copyedit before publishing: quoting Jennifer Fox, "Women is not a target ... "? Please, editors: "Women are ..."!

    Probably won't make friends here, but I am cautious about this growing, dynamic system that might well turn out to be a runaway that ultimately leaves the filmmaker behind, although I deeply appreciate the feeling of accomplishment when the filmmaker gets it to work. Bravo, indeed!



  • Michel Theriot | June 15, 2012 3:19 PM

    So agree. While it makes it possible for more independent film makers it also follows in the studios footsteps of taking the first serving.