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How to Be One of The World's Most Successful Crowdfunders: The 5 Top Tips

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire June 14, 2012 at 10:31AM

Kickstarter is on track to fund more projects than the National Endowment of the Arts in the U.S. in 2012. To address the widespread popularity of the fundraising platform, this year's Sheffield Doc/Fest features a number of panels centered on how to best use the tool to your advantage.

"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.

This article is related to: Sheffield Doc/Fest, Festivals

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