Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Are You Really Ready to Crowdfund? Here Are 8 Tips from Filmmakers Who've Been There

Photo of Bryce J. Renninger By Bryce J. Renninger | Indiewire April 30, 2012 at 1:03PM

We've all heard how great crowdfunding can be for filmmakers.  Some filmmakers struggle to juggle freelance gigs while they're trying to get their own film made.  A cool $20,000 gives them time away from scrounging for spare change. It's opening up funding streams that never existed before.  When was the last time you or your friends funded a creative project financially before Kickstarter or Indiegogo?
11

And, often, most of your friends and family have never heard of crowdfunding.

A crowdfunding consultant for a film told us, "There's a whole world of people out there who have never even heard the word 'crowdfunding.' For our project, many of our contributors set up profiles in order to donate, and only contributed to our project. If you find a way to reach the broader community, outside of filmmakers, you will not only raise more money, you'll also find and connect with your audience well in advance of your release."

Have a few project updates (videos and letters) ready before you launch your campaign.

The consultant explained to us, "I wish someone had told me more about 'update' strategy. It's hard to decide if you should plan updates in advance or think of them on the fly. It can be a lot of work to produce a short video overnight, and by the time it's done, it might not even be relevant anymore. Timing is tricky, so it's good to think about the types of updates you want to have ahead of time and to think about if rewards should be paired with them and/or if videos are necessary or even add anything to the update."

"I didn't realize how long it really takes to send a separate email to everyone I know."

The doc director added, "Have emails ready to send out on the first two days. It took me a really long time to send out the first emails. I didn't realize how long it really takes to send a separate email to everyone I know."

Sure, it's as much work as a job, but so is raising money for a film any way you slice it.

"I thought of it like this: there are so many grants I've applied to," the doc director told Indiewire.  "It's a lot of work to apply for a grant, and you send out the applications, and a few months later you (mostly) get a rejection letter. This was like a grant -- actually my campaign raised slightly more than, say, the Sundance grant gives (or so I've read!) -- but I got to make it happen by engaging in an active process as opposed to the passivity of waiting for a granting organization to reject your film (or once in a great, great while, support it.)"

You have to do something to justify people supporting your project over others!

A documentary producer told us, "You have to be very aggressive about getting the word out about the campaign day after day. You need great incentives and fresh reasons why people should give you their 10, 25, 50 dollars instead of someone else. Otherwise you'll get lost in the shuffle.

"I think crowdfunding is still a viable model for some projects that already have a strong, built-in fan-base, or campaigns that create a really strong incentive or angle for giving. But in general, yes -- I do think there's crowdfunding fatigue, especially in this economy. I see a lot of projects out there really struggling to meet their goals."

This article is related to: Features, Crowd Funding, Kickstarter , Indiegogo , Filmmaker Forum







SnagFilms

Watch Over 10,000 Free Movies!

We the Economy: Supply and Dance, Man!

Why is the law of supply and demand so powerful? In this whimsical tale, our friendly narrator guides bored students Jonathan and Kristin through a microeconomic musical extravaganza.

More