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Is Crowdfunding Right for You? One Filmmaker Crunched the Numbers So You Don't Have To

Indiewire By James Cooper | Indiewire August 21, 2012 at 12:30PM

Last year, James Cooper completed a successful Kickstarter campaign for his short film "Elijah the Prophet" and decided to write about his experience. In his new ebook, "Kickstarter for Filmmakers: Prepare and Execute Your Next Crowd Funding Campaign," Cooper has clearly done his research.
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Is my goal realistic?

This is another tough one. Now you’ve determined you have a film people are interested in, and there are enough people interested in it that you think you can make an honest go of a crowd funding venture, but now you have to determine how much you think you can realistically raise.  

The higher your goal, the higher the risk you take that you may not hit it. In 2011, there were  1084  successful short film productions funded on Kickstarter, collectively representing $4,802,336 in pledges. Here's a look at how they break down financially:

KICKSTARTER GRAPH 2


Successful Short Films by  Financial Goal - Kickstarter 2011
(Source: James Cooper)


(these numbers strictly represent campaigns funding the film's production costs)


The way these numbers break down is pretty interesting. We see that the $1,000 - $2,999 budget range easily dominates with 371 (34%) of the take, which is good news for anyone with a small(ish) budget short. There's a 46% drop between the number of successful projects in the $1,000 - $2,999 range and the $3,000 - $4,999 range, marking a distinct rise in difficulty of reaching success after only a couple thousand dollars more in the goal. This is definitely something you want to pay attention to if you're unsure of if you want to go for that extra thousand or two. It might be a safer bet to aim lower and hope to over fund or search for the remaining funds elsewhere.

Additionally, the drop when going from the $3,000 - $4,999 range to the $5,000 - $6,999 one is smaller: 27%. We take a steep 43% drop heading into the $7,000 - $9,999 range. Now we enter the big money and the big risk. The percentage drops here are smaller than between earlier goal ranges, but only because the numbers we're working with now are drastically smaller. If you're gutsy enough to go after the five figures, here's how they break down: When you jump from $10k - $14.9k to the $15k - $19.9k bracket, there's a drop of 68%.  Then, when we jump from there to $20k-$24.9k there's a 73% drop, with only 11 campaigns succeeding in this range. Only three campaigns succeeded in the $25k-$29.9k bracket, with five managing to raise over $30,000. The most successful short film campaign in 2011 by a mile raised $82,000 of a $45,000 goal.

This article is related to: Filmmaker Toolkit: Crowdfunding, Kickstarter , Filmmaker Toolkit