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‘The Couple’ Movie Kickstarter Followup Success Diary (And Tips)

'The Couple' Movie Kickstarter Followup Success Diary (And Tips)

Our $10K lull extended leaving us stuck at  $13,000 for 4-5 days. Dennis said to me, “I don’t know how we are going to do it.” I knew this was a dangerous time and we didn’t have any space for that kind of talk, but I had my own doubts too that I was trying to drown out with cheerfulness. I had to think back to how we had come to raise $13,000 and know if we did that much we could definitely do more. 
I determined that week 3 would be about large contributions and began to reach out to any one I knew who might be interested in that- I also asked my friends to do the same.  Meanwhile we  also focused on how to widen our net and just tried to not pull our hair out as we refreshed the Kickstarter page all day. Once that very slow period passed- we got a big bump from someone who wanted to come on as a producer- and the ball really got rolling…the next thing we knew we hit our 25K goal in two days.  Money attracts money. From doubts to success it happened that fast. 
The next question was now what?  It was time to keep going.  Once you reach your goal  Kickstarter and Amazon takes a cut of 9-10 percent total – and you have to pay for all of the perks offered as well, so going over the top is important.  Getting people to understand that you are not being greedy is another thing!  We did our best to be persistent yet professional and gracious.
In the end we raised 32K.  130% funded. People are asking and I’ve had some time to think about what worked best for us. Here are some ideas that may be helpful to some of you out there in the midst of, or about to launch your own Kickstarter Campaign.   Every project is different so I can only speak to our experience, but hopefully there will be something in there that resonates.  You really do learn as you go, but perhaps these points will get you some of the lessons faster. 
Kickstarter Tips


Phone calls are best – but any direct and personal invitation to contribute usually results in a new backer.  Not a bcc or mass text!  You have to put the work in.  It takes time for each person to give to a Kickstarter—you have to take at least that amount of time or more in asking them to do it.


Update your Kickstarter page and backers at least twice a week.  Appreciate every single one of them.  They will multiply.


Get your friends who are most excited about what you are doing to help you by doing a little endorsement video or simply tweeting and posting to face book.  Again ask them to do it in the most personal way possible.  We had some great friends come on board for us, Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, Justin Simien, Aldis Hodge- it definitely helped that they are all recognizable to various degrees, but what really helped was how personal they were in why they feel this film should be made and how excited they are about it.  Each one of those videos brought us new backers and more awareness to the project.  (Big thank you to all of them again!!)


Be as generous and creative as possible with your perks.  I’ve seen many campaigns where the perk for $1 dollar- $10 contribution was – “appreciation”  or “shout out on twitter”  I think this is stingy.  You should do your best to come up with a creative and generous perk even for the smallest amount – those micro donations really add up and there’s always a way to find something that won’t cost you money but will give back to your audience. 


Don’t  be afraid to remind people.  People tend to procrastinate and think they can wait until the last minute- you have to anticipate this and gently urge them to do it now.  I would often say- “Can you make your pledge today to keep the momentum going?  You will not be charged until the end of the campaign when we raise all of the funds.”  This puts the responsibility on them to not hesitate, and at the same time let’s them know it’s no big deal because they aren’t actually paying until many days later. 


Your backers are your community not just in fundraising but in seeing your film through it’s entire production and release.  Encourage them to comment on your Kickstarter to keep your page alive.  Many people are visiting your page several times before they choose to give you money.  Keep it fun and meaningful and they will want to join in.


Focus on your larger donors once you have raised at least a third of your goal.  They will be encouraged that you have come so far already and that is extremely motivating.

Find someone who will be willing to give you a large sum when you reach a particular goal.  Treat it like a fun game. For example – when you hit 15K they will give you 3K.  Then you can tell others this and they will be more excited to get you to that smaller goal so you can benefit with this larger donor.  It’s all numbers games the entire time.  Take the weight out of it being money and just make it more light about the numbers.  This was good for sanity purposes anyhow.  

Those are the main tips I can think of for now that really helped us to surpass our goal.  I’m definitely open to discuss more if anyone wants to reach out that has an upcoming campaign. Next we are on to pre-production of The Couple Movie and Season 2 of the BLACK&SEXY.TV network!  We will be back with diaries from director Dennis Dortch, series creator Jeanine Daniels, and other members of the BLACK&SEXY.TV team.

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