Award-winning filmmaker Penny Lane is a crowdfunding pro, having conducted two successful Kickstarter campaigns for the critically acclaimed “Our Nixon,” back when Kickstarter was still relatively new. Now she’s crowdfunding for her latest project, “Nuts!,” a documentary about the story of John Romulus Brinkley, who in 1917 discovered he could cure impotence in men via goat testicle transplantation. Indiewire recently e-mailed with Lane about her latest campaign and what tips she’d offer to other filmmakers who are thinking of crowdfunding.
This is your third time crowdfunding — you did two campaigns for “Our Nixon.”
They were for more modest sums, but at the time, it felt huge. The amount of effort you put into your Kickstarter is very rarely in proportion to the goal. My heart stopped every time my phone buzzed with a pledge update, and it still stops, even though now we’re going for $78,000 rather than $15,000
Does it get easier to raise funds after having made a successful feature?
Short answer: no, I don’t think so. Nothing about fundraising is easy. I have a number of incredible people who have supported my work in the past, and have seen the success of “Our Nixon.” They know my sensibility, and they know the high standards I have for my creative work. All of this is indeed a great help, in a certain way.
But every film is different. “Nuts!” is a different kettle of fish from “Our Nixon.” Richard Nixon was a tremendous figure in the lives of countless Americans, which creates a built-in audience interested to see a different telling of his story. A supplement to their memories, if you will. While John R. Brinkley, the subject of “Nuts!” was a popular hero in his day, he has been largely forgotten. So the “pitch” and the appeal of the story is very different. Brinkley is more of a discovery for most people, like “I can’t believe I never knew this!”
It’s not a better or worse fundraising challenge; just different.
Why did you choose Kickstarter over another crowdfunding site?
I have a lot of incredible friends at Kickstarter, who made a safe home for me when I was crowdfunding for my first feature. They helped get the word out about “Our Nixon” and have been supporters of my work. For that reason, I feel very loyal, and when it came time to crowdfund for “Nuts!,” although I was presented with truly great options, the decision came down first to that loyalty.
Do you have any tips or advice for filmmakers about raising funds and/or crowdfunding in particular?
Gosh, it is hard to say how great my own film is. But seriously: “NUTS!” is really, really great!!! I am so proud of it. I’ve been working on it for 7 years now; that’s how committed I am. People are going to love it (if it ever gets done). It’s funny as heck and crazy entertaining. It’s full of surprises, formally and thematically Check out the campaign page for “Nuts!” here and watch the campaign video below:
Why should people donate to your project?
Gosh, it is hard to say how great my own film is. But seriously: “NUTS!” is really, really great!!! I am so proud of it. I’ve been working on it for 7 years now; that’s how committed I am. People are going to love it (if it ever gets done). It’s funny as heck and crazy entertaining. It’s full of surprises, formally and thematically
Check out the campaign page for “Nuts!” here and watch the campaign video below: