This video really shows what crowdfunding is about!
Crowdfunding is, of course, one film finance source for your project. No film school is going to tell you not to do a crowdfunding campaign. I am going to tell you never, ever do a film crowdfunding campaign unless you have ticked each of these important items and optimised them for success.
Here is the basic crowdfunding crash course:
Firstly, the word ‘crowd’ is a really important part of the word crowdfunding. If you have no crowd, you can’t fund. Before you crowdfund you need to get a crowd.
Secondly, the independent film industry has been seen as a route to Hollywood – and there is nothing independent about that. Instead the new filmmakers who crowdfund, actually crowdfund all the way through the production process, from getting bums on seats in a festival screening to selling a digital copy of their film. Artists today are crowdfunding all the time.
Thirdly, the people who fund films don’t fund when you ask for their wallet. They fund when you hit them in their hearts with a story that just takes their doors off their hinges. As John Trigonis of Indiegogo says: Don’t solicit, elicit.
How ready are you to crowdfund? If you are ready to go, here are ten things you need to check before you go talking to major crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter.
1. Check your campaign title
A good title will contain keywords and should elicit an emotional response in the reader. Keywords will make your project rank higher in search engines. A title that elicits emotion will most likely result in higher contributions.
A title is not a logline. A logline supports and develops the key concept in the headline.
If you want to get working right away, use the handy online headline and title tester I found online. It’s free and you can link to it here:
If that doesn’t get you going we have developed an unique title generator tool kit if you have an action movie:
2. Check your pitch video
That’s absolutely correct – you need to have a pitch video. The video should state clearly who you are, what you are trying to do and the ‘why’ you are doing it. And be no more than 3 minutes long.
Below is a really cool crowdfunding video incuding an hilarious segment on how NOT to make a crowdfundling video.
3. Check your target goal
It would be pointless asking for 10K when everyone else trying for the same sort of project only raised 3k. Sounds like a too-basic-to-be-said point, but research what other projects similar to yours are asking and achieving. Set a realistic goal accordingly.
A tried and tested tactic is to start with a really low target and as you near it, go for a so-called “stretch” goal. Doing this can create momentum which will allow you to carry on fundraising for other elements of your campaign.
4. Check your description length
Say too much and we get bored. Say too little and we get confused. There is a fine art in writing the right description. Look at some successful campaigns and see if you can see how they did it.
5. Check Your Images
There are two things you should check here: One is the number of images and the second is the actual campaign image – the image that we will see on your poster, trailer and social media.
When I got the right image for the movie Deadly Virtues, we used it as the YouTube image and we have a staggering 180,000+ views.
6. Check your social media proof
Have you connected your crowdfunding campaign to your Facebook, Twitter and other social media you may have organised? This is really important for two reasons: People often like to ask questions using social media, and secondly, you will hope that some of the first people who discover your campaign will become, if you like, brand ambassadors for you and your campaign.
7. Check your website connections
Have you linked your crowdfunding campaign to your website? During the campaign you can use your website to feed people to it. Your crowdfunding programme will remain live after your campaign whether or not it succeeds or fails. Once your campaign is over, it is pretty much dead. However if you have put in links to your website, you will still get people contacting you to see how your project has progressed and how they can help.
8. Check your rewards
Rewards (or perks) are the really tricky bit. One has to remember that you have fans and customers, and they each want different types of perks. Your fans already know you and they want to be rewarded for their loyalty with something special like a set visit or dinner with the cast and crew. Customers simply want a slice of entertainment.
John Trigonis, the engaging and multi-talented content creator who works as a spokesman for indiegogo.com talks of three different types of perks. He uses the film camera analogy of Standard Definition, HD and 3D to define the different types of perks which you can create for your fans and your customers.
– Standard definition: the typical tees and DVD’s/digital downloads
– HD: stuff only a few can get like cast signing of the poster, set visits
– 3D: something only one person can get, like a part in the film, a phoner with the director, a unique trailer with a personal greeting.
John has written a definitive book on crowdfunding that I can’t recommend enough:
9. Check your campaign duration
There’s lots of debate about how long your campaign should be. Personally I favour 30 or 45 days. This allows you a week or so to get it up and running – ironing out any wrinkles. You then have a month to really go for it.
Remember that your donations will come in a bit like your 3 act story structure: The first act (or week) from your family and friends. The second act is when you need to ramp up the emotion and urgency of your crowdfunding story, just like your movie. Donations will plateau during this period. Do it right and the climax of your story or crowdfunding campaign will have everyone chasing you right down to the finish wire.
On longer campaigns it is really hard to keep the momentum going.
10. Check your resources
Krowdster.com is a paid service that allows you to compare countless crowdfunding campaigns on the major platforms and then help you plan yours. A useful time saving tool I use when I am working on a crowdfunding campaign.
John Trigonis is one of my most liked filmmakers and most respected crowdfunders. He’s written an excellent blog called The Tao of Crowdfunding – Twitter tips for filmmakers.
Here he is conducting a google hangout discussing a live project. A useful listen.