Crowdfunding campaigns are becoming increasingly relevant in the current filmmaking market. Quite a few independent directors and producers that would have previously attempted to court production companies are now turning to their own potential audience to collect the money they need. Along with incentives such as gifts and the chance to visit the film set, audiences are becoming more involved with the movie industry.

As part of setting up a crowdfunding campaign, many producers decide to make a trailer to try and lure the audience in with a clear image of what the film would be like. Trailers are now becoming one of the most integral parts of campaigning, along with incentives and viral marketing. The great news for campaigners is that trailers are not that difficult to make, and when made properly they can hold the key to making a crowfunding campaign a success.

1) Shorter is Better

When making a trailer, one of the most important things to bear in mind is that it must remain short. Anything over two minutes is too long. The idea with the trailer is to tease the audience with an idea of what the film would be like if it was produced. You will need to get the right tone, theme, and style of the film across over a very short space of time to leave the audience wanting more.

2) Pre-Production

It is important to sit down for a while and think about what kind of image you want depicted in the trailer. Since the length of the trailer can’t be too long, an arresting image is almost a necessity in order to lure the audience in. Try brainstorming some ideas and then start producing a storyboard to give you an idea of how the trailer will look. Think of what you have to say to convince your audience to donate a bit of money. They will want to know some basic information in order to know what the project is about: storyline, when and where is set, which locations you are going to use, and so on.

3) Filming

The good news is that when filming the trailer, it doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t need a massive budget and classically trained actors to get the message across. All you need is a basic digital camera and some willing volunteers. Ask some of your friends if they would be willing to get together one day to act in a trailer, or do a voice over. In fact many trailers these days don’t contain any actors at all. If you already have the locations confirmed go and film there or ask some members of the crew, such as the DoP or Producer, to be in the trailer as well. This way, the audience will know it’s not just an idea in your mind but in fact real places and people are involved. Even though you may not have a lot of resources, the possibilities with the trailer are almost endless – you just have to be a bit creative!

4) Post-Production

If you are a skilled editor then you will be able to make your amateur trailer look professional in no time. If you’re not, don’t fret, you can still make it look great as long as the content comes across crystal clear. Just make sure that the final cut is as short as possible and builds up the right amount of tension. Remember to give away the important information at the start as online viewers usually stop watching videos before they reach the end of it. Don’t forget to use subtitles when necessary!

5) Get People Watching

The worst mistake you can make is to restrict your trailer to your crowdfunding page. Don’t just upload it there and wait for people to find it. You have to be your own marketer and reach as many people as you can. Start by using your social media to allow your friends and followers to know that you’re making a movie. In fact, it is highly recommended to approach them first. Strangers on the internet looking at your project will be more inclined to pledge if they see your campaign already had some success in raising money. If you upload your trailer to YouTube, add a link to your campaign page in the description box. However, after a while you might find that your own network is too small. To reach other people it is worth contacting the media: local newspapers, online magazines, bloggers, and so on. They will be happy to create content and your campaign will get a great promotion.

Even though the trailer is just one part of setting up your crowdfunding campaign, it has quickly become one of the most vital elements. If you have a well-made trailer that makes your audience long for more, then the donations will start pouring in quickly.

This article is written by Eric D. Wood and Adriana Páramo for Orama.tv