A few weeks ago, the San Diego Film Consortium kindly asked me to be part of the “How to use Crowdfunding to Fund your Film” panel at one of their networking events. I’d never done a panel before, so I prepared as much as possible beforehand and dug out my to-do lists and other notes from the time I did my own Indiegogo campaign. The panel was fun and I had a great time giving my two cents and answering questions. Afterwards, I was about to throw away my written notes when I realized they might make a helpful blog. So, here we are!
If you want your crowdfunding campaign to work, it takes a lot of preparation and work. I did loads of online research and googling for tips, etc, before I started mine. I started blogging about it before it even started.
• Do it as early as possible! Run it while you develop your project, before you start pre-production. Remember, it takes 30 days (or longer if you have the time) for the campaign itself, and then up to 2 weeks to receive all the funds once it’s ended. So, give yourself 6 weeks and be aware of that timeframe for your film in development or pre-production. If you rely solely on the funds for pre-production, then you really need to do it early. Most campaigns start with a bang, then fizzle out for a while and then have a last minute surge again before they close. Time your campaign to people’s paychecks. Also consider the time of the year (before Christmahannukwanzadan and right after the New Year is tough). Mine started September16th and ended Oct 16th, which gave me enough time for pre-production up until the shoot day on November 8th (about 3 weeks).
• Make a video! Use humor if possible, depending on your project. For me, making the video itself was a lot of work: write the ‘script’, find the location(s), co-ordinate it with your co-star, talk to the camera, be yourself, show that you’re passionate and excited about it, film it, edit it (don’t get me started on THAT), upload it (I used Vimeo for the video upload) and then share the hell out of it!
• Figure out how much money you need – break it down and explain. Location and insurance, food & beverages for the cast & crew ate up most of my budget. Keep in mind post production costs! Things like DVDs, cases, poster prints, promo material and most importantly film festival submission costs!. I definitely should have, and could have, raised my fundraising goal just for the festival submissions alone, lol! Those fees add up!
• List and introduce your cast and key crew
(if you have them already lined up) – especially if you have ‘Names’ attached. Have your cast and crew spread the word, too!
• Figure out the perks for your contributors, make them original and try offering many different options and levels. Keep in mind delivery options (shipping costs), order them in time if you need them custom made (Zazzle, etc).
• Make updates on your campaign page to keep people engaged. Add new perks midway through when the momentum usually lags, use photos or video.
• Use as much social media as possible, FB and Twitter are a must. Email your friends/family who are not on social media.
• Most important: Keep your promises – deliver your perks! Update, update, update! Even after the campaign. Let them know what is happening to your film. You may want to do another campaign some day and people remember! They remember, too, if they got ripped off. Don’t be one of those filmmakers!
So, there you go – I hope this helped! Feel free to share this with your filmmaker friends or other future fundraiser peeps!
Good luck! :)