Heeere, money, money, money!

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).Screen Shot silly 2014-09-14 at 7.17.22 PM

• 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).
perk
• 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!
Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 11.26.22 AM
So, there you go – I hope this helped! Feel free to share this with your filmmaker friends or other future fundraiser peeps!

Good luck! :)

 

 

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I ‘like’ you, you ‘like’ me..

…we are happy ‘family’!

Happy, fake and useless family created by algorithms, that is.

meh

Lately I’ve seen a rise of FB pages, groups and other websites that promote sharing links amongst commenters and members in order to click on ‘Like‘ for their respective profiles or pages. An actor acquaintance of mine spends hours ‘liking’ other people’s IMDb or FB pages in hopes that the same people return the favor. Hours!!! In the past, I let myself be guilted into taking part in this madness (in one case, I was actually forced into it unless I wanted to be dropped from their ‘clicklist’), but found it to be such a timesuck that I quickly dropped it like a bad habit. Needless to say, I’m not on that ‘click-list’ anymore. Oh snap! Silly me! I’m sure my acting career is plummeting at the same accelerating speed as my plummeting STARmeter rank! *sigh*.

Those are hours I’d much rather spend working on a monologue, writing a scene or meeting an ‘industry’ friend in person. You know…in real life….with real people that I actually like…for real. I’d rather go out there and audition; or better yet, make friends on a film set or stage after (hopefully) doing a great job.

Oh, but it’s for marketing yourself and putting your face out there“,  blah blah…

I get it, but really? Wouldn’t you rather have people like you for you? For your talent and what you actually do? Call me naive, but I’d rather not beg strangers to ‘like’ me on a page that isn’t even part of my own website.  If I ‘like’ somebody online, it’s because I actually do. Or I’ve actually seen their performance and loved it! Sometimes I wish there was a ‘love’ button. There are so many other, interactive and fun ways to put yourself out there!

Don’t get me wrong – I spend a lot of time on the internet myself (helloooo….blog much?) and I use the amazing array of info available on such sites as ActorsAccessCastingAbout and yes, even IMDbPro, but this whole ‘I like you, if you like me’ thing just feels icky to me and I’d rather spend my time in a more productive way.

If I’m wrong, please educate me! I’m sure it has some use, somehow, right? Otherwise, why would people do it? Or is it just a fad? People being ‘sheeple’? Seriously, anybody with real and concrete insight, please, please tell me how an IMDb STARmeter ranking is important to me; or how the number of ‘likes’ is useful to me as an actor (besides stroking my ego)? Much appreciated!

Meanwhile, I’ve got some casting notices to peruse. Toodles!

Sh!tlist

SMhollywoodsign3

I just read the news about the outcome of a lawsuit that will most likely change the whole internship landscape in Hollywood. Here’s a link to an article in the Hollywood Reporter. Basically, the days of big companies ‘using’ (or if you prefer ‘hiring’) interns for no pay may be over. There’s a lot of debate about the pros and cons of this outcome and I’ll leave that to you. However, the whole subject of ‘taking advantage’ (by either side) did bring to mind something similar:

Willing victims, aka: Actors.

I’m not talking about diva actors who think they’re all that, or wanna-be movie stars that never even bother taking an acting class, or any other non-dedicated ‘actor’.

I’m talking about actors that are in it for the long haul. Actors that care. Actors that train, market themselves, pound the pavement, do the grunt work, show up for the auditions. Actors that love their job and can’t imagine doing anything else.

Us actors need to stick together, man! Just the other day a good friend of mine found out that the local commercial gig he booked was NOT going to pay…as he was about to drive long distance to the set for the shoot! He still went, because he’s a man of his word, but you can bet he won’t fall for that one again. When he went to look at the online post (which even had stated the amount of pay), it had since been removed from the social media page. I suggested to him to take a screenshot of the casting notice next time so he has proof that the post said it was a paying gig. I don’t know if it was an honest mistake on the producers’ part or if it was just a nasty little trick to get good actors to audition in the first place. Either way, it’s frustrating as hell and you can be damn sure that we take those names down and add them to our little ‘Shitlist‘!

It’s bad enough that so many actors are willing and/or desperate enough for work that they’ll accept gigs for very little or even no pay (to at least get footage for a demo reel or maybe an imdb credit). Sometimes we’re just too damn eager to please. What sucks is that people take advantage of it. Yeah, I know.. it’s all a business… capitalism…. survival of the fittest… yadayadayada. Still. Not cool!

Just because you have a fancy camera or a rich daddy, a talented filmmaker it makes you not! I’ve been to auditions where the ‘directors’ talked down to actors or made fun of their acting. Again, not cool. If this is going to be the way you’ll treat your actors on the set of your non-paying-but you get food-gas-credit-filmmaking ‘masterpiece’, then no thanks! I’ll pass.

Filmmakers who promise footage for a demo-reel once their project is finished, but fail to deliver – you too are on the shitlist!

Oh, and don’t lure actors to auditions with ‘supporting’ roles just for them to find out that they’re only featured extra roles. Not professional.

Just remember…people talk! Mistreatment, false promises, outright lies, dishonest behavior – word gets out about you! You better believe it! Those phrases about ‘cream rising to the top’ or ‘separating the wheat from the chaff’ don’t just apply to actors.

Having said that, on the flipside…if you’re good to us, keep your promises and are just an all around PRO, we remember that too. And we spread the good word!

naughtyfinger

So, don’t wind up on our shitlist!

I also believe in Karma. And Voodoo. (Just kidding). Or maybe not… ;)

Sorry (not really) for the coarse language, but I’m mad! I’m having one of those days, mkaay?

Thanks for letting me rant. We cool?

Cool.