IFH 081: Top 10 Tips to Launch a Film Crowdfunding Campaign



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So today is the day. The THIS IS MEG Film Crowdfunding Campaign is LIVE! Click here to check it out: Down the Filmmaking Rabbit Hole.

I’ve been working for months on this campaign and am very proud of what I and the team have done. So below I wanted to share the Top Ten Tips I have learned from the many experts, guests and successful campaigns I’ve reviewed in prepping for my launch.

Before we get into the tips, here is the final trailer for the film This is Meg, the project we crowdfunded and used as a case study.

I’ll go in greater detail on all these topics in the podcast so definitely take a listen: Top 10 Tips to Launch a Crowdfunding Campaign Podcast

Top 10 Tips to Launch a Film Crowdfunding Campaign

Assemble a Team Ahead of Time: You are not an island! You need a group of amazing people who are willing to help you on this journey. Check out our Launch Team for THIS IS MEG – Click here

30-day campaigns work best: Of all the film campaigns that met their goals, 32.71% of them ran their campaigns for 30-39 days, while only 13.87% of successful campaigns ran for 60 days.

Keep your campaign page updated: On average, successful film campaigns post 5 updates. Updates can include anything from press mentions, new incentives, celebrity endorsements, events, – anything that you think your community would be interested in. After all, your contributors are giving their money to help bring your film to the screen, so naturally, they’ll be interested in any updates you provide. Continually updating your campaign page is one of the best ways to keep your community and fans involved in the process.

Estimate Costs Carefully: So many filmmakers just pull a budget out of their butts. Breakdown what you really need for your entire filmmaking journey.

Study Successes and Failures: I studied sooooooo many campaigns before we launched. I took courses (see the free crowdfunding campaign below) and analyzed both successes and failures.

Give Fans An Inside Look: People want to be part of the process. Bring them into your process, your filmmaking craftsmanship.

Add New Perks through the Campaign: One unique aspect of film campaigns is that filmmakers have a huge range of creativity for your incentives. From signed memorabilia to meet-and-greets to set visits, you have lots of ways to incentivize your backers to help you reach your goal.

Include affordable perks: Don’t make the incentives for the private skyboxes, create incentives for the bleachers too. Make the journey accessible to all who want to join the trip.

Include a pitch video: For God’s sake make a good pitch video. I go into a ton of detail on this in the podcast. Check out our pitch video and let us know what you think:

Build an Audience & Networking: I can not stress the importance of building an audience before you launch. Not only that but also know where the audience for your film hangs out online so you can reach them.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 0:00
I wanted to today's topic, which I think was is very appropriate is the top 10 tips on how to launch a crowdfunding campaign for your film project. And like I said, I've been doing a lot of studying and I've been taking a lot of courses and analyzing a lot of different campaigns. So these are top 10 tips of things that I found to be useful and pretty much agreed upon by all the experts as well. So let's get right to it. So tip number one is assemble a team ahead of time, I've actually been putting together a small launch team to help me launch today to get the word out and they're kind of like the army they're the this is Meg army, the indie film, hustle tribe army going out there and hopefully posting, announcing to all of their fans all of their communities to to get the word out. So it's really helpful to build that team ahead of time now that's part of the launch team, then you have to have a core team of people behind you, whether that be a group of friends, who are taking different areas of the launch, whether like okay, you're going to handle social media, you're going to handle graphics, you're going to handle videos, you're going to handle all this kind of stuff. So you should have team members organize with that and that and that should be hopefully people in your film crew, whether that be your producers, your writer, whoever can do the job properly. But you have to do this with a launch with a team It's very, very difficult to do this by myself by yourself. And trust me, I do a lot of things by myself. But when it came to this campaign, I am bringing in the the big guns, if you will. So definitely assemble a team way before, I would say at least 30 to 60 days before you launch would be helpful. Second tip is that 30 day campaigns work the best they are historically the most successful in campaign a film campaign. So don't go to a 45 or 60 day or 90 day for God's sakes, it's too long to maintain that campaigns too long to keep that that flow going. 30 days is free, it takes forever. So Believe me, I would definitely stick to a 30 day campaign. All the statistics say that that works the best. So definitely do that. Tip number three, keep your campaign page updated. So definitely update your your page as often as you can with what's going on what's happening with your movie, what's happening with the the crowdfund campaign and all that kind of stuff, as well as prepare ahead of time for stretch goals, because a lot of filmmakers underestimate what they think they can get and get that stretch goal ready because let's say you put out I only need $40,000 for to make my movie. And all of a sudden you get 40,000 in a week, well, what are you going to do for the next three weeks, you've got to create stretch goals. And then you have to understand what those stretch goals are going to do. You have to tell your your community what those stretch goals are for. So you can hopefully get more money and make a better movie. God, I hope all of you have this problem that you've made too much money and have no idea what to do with it. So let's all pray and hope that that is the problem. Now Tip number four, estimate your costs very carefully. A lot of times, filmmakers will just throw out a number kind of like pulling it out of there. But like is $40,000. Well, what is that $40,000 for and is that going to be enough to get you through the gambit get you through the journey of making your film, and is it going to be just for pre production, production, post production, marketing expenses, deliverables, distribution, expenses, all that kind of stuff has money attached to it. So if you're only going to do one campaign, which I suggest you don't do just one campaign, that's why you see the spark, because you can actually do it per category. So let's say you start off at pre production, production and post production, deliverables, and so on. But if you are only going to do one campaign to raise all of your money, make sure you estimate your costs very, very, very carefully. Tip number five study successes and failures. So I have been, I'm the kind of guy I think you guys know by now that I go deep down that rabbit hole, and anything I do or attempt to do. So I been watching so many pitch videos, so many analyzing so many different campaigns over the course of the last 30 to 60 days, to see what works, what doesn't work, how they lay their, their, their campaign page out how they put their videos together, what worked for certain genres, what worked for didn't work for certain genres and what failed miserably. And what was great successes. So definitely study people that have done this before, so you can learn from them. One campaign I loved was Kung furious campaign. If you haven't looked it up. If you ever know about Kung Fury, just type in Kung Fury, and you'll see it it's a pretty cool campaign. And what that guy has been able to do with that project, since the campaign is pretty pretty crazy. So definitely check that one out. Tip number six, give your fans an inside look. Now by giving your fans an inside look I mean like shooting behind the scenes videos. With you can Snapchat you can use Facebook Live or periscope to give them a real inside look to your projects. I've taken it to to the extreme by creating an entire membership site that will be giving them the entire educational journey of what we're doing with this is Max, I've taken that concept and really just put it on steroids and just gone full blown with it. But you don't have to go that big. I would say I would suggest that just you know, uploading videos showing people who you are what you're doing, really connect with them on an emotional human level. You're an artist, and you should be connecting with your fans in that way. So showing them how you're crafting a scene what you're doing, how you're doing it is very, very fun for a lot of people. And what might seem boring to you, because you've might have done it a bunch of times is super exciting to someone who's never seen it before. So definitely give them an inside look now seven Tip Number seven, add new perks throughout your campaign. So as we go forward through our campaign, we're going to be adding new perks based on what we kind of feedback we get from our community. from you, the tribe and and also Julie's fans and all the other people that we're going to hopefully gather and get the word out on the on the campaign. So we have a bunch of other perks kind of lined up, but also a lot of other people like, Hey, we really would like to get tickets to the, to the, to the premiere of the movie, or something along those lines. So we'll create those perks as we get forward and also up by updating and putting new perks in it. It keeps things a little fresh, and people get more excited about certain things. And believe me a 30 day campaign is a it's a marathon. So you have to do things to keep things going. After also doing my my research, I found that the most successful campaigns on all platforms added at least between 10 to 15 new perks throughout their campaign, as other perks fill up are gone, they keep adding new things to keep things really exciting and fresh. Now, tip number eight include affordable perks. So you know, a lot of people can't throw down 100 bucks, 200 bucks, 500 bucks or 1000 bucks or higher. But they might be able to throw in 1015 bucks, 15 bucks, 20 bucks, five bucks. And you should make things available up to like between a $5 and $30 range. Another little side tip on incentives or perks is at $25, you've got to give them access to the movie. Like that's kind of shady if you don't. So whether that be a DVD, whether that be a digital download now when it when they get access to it, it's a whole other story because you have to wait for distributions and so on and so forth. But you will, you will have to give them access to your movie at one way shape or form, whether that'd be private links through Vimeo or through your own distribution platform, whatever it might be, have to give them access to your movie at the $25 or above, incentive or perk. And also guys, when you're doing these incentives, make sure you do your math man because a lot of people will you know we'll spend say all we're going to give you a DVD, and I'm going to give you a T shirt at 25 bucks. And I'm like with T shirts costing you 10 bucks to make and your DVDs cost you another five bucks to make five or 10 bucks to make, let's say let's say let's say that you're not doing a big run of DVDs, and you're going to spend six bucks to make seven bucks to make a DVD and 10 bucks to make a T shirt because you're not making 1000 of them. Well that's 17 bucks, don't forget the commission that the the form the platform is going to take which can be anywhere between three to 7% off the top. And then and then on top of that you've got to ship this stuff. So then you have to take care of shipping as well. So all of a sudden that $25 donation turns into either $1 donation or actually you lose money in the donation so please do your math on on your perks and incentives. Because if you don't just gonna just shoot you're gonna shoot yourself in the foot and it's not gonna make a lot of sense. Now, I know this next tip This is Tip Number nine is it's going to seem very, very rudimentary or obvious, but I'm gonna say it anyway, include a pitch video, you got to include a pitch video guys don't, don't launch a campaign without a pitch video and send it consider that you guys are not making that transforming pen that makes your coffee kind of product you're making a film. So that stuff your pitch video better look good, better sound good, because the quality of your pitch video will tell your fans or potential donators or contributors, the quality of the movie. So if you make a really crappy pitch video, they're gonna go well if they made a really crappy video, they're probably gonna make a really good movie. So why am I going to send you know, donate any money or contribute any money to this campaign. So you really got to make it look good sound is super huge, guys. It's not a big deal to get good sound. You could either borrow a good decent mic, you know, on Amazon. I know a lot of filmmakers out there are like a bare budget but the mic you're listening to right now is an audio technica mic that I bought on Amazon for like 79 bucks. And it's amazing. It's a USB or, or XLR mic, and it's 79 bucks. And it sounds just like you're hearing right now it sounds awesome. So you could either put it right above you with a boom pole that cost you another 3040 bucks a really cheap one and have someone hold it or you can you know, you know, rig it somehow. So it's just above you and get it really close to your to your mouth as close as you can while being out of frame. And you've got good audio now you can record that directly into your camera, but I would record it into something like a little Tascam or a little zoom or something like that. That will that will give you good audio and I can give you a whole we're going to talk all about audio inside the syndicate about that but those are just quick tips on a really good audio. And I say that because audio is the one thing that people tend not to forgive, they'll forgive bad picture but they will not forgive bad audio. So and I've seen so many pitch videos that the Audio was just bad. And they might have good images. But the audio was bad. I'm like, Guys, can you get a frickin mic for God's sakes? So sorry, I'm going off on a tangent. Make sure you you make it look as good as possible. Don't make it so polished that you're like, Well, why the hell do we need money. If these guys can do all this crazy stuff, just make it, make it real, make it good, make it fun and interactive. Watch a ton of videos. I'm also going to put a link in the show to show notes, this amazing course that Emily best. And the good folks over at Seton spark put together, it's a free course, on YouTube, I put them all up on indie film, hustle, there's about 11 classes of five minutes each or something like that, that takes you through the entire gambit of how to actually put together a really successful crowdfunding campaign. And I would advise everybody who's going to do a crowdfunding campaign, whether you're going to do with seed and spark, or Indiegogo or Kickstarter, watch that video, watch that course. It's really, really, really, really good. So the last tip, tip number 10. build an audience. I can't tell you how much I have to impress upon you. You need an audience guys. I always say it. But when you're going to try to crowdfund you better have an audience are understand where the audience for your movie is. So if you're making a horror movie, go to all the horror, Facebook groups, go to all the four horror forums, do all of that and just see where they hang out and then ask them during the process. Hey, guys, I'm making a horror movie, what would you guys like to see in it, and start building that community up, start building up that excitement of people like oh, wow, this would be great, I'll do this or do that. And all of a sudden, they're they're invested in your project, before you've ever they've ever even donated a dime. So that's a good way. And this takes time guys just takes, if you're just doing it for a specific movie, it could take, it could take three, four or five months, I would suggest at least six months to a year prior to start building it up. And then as you get closer and closer start doing it, you could do it probably within a six month time period. Anything shorter than that, as far as building it to a big point is going to be harder. But even if you have 30 days to 60 days, at least understand where everybody is. And at least that way you can target them very specifically when you're going after the your your core audience. But ideally, is to build an audience. It's taken me about nine months or so now, to build an amazing audience with almost 10 months now to build an amazing, amazing audience with the tribe with you guys in the film hustle tribe. And you know, I hope that it all works out. And you guys helped me out with this project with all the great stuff that I've given you over the past almost year. But that's the goal is you provide hopefully you can provide valuable content value to your audience in one way, shape, or form. And again, like I've said before, it doesn't have to be tutorials or podcast talking about the making of or something like that. It could be humor, look at Kung Fury, their their campaign was amazing. their social media is amazing. And they're just showing you they're basically providing value in entertainment, and making you laugh and making you smile and making you nostalgic for wonderful 80s cheese, if you will. So that definitely guys build that audience up. So you can hopefully tap that audience to help you make your movie and sustain you through many other projects that come and I did study many filmmakers who have done not one, not two, but five or 10 different crowdfunding campaigns that have crowdfunded multiple projects for them, whether they be TV series, or web series, short films, feature films, Doc's all all just they people continue to follow them because they love what they're doing. So that is a very big, big, big tip. Tip number 10. And then as a bonus one guys, network. I know that sounds weird, but just network network with other sites network with other people who can help you in your genre or what you're trying to do with your crowdfunding campaign. So if you are doing like, I always use a horror because it's easy. But if you're doing a horror movie, it would be beneficial for you to kind of build relationships with horror film, websites, you know, or horror sites, sites that will love what you're doing. And that's what I've been doing with. With indie film hustle. I've actually networked with a ton of different filmmaking websites. I'm going to be launching I think today with at least two if not three, podcast, talking about the indie film syndicate, this is mag the crowdfunding campaign, the whole ball of wax, because I've been able to build up those relationships over the course of the last almost year or so. So it's been, it's something that you should definitely look into. If you're trying to do a crowdfunding campaign. Definitely network with people or websites organizations within the genre, or kind of project you're trying to do. So that's it. Guys, those are the top 10 plus a little bit more tips on how to launch a crowdfunding campaign. And we will be going through, as I said, in the film's indie film syndicate, and also in podcast and other things like that articles over the course of the next 30 days talking about how the crowdfunding campaign is doing what I'm doing to promote it. If you guys really want to see some cool and innovative, I think innovative marketing techniques on how to push a crowdfunding campaign out there. definitely keep a close eye on our social media, and our on our Facebook page, our Twitter page, specifically, but also on our Facebook page, our Pinterest, Instagram, and so on. Because I'm going to be doing some stuff I've never seen before. And I'm really curious to see if it's gonna work. But I'm gonna do some cool stuff and just keep an eye out. And I'll tell after the campaign is over, I will release all of my secrets. I will talk I'll do a podcast about it. And just kind of tell you guys, some of the highlights of what happened with the with the crowdfunding campaign and what marketing techniques worked, and what marketing techniques did not work. But I hope that this episode, and my whole experience going through this, this whole crowdfunding campaign is that it's not this mountain, this massive mountain that you can't climb yourself to create your own projects, guys, I mean, even if you're trying to raise $2,000, for a short film $1,000 for a short film, you can do it, it's not out I mean, you you believe it or not, there you have, you have a community already, it's your friends and family. And then from there, you start building off that as your foundation, and then you start building up a lot farther and farther and farther. And you provide more and more value out there for other people. Again, don't forget that value is so important, provide value provide an outlet for them, I can't tell you how much help I've gotten purely because of having a you know, a very big filmmaking podcast, or having indie film, hustle calm, you know, because I've been able to build up this audience. It is super, super important, guys. So provide that value, and doors will open for you. I guarantee it, trust me, I guarantee it. So this is doable, guys, you can do it, there's no question about it. I'm talking a lot of smack now because I haven't even you know, we don't even know how much money we're gonna make with this in my fall flat on its face. And that's the exciting part about this whole journey for me, man, you know, I am putting myself out there in a big, big way, I can fail miserably, I can make a hike it, I cannot raise the money for the campaign, I can, I can make a horrible, horrible movie, I can, you know, that's not going to do well, I there's a lot of things that I can just fall flat on my face, but you know what, I'm going to do it, and I'm going to be brave, and whatever, I'm going to let the chips fall where they may and I have a confidence in myself, and what I'm able to do to hopefully make a really, really amazing film, and hopefully raise enough money to make that film in the way that I want to make it and we're not asking for a lot of money, it's really a small amount of money in the grand scheme of things a 10 to $15,000 feature film, with the kind of cast that we have is is very, very small. So I'm hoping that that somebody else sees the value of what we're trying to do. So thank you guys so much for for all your support. And again, anything you can do to help with the making of this mag whether that'd be promoting it through your social media, or, or donating even as small as five bucks or as big as I think 20 $500 is our biggest incentive right now. Please do so it really would help a lot and it would mean personally a tremendous amount to me. So thank you, thank you so much. Again, those websites are this is mag comm to go and check out our crowdfunding campaign. See how I lay it all out by the way watch it look at it, because trust me, what I did was studying a lot of different successful campaign so whatever you see there is a combination of all of these elements from all these other really successful campaigns. So definitely take a look at how I laid everything out. Take a look at our pitch video. See how we created that pitch video. I'm going to do in the syndicate, we're actually going to do a whole breakdown on how and why we created the how we edited the video how we shot the video, how we went back and did reshoots for the video, how we did different edits so you can kind of see the progression of from the original take edit one to the final version so you can see what we cut out how we tightened it, how we grew it and so on. So take a look at our pitch video and learn from what we did again in my fall flat on our face. But again, this is based off of a lot, a lot of research. So definitely take a look Got it. This is mag comm if you want the show notes for all those links I was talking about, as well as the link to this amazing mic that I'm talking on. Go to indie film hustle comm Ford slash 081. And of course if you want to check out the indie film syndicate, go to indie film syndicate calm, that's indie film, syndicate s YNDICA t.com. Thank you guys so so, so much. I really, really humbly appreciate everything you guys have done, and hopefully we'll be doing in the next 30 days for for indie film hustle for the tribe. And for for this humble filmmaker just trying to make his first feature film. Keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive, and I'll talk to you soon.




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