Film Crowdfunding Campaign
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 definitly 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 works 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 free crowdfunding campain below) and analized both successes and failures.
Give Fans An Inside Look: People want to be part of the process. Bring them into your process, your filmmaking craftmanship.
Add New Perks through the Campaign: One unique aspect of film campaigns is that filmmakers have an huge range of creativity for your incentives. From signed memorbilia 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 sky boxes, create incentives for the bleachers too. Make the journey accessable 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 and 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 (Transcription of the episode below)
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- THIS IS MEG Crowdfunding Campaign
- Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone
- TASCAM DR-40 4-Track Portable Digital Recorder
- Zoom H4N Digital Multitrack Recorder
- THIS IS MEG Launch Team
- IFH 080: FREE Crowdfunding Course & Why I Choose Seed & Spark.com
- Werner Herzog Master Class
- Aaron Sorkin Master Class
- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
- INDIE FILM SYNDICATE Filmmaking Community
- IFH’s Online Film School
- Six Secrets to get into Film Festivals for FREE!
If you like Top 10 Tips to Launch a Film Crowdfunding Campaign, then click below:
FREE Crowdfunding Course & Why I Choose Seed & Spark.com
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IFHTV: Indie Film Hustle TV
Book: Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business
Book: Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story)
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Transcription – Indie Film Hustle Podcast Episode #81.
Welcome to the Indie Film Hustle Podcast Episode Number 81.
‘Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence is the key to unlocking our potential.’ Winston Churchill
Broadcasting from the back alley in Hollywood. It’s the Indie Film Hustle Podcast where we show you how to survive and thrive as an Indie Filmmaker in the jungles of the film Business. And here’s your host Alex Ferrari.
Welcome my Indie Film hustlers to a very special Indie Film Hustle Podcast. I am your humble host Alex Ferrari. So, guys today is the day, the day that we launch our crowdfunding campaign for our little independent feature film, micro budget feature film. This is Meg and you can go and check out our campaign at thisismeg.com . It’ll go straight to our season spark campaign. If you can contribute anything whether it be financially or with promoting the campaign and promoting and retreating and reposting stuff that we post that’s great but money is always helpful. We’re trying to raise fifteen grand for this project and I have a couple special treats for you guys later in the episode about that. So if you guys have ever gotten any sort of value from my podcast, from Indie Film Hustle, from blog post, from a video I’ve posted, anything. Please help me try to get this movie made. I really really would appreciate it if it’s five bucks that’s fine, if it’s five hundred bucks that’s fine, if it’s five thousand bucks that’s fine too. Whatever you guys can do would be so appreciated. And I’m going a little beyond what normal filmmakers do with crowdfunding. I’m actually also creating the Indie Film Syndicat for you guys so you guys can go in and see real detailed breakdown of how we’re doing this and we’ve already launched the Indie Film Syndicat. So that you can go to indiefilmsyndicat.com and check that out and I want to give a big shout out to all the Indie Film Syndicat members that are already in that have, we’re on the waiting list and jumped in early so thank you so much. But if you go to the thisismeg.com a crowdfunding campaign if you contribute or donate, you will get special access to the Indie Film Syndicat and see what we’re doing for either months or years depending on the level you go into. So we’ve already started uploading some videos to the Indie Film Syndicat in regards to This is Meg but there’s already like thirty or forty hours’ worth of content plus every single podcast organized for your convenience as well. So this is really exciting day for me guys. I’ve been working really really hard to try to launch this campaign and I’ve never done this before. Not like this. So I am really excited. I’m kind of scared as well to see how it goes. We’ve got thirty days to get to our total. I hope that the tribe comes in and supports this project because as you guys support me, I am able to continue to give you something that I’ve never seen before. Which is a complete all access pass to seeing how a micro budget film actually gets made. So thank you so much and with that I wanted to today’s topic which I think is a very appropriate is ‘The top ten 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 ten 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 get the word out. So it’s really helpful to build that team ahead of time and 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 OK 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 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 yourself and trust me I do a lot of things by myself but when it came to this campaign. I am bringing in the big guns if you will. So definitely assemble a team way before, I would say at least thirty to sixty days before you launch would be helpful.
Second tip is that thirty day campaigns work the best. They are historically the most successful, a film campaign. So don’t go to forty five or sixty day or ninety day for God sakes. It’s too long to maintain that campaigns. Too long to keep that flow going. So, believe me I would definitely stick to a thirty 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 page as often as you can with what’s going on, what’s happening with your movie, what’s happening with the crowdfund campaign and all that kind of stuff. As well as prepare ahead of time for stretch goals because a lot of filmmaker’s underestimate what they think they can get and get that stretch goal ready because say you put out only need forty thousand dollars for to make my movie and all of a sudden you get forty thousand in a week. 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 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 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 pulling it out of there but like forty thousand dollars. Well what is that forty thousand dollars for and is out 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 lets, you start off a pre production, production, 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 in 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 thirty to sixty days to see what works, what doesn’t work. How they lay their campaign page out, how they put their videos together. What works 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 a Kung Fury’s campaign. If you haven’t looked it, if you haven’t know about Kung Fury, just type in Kung Fury and you’ll see it. It’s a pretty cool campaign and what that guy’s 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 snap chat, you can use Facebook Live or Periscope to give them a real inside look to your projects. I’ve taken it 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 Meg. So 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 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 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 also Julie’s fans and all the other people that we’re going to hopefully gather and get the word out 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 premiere of the movie or something along those lines. So we’ll create those perks as we get forward and also 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 thirty day campaign is a, it’s a marathon. So you have to do things to keep things going. After also doing my research I found that the most successful campaigns on all platforms added at least between ten to fifteen 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 a hundred bucks, two hundred bucks, five hundred bucks or thousand bucks or higher but they might be able to throw in ten bucks, fifteen bucks, twenty bucks, five bucks and you should make things available up to like between a five dollars and thirty dollars range. Another little side tip on incentives or perks is at twenty-five dollars 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 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 have to give them access to your movie at one way shape or form whether that be private links through Vimeo or through your own distribution platform. Whatever it might be, you have to give them access to your movie at the twenty-five dollars or above incentive or perk. And also, guys when you’re doing these incentives make sure you do your math because a lot of people will you know will say I’m going to give you a D.V.D. and I’m going to give you T-shirt at twenty-five bucks. I’m like T-shirt costing you ten bucks to make and your DVD is cost another five bucks to make, five or ten bucks to make. Let’s say you are not doing a big run DVDs and you’re going to spend six bucks to make seven bucks to make a DVD and ten bucks to make a T-shirt because you’re not making a thousand of them. Let’s say seventeen bucks. Don’t forget the commission that the form the platform going to take which could be anywhere between three to seven percent of the top 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 twenty five dollar donation turns into either a dollar donation or actually you lose money in the donation. So please do your math on your perks incentives. Because if you don’t just going to just shoot you’re going to shoot yourself in the foot. It’s not going to 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 going to say it anyway. Include a pitch video. You’ve got to include a pitch video guys. Don’t launch a campaign without a pitch video and 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 going to go well, they made a really crappy pitch video, they are probably not going to 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 mike you know on Amazon. I know a lot of filmmakers out there are like a bear budget but the mike you’re listening to right now is an Audio Technica Mike that I bought an Amazon for like seventy nine bucks and it’s amazing. It’s a USB or XLR Mike and it’s seventy nine 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 another thirty forty bucks, a really cheap one and have someone hold it or you can you know rig it somehow. So it’s just above you and get it really close 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 into something like a little task camera, little zoom or something like that, that will give you good audio and I can give you a whole. We’re going to talk all about audio inside the syndicat 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 forgive bad picture but they will not forgive bad audio. So I have seen so many pitch videos that the audio was just bad and they might have good images but the audio is bad. I’m like guys can’t you get a frickin Mike for God’s sakes. So sorry I’m going off on a tangent. Make sure 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. These guys can do all this crazy stuff just
make it real, make it good, make it fun, interactive. Watch a ton of videos. I’m also going to put a link on to show notes. This amazing course that Emily Best and the good folks over at Seed and Spark put together. It’s a free course on YouTube. I put them all up on Indie Film Hustle so there’s about eleven classes of five minutes each or something like that. That teach you through the entire gamut 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 it. Seasonspark or Indiegogo or Kickstarter watch that video. Watch that course. It’s really really really really really good.
So the last tip. Tip number ten. 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 crowd fund you better have an audience or 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 a 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 at all. Wow this would be great. Oh do this or do that and all of a sudden they’re invested in your project before they’ve ever even donated a dime. So that’s a good way. This takes time guys. It takes. If you’re just doing it for a specific movie. It could take, it could take three, four, 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 then that as far as building it to a big point is going to be harder but even if you have thirty days to sixty days at least understand where everybody is and at least that way you can target them very specifically when you’re going after 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 ten months now to build an amazing audience with the tribe, with you guys, Indie Film Hustle tribe and you know I hope that it all works out and you guys help 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 or something like that. It could be humor. Look at Kung Fury. 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 eighty’s 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 ten different crowdfunding campaigns that have crowd funded multiple projects for them whether that be TV series or web series, short films, feature films, docs all just they people continued to follow them because they love what they’re doing so. That is a very big big big tip, tip number ten. 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 a relationship 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
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 Syndicat, This is Meg, 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 a year or so. So it’s been it’s tempting 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 ten plus a little bit more tips on how to launch a crowdfunding campaign and we will be going through
as I said Indie Film Syndicat and also in podcasts and other things like that articles over the course of next thirty days talking about how the crowd funding 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 on our Facebook page, our Twitter page specifically but also 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 going to work but I’m going to do some cool stuff and just keep an eye out and 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 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 whole crowdfunding campaign is that it’s not this mountain this massive mountain that you can’t climb yourself to create your own projects because I mean even if you’re trying to raise two thousand dollars for a short film, a thousand dollars for a short film. You can do it. It’s not out. I mean you believe it or not there you have a community already, it’s your friends and family and then from there you start building off that as your foundation then you start building up a lot farther and farther and farther and you provide more and more value out there for other people. Don’t forget that value is so important. Provide value, provide an outlet for them. I cannot tell you how much help I’ve got purely because of having a, you know a very big filmmaking podcast or having indiefilmhustle.com . 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 going to 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 cannot raise the money for the campaign. I can make a horrible horrible movie. I can you know that’s not going to do. Well 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 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 and 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 ten or fifteen thousand dollars feature film with the kind of cast that we have is very very small.
So I’m hoping that somebody else sees the value of what we’re trying to do so. Thank you guys so much for all your support and again anything you can do to help with the making of This is Meg whether that be promoting it through your social media or donating even small as five bucks or as big as I think twenty five hundred dollars 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 thisismeg.com 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 campaigns so whatever you see there is a combination of all of these elements from all these 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 Syndicat we’re actually going to do a whole breakdown on how and why we created, 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 at it one to the final version so you can see what we cut out, how we tightened it, how we you know 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 at it thisismeg.com . If you want the show notes for all those links I was talking about as well as the link to this amazing mike that I’m talking on, go to indiefilmhustle.com/081 . And of course if you want to check out the Indie Film Syndicat go to indiefilmsyndicat.com That’s indiefilmsyndicat.com. Thank you guys so so so much. I really really humbly appreciate everything you guys have done. And hopefully will be doing in the next thirty days for Indie Film Hustle for the tribe and 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. Thanks for listening to the Indie Film Hustle Podcast at indiefilmhustle.com . That’s I N D I E F I L M H U S T L E .com.