Author: Matthew Ladensack, Filmmaking Department, New York Film Academy Los Angeles
There are a lot of different crowd funding sites out there including the two most publicized: IndieGoGo and Kickstarter. With so many options and countless means of setting up an efficient campaign, how do you know which site is best for your project?
Here are our 5 “must know” tips on how to chose the best site for your short film campaign.
1. Know the Benefits: The benefits of crowdfunding are plentiful: Building an audience upfront, getting people excited about your idea, setting the tone and solidifying the details of your project. It’s a new world where you can presell an idea to an audience and in return be able to create something that is already something people are talking about.
2. Know the Options: Fixed or flex funding campaigns. In the past, Kickstarter only had fixed campaigns, meaning that you would need to hit your funding goal or none of the funds would be collected and delivered to you. On the other hand, there is flexed which means that even if you don’t hit their goal you can keep the money that has been pledged to your campaign. There is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing, but it’s important to know the type of audience you are trying to capture and what may entice them to donate funds. Having a Fixed campaign may encourage people to donate more because they want to make the project happen, while doing a flex campaign will allow the artist to take home at least a little money to get the project started and have longer legs then starting from scratch.
3. Know the Business: Filmmaking is a business from the very start and it’s important to understand that approaching a crowd funding campaign should have the appropriate steps you take with starting a business. Most importantly it’s about strategy and knowing how you can see the most funds coming in. For example, Indiegogo will take Paypal while Kickstarter will not, meaning that you are eliminating a stream for funds to come in. Perhaps you know that your audience doesn’t use Paypal and that the demographic mainly uses credit cards. Research how the target age group pays for things and decide if having a Paypal option would be beneficial to raising funds. Ultimately, it’s about the success of the campaign and it is smart to research the percentage of successful projects for each site, in particular for the genre of film you are working with. Browse the site and model your campaigns off of other successfully funded films. Many new statistics are coming out about crowd funding so do your homework and find out what website may reach your audience the best. Remember that no project is the same and you cannot copy another project’s strategy, be personal and connect with the audience you want to in a natural voice and create incentives that speak to your project.
4. Know the Particulars: Kickstarter only allows users to fund “creative projects”. They will not have campaigns for anything other then artistic endeavors (films, books, etc.). IndieGoGo campaigns include a large variety of projects including businesses and even people trying to raise money for their education. Creating a campaign with one or the other may be sending out a statement to your audience and it’s important that you evaluate what you are conveying by the type of site you select to raise funds.
5. Know your Project: Ask yourself what story am I going to tell, who is my audience and how do I foresee reaching that audience. Each platform is a little different and it’s important to browse and see the type of content that is being funded on each site. Crowd funding may seem like a walk in the park, but it’s a lot of work to have a successful campaign. Research niche communities within each site and discover how each site can better market and display your film’s funding page to best display your image. This is your opportunity to pitch your project to potentially thousands of people and your pitch is just as important as the story you want to tell. Give your project a unique personality and remember to follow up with your audience. Just like filmmaking, crowd funding is about persistence, if you aren’t connecting with people reevaluate and constantly find ways to make your campaign the best it can be and on the platform that is right for your film.