The Key to Crowdfunding Film: Subcultures and Niches

December 29, 2023

The role of the producer is very fluid and hard to sum up with a two-line job description. Throw into the mix that the industry is evolving rapidly—forcing the role itself to change with it. As aspiring Producers traverse this exciting terrain, it’s important to understand how subcultures and crowdfunding can provide a tried-and-tested path to fund and produce a great work of passion.

Crowdfunding Film: More Than Just The Cash

Raising enough capital to do justice to your vision is an important concern for any producer. If you look at just about any successful crowdfunding project—even outside of filmmaking—you’re likely to notice a common thread running through them: they identify a very specific demographic, then figure out how to best serve the people within it. Movie production is no exception. Free from some of the restrictions of traditional, big studio-fuelled productions, a filmmaker in 2024 no longer has to try and appeal to the largest swathe of potential moviegoers and can instead hone in on very niche subjects.

crowdfunding film

More than 90,000 enthusiasts of the Veronica Mars TV series generously contributed $5.7 million to a film adaptation, successfully bringing it to fruition.  Consider the likes of Indie Game: The Movie, which pulled in over $70,000 in crowdfunding and went on to huge critical acclaim, or the Bronies documentary, which smashed its $60,000 target and raised over $320,000. The success of all of the films lies in excellent marketing to an extremely passionate (and pre-existing) audience who were happy to pay to see films that hadn’t even been released yet.

Image via RobertEbert.com.

You Can’t Fake Passion

This brings us to the golden rule of producing a movie for a specific subculture. Circling back to the aforementioned message about crowdfunding not being a method of getting a big check, trying to take advantage of a subculture you’ve no interest in is a quick route to failure. It will be difficult for a producer with no passion or reverence for the subject matter to create a quality film that does it justice. Those passionate about the subculture can spot a fake from a thousand miles away.

In short, pick a niche that really interests you. It’s the best way to find like-minded individuals who will happily become involved.

The Importance of Branding and Subculture in Production

To further demonstrate the efficacy of keeping the potential audience in mind when scouting for potential production, let’s examine the trend for marketing to pre-existing audiences on a huge scale.

Studios are increasingly turning to—and snapping up—intellectual properties that come with their own inbuilt audiences. If you look at some of the top-grossing movies of 2023, there is a common theme:

1. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes
2. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
3. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
4. John Wick: Chapter 4
5. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
6. Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One
7. The Little Mermaid
8. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
10. The Super Mario Bros. Movie
11. Barbie

By and large, the above entries already come from strongly established franchises or had much anticipation and almost guaranteed audience attendance before release (such as Barbie and The Little Mermaid).

Find Your Niche at NYFA

This is a scaled-up example from the top of the box office for demonstration purposes. You don’t have to compete at this scale, and nor should it be deemed a failure if you don’t make millions or double your budget—remember, it’s all about serving a subculture or niche with a strongly branded work that you can be proud of, and the principles behind this work at any level.

Ready to find your niche? Learn more about our Producing programs today!