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Filmmaking / Directing : Crowd Funding by Brian Steinmetz

Brian Steinmetz

Crowd Funding

I've recently been involved in a pair of Kickstarter campaigns, both of which had working, recognizable actors attached, and both of which failed. I'm curious, has anyone here had any GOOD LUCK with crowdfunding? And if so, what's your secret?

Royce Allen Dudley

Brian- I was involved as a creative / attached in 1 hit, 2 misses. Had one like what you describe with massive buzz and names and traffic completely tank. Had another with soap stars and buzz and fan base fail. Then had one I thought was stupid and impossible overfund before the deadline- but it was based on a book with a fanbase and that brought the $. It looks like web series and docs can do well, and it looks like features do not.. unless you are Zach Braff. I have been observant of several friend's recent kickstarters, none funded. It may be that crowdfunding is maturing in selectivity, and I also think feature narratives are inherently seen as commercial, even when indie, and filmmakers would rather fund their own movie ?

Ami Brown

Well you actually don't have to build up an audience, you have to know what website to get the attention of - who already have your audience. My son recently did a kickstarter asking for 30k and they raised almost 300k! for a video game development - they got picked up by a couple of video game websites and online magazines - and it just exploded from there! Finding a great online source is one way if you don't have an audience or huge contact list. Here is the link so you can see what they did... https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jonaskaerlev/a-hat-in-time-3d-colle...

CJ Walley

That's amazing, Ami! Well done to your son!

Royce Allen Dudley

Ami- You are correct in asserting you need to go to where the interest already exists... But... Video games are notoriously well backed by users / fans... kickstarters have been in the millions several times. The users / supporters of video games are not the users/ buyers / supporters of independent films any more than they are the users / buyers/ supporters of new gadgets.. we all have video games, movies and gadgets but our relationship to them are different- the kickstarter for a film is very different than other crowdfundings. Gadget nuts and gamers know they get a product. Films are different- much bigger gamble that it entertains at all. I also think amongst all creatives, filmmakers are viewed by the masses as narcissistic dreamers who need to get a real job- even more so than musicians... or, they are seen as professionals who already have a career, so why would they need my $ ? Perhaps heresy on Stage32 but I think it's the case. The exact same kind of mass exposure to an existing base across fan sites and even at physical conventions and festivals happened for this project seeking $150K, and look what the result was https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sumojack/casket-county-massacre?ref...

Brian Steinmetz

Anybody heard of phundee? It's a new crowdfunding site for creatives...

Adam Strange

Tough to say what's wrong without looking at the videos. Here's one my friend did but the video doesn't tell anything about the movie. I think people want to see a mock trailer and if they feel that's a movie they'd like to see then they will donate. No one wants to donate to something they are not even going to see or like. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/departedharvest/departed-harvest

Ami Brown

Yes, but my point was more about Kickstarter is about finding people you do not know. Alle had said you already have to know them - and that doesn't make sense, you wouldn't need kickstarter - you would just ask them. And finding those 10000 NEW people that will all give you $20 bucks - and they get the free download of the movie after it is released. Come up with some cool merchandise or gifts for extra money/donations. Being creative and marketing it to the target audience. If it's a genre that already has a following like .... sci-fi - target the sci-fi forums, website..... if it's a romance...target the romance novel forums... if it's inspirational...target religious/church forums... It's ALL about finding the BIG audience it will appeal to- donating small amounts, it can add up.

Stage 32 Staff - Julie

You guys should read this article about crowdfunding, it has great tips and stats: https://medium.com/@Stage32online/5-ways-you-are-using-twitter-incorrect...

Timothy Plain

I was the top funded short in 2012 and I'll tell you there is no secret you don't already know. The main reason campaigns are successful is because they inspire people to believe in them. Perhaps both projects were just not interesting to audiences. You also have to be realistic that most of the money you're going to raise will be from friends and family, not strangers. Unless the actors themselves have a good fanbase, but it doesn't sound like that's the case.

James Peters

I'm doing the same thing with my screenplay at: http://www.gofundme.com/f7tz18 Maybe you should try this. Good luck with everything

Paul J.J. Pastore

Thanks Jim. I all ready have something up. Spread the word if you wish. Thanks and take care.

Ron Newcomb

I've run a couple of campaigns that were successful. 1) You should try and have an established fan base. 2) Think of it as Kick-finisher, as most of your stuff should be done or ready to go. If you are doing a film, you should have something to show them. 3) Ensure you know where your 1st 3% is coming from on day #1 - if you don't make it to 3%, you are 80% likely to fail. 4) Partner with others to get the word out. Hope that helps! I actually have done some seminars on the topic...

Karen Goldfarb

Hi James.. just wondering.. how do you like GoFund me?

Jo Griffiths

Just make sure you tell the world. No point doing it unless everyone knows about it

James Peters

I'm sorry Karen...were you asking me? I just saw the question (2 months later). I had to have looked it over a dozen times and never noticed. I'm truly sorry. ANSWER: Haven't even gotten a nibble. Nada. Nothing. Disappointed but not surprised. Oh well, I'll never lose hope. Have a GREAT day/night!

Amanda Toney

Here's a great article regarding using twitter for crowd funding: https://medium.com/@Stage32online/5-ways-you-are-using-twitter-incorrect...

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