Financing / Crowdfunding : Crowdfunding for a teaser by Melanie Hagen

Melanie Hagen

Crowdfunding for a teaser

Hey everyone my name is Melanie Hagen, I am a German actress, based in Berlin. I developed a series and now we want to shoot a teaser to present the project to streaming service, producers. I have a great team and cast, but unfortunately I have been a bit unlucky the last weeks. We were ready to shoot but then I lost a sponsor and the location we had confirmed since November, suddenly wanted to have more money. Long story short, I created a gofundme campaign and it is not very successful. I have to be honest, that I am totally inexperienced when it comes to financing/funding and I realize I am also not the best. I did some research here, but I am still a bit lost. This is what I did so far: posting on social media, sending personal messages to people I know. That hasnt been fruitful. Usually when you do crowdfunding you are offering something to the donators, like producer credits or gifts, which I cant, because it is just a teaser. So I decided to offer dance and acting workshops for underpriviliged children, when I get enough donations. I am already working with an orphanage from time to time on a voluntary basis and since 2015 I am helping refugees, also on a voluntary basis. The series is about child abuse and human trafficking, which leads to the next "problem" that I can not contact organisations which are dealing with theses issues and who might be interested in supporting, because they also finance themselves through donations. Did I do something wrong with the campaign ( I posted the link at my wall)? Are there other options how I could be better with sharing? Should I just randomly write people I am connected with, but not very close and hope that they will show suppurt? I would appreciate any tipps, ideas and experiences. Stay healthy. Best Regards

Shadow Dragu-Mihai

It does not sound like you did anything wrong. However, crowdfunding, to be successful, actually requires a lot of work and advertising. It becomes a project in itself and you usually need to already have a large following whom you can market to for the funding effort. It you don't have that already or have not got a serious plan (and marketing money) to do that, then it is much less likely to raise money that way.

Melanie Hagen

Thanks a lot for your comment and your advice. Yes you are right, I toally underestimated it. I actually just need 200 people to donate 5 Euro, but it is really hard to get anyone to do it. Anyway time is running so maybe I focus on finding a private sponsor again like I did with the other half.

Tasha Lewis

Here are some resources Stage 32, Filmdaily.tv , and hollywomen.com.

John Ellis

Why do you need a teaser? Decisions about TV series are made from the pitch bible, not a teaser. Nobody will watch it. You should try to connect with CJ Walley, he can point to some resources that will show that making a teaser/sizzle is not the way to go. One resource I found here: https://www.stage32.com/classes/Stage-32-TV-Development-Lab-How-to-Develop-and-Pitch-Your-Television-Project

Rather than spend money on a teaser, spend it on this class. Raquelle is great - experienced, generous and honest.

The class I took with her and Jay convinced me to stop wasting time and money on teasers, but focus on writing a slam-dunk bible, if I want to find success with my shows.

Jane Sanger

Hi, that is not entirely true. It depends whether you want to direct etc your tv show and a nice teaser showing your skills IS watched and does get you commissioned. Re crowdfunding. You need at least 3 months to make the campaign so it’s not a quick fix. You did plenty wrong here and as a successful. Crowdfunder I can tell you all and guide you through but I take 5% of the money you raise. A quicker fix as you sat is to get a sponsor.

John Ellis

Clearly, the US and the UK operate differently. I stand by what I've been told by the people I mentioned above, that a teaser is a waste of time and money - at least in the US.

Melanie Hagen

@ JohnEllis What Jane Sanger said. Everyone would love to be in the producion later so we want to show our skills. Also it is common here. Germany is a bit different. And for sure I have a bible. It would be just an extra.

Jane Sanger Thanks a lot for your feedback. You are absolutely right, I know that. And it is very kind of you that you offer your knowledge, but we do not need so much moneny so 5 % wouldn´t be so much for you then.

Shadow Dragu-Mihai

Well, I usually agree with John Ellis opinion on this, teasers are usually irrelevant. Plus, often they cost what an episode would cost, so... just produce a pilot episode and then you have something you could at least theoretically monetize. I don't normally producer a POC sizzler, but there are some specific projects which require them and assist in getting investor interest on the one hand, and weeding out the wrong investor on the other hand. In particular I have a project based on a Hollywood celebrity with a very, very wide built in audience. However, due to peculiarities in Hollywood distribution mythology, which I will not get into here, some people are immediately on board and some people simply won't accept market truths if they go against those myths. A sizzler identifies those people for me immediately and I don't waste time trying to pitch someone who is unable to do anything for me.

John Ellis

Shadow Dragu-Mihai, that's a great exception to the "usually irrelevant" rule. Melanie Hagen you should really listen to what he has to say.

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