How To Get People To Care About Your Crowd Funding Campaign

Every day it seems I get a minimum of 6 emails from filmmakers asking me to promote their crowd funding campaign to my audience. The irony is that – my audience is other filmmakers – they’re not the target audience for your film. So how’s that going to help you with raising money?

The key to raising money for your crowd funding campaign is to engage your target audience to the point that they want to give and help you make your dream a reality. Not to beat random people over the head with ‘give me, give me, give me’! That strategy doesn’t work and in and my opinion, unless you have a target audience plan…and by that I mean an email list of at least 1000 strong, a FB fan base, a Twitter following and your cast and crew all have the same, then you shouldn’t really be embarking on a crowd funding campaign in the first place.

Yes it takes time! What this means is that you can’t decide you’re going to do a crowd funding campaign and kick it off the next day. I would say you need at least 3 months prep time (assuming you’re starting with an existing email list to promote to)…if you don’t have that existing list, it could take 6 months to a year to develop one. I’ve been working with a particular client of mine for just over a year while he builds up his target audience email list and FB fan base. To build up that base he’s spent money – and lots of it – both in FB ads and in traveling the country to different conferences and gatherings where his target audience hangs out, and he’s collected email addresses one by one that way. It’s been a long slog but guess what – a year later he’s in prime position to promote anything he wants to this audience. They are extremely targeted and interested in what he has to offer….they want to see the film get made….and he’s kept them engaged the whole time.

So I ask you – what is the promotional plan for your crowd funding campaign? I hope it doesn’t involve emailing bloggers in the filmmaking space — as discussed, they are not your target audience. Other filmmakers? They are busy trying to raise money for their own films and could care less about yours! Come on – time to get your hands dirty and do the work yourself even if it takes a year or longer. And if you can’t figure out who your target audience is to even begin this process, then guess what – you probably shouldn’t be making the film.

Over to you….thoughts? questions? comments? Let’s discuss this further in the comments section below!

 

Additional Resources

Tomorrow, Wednesday April 24 I’ll be holding a Virtual Seminar on crowd funding entitled Crowd Funding & The U.S Jobs Act: What It Means For Independent Filmmakers with entertainment attorney Corky Kessler. We’ll be discussing the implications of the newly passedU.S Jobs Act and now it relates to indie filmmakers. If you are planning to do some crowd funding for your film, don’t miss this seminar! You’ll also have a chance to get all your legal questions answered during our Q+A period. CLICK HERE for more info.

 

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Comments

  1. Mary Cimiluca says

    Stacey,

    You are so right about this! I financed our budget of $110,000.00 for our documentary with three different crowd funding campaigns using different audiences for different purposes. The database is the real currency. If you have not built up a big database, don’t waste your time. While there are the random donors who come looking for “hot projects” on Kickstarter and IndeGoGo, you really have to bring your own database.

    I did exactly what your client did….Built up Facebook to 5,000, Twitter interactions to 50 per day, started an internet Radio show about the topic and built that audience, bought Email lists for targeted blasts, and attended conferences, gave lectures to everyone who would listen (to get the list built of course) and only when I had a database of 200,000 that I could divide by 3s and go for it, did I post my campaigns. All successfully funded. I also partnered with Kickstarter’s tax deductibility group to get tax deductions. Another piece of advice, don’t go for the full amount at once (too big) or to the same audience in a short period of time (donor fatigue). It is a LOT of work but it’s nice not having investors after all was said and done.

    Cost out your perks carefully too, on my first one, I spent a lot of money on perks such as “elegantly framed movie posters), but I am smarter now, this I will not do again. It’s fun! Don’t be intimidated, be smart.

  2. Tomas Amlöv says

    Couldn’t agree more – and this is also why I think crowdfunding is not an option for most filmmakers, since they dont have neither the patince or the required target audience in place when their about to make their movie. Basicly I use the same method of e-mail farmimg – when I approach investors and buyers for meeting at film markets, and then use their feedback to adapt my projects (the true nature of the project, not just the marketing) – by what they are looking for.

    btw, anyone now when Kickstarter will open up for Europe?

  3. Mary Cimiluca says

    Oh and one more thing I forgot to mention. I was at a Conference the other day sponsored by the Independent Film & Televison Alliance and one of the keynote speakers was the CEO of IndiGoGo. He mentioned that with this explosion of crowd funding, filmmakers must be certain their projects have an adequate audience, there are on average now 11,000 projects per day just on IndiGoGo alone! The competition is enormous.

  4. Garnet Campbell says

    Lets assume you have a decent database in place. Can people comment on the kinds of tasks from a day to day that you see your Campaign Manager having to do. Maybe 30 prior to starting a campaign and during the length of the campaign. I like the idea of hiring a person for that period to manage the campaign.

  5. Geoff says

    Seems like a huge amount of work for little return to me! As with all fund raising, the question the investor will always ask is , ‘what’s in it for me?’ If the answer is along the lines of, ‘helping to get he film made’, ‘being involved in a great project’ etc, then I would suggest few people with small amounts of money would be interested.

  6. Kevin Tostado says

    “Every day it seems I get a minimum of 6 emails from filmmakers asking me to promote their crowd funding campaign to my audience. The irony is that – my audience is other filmmakers – they’re not the target audience for your film. So how’s that going to help you with raising money?”

    Stacey, respectfully I disagree with your opinion that other filmmakers will not help you with raising money. I think the reason that so many people email you for help in promoting their campaigns is that they know that you have a large audience of empowered filmmakers, each of whom is hopefully also building their own followings, and that if you share our messaging with your audience, then they may reshare it with their audiences and so on.

    Over the last few years in doing 3 different Kickstarter campaigns, I’ve realized that my network of other filmmakers can be just as valuable as the audiences for each of my film projects. So when other filmmakers let me know about their Kickstarter/IndieGoGo campaigns, I’m happy to retweet, repost and share their message as I can (and back when I have the funds to spare) with the hope that when it is my turn to crowdfund, that they will help spread word about my campaign in return. And it works.

    I’m now down to the last 50 hours on my current Kickstarter campaign (http://kck.st/H9YfYV), where we’re raising $50K to help fund a good chunk of our feature film, “Todd Lucas: Singer/Songwriter.” Yesterday, I reached out to several other filmmakers who I’ve met at festivals or conferences or just established a relationship online and they were so kind to retweet my messaging when I reached out to them, and I know I will continue to do the same for them and for other projects that they support.

    Kevin Tostado
    Producer, “Todd Lucas: Singer/Songwriter”

    • Stacey Parks says

      Kevin,

      Thanks for your feedback, although I politely disagree :) I think it’s different with filmmakers YOU KNOW…but trust me, if I was blasting you guys all day with the dozen requests I get (again, on a DAILY basis) to donate to a campaign, it would be a little overwhelming and pretty soon you start to see blurry….

      So my point is that it’s more important to promote to your target audience rather than other filmmakers (unless they are your friends) because every single filmmaker I talk to says it’s a big problem for them – the amount of ‘spam’ they get on a daily basis with regards to donation requests.

      Anyway, it’s just my two cents and I respect yours!

      Stacey

    • stefano says

      I agree with Kevin. I want to add that, we all have to teach the community how to use crowdfunding if we still want to listen to good stories. Supporting creative people trough crowdfunding makes this world a better story. Teach the community teaching yourself!
      http://kck.st/MOjEqv

  7. Keith Apland says

    I do agree with the points I’ve seen so far. I would like to add, however, a couple things that I haven’t seen addressed yet: The fan mentality, and actual street work. I do believe every filmmaker has a built-in fan base. Friends and family are fans of your work, and many would like to see you create more. The amount of potential money depends on how big your family is and how many friends you have, but often this base can be used for financing small projects. You must, however, have a GOOD PAGE for this to work. A poorly thrown together page shows that you do not care enough about your project to put forth the effort, therefore why should anyone want to help you? For example, I sought a modest amount on Kickstarter for my short film, The Last 8 (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/513505912/the-last-8), and with the help of my friends and family (and by making a good page) I locked in momentum quickly. Probably 50% of the final amount came from these “fans”. Not the entire amount, however, which brings me to my next point, street work. My immediate crew and I decided to hit up local businesses in person for sponsorships, and what a response! About 40% of the final amount came from businesses putting forth money in return for exposure on my website (www.day1000films.com) and facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TheLast8). The remainder of the amount came from a fundraiser we had, where I showed a feature I directed from 2009, which brought a new audience to the film and money for my project. So to sum up, I think without an enormous email list and legions of facebook fans, one can still get their small project made by crowd-funding with your base of fans and some creative in-person messages and marketing.

    • Stacey Parks says

      Keith, thanks for sharing your experience! What a great idea to go offline and raise money for your Kickstarter that way… I had never thought of that and glad to hear it worked for you! Congrats!

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