Monthly Archives: February 2014

Common Sense Crowd Sourcing for Filmmakers…or…a KickStarter campaign that Actually Works! – Part 2

MAKE A GREAT PITCH VIDEO

If you’re a filmmaker your pitch video had better damn well knock my socks off.  If it looks like crap, guess what, I’ll assume your film will as well.  If the sound is bad, I can only assume the sound on your feature will suck.  If it’s badly edited…well, you get the idea.

Show us why we should back your project.  Show us some brilliance.  Show us something that makes us laugh or breaks our heart.  If you’re uncomfortable in front of the camera, give us a trailer, or be self-deprecating and make fun of your nervousness.   Entertain us.

And show us your passion.  Why does this film need to be made?  Why are you the person to make it?  In a good pitch video you’re selling yourself as much as you are selling the idea.  They go hand-in-hand.  Your personality, your passion, your talent, your film.

If this is your second go at crowdsourcing, after a failed first campaign, perhaps make fun of your horrible first pitch video.  Laughs go a long way and the writing of your pitch video should represent the writing in your film.

Likewise the way its shot.  All you need is a window, sunlight, and a DSLR to get a gorgeous image.  I’ve done it countless times.  If you can’t, you shouldn’t be making a film.  Again, show us why you should be.  Show us an image that takes our breath away.

If you decide to go with a trailer, don’t give us a collection of title cards.  Tease us, again with brilliance.  You’re asking us to support your film, so you need to prove to us why we should.  There are hundreds of other films right now on KickStarter, why should yours get my hard earned support dollars?

And to my musician friends, I don’t want to watch your pitch video, hear you talk for four minutes, and then…nothing.  You’re a musician, stop talking, start playing.  I want to hear the music I’ll be backing.  Sure tell me why you need to make this record, but then give me a taste.

Search out the most funded campaigns and examine their videos.  See the passion and the talent on display.  Then look at film campaigns that raised little or even no backing (yes, there are some out there with not one backer), see everything wrong.  DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

This should all be a no brainer, but you’d be shocked at how many horrible pitch videos there are our there.

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Common Sense Crowd Sourcing for Filmmakers…or…a KickStarter campaign that Actually Works! – Part 1

The world of independent filmmaking has changed.  No longer can a Sundance hopeful raise a few hundred thousand dollars from family, friends, their dentist, shoot for eighteen days with a crew of twenty, and hope to actually pay everyone back and actually see a check on the back end.  Those days are over.  DVD sales are down.  And the chance of your film receiving a theatrical release is about as good as you winning PowerBall.  Add to that the fact that almost everyone with a DSLR suddenly thinks they are filmmakers.  And it truly seems hopeless.

Unfortunately most of those DSLR-packing Spielberg-wannabes lack the skills involved to actually tell a story with that expensive Canon, let alone make it look good.  And most of the films that do get made will never be seen beyond a small circle of family, friends, students of their video production class, and of course the cast and crew involved.

The new model of independent filmmaking calls for much lower budgets and much smaller crews.  What used to cost $250 thousand should now be made for one tenth that budget.  The crew of twenty, cut down to four or five, or less.  A great film can still be made.  But it’s a lot more work.

And the fundraising.  Back when I began making films in the 80s, indie filmmakers would look for angel investors.  Supporters of the arts who had the cash to spare, and were looking more to help create something special, instead of for that quick profit.  Not our angels are online.  They are mostly strangers who believe in our ability, our story, or perhaps they just like our smile.  It doesn’t matter.  And instead of writing checks with five or six zeros to the left of the decimal point, they’re pitching in $25 or $50 at a shot through the various crowd-sourcing sites, KickStarter, IndieGoGo, or one of the upstarts.  They will provide you with the thousands needed to turn that story idea into reality.  And aside from their chosen rewards, a DVD, digital download, signed poster, producer credit in the film, you won’t ever have to pay them pack. And what profits you now make from selling your film will actually go into your pocket.

What a concept.  Making money off independent filmmaking.  It can be done, if you have the talent, the perseverance, and the personality.  And if you actually create a smart crowdsourcing campaign.

I’ve run twenty-five successful campaigns on KickStarter…so far.  Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to post some helpful hints on how I do it.  And I’ll begin today with tip #1.

GOOD KARMA:

I check for new film projects on KickStarter every couple of days.  I want to not only know what the competition is, but see if there are any films I personally want to back.  Right off the bat, the biggest turn off, and one that will now stop me in my tracks from backing a project, is that the creator of the campaign has backed no other KickStarter campaigns.  Basically they want you to give them your money, but they are above having ever helped any other people in the same position.  It’s a case of spoiled-teenager gimme-gimme-gimme.  And they give nothing in return.  HUGE turnoff.  Makes you look like a jerk.  So, before you set up your campaign, learn everything about the site, study other campaigns, and give some love to a few that strike a chord in your filmmaking heart.  It’s good karma.  And good karma is something every filmmaker can never get enough of.

More in a few days…

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Filed under crowd sourcing, crowdfunding, filmmaking, indiegogo, kickstarter