A while ago I was asked to speak at the BCPVA about my experiences with crowd source funding.
Here are my notes on it.
I’ve been involved in several crowd source fundraising projects. I am an indie filmmaker and videographer. I have assisted in multiple campaigns related to various projects that I have directed or shot . I also created the video updates for the campaign themselves. The most successful one was the Kickstarter for season 3 of Standard Action, A fantasy comedy web series. We wanted to make a 2 episode finale of our series for $12,000. We managed to raise over $35,000. Joanna Gaskell, the producer of Standard Action and I, partnered with our friends at the Gamerati. At the time we couldn’t run a Kickstarter as a Canadian business. The Gamerati was also a huge help in publicizing and planning our campaign.
Back at the Beginning!
My very first campaign was an Indiegogo to raise $2000 to show my feature films The Directors Project in a theater . That campaign failed but, it still managed to raise $500. Because it was Indiegogo, I still got that money. While running the campaign, I was contacted by a theater that would show it for a reasonable amount. Even though I failed to raise the money, I still succeeded in my goal. I had managed to show the film in a theater for the cast and crew and their friends and family.
Standard Action Season 2
We asked for a very modest amount for season 2. We had given away 14 episodes and about 3 total hours of content excluding all our bts videos. I’ve seen a lot of web series ask for a heck of a lot more for their second season. Some have succeeded but some have failed. We worked our butts off on this fundraiser and it was exhausting… or so we thought.
Starlit Citadel Season 2
I helped Starlit make the first 2 seasons of their board game reviews. They ran an Indiegogo to try and raise money for their second season. I was very surprised at how little money they raised. It was a solid show. We had released over 40 episodes. We had a lot of views and it was being well received. This showed me that even if you have a lot of the cards in your favor, things can go poorly. They are now running a successful patron campaign to pay for their reviews which is really cool!
Standard Action Season 3
This was a huge undertaking. One I’m still working on almost daily. It was hugely successful in many ways but in other ways it was a lot more work then I expected and I expected it to be a huge amount of work. The big lessons I learned were:
- Get on as many podcasts and other media as you can and start before you launch your campaign.
- Throw down a bit of money to promote your projects page on Facebook and other streams. Some advertising at the start and near the near the end can help a lot.
- Set your goal as low as you can so you can make it in the first week or two and spend the rest of the campaign working on stretch goals.
- At the bottom of this post. I linked a video that Joanna and I did about all of this stuff and I encourage you to watch. Here’s a direct link as well.
- Avoid any real world mail-outs like DVDs and t-shirts. They are hugely expensive. Think about custom videos or other digital content that you don’t have to pay to mail to them.
- Communicate with your fans. On all streams. Remember to update your backers through Kickstarter and then other places as well like your website and Facebook page.
- Have contingency plans! We had people offer to do things and then fall through because, hey life happens! Be ready with a back up plan.
Track your project but beware! The most and biggest donations happen at the beginning and the end. Kicktraq doesn’t take this in to account so its predictions can be crazy false positive in the first few days of a project. http://www.kicktraq.com/
Has a free membership option. This allows your to publish to multiple social media streams and schedule them so people don’t get saturated. It’s auto schedule feature is solid gold. The free membership is great! https://hootsuite.com/
DropBox or Google Drive
The best kind of perks to offer for a campaign are digital. Why? Because you don’t have to pay shipping! If you use Dropbox and some of your backers sign up you get more storage space! Sign up with my Dropbox link to get us both some extra free space!
You can run a mailing list and html email newsletter with this and send 10000 email a month free. Build your email list while running the campaign and use it to keep in contact with your donors. It’s free and easy to use! http://mailchimp.com/
Watch the web series I direct! standardaction.zombieorpheus.com
This video is worth watching.
An interesting option I’m seeing more people go towards. Zombie Orpheus moved over to them. Those guys are brilliant and I have a lot of respect for what they do. If they use it, well it bears consideration.