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Crowd Funding Your Film… Where do you start?

So, despite my last post about crowd funding your film you have decided to do it anyway. With the warning out of the way already, we’ll focus on how to get a project funded. Kickstarter and many other crowd funding platforms are incredible tools if you approach them right way. You have to think of your crowd funding campaign as a business proposition. Filmmakers/artists generally don’t think in these terms. In fact, most go out of their way to avoid that type of thinking. It’s really not that difficult…. it turns out most artists are probably better at it than they think. John Maeda, the president of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and author of the book Redesigning Leadership, predicts that artists will emerge as the new business leaders and cites RISD graduates Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky, co-founders of Airbnb, as prominent examples.

Think of your film as a product you’re trying to sell before it’s even manufactured. A difficult proposition, but not impossible. How do you go about it? You can start by breaking your campaign down into three areas and asking some tough questions about each.

1. Promotion: How will you get people to your Kickstarter page? (only 4% of pledges come from the general Kickstarter community) Who’s most likely to support your film? Does your film appeal to fans of a particular genre? Are there people who identify with your characters? Is your film about a particular culture, ethic group or social issue? Does your film have built in fan base due to previous work, or an actor? How big is your personal network of friends, family, and colleagues? How do you reach these people? How will you measure the success of each outreach method?

2. Conversion: How will you convince a stranger to support your project? What tone should your page and the video take? How many pledge levels should you have? What should the pledge amounts be for each level? What should the pledge prizes be? How do you maximize the amount pledged from each supporter? How do you know if you’re doing a good job of converting page visitors into supporters?

3. Fulfillment: How and when are you going to deliver on what you’ve promised? When will your film be complete? How will you source your pledge gifts? How will you deliver them? What are your dependencies and the risks involved?

Answering these questions is a great start to successfully funding your film. In my next post I’ll dive deeper into the Promotion of your campaign and some resources to help you answer these questions.

-Scott Krinsky

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