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Kickstarter crowdfunding… not as simple as you might think.

As you may or may not know we here at Six Finger FIlms took the crowd funding route to fund our latest film, Smoke and Mirrors. We set out to raise $15,000 and by the time our Kickstarter campaign was complete we achieved 141% of our goal. At the time that put our Kickstarter campaign in the top thirty for funds raised for a short film. Sounds great right? You may be thinking to yourself… why don’t I go this route to raise the funds for my next film?

By Kickstarter’s own admission, only 42% of Kickstarter campaigns launched become funded. Worse yet 10% of all campaigns launched never even receive a single pledge. You’re probably wondering why that is, and the reason is really very simple. It turns out it’s a heck of a lot of work to get your project funded.

Don’t just take my word for it. There’s a great article in the Hollywood Reporter written by the Oscar winning Producer of Little Miss Sunshine, David T. Friendly. He’s in the middle of an Indiegogo campaign to fund a documentary called Sneakerheadz and he’s employed a social media expert to help drive traffic to his crowd funding page. He has an established name and a fan base to leverage. Think about what it takes if you have to start from scratch. If you believe there is a vast Kickstarter community just waiting to fund your project, think again. Only 4% of all pledges come from the Kickstarter community at large. The other 96% come from you driving traffic to your Kickstarter project.

Our Kickstarter campaign for Smoke and Mirrors ended up with 161 backers at an average of $131 a pledge.  It took a team of people working at it almost full time for 8 weeks to achieve that goal. It’s difficult to tell you how many people had to visit our Kickstarter page to end up with 161 backers. That’s another story for another post. Let’s just say it was a lot.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to scare anyone off. In fact, I think if it’s done properly Kickstarter crowdfunding is a great way for for independent filmmakers to fund their films. That’s why in the coming weeks we’ll have a series of posts about what we learned from our campaign. Clearly we did many thing well, but we also made many mistakes along the way. We hope sharing the knowledge we gained in the process will help other filmmakers. After all the hardest work begins after your film is funded.

-Scott Krinsky

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