Movie projects have been some of the highest funded projects on crowdfunding sites. Among the most funded were the Veronica Mars Movie (which had a $2,000,000 goal and raised $5,702,153 on Kickstarter), Wish I Was Here (a comedy by Zach Braff which also had a $2,000,000 goal and raised 3,105,473 on Kickstarter), and Gosnell (an anti-abortion film with a goal of $2,100,000 that raised $2,241,043 on Indiegogo).
Crowdfunded film projects can be great, but they can also be hit or miss if not done properly. Here are a few steps to keep in mind when setting up a page to raise funds for a movie on a crowdfunding site that can help increase your project’s credibility and potential backer interest:
Have an Awesome Video
One of the biggest turn-offs when checking out a Kickstarter page for a movie project is a bad quality or poorly constructed video. For crowdfunding projects in general, the video is one of the most important ways to catch your audience’s interest, show them why your project is important to them, and ask for their support.
When you’re looking to fund a movie people expect good quality, and your video gives you a couple of minutes to prove to them that you have what it takes to impress them. Your introductory video should do its best to demonstrate the plot of the film you are proposing to make, you should be in your video to introduce yourself, your story and your team, and a preview of a scene from the film, work you have done so far, or an example of previous work (if some of these don’t fit they can also be included in the body of your page).
For a general guideline of video mistakes to avoid see this CrowdCrux article.
Introduce Your Team
Introducing your team is important when it comes to film projects especially (and crowdfunding projects in general). Anyone can propose an interesting project, but that does not mean that you necessarily have the talent or skills to follow through and meet your backer’s expectations. You should introduce your actors (if you know who they will be), and production team and give examples of any qualifications they may have or previous work they may have done.
James Cooper, author of Kickstarter for Filmmakers, stresses that presenting your team to your audience is important even if they aren’t well recognized in the industry:
“[Q]uite often you’ll read through a project’s entire description and still not know who else is involved aside from the person writing the description/appearing in the pitch video. It takes more than one person to make a film, and your audience will want to know they can all be trusted to deliver.
Even if none of the people involved in your film are recognizable to the uninitiated, it still helps spur support if people can get a quick glance at the passionate team that’s dying to bring this project to fruition.” – Source.
Come Up With Creative Rewards
One of the best aspects of film projects – in my opinion – are the rewards, because there are endless fun, exclusive, interactive and creative options to choose from. Some good examples that I have seen are copies of screenplays, an acting role in the movie, props, merchandise, behind the scenes access, or a role in the movie (and a copy of the finished product, of course). The key is to find out what your audience would get excited about, and offer a lot of different reward categories and price ranges to cater to a wide variety of potential backers.
One of the things that brings established movie makers like Veronica Mars and Corner Gas to crowdfunding websites is being able to offer dedicated fans a chance to participate in the making of their movie in an unprecedented way and give them access to rewards that not everyone has access to. For example, Brent Butt shared his motive for launching the Corner Gas – The Movie (whose goal was $100,000 and raised $285,840) on Kickstarter in an interview:
“We thought, ‘How can we give people who are really committed fans to Corner Gas (something) that the regular person on the street isn’t going to get? How can we kind of reward that series-long cultish fan base?’ We wanted to give them something exclusive,” – Source.
Give as Much Information as Possible
Lastly, you will want to give your audience as much information as you can about your plans for the project, the logic behind your funding goal, and the progress you have so far. If part of your funding goal is going to go towards paying for the rights to shoot at an awesome location, for example, include pictures or a description of it!
Try to be as clear as you can, and ask people for feedback. Getting friends, family, and anyone else who is willing to check out your page and make suggestions to let you know if there is anything they feel is missing from your presentation can help clear up a lot of uncertainty that backers may feel when looking at your page ahead of time and save you time and effort fixing such mistakes in the middle of your project.By the time I am finished looking over your project page I want to be able to imagine what the finished product will be like and look forward to seeing it happen.
For more information on crowdfunding films check out this Indiewire reading guide for filmmakers preparing to launch their campaigns.
About the author
Krystine Therriault is the community manager for CrowdCrux and has helped creators with their crowdfunding projects on KickstarterForum.org. She loves learning about new trending projects and dissecting them to bring new tips and information to creators. You can find her on LinkedIn here or Twitter here.