Six Steps to a Reel Crowdfunding Success

Six Steps to a Reel Crowdfunding Success is a guest post by John T. Trigonis

Back when crowdfunding for independent film was still a relatively new concept, I launched a campaign on Indiegogo for my short film Cerise.

I hoped to raise $5,000 from the crowd. This was to add to the $10,000 I’d already saved up.

I didn’t know it then, but I had not only run a successful campaign, raising a total of $6,300 from 117 funders, but I had also created an immersive campaign experience for not only my funders, but my entire network on Twitter, Facebook and email.

Since then, I have written numerous blog posts, consulted on a plethora of campaigns raising funds from between $5,000 and $500,000, and wrote a book on the subject of Crowdfunding for Filmmakers.

Crowdfunding Success

Crowdfunding Success

Through all of this reflection, I’ve realized that successful campaigning is no accident –– it takes a lot to raise a lot, and here’s seven steps to get you started.

Research the crowd-space

Read, read, and read. If you’re not into reading, then watch videos and attend seminars about crowdfunding for indie film.

There’s a surplus of information readily available online and in print, and a successful campaign experience owes itself to understanding the ins and outs of crowdfunding; simply being a great filmmaker oftentimes isn’t enough.

Strategize your campaign

All things worthwhile are planned way in advance, so plan the main aspects of your crowdfunding campaign ahead of time, leaving some room for some much needed spontaneity.

Create a campaign timeline, and on that timeline, pencil in dates for when you’ll release an update video, unveil a new limited-time perk, or launch a referral contest to further engage folks in your campaign. And speaking of engagement…

Be a social dragonfly

Crowdfunding would not be what it is without social media. We all have a Twitter and Facebook account, now’s the time to use it. It’s important, however, not to talk only about yourself and your upcoming crowdfunding campaign.

To achieve crowdfunding success, you need to build some social proof first. Tweet about things you know, like making movies and obscure Polish directors.

It’s also good to share links with your followers and Facebook friends. Most importantly, crowdfunding success means that you start listening to the people who follow you. You do this so they’ll start listening to you, which will be especially key when you launch your campaign.

Make your pitch personal

In my book, I highlight three parts of a pitch – the Intro, the Pitch, and the Showcase. But even the greatest pitch video can inadvertently shadow itself if it doesn’t come from a personal place: yourself.

You could be on the verge of the greatest film project ever produced, but that alone may not compel me to help you make it. You’re the catalyst that can convince us to chip in the funding you need to make the film you want, and one way to do this is to be in your video, look us right in the eyes, and make us an offer we simply can’t refuse.

Offer amazing perks

Crowdfunding means giving money in exchange for rewards or perks. In my very popular blog post “Three Ps for a Successful Indie Film Campaign,” I outline three types of indie film perks – standard definition (sd), High Definition (HD), and 3-D!

If you’re making a movie, you’ve got to say thanks and give a copy of the movie (sd); if someone pitches in more substantial amounts, offer them IMDb credit as an associate producer or even dinner the director (HD); but everyone deserves the kind of perk that makes a deeper, three-dimensional connection to the film their helping to fund, so offer something you can personalize to each contributor, which means you have to. . .

Be creative at all times

Crowdfunding success is about raising money, but it doesn’t have to be such serious business.

The worst thing we can do as filmmakers is be boring. Running a boring crowdfunding campaign can be worse. Therefore, we should strive to be just as creative in our campaigning as we are in when making our films.

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John T. Trigonis is the Vertical Manager of Film at Indiegogo, a published poet, writer and storyteller, DIY filmmaker, freelance professor, and author of Crowdfunding for Filmmakers: The Way to a Successful Film Campaign. Additionally he is a cat lover, coffee aficionado, wine enthusiast, and comic book geek.

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