Untapped Crowdfunding Site For Filmmakers

As a filmmaker, one of the challenges you face is how to finance a film. When I was starting out, things were much different. Back then, if you wanted to finance a movie, you had to cross your fingers and wait for someone to grant you permission…

The problem is, many people in Hollywood are still waiting for someone else to give them permission. Permission to make a movie. Permission to be successful. Permission to live the best life possible. UGH!

Here is a little secret. If you’re looking to raise money for your movie, set up a crowdfunding campaign. This allows you to test your concept from day one. And if successful, crowdfunding also allows you to find the people who may be most interested in your movie. In addition to providing you with funding, some of these folks will help you spread word of mouth.

Two popular crowdfunding platforms are IndieGoGo and KickStarter.

 

Crowdfunding and Independent Movie Distribution

A few weeks back I gave a talk and was surprised that many filmmakers in attendance had never heard of crowdfunding.

If you are one of those filmmakers, crowdfunding provides you with the ability to reach out to your social networks and solicit your contacts for financial sponsorship.

Crowdfunding and Independent Movie Distribution

In this “many to one” funding model, in exchange for donations, you provide various incentives. $5 dollars might get your sponsor a DVD. $500 dollars might get your sponsor an all expenses paid trip to the premier.

The other reason why I like crowdfunding is, it allows you to test a concept and source an audience from day one. In this regard, if your movie has a really sharp hook, you have the possibility of building buzz before you make your movie.

I have provided the following resources to help speed up your crowdfunding research:

Popular Crowdfunding Sites

www.indiegogo.com – Indie GoGo allows filmmakers to raise money and take whatever they get. Indie GoGo also owns a movie distribution arm called distribber.

www.kickstarter.com – This an all or nothing deal. Filmmakers either hit their goal, or they get nothing.

Distribution Tools

Assuming you are successful in your funding campaign, you will want to start thinking about your distribution strategy. To help with this, check out the following, popular distribution solutions:

www.distribber.com (my affiliate) – Owned by Indie GoGo, with a one-time upfront fee, this company allows filmmakers to access popular VOD marketplaces, in a non-exclusive deal.

Also, read this article from the Wall Street Journal – The SEC is considering lifting regulations on private offerings. In the very near future, filmmakers may be able to sell shares of ownership through crowdfunding. It’s still a long way away, but worth thinking about.

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The Secret Society Of Modern Indie Filmmakers

Earlier this week, Sheri Candler was spreading word of mouth about a test screening of Gary King’s indie film musical:  How Do You Write A Joe Schermann Song. So I did something I haven’t done for awhile – I got out from behind my computer screen to meet and mingle with some new filmmakers face-to-face.

As the lights dimmed and Gary’s movie flickered across the screen, I was reminded of the year I lived in New York City. This was a time when I couch surfed between a sofa and an inflatable air mattress, all the while dreaming that I would someday make movies. Admittedly, maybe these memories were flooding back as a result of Gary’s movie. I mean, the story is based in Manhattan.

During the screening, and afterwards, I realized I have been missing something I haven’t felt for years.

I have forgotten the joy that comes from participating in activities with other folks from the indie filmmaking community. And I also realized that my world of indie filmmaking (once defined and limited by the following filmmaking mantra): save up all summer and buy an Arri BL, scrape together enough money to pay for film and processing, make the movie and PRAY for a distribution deal that makes sense – I’m pleased to say that era of filmmaking is over.

As a result of lower priced production equipment, coupled with new, non-discriminatory distribution, YOU can make, market and sell your movie this year and you don’t need to ask permission. Filmmakers like Gary King epitomize this movement – asking questions like How do you write a Joe Schermann Song starring awesome actress Christina Rose (nice work Christina!)

Past that, there is something else. While the studios are excited about UltraViolet and a new attempt to control their piece of the world wide web, our thriving indie community could care less. Instead of worrying about traditional distribution, modern movie makers are more concerned with their YouTube following – and the size of their growing audience.

As a filmmaker, you are part of movie making history. And you probably don’t know it. But like all artistic and social movements that have come before, you are riding this wave. The question is, will you take advantage of this opportunity – or will you find yet another reason why you can’t make your movie this year?

ALSO:

At the screening, I met close to a dozen people who claimed to have heard of me or knew me from this website. Please give me some time to adjust socially – It’s not every day that people approach me and quote my ideas back to me… But I want you to know I am honored and grateful for your readership.

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Crowdfunding To Source An Audience for Your Filmmaking

If you’ve been reading Filmmaking Stuff for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed I talk a lot about “sourcing an audience.” And after having a discussion on the topic with one of my clients, it occurred to me that most filmmakers have no idea what I’m talking about.

So let me break it down.

In the old days, making, marketing and selling your movies required that you knew someone in Hollywood and had a gazillion dollars. It also meant that you waited around forever for some traditional distributor to validate your existence and hopefully pick up your movie (with something other than a crappy deal.)

But that was then. These days, you don’t need to know anybody in Hollywood. You don’t need a gazillion dollars. And (thankfully) you no longer need some traditional movie distributor to give you permission to make, market and sell your movie. And while these changes make this an awesome time to make movies, the new challenge is finding people willing to pay money to watch your movie.

So how do you a source an audience? I’ll give you one word: Crowdfunding.

What is crowdfunding? According to Wikipedia, “crowdfunding describes the collective cooperation, attention and trust by people who network and pool their money and other resources together, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.” In short, this means filmmakers finally have a new way to raise money.

Filmmakers can set up profiles at various crowdfunding websites and then easily promote their movie project via their social networks and ask for money. In exchange for money, filmmakers offer tiered incentives to prospective sponsors. For example, in exchange for ten bucks, you might offer a promotional t-shirt and and a DVD. For five-hundred bucks, you might offer a flight to the premiere.

Crowdfunding in this context is not the same as seeking equity investors. Which makes this a very uncomplicated way to find sponsors and raise money. But outside of this obvious use, the little known secret of crowdfunding is this – Let’s say you’re a filmmaker with an idea for a movie. And let’s suggest that you aren’t sure how many people would be interested in your movie… So you set up a crowdfunding campaign.

If successful, your crowdfunding campaign will allow you to raise money – but as an important ancillary benefit, your campaign will also allow you test your movie concept with a built in, responsive focus group. Assuming you reach your funding goal, you will not only generate your initial buzz – but you will also source the early adopters for your movie… And these early adopters will grow into a group of fans who will help you spread word of mouth about your movie.

Depending on the scope and scale of your movie, once you have successfully completed a crowdfunding campaign, you may choose to leverage this success to seek out traditional investors. But instead of having an untested movie idea, you have a little POC. What’s POC? Proof of concept. (I credit writer Craig Spector for teaching me about the importance of POC.)

Crowdfunding helps you prove your concept. In the unfortunate event your campaign is not successful, this knowledge will help you go back to the basics and refine your concept before you take the next steps in you movie making process.

Here are 3 crowdfunding sites that are worth investigating:

  1. www.IndieGoGo.com
  2. www.KickStarter.com
  3. www.Invested.in

Happy filmmaking.

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Filmmaking Success Tips For Sourcing An Audience

Because of an eroding DVD market, the modern moviemaking model dictates that you (as a filmmaker) must treat your independent movie business just like any other small business.

YOU have a product (your movie) and YOU must sell your product. In order to sell your product, you must find a customer and convince them that your movie is worth more than their money. Obvious right?

But most filmmakers have no idea how to find a customer.  It’s not your fault. I blame the STUPID notion that filmmakers should concentrate solely on making movies without considering how to source their target audience.  Think about it. Filmmakers traditionally depended on some sort of middle-man distributor to come in deus ex machina style to provide a big fat cash advance. But that was then…

Now, as a result of DSLR technology, you have a whole world of filmmakers flooding the market with awesomely good-looking backyard indies.  It’s an example of supply and demand. There are too many movies! And there are too few traditional deals. And sadly, most filmmakers have no idea how to get their movies seen and selling. As a result, the entire world of indie filmmaking is belly-up.

The only way modern moviemakers can compete and succeed is to learn from traditional small businesses. Filmmakers must focus on finding creative ways to produce movies inexpensively and spend tremendous effort (and little money) sourcing an audience. Which, when you compare the filmmaker’s need for customer acquisition to other businesses, it’s really the same thing.

Welcome to the new movie business!

So who wins? Filmmakers who can source an audience for their movies are in better shape than those who can not. Period.

How do your source an audience: In two words – Internet marketing.

I got news for you. Selling a movie online is no different than selling an eBook! But not everybody knows how to sell things online. That is OK. I explain this in my book. And for those of you not ready to get my book (so you can discover my mad movie marketing methods) – here is a tip as well as an actionable item: Crowdfunding.

By now you’ve heard of crowdfunding. But the little secret that nobody is talking about is this – Not all movie projects will get fully funded by the crowd. BUT, by creating a campaign, you essentially get the word out about your movie. You increase your YouTube hits (because you presumably embed your trailer into your campaign)… And even if your campaign is not successfully funded, anybody who did donate is now part of your future audience. Hmmm.

I know I’m on a bit of a rant today. So I’m going to slow-my-roll. If you like this filmmaking stuff, make sure you click here   >>

And if you want to see me speak or attend any of my workshops, telephone your local film festival and leave this message on their answering machines –> I WANT TO SEE Jason Brubaker LIVE.

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