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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Indie Film Website For Your Filmmaking

If you’re like most filmmakers, you have a website for your movie. And odds are good you are trying to fit too much into it. So the first thing you need to do is remove all the distracting crap. Whenever I mention this at a talk, invariably someone asks me how to determine what’s distracting? It depends on your website objective.

When building a movie website, most filmmakers have two objectives:

  1. Stage 1 – Raise awareness for your movie.
  2. Stage 2Sell your movie directly.

If you’re still in Stage 1, chances are good you have press kits, actor bios, reviews of your movie, anecdotes from production and about a gazillion other items, including behind the scenes photo galleries. But once you finish the festival circuit, you may choose to enter Stage 2 and start funneling web traffic towards your DVDs and VOD in various marketplaces.

To do this, I suggest you install Google analytics and monitor your traffic. Here is an example from the first feature I worked on:

 

If you look closely, you’ll notice that many visitors ended up visiting pages that did not lead to a sale. This is like keeping money on the table. So to counter the confusion, I suggest simply removing the pages altogether.

When promoting your movie, the goal is to remove all the extra crap and keep what matters.

The end result is a very simple website that “funnels” people to your desired destination.

When visitors click on “Buy NOW” they are redirected to the point of sale.

Marketing a movie is initially a creative art – but unlike other arts,  the beauty of movie marketing is, with the right tracking tools, you can test and retest your ideas to determine effectiveness.

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