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How to Crowd-fund your Film

Sep 25, 2012

By Reem Shaddad

Director Charlie Kaufman last week broke the crowd-funding record. Using Kickstarter, he doubled the target amount for ‘Anomalisa’, an animated adaptation of his play. The $400,000 he raised saw him laughing past Hollywood’s big studios straight to the bank.

Did Kaufman’s success alleviate the deep lack of faith in crowd-funding?
His achievement has likely strengthened the perception that raising finances online can work. It has also shown, though, that the tool is not immune from stardom. Where does this leave lesser-known filmmakers who want to crowd-fund their project? To start, they need to know what they’re dealing with.

Here’s our guide on how to create a successful crowd-funding campaign:

  • Pick the right platform
    They’re not all the same. Different platforms are aimed at different projects. Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are geared towards creative projects, for example. Aflamnah is aimed at fund-seekers in the Arab region. Find your niche.
  • Set an achievable target
    We’d all love to make enough for a feature film, its marketing campaign, merchandise and a round-the-world trip as a treat. A sizeable target, however, is intimidating for contributors and could potentially crush your campaign – there are rules relating to targets and money claims. Keep your numbers manageable. After all, you can always go in for round two and you can always raise more money than targeted.
  • Make your campaign irresistible
    Campaigns with the most impact have memorable videos and juicy rewards. Be personable in your call, pitch the project’s strengths, set the theme and most of all inject a dose of fun. Rewards are highly appreciated – it’s almost like online shopping, but for a cause.
  • Have a spending plan
    There is nothing worse than ambiguity. There’s a growing fear of scamming threats; some based on reality. Explain why you need to raise money and where you plan on spending it. Post-production? Renting a 7D? Hiring a top-notch SFX wizard? Note it all in your campaign plan.
  • Socialise
    Setting up your crowd-funding page is just the beginning. Leveraging your social media presence on Twitter, Facebook and potentially through a blog is essential. ‘Please help me make my film!’ posted several dozen times a day will not work. Engage, inform and entertain your potential funders. This is your chance to sell your product.
  • Follow up
    Updates are essential. Show people what you’ve accomplished so they can feel like part of your team. You can also use these updates as a grassroots marketing strategy.

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