I've been thinking a lot about crowdfunding--what works, what doesn't--as I try and push my own Kickstarter campaign toward its goal. One thing I've been doing is trying to think of what sort of things push me, as a lover of film, toward funding a project? Here's some things I, on some level, consider when trying to figure out where to put my very limited spare funds.
Of course, it isn't really a thing where a project needs to hit all of these, just some factors I weigh.
1. Am I making this possible or easier?
There's really 2 different types of crowdfunding (well, probably more): we need these finances to have a chance to make the film and we need these finances to do it the way we want. The former is much more attractive.
Unless you're doing some crazy shit in post, I'm probably not going to contribute toward your finishing funds. I know this sounds counter-intuitive to what a lot of people say, but I believe that if you start a project, if you get it shot, you need to have a plan on how to finish it with the resources you already have. Maybe that's just me.
On the other hand, if you're shooting a documentary at the North Pole and you're raising money for travel and mittens, then that's something I'm more likely to back. Because, you know, it's hard to make that film in Brooklyn.
I don't really care about the swag. Unless you've got something super awesome, it doesn't really move me to back something. I have enough crap to keep track of already. However, if you've got something cool in your rewards, it might turn my $20 into $25.
3. Is this person nice?
Gary King did a good job of making his backers feel truly appreciated. Why? Because he's a nice guy. Heartfelt thanks are awesome. Telling your audience how awesome a backer is, even better. People who expect to hit their goal are no fun.
4. Do I already know this person?
This is kind of obvious. If I'm already a fan, it's a no-brainer. So, when David Lowery, Pericles Lewnes, and Amir Motlagh (to name a few) decide to crowdfund a film, I'm there.
5. Does this help more than one person?
Openindie was a project that I backed because it helped the greater film community. Gregory Bayne's Person of Interest project is one that I think can open doors to other films. I feel then I'm getting more bang for my money.
There's filmmakers (we all know them) who act as a one-way street. You help them promote, but they'll never return the favor. They can go to hell, as far as I'm concerned. But there's others, people like Pericles Lewnes, Zak Forsman, the Russells, Angelo Bell, and Reid Gershbein who make it a point of helping other people get their work seen and made. These are the types of people I like to back. Because, you know, karma and stuff.
6. How do they approach the box?
Is the campaign pretty much just crowdfunding by the numbers? On my campaign, I'm turning the film into a serialized novella (thanks, if part, to an idea by Sheri Candler) that gets released as we get funding. I think it's a pretty good motivation to back the project. Then again, I'm biased.
7. Is it cool?
Does the project sound like all the others? "This is my next film" isn't enough. Are you doing something different? Are you going somewhere cool? Are you telling a story that no one else is telling?
Basically, do I wish I had come up with the idea?
8. Will it get me laid?
I have really nothing to add other than this: if someone figures out a legal way do that, they'll have no trouble hitting their goal.
9. Will they make it?
This is where I think Indiegogo really hurts themselves. If I can give $10 to help a project hit the goal and therefore gain access to all the other money they've raised, then I'll try and do it. But if they're pretty clearly going to make it with plenty of room to spare, then I'm less likely. Likewise if my $10 just means they have $10 more to work with...well...then you have to convince me otherwise.
10. Pitch video
I almost never watch the pitch video. The exception being if someone tells me it's kind of cool. Then, I might. I think I'm in the minority here.
Those those are just some thoughts. What sort of stuff do you consider in backing something?