17 June 2010

Kickstart my heart

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.

2. Swag

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?


/britmic said...

Quite a thought provoking post. In the UK the only crowdfunder that comes to mind is David Baker, seems here we're still at crowdsourcing (turn up on x date and be an extra in my movie kinda thing). I'm sure there are other crowdfunders in the UK, I am just blissfully unaware.

Personally I'm kind of switched-off to the whole crowdfunding thing (with all respect to those who are taking this route) - there will be a media poster boy, but the reality is the crowdfunding service will likely benefit more than the vast majority of moviemakers. It's not a particularly new concept either, back in the '90s the Britflick 'The Bruce' was crowdfunded via selling shares in the national newspapers.

What would make me invest in a movie?

Well, when you grow up hearing that movies are a really bad investment, it gets kind of tricky. That's why stars were born for box office draw and less risk on investment.

Maybe I'm just not very charitable but that's the point - it's a business proposition (or should be). Crowdfunded ROI appeals to emotional receptors, not wallets, and I'm fine with that, I get it.

As someone famous once said, "selling out is a lot harder than it looks".

I dunno. If you can't promise to get me laid, could you at least send me porn? (not just the flesh variety, but how about equipment porn, style porn, fashion porn, grip porn, audio porn, visual porn (no lens flares please), design porn, catering porn, name drop porn, all porn all the time).

Does your novella contain typography porn perhaps?

lucas mcnelly said...

that depends. what sort of fonts do you like?

I think, for a filmmaker, the real value is 2-fold: 1) it gets people emotionally invested in your project and 2) it lowers the financial risk (which is really nice).

but the real question, of course, is what's in it for the audience? do they view as a good use of their resources? because if we can figure that out, it could be a pretty big deal. If not, it'll still help people get their work made

Malek said...

Hey everyone please check out these projects as well if you support the independent film community. I know its our passion and dream. We have two great projects going on right now and would love for everyone to be a part of the production! I hate to post on other projects but I think all the film world needs to stick together and help each other out, its a rough world out there for the film artist! And great work on this project so far guys, looks aewsome!