Crowdfunding offers filmmakers another means of funding their films and people a new way of experiencing cinema. And it couldn’t be simpler: a filmmaker uploads a campaign to a crowdfunding platform and anyone, anywhere, can participate and contribute to the production of their film. There are different platforms (creative, social, business) and funding modalities, so it is possible to choose between ‘all or nothing’ or ‘keep it all’ campaigns, whichever suits the project better.
Thanks to crowdfunding, filmmakers get the funds and support they need to make their projects and audiences can feel part of the team and get especial rewards in exchange of their contribution, called perks.
A new way of interacting with cinema:
We have experienced a great change in the ways people can interact with cinema in just a few years. Before, audiences would purchase a ticket, a VHS/DVD or merchandise to enjoy films. They could comment the films with their friends and family or even write a letter to their favourite stars and filmmakers to let them know about their admiration.
Nowadays, with the spread of the internet and social media resources, people can watch a film, comment it on their social media, make custom content like wallpapers or icons and posting it on specialized websites, review films in their blogs and comment on filmmakers’ websites or social media platforms.
Crowdfunding is a new stage of this progression of taking cinema and filmmaking closer to the audiences. Now, anyone from any place and background can contribute in producing a film, dream that might have been unlikely to fulfil in other circumstances.
Crowdfunding pros and cons
Crowdfunding is an excellent way for filmmakers and audiences to interact, even at early stages of a project. Filmmakers can receive precious feedback from its backers through comments made on their campaign page: if the project is well received, if it is creating expectation, how the audience feels about some aspects or the project in general, or some positive criticism.
As for backers, apart from being able to communicate their feelings, interest or criticism about the project to filmmakers one-to-one, they can have the chance to receive unique and individualized perks, like meeting the crew, appearing as extras in the film, getting limited editions of several merchandise and even becoming producers of the film, being listed as such in the credits and in the crew list of cinema websites.
On the cons, we should mention that crowdfunding is a very demanding task and requires lots of effort and work. One can’t just post the campaign and expect people to see it and even more, contribute. You need to nurture your campaign every day (or several times during the day): updating it, sharing it everywhere, using creativity and inventive to find new ways of getting people interested or promoting it.
Also, not all campaigns are successful, and seeing how time passes and you don’t get the expected results can be very disheartening. However, this can teach you many things. On thinking why your campaign isn’t as popular as you would like it to be will challenge you to try harder to appeal to larger audiences on this or even the next one, and while researching the reasons why you aren’t reaching many people will make you use your resources more effectively or finding new ones.
It sounds quite obvious, but to assure the success of your crowdfunding campaign you need to appeal to people. Your project needs to be interesting enough to attract possible backers’ attention, so having a nice and catchy pitch (either video or written) is essential. Even if you don’t have many materials because you are in the first stages of the pre-production, if you explain well your project’s strengths and prove yourself worthy to give results should be enough.
Sharing everywhere is also vital: make use of all your social networks, send emails to groups you think that your project could be of interest and let people of your environment know about it, even those you consider that might not be interested, you can get many pleasant surprises there.
Besides, you need to give people all the information you can: post updates, pictures, videos, your comments… This helps people feel like part of the team as well as knowing how their contributions are going to be used. Updating them is the least you can do to thank them for their participation. That, and making every effort to make your film live up to their expectations.
Our crowdfunding campaign:
We have just launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover the shoot and post-production costs for our short film Doris and the Pennies from Heaven. We have created varied perks to suit all tastes and so that anyone wishing to participate can do it in very different ways. You can visit it here.