Crowdfunding has been around since 1990, but only recently
has the power of online
platforms and social
media really unleashed its potential for film financing. By launching a campaign using a crowdfunding platform such as Indiegogo or Kickstarter, an independent filmmaker can go directly to the crowd to get funding for their projects, who can help you get your film made with just a click of the mouse.
Writer and filmmaker John T. Trigonis, who has used crowdfunding and social networking campaigns to finance his own short films, provides a how-to manual on doing so titled Crowdfunding for Filmmakers: the Way to a Successful Film Campaign (Michael Wiese Productions, 2013). He outlines the basics of crowdfunding, and explains how to choose your platform, home in on your target audience, personalize your campaign, and effectively engage the community. Trigonis also offers advanced tips for raising larger amounts and studies of successful film crowdfunding efforts.
One nice touch is his use of the principles of Taoism (“the way”) to describe how to get the most out of crowdfunding, explaining that if campaigner remains to true to the basic elements of fundraising—pitch, perks, and promotion—and enhances them with a fourth P—personalization—the chances of achieving one’s crowdfunding goal increases significantly.
Here are some summary points from the book:
- Transparency is important in campaigns, so keep supporters informed of your behind-the-scenes progress.
- Instead of focusing on the ask, explore how you can evoke a response to your work.
- Think of donations as an opportunity to build relationships, rather than just a monetary benefit.
- If you want to raise substantial funds on crowdfunding platforms, you need to have “a gimmick, friends, patience, fun, and most importantly, guts."
Foundation Center libraries also hold other books on film financing and crowdfunding. Here’s a sample of recent publications you'll find here:
- The Everything Guide to Crowdfunding: Learn How to Use Social media for Small-Business Funding by Thomas Elliott Young (Adams Media, 2013)
- The Crowdfunding Bible: How to Raise Money for Any Startup, Video Game, or Project by Scott Steinberg (read.me, 2012)
- Documentary Fundraising Guide: Lessons From a Filmmaker: Simple Steps to Get Cash Flowing For Your Film by Faith Fuller (Desktop Documentaries, 2012)
- The Art of Film Funding: Alternative Financing Concepts 2nd ed. by Carole Lee Dean (Michael Wiese Productions, 2012)
And lastly, don't forget about GrantSpace's list of funding resources for film/videomakers!
The Foundation Center