As you may know, this month we’ve been doing a focus on crowdfunding for filmmakers, and in a moment of synchronicity the IndieGoGo campaign for the 2018 Raindance Film Festival has begun! I don’t know about you, but I’m passionate about film festivals. Festivals are a celebration of cinema and a showcase of some of the best films around, and Raindance is no different.
So, why should you dig into your wallet and contribute to the crowdfunding campaign for this year’s Raindance Film Festival? Here’s 5 very good reasons
Over the past 4 years I have been able to see what works in a campaign, what doesn’t, and the commonalities that add up to crowdfunding success and failure. One thing that remains true for every single crowdfunding campaign is this: preparation is vital.
So, how do you need to prepare for your crowdfunding campaign?
Chances are, if you hop onto Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and check out the pages of indie filmmakers and their films, you may encounter posts about crowdfunding campaigns. Since the “early adopters” phase of crowdfunding in the early 2010s, filmmakers are looking at crowdfunding and various crowdfunding platforms to help assist them in funding their projects. In fact, Film Sprites PR started primarily by promoting and supporting crowdfunding campaigns for filmmaking. In the almost 4 years of operation, we’ve assisted with various successful campaigns (which you can read more about here if you’re so inclined), and the creation of Sprites came about after being inspired by Amanda Palmer’s TED talk, The Art of Asking. We’ve seen what’s worked, what hasn’t worked, and everything in between. There’s nothing more fantastic than seeing a filmmaker not just cross the 100% mark, but exceed it and be able to celebrate with their donors, fans, friends and family!
There are a now variety of crowdfunding platform choices available to filmmakers; from film and TV-based Seed & Spark, through to all-or-nothing crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and flexible funding like IndieGoGo. And while this array of platforms gives filmmakers various options for their crowdfunding campaigns, there are many benefits of crowdfunding campaigns which go above and beyond providing funds for filmmaking and webseries creation.
Following the success of our blog post featuring PR and digital marketing resources for indie filmmakers, we’re back with even more general resources! These are things that are too good not to share. After all, it’s all about working smarter, not harder. Here’s some resources we stumbled across recently that we think you’ll like.
Over the years at Film Sprites PR, we’ve amassed a mountain of really useful resources for independent filmmakers; everything from graphic design lifesavers for your social media graphics, through to inexpensive (or free) ways to advertise your independent film to your audience. They’re all things we’ve been recommending to our clients, and now I want to share them with you. They’re not huge trade secrets- just things that we personally rave about and things that work.
In addition to these resources, we’re also including a ‘sanity saving’ section, additional books to add to your reading list, as well as some inspirational resources to help keep your momentum up. Let’s face it- every bit helps when you’re working hard for your dreams.
Social media is an incredible tool to help connect you to your film’s audience. But there are great ways of using it, and other social media habits that are…not so great. Those habits can annoy your followers, or at the very worst, get you blocked. There’s one thing I know unequivocally- nobody sets out to be annoying on social media (unless they’re trolls), so here I’m highlighting some of the habits that are seen as common irritants, and giving you solutions. It’s about working smarter, not harder and seeing the results.
And let me tell you, when I started out I did many of these things! It’s true! I don’t consider myself some sort of social media guru, but I have seen what works and what doesn’t through trial, error and evaluation, so I’m passing on what I’ve learned to you.
The crowdfunding campaign for your film has finished, you’ve secured your funds and you’re ready for the next part of production. Congrats! This is a golden opportunity to continue to build anticipation for your film and keep forging links with your audience.
Sometimes with crowdfunding campaigns, the post-campaign period can be forgotten in the excitement of completing the film. Updates on the crowdfunding campaign page can go silent, and in some cases the campaign is not mentioned again- it’s a case of “so long, and thanks for all the fish” when it comes to contributors. So how do you make the most of the post-campaign period in order to keep momentum building for your film’s release and also increase your film’s visibility?
In the post-production period, many films opt to crowdfund for post-production funds to finish the film, and this in itself can prove to be another opportunity to grow your social media audience and media exposure whilst securing your funds. If you’ve prepped thoroughly during pre-production through filming, chances are you have a wealth of materials available that you can use to let people know about the film, both on your crowdfunding page and via social media and regular media. People don’t like being bombarded with constant links to crowdfunding campaigns on social media, so if you can keep the consistent tone you have developed on your social media platforms from day one, you don’t run the risk of having people ‘switch off’ or unfollow. Yes, you can direct people to your crowdfunding campaign, but it doesn’t have to be done in a ‘salesy’ way.
When it comes to film I can honestly say I have a great love of documentaries. There’s something so magical about a filmmaker being able to show lives through a lens and present the viewer with unique true stories.
Recently, I watched the documentary I Am Jane Doe. Written and directed by filmmaker Mary Mazzio (who also serves as producer with Alec Sokolow), I Am Jane Doe is the powerful story of American mothers waging a war against online sex trafficking on behalf of their daughters who were trafficked. The film is narrated by Jessica Chastain (who is also an executive producer). I highly suggest looking at the film’s synopsis page to find out even more about this incredible documentary.
As the credits rolled on I Am Jane Doe, I was in pieces. I wanted to do something about this. I didn’t just want to be a passive viewer. What sprung to mind was the famous quote by Aung San Suu Kyi: “if you’re feeling helpless, help someone.” Making my way to the film’s website, I was pleased to see a section dedicated to actions that viewers can take themselves: actions like signing petitions, donating to organizations listed on the page, right through to spreading the world via social media.
The reason I wanted to talk about I Am Jane Doe is twofold: firstly, because it impacted upon me so profoundly, I knew I wanted to spread the word. The second reason is that I Am Jane Doe highlights the fact that filmmakers can make a significant social impact. I Am Jane Doe goes beyond just being a documentary- it is a call to action.
Recently on the blog I wrote about whether or not independent films really needed publicity. There’s still a perception that publicity for independent films is on the list of things that would be nice to have, but aren’t essential. That as may be, if you’re looking to gain significant coverage of your film and build your audience then it’s completely doable- especially as I’m about to give you a good timeline of when and how to generate publicity and social media coverage for your film even if you don’t have your own publicist on board.