March 3, 2014

Stop Being Scared & Start Raising Money with Andrew Frank's 'Anatomy of a Pitch'

b&h andrew frank how to ask for money pitchAs artists, we can ask you to work relentlessly hard hours, put on layers of zombie makeup, even borrow your expensive gear for a shoot. But you know what we have the hardest time asking for? Money! Luckily, industry professionals like Andrew Frank are around to give us practical advice on getting past our fears with simple advice in this B&H video workshop How to Ask People for Money: Anatomy of a Pitch below.

Andrew Frank is a consultant who has raised money for anything from Broadway plays to the MET Museum and the Lincoln Center. While Frank's seminars usually go for a couple hundred bucks, this B&H video is free! If you're planning on making a film soon, you'll want to soak in Frank's lessons in this workshop:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2N0NPMviIm8

Frank starts with something pretty basic that's at the core of a successful pitch: he wants you to condition yourself to have a positive attitude about the act of asking for money. How do you know if you have a negative attitude about fundraising? Well, take a gander at his list:

If one of those captures how you feel, you're not alone! And you will be a lot better off, at least in the case of raising money for your film, if you can get them out of your system. Frank goes on to outline the four parts of a pitch:

  1. The Opening
  2. The Ask (Where you let someone know what you are trying to raise)
  3. The Story (The journey of your creative project)
  4. The Wrap Up/Thank you.

Sometimes the hardest part of the pitch is starting! He recommends being upfront about the fact that you are asking for money:

The Opening. Don't skip this, especially with friends. Don't make this mistake: "John, I'm so glad to see you -- how's your brother -- blah blah blah -- " Then 25 minutes later, "By the way, I wanted to ask you, I'm fundraising for this thing." Now John is wondering if he just got suckered, with 25 minutes of lip service.

Watch the entire hour-and-a-half workshop to get tons of practical advice, and then practice it by pitching your next film!

Have you had experience pitching your film? If you have, it means you've probably been rejected at least a few times! What are some of the pitfalls, rejections, or positive reactions you've gotten asking for money?

Link: Andrew Frank -- Website

[via FilmmakerIQ]

Your Comment

19 Comments

Love the post Oakley.

March 3, 2014 at 8:27AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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t. cal

Raising funds is a pretty weird process. No matter how politely and how nicely you ask, it'd seem "well he's just begging for money". As said in the article above, all the nice things you say seem like lip service and useless. And if you jump straight to asking money then it'd seem like you don't even care about people and just blindly spamming for money.
My film is on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/481898714/hunger-a-horror-short-abo...
And trying to raise funds for this has been a very eye-opening process so far. Friends would seem to start ignoring you fearing that you're gonna ask for money. and nobody considers this an investment anyways. They won't consider the rewards you offer, it'd feel like donation in their eyes. I'm not trying to be pessimistic, but just stating my experience. And in the end, your content, would not even seem to matter. It wouldn't matter if the film is actually exciting or fun, as long as you squeeze money out of your contacts for the mere reason that you know them.
Oh well, In the end thoug,h I'm still keeping my spirits up and fingers crossed and I know it'll all be worth it when the funding would be raised and I'd go on the shoot. I guess, we just have to keep looking at the ultimate goal and don't be disheartened. This advice is for me and for people who are in the situation like me.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/481898714/hunger-a-horror-short-abo...

Usman

March 3, 2014 at 12:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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How about stop spamming the comments with this begging?

March 3, 2014 at 1:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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eckel

What's really curious: he's asking for 1000 bucks. This little money could be earned by working for a month or two, so where is the point?

March 3, 2014 at 4:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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mariano

Absolutely invaluable! Thanks for this post.

March 3, 2014 at 2:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Asking for money was a wild experience for me. The thing that actually amazed me is how much you could actually get just by asking. I would raise over 200k for my first feature, and it started with a great kickstarter. Kickstarter was one of the harder things i have ever done, but it was one of the best experiences ever. I disagree with alot of the things that "suck" about asking for money, because i don't think they are true. I look at asking for money not as being an embarrassing failure but rather an extremely exciting moment and one that means your actively succeeding. The world biggest filmmakers and companies have to raise money, they just need to raise more. Im 21 years old, i have made very little money personally in my life thus far, however i have been apart of over a half a million in fund raising across multiple projects and i launched a new kickstarter today. I don't feel like a failure at all, nor in debt, nor that i lost creative control, nor embarrassed, i feel successful.

March 3, 2014 at 5:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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nico

Which ones? Share the links and let us others without any knowledge with crowd funding know how you pulled it off. I looked into the successful projects on kickstarter. A lot of these guys were big names before they went this route (spike Lee, that scrubs guy, Veronica Mars...) but getting some first hand info from someone who got a half million bucks would be nice.

March 4, 2014 at 2:46AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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mariano

crickets..

March 4, 2014 at 12:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Lcky

I expected the crickets, his comment sounded too pretentious to begin with.

March 5, 2014 at 4:24AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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mariano

Crowdfunding is kind of the new "pitch" it seems but slightly less daunting as you don't have to say it to someone's face. This part I like.

My business partner and I have orchestrated 2 successful campaigns ($13K and $10K), one outright failure and one partial success (we were asking for $30K with Pozible (like Kickstarter - all or nothing), raised $18K and managed to manually retrieve $14K of it after the campaign "failed" to continue with our work). We aren't big names by any means but we used a passionate approach with meaningful and topical subject matter pitched to a decent mailing mailing list and friends/family.

If people believe in what you can do, believe/are interested in the topic, and want to see you succeed then the "rewards" will be irrelevant. Having a solid base, working hard to keep the campaign exciting and interesting and being genuine are my keys to success at raising money. And cynicism or self-doubt will be seen from a mile away. Plus if you literally don't have some supporters already with you on your journey, you'll struggle more. There are exceptions of course...a good idea is a good idea. But if you are doing something unique or less commercially "popular", then you need those closest to you to buoy you.

March 4, 2014 at 11:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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What is the name of your feature film that you raised 200k for?

March 4, 2014 at 6:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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eckel

I really appreciated his practical approach to discussing fundraising. For those who don't have time to watch the whole webinar, here are some of the questions he recommends asking yourself before pitching your project:

1. Why are you working on this project?
2. How long have you been working on it?
3. Why is it important to you?
4. Why would it be important to other people?
5. Who else is involved with the project?
6. What is the timeline?
7. What are your big dreams with the project?
8. What are your realistic expectations?
9. Do you have pictures? Videos?
10. Why is it being done now?

Particular emphasis was put on the time sensitive elements of the project (#6 and #10). Thanks for the post Oakley!

March 3, 2014 at 7:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Benjamin

The reality is you have to look at pitching like a business proposal. You are not begging for money if you present the offer to contribute as beneficial to an investor in some way. Kickstarter/Indiegogo are a bit different because it is about a community investing in a product they want to see made more so than anything. In general, most pitching is about how can this benefit me financially or how can this help promote what I do.

March 4, 2014 at 12:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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James

Very helpful seminar. Thanks for posting it. We'll be launching a kickstarter campaign in the spring in support of our Stephen King adaptation of Suffer the Little Children. For anyone looking for advice on how to launch a successful Kickstarter campaign we recommend the following tutorial from CreativeLIVE http://www.creativelive.com/courses/kickstarter-photographers-and-filmma... Lots of great advice and takeaways.

March 5, 2014 at 2:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Even more great tips! Thanks Surfer.

March 6, 2014 at 12:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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This was a great talk, and in a very pragmatic way, dealt with many of the resistances that I have when it comes to asking. Having a format on how to structure the conversation was so useful. We are a small team of New Zealand filmmakers working on raising funds for our third feature - Labour of Love. To date, we have managed to raise $100,000 of a $200,000 total, but it has been a challenge, not so much for the no's that we get, but in the actual initiating of the necessary conversations. Andrew Franks provides ways to deal with this. Thanks, No Film School for posting this. More courage in my heart.

Something else, though, that we have done successfully, is to find alliances with community organisations and trusts where there is an overlapping of interest. For example, our last film HOOK, LINE & SINKER about a truckdriver diagnosed with macular degeneneration - we connected up with the Macular Degeneration Trust and the Royal NZ Foundation of the Blind - not for money, but for endorsement and marketing support (spreading the word as such) through their networks. That in itself, we discovered, is good leverage when asking people for money. Later, both organisations did in fact put money into the project. With our current film, we will be working with the NZ Neo-Natal Trust. It's a strategy well worth pursuing, and even if doesn't directly bring funding, it does so indirectly through building an audience.

www.torchlightfilms.co.nz

March 6, 2014 at 9:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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March 7, 2014 at 5:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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