October 18, 2010

Five Ways to Fail at Crowdfunding

Many folks seem to think that crowdfunding is some magical new way of raising money that works like the Staples Easy Button. People love to talk about the success stories, but of course there are hundreds of campaigns that fail (and no one hears about them). With this in mind, marketing and publicity specialist Sheri Candler has written a great post about mistakes to avoid when about running a Kickstarter or IndieGogo fundraising campaign. Her post is a must-read for anyone thinking about crowdfunding. Here's one of her reasons:

Your goal is unrealistic. At the moment, the highest amount I personally have seen raised is $30K. That was for a feature and mostly used on principal photography. Most of the other projects I have seen find success are raising under $10K. Crowdfunding is meant to get your project started, get your project finished or be used for something clearly defined like a festival run or your own screening tour. It is not going to be your only source of financing for your feature film. In time, as your audience grows, this could change for you. Unless you have the base of fans mentioned in #1, try raising $5k and see how you do.

Of course, the "#1 way to fail" she mentions is not building an online audience before you launch a crowdfunding campaign. Obviously No Film School is a large part of that for me (though it remains to be seen how well it will work!). For anyone thinking of launching a crowdfunding campaign, be sure to check out Sheri's full article. Also see Filmmaker Magazine for three more reasons from editor Scott Macaulay. To highlight one that I found relevant, as I've been revamping my own campaign to avoid falling into this trap:

Your crowdfunding appeal uses the language of aggrievement. It is tough out there. Everyone is having a hard time — even the ones you think aren’t. Your funders want to support you do something great, not endorse a vague concept of “indie” or a negative critique of the current film business. Be positive and inspire people through what you are doing, not by the indignities you have suffered.

Collectively, all of these points have given me plenty of brain candy for launching my own crowdfunding effort, which will hopefully be launching next month, provided I can get the trailer done in time. I've also backed a lot of projects, more with well-wishes than any large amounts of money (which I don't have). For anyone out there who's run a crowdfunding campaign (successful or not), do you have any more tips to share?

Link: Top 5 Ways to Fail at Crowdfunding

Your Comment



I saw this short on the Cinemek website advertising the G35 adapter. It was shot on a DVX100. Awesome visuals. (plus an excessively naughty scene...)

I was searching for this project months (years?) later and saw it had a kick starter account. Boom. Money already was raised.

How could you not donate a couple of bucks to help with VFX on this thing?

I think a lot of us can create a compelling trailer. Do that as part of building the audience and then do a fundraiser like these guys did.

October 18, 2010 at 5:17PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

You voted '-1'.

Hi, Koo, I love reading your blog.

I am keeping an eye on Kickstarter for a year. Great site, but it's only for US based projects.

I am not familiar with IndieGoGo. I am going to explore it. Do you know is it available for international projects?

October 20, 2010 at 12:11PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Hey Nikola - Saw your question and wanted to let you know that IndieGoGo is available for international projects....they have over 100 countries represented already....feel free to get in touch @GoGo Erica if you have questions

October 25, 2010 at 7:56AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Thank you, Erica :)

October 27, 2010 at 5:19AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Always giving plenty of good advice for beginning campaigns.

So Koo, what are your thoughts about getting real press coverage. Like a local newspaper.... I've been thinking of utilizing them for help in my upcoming project.

November 10, 2011 at 4:20PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM