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?