226634120_200Explore the Underwater Realm is an in-progress series of films that are getting a lot of attention in the filmmaking community, and for good reason. Not only are they making a series of ambitious underwater shorts, they've been releasing extremely helpful video tutorials during their Kickstarter campaign as well. I backed their project, and after watching these tutorials and checking out these rewards, I suspect many of you will want to follow suit! Seriously -- the tutorials here are incredibly helpful. This is a guest post by director David M Reynolds.

I don't know about you guys - but I don't spend a lot of time looking for ways to give my money away. That said, it's not difficult to squeeze cash out of me - all you have to do is show me something that is going to make my filmmaking better.

Call it selfish, but I am pretty set on creating the best work I can - I don't have a whole heap of time for much else. That is precisely the idea behind our Kickstarter. We really didn't have much of an existing fanbase, yet we have raised over $30,000 in two weeks to produce a series of five short films.

Sure, the project is exciting, unique and memorable (it's set underwater...) but that isn't what is binging the backers in. It's the fact that we are giving away things people actually want.

I wouldn't pay $30 for a 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' t-shirt, I sure as hell won't pay $30 for a 'insert_your_film_title_here' t-shirt. It seems obvious - but you have to make your rewards desirable!

We are offering all manner of rewards, but the most popular by far is a simple set of $50 rewards:

Indie Action Pack

A limited edition copy of 'Zomblies' along with 10 in- depth tutorials that will allow you to create a similar killer action flick with no real budget. This includes the construction of compressed air cannons to add safe practical explosions to your shot, making cinema grade blood, silicone moulding and much more.

@EveHazelton Lighting Guide

After the recent success of a dslr lighting tutorial on Philip Bloom's blog, our DOP Eve has agreed to put together an hour-long lighting masterclass video covering everything from light theory to industry kit and common lighting setups/solutions. Twitter followers are able to make suggestions for content during the KS campaign.

LED Lighting Pack

We send you a video guide and a PDF booklet explaining in detail the construction of a set of battery-powered waterproof LED kino-flo style light banks that we developed for the project. They are 100% dimmable and flicker free.

Ocean Fan Pack

This is for the fans. A signed Blu-Ray of the finished shorts, along with a full copy of our weekly video blog and a 10-minute  'thank you' video showing you what your donation helped to create. You also get listed in the credits as a supporter.

Each of these four rewards is priced at $50, or you can get all four for $125.

By offering good quality rewards that actually help people make movies our average pledge amount is a whopping $85.54 - way above average for film projects. Our most popular pledge is $50, followed closely by $125 (rather than the typical $25).

Offering good content also makes you more likely to get the word out there. We had clocked 55K views on our vimeo account in the yearleading up to the campaign, and yet we have just passed 72K views in the last 2 weeks!

We still have a long way to go - but with folks like Philip Bloom and Eric Kessler on board as associate producers, and folks like Koo and Stu Maschwitz backing the project we have a great team behind us pushing us towards the finish line. This could never have happened without the 'give something back' attitude.

Link: Explore the Underwater Realm - Kickstarter