David Branin & Karen Worden from Film Courage Release Feature 'Goodbye Promise' for $1 on IndieGoGo

Many of us have used crowdfunding platforms to get a project off the ground or at least to gauge interest in it -- and many more of us have considered, or are planning, on doing so. But David Branin and Karen Worden from the indie film site Film Courage are utilizing a crowdfunding platform for another purpose: to distribute their finished film. Yesterday they released their DIY feature Goodbye Promise on Indiegogo -- for just $1. David and Karen are seeking answers to the question we all face as filmmakers: how to best release our films to a changing world. I spoke to them via Skype about film festivals, online distribution, crowdfunding platforms, social media strategies, and more:

First, here's the campaign video for Goodbye Promise:

In the following interview I learned that if I do a podcast over oddly-scaled video while looking to one side of the screen (because of where I had their Skype window) that I get a little bit of a lazy-eye look going! You learn something every day. Here's the hour-long, wide-ranging conversation:

Some of the platforms and sites we talk about in the interview: Indiegogo, Kickstarter, Distrify, Distribber, Dynamo Player, VHX, Prescreen, The Humble Indie Bundle, and, of course, my MANCHILD Kickstarter campaign.

To watch the film, you can find Goodbye Promise on Indiegogo for just $1 (for the first hundred supporters), and $2 after that. Here's the story:

Our Story:

When we made the decision to launch production, we had just about everything stacked against us: no script, no money, and no camera crew. But we knew we were sitting on a deeply personal story—one all three of us were living everyday, and one we knew millions of other artists around the world would find just as personal.

We shot on weekends spanning an entire summer. Since 100% of the dialogue was improvised, we often had no idea where a scene was headed, let alone how the film would end. But amassing a cast of talented actors we knew would deliver natural performances, and keeping our goal in mind—to tell an authentic story about what it’s really like to come to terms with failure—we forged ahead into the unknown. And we believe we came up with something that will resonate with anyone who has ever pursued a dream.

Why We Are Releasing It On IndieGogo

We’re confident we’ve found the best and most exciting way we can unveil our film. Bypassing film festivals and theatrical options gives us the opportunity to immediately share it with an audience—you—online. Waiters, we are not. Waiting around to be discovered is never an option for us. We’re releasing this film in a way that, as you hear of it, you’ll be able to watch it and share it freely with as little resistance as possible.

Our financial target is $1,000,000. While anything’s possible, our core intent isn’t to make the million dollars—all we want is the opportunity to show our film to as many people as we can. Our research has indicated that we are the first to use a crowdfunding platform to distribute a film directly to an audience online.

Link: Goodbye Promise on Indiegogo

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Your Comment


Hi Koo,

Knowing you keep tight control of your time, we wanted to once again thank you for chatting with us about the release of our film. We are all crossing new frontiers with artists eliminating middle men and going direct to their audiences. Conventional thinking has been that you have to be an established name to have large scale success. We believe independent artists are going to continue to reach new heights. You've proven that yourself with Manchild.

We were nervous before speaking to you about our campaign. Thank you for giving us the confidence to continue forward with this venture. We are learning quite a bit already. We have received a lot of positive feedback regarding the release on IndieGogo and most importantly people are watching the film and sharing it.

August 14, 2012 at 11:29AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


This is an incredible post with valuable information. I would like to see more collaborative videos. Best to Goodbye Promise crew.

August 14, 2012 at 12:23PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Steve, thank you so much!

We are already learning a ton by releasing our film in the manner we are. For one, we are only asking for $1 for people to see the film, yet out of the first 41 people who have contributed to the campaign only 11 have chosen that option. We have already received 8 pledges that are $10 or more. The average pledge is currently $5.80.

We plan to be transparent throughout our release so people can see just how hard or easy it can be to get people to pay to see your work.

Best thing for us is that we have made our film available in a way that anyone in the world can see it without delay and without any hassle. That was really important to us.

August 14, 2012 at 12:35PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


PS - We have more videos coming. Our next one features Filmmaker Gregory Bayne who released his first feature Person Of Interest on Vodo.net where it received 100,000 downloads. His second feature Jens Pulver: Driven he released through Gravitas on various VOD platforms. He talks all about it.

August 14, 2012 at 12:37PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Congrats Karen and David. Where can we find updates on the progress of this campaign? I had a very similar idea myself and appreciate you being transparent about how it goes so thanks!

August 14, 2012 at 1:17PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Thanks Rob,

The place where we can probably get away with the most updates will be our FB page (http://on.fb.me/Qz5No1). We will be utilizing YouTube as often as we can, so we will definitely have lots of content there (http://bit.ly/x15T0G). And of course to follow the results of our efforts go right to our IndieGogo page. One of the big factors in choosing a crowdfunding platform to release our film was the scoreboard factor. It makes our release much more exciting. Isn't it crazy that the funding of our projects (because of crowdfunding platforms) is now more exciting than the release of our content once it is finally complete? We wanted to really engage with people during our release and this release on IndieGogo provides us a great backdrop to do just that.

Interesting to hear you say that you had a similar idea. We hope in one way or another, what we are doing helps you hone in on that idea and bring it to life.

August 14, 2012 at 1:31PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


This is a wonderful idea, I was recently thinking about the possibility of doing this with my own film.

August 14, 2012 at 5:41PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Adam, we hope to show you enough with our results for you to keep it under consideration. We believe this was the best way for us to release our film, yet there a lot of factors that play into our decision. We believe for small films that don't have those big name stars (who are bankable), and aren't film festival darlings that this could be a viable new option. We're not sure how this is all going to turn out. We're just going to keep working it everyday until it's over.

August 14, 2012 at 6:37PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


For all the indiefilmmakers, this is definitely a film worth checking out. Great movie, deeply felt. Not the best made movie, the pic looks like it was crowdfunded, but jeez, the acting and content, especially to someone out pursuing their dream, is heartbreaking.

August 15, 2012 at 4:08AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM



Thank you for your comment and thank you for watching our film. Our story with the film is that we shot it with no production budget, no camera crew, and no script. We sacrificed production values in our attempt to capture authenticity. Honestly, we didn't think anything would come of this movie. Coming off our first feature, we just wanted to make another and we didn't want any of the common obstacles to stop us, so we just picked up the camera we had (Canon HV30) and started making this movie. We weren't sure if what we had would be good enough to really affect people. Thanks to our relationship with the Downtown Independent here in Los Angeles (where we held our premiere theatrical run) we were able to get a glowing review from Gary Goldstein of the LA Times (our very first review) and he absolutely loved the film. Said it was one of the best films he had seen in recent years. So here we are going direct to the audience via IndieGogo and YouTube to see how many people we can get to watch the film.

August 15, 2012 at 8:28AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Hi Guys,

Thanks for this video and article. I think you may have come up with something here and perhaps have opened the flood gates. I look forward to following the campaign over the next month and to also watching the film. WHAT WOULD KOO DO! On a side note I must say I think you went too low on your price point. Very interested to see what the final average pledge will be. Either way thanks for blazing a trail and for thinking outside the box for the rest of us.

August 15, 2012 at 4:49AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Gavin Kilduff


Thank you for comment. Glad to have you on board to follow our release. Excited to know that you will check out the film. You are not alone in your thinking in regards to our price point. Came across this post last night from Joseph Horn (http://bit.ly/NA7AdM). Here's our perspective. We are not in this for a money as reflected with our $1 price point. The $1,000,000 goal is the impossible dream. We are not expecting to hit that mark. We are not expecting to come anywhere close to that. It feels great to wake up in the morning, chase the impossible and see how much closer you can come. We didn't want to set a lower cap because we didn't want to restrict the amount of people we could potentially attract to watch our film. Whichever way you look at it, 1 Million is a lot sexier than 1 Thousand or 10 Thousand. What's interesting about our price point so far are some of our early numbers. Out of 68 contributors, 44 have chosen $2 or more over the $1 perk. Out of the 68, 14 so far have contributed $10 or more and the current average donation is $7.04. Of course one factor that certainly plays into the numbers that you don't see is that we have given away free content for independent artists for over 3 years. Hundreds of podcasts, videos, and articles. Not sure where our campaign is headed. We're just going to sleep less and continue to spread the word for our film.

August 15, 2012 at 8:48AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


We just went over 100 Backers / Renters. The average contribution had dropped into the $5 range but is now back up to $7.10 due to our second $100 backer. It's been incredibly touching to see the people who really believe in the film and what we are trying to do.

August 16, 2012 at 3:50PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


"Given thought to. Yes. Have any idea? No"

Yeah, that basically sums up where I'm at.

August 15, 2012 at 7:23AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

You voted '-1'.

Follow up to something Koo mentioned about how much you get for DVD sales.

Not sure how much a director gets, but screenwriters get 5 cents per DVD sold according to WGA rules.

August 15, 2012 at 7:55AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Hi Jack! Don't stop pushing bro. We really want to see you make your movie. In regards to DVD's, we certainly wish we had them ready for this online release, though we certainly would not want to fulfill them ourselves. : )

August 15, 2012 at 8:52AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


UPDATE - Today our campaign made it to the featured section of IndieGogo for the first time. And we have seen a few contributions roll in so far. Though the big twist in our story is that yesterday we decided to shift our focus off of our own release and to that of fellow filmmaker Jack Marchetti who is a Chicago based filmmaker who wants to make a movie before he goes blind. He has 3 days left in his Kickstarter campaign which is on the rise just going over the $23,000. His story was previously featured on No Flim School here - http://nofilmschool.com/2012/07/ticking-clock-screenwriter-launches-kick...

August 21, 2012 at 12:05PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


UPDATE - 50 HOURS LEFT - What a journey we have been on since this article was first published. There has been a lot we have learned along the way. We have been doing our best to document our distribution path, but we haven't been able to keep up. Here is a link if you are interested in our distribution path - http://bit.ly/NiFv8O. Contained in that link are 16 video case studies on distribution and crowdfunding.

In our final days we have made it our goal to reach 1000 contributors. As we write this we are up to 320 renters. Here are stats based on 300 renters.

$1 Renters - 83

$2 or more - 217

$10 or more - 78

$25 or more - 20

$100 or more - 4

In offering our film for $1, more than 70% of our contributions have been $2 or more. And the current average contribution is over $8. We hope to make it an adventure in our final hours. Our campaign ends Wednesday Sept. 12 at 11:59pm PST.

The best part for us has been the feedback we have received on our movie, feedback on our campaign and the overall engagement we have experienced directly with those who are sharing in this experience.

Thanks again to No Film School for spotlighting our release.

September 10, 2012 at 11:31PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


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June 1, 2014 at 9:18AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM