Crowdfunding has opened new doors for indie film financing, but it's certainly not without its pitfalls.
You need money for your film, so you do what countless indie filmmakers have done and you start a campaign on Kickstarter or Indiegogo or Seed&Spark. You create an account, write down all pertinent info about your project, decide on the rewards, make a campaign video, and there you go! Congrats on a successful campaign!
Well, not really.
Crowdfunding seems simple, but considering the fact that over 63% of all Kickstarter campaigns fail, there are quite a number of things you can do to muck it all up. And who better to learn how to run a more successful campaign than Indiegogo's Head Film and Creative Campaign Strategist, John T. Trigonis? In this Film Courage video, he shares six major mistakes filmmakers make when running a crowdfunding campaign.
1. Relying too heavily on press and influencers
Unless you're a part of the communities you're marketing to, you're "just another crowdfunding filmmaker" asking for money from people you don't know—and how many of those do you scroll right past every day? Social networks like Twitter and Facebook aren't going to magically give you an audience that is excited about your project; you have to invest some time into the communities you want to be in (and from which you'll eventually be asking for money).
2. Having boring "standard definition" incentives
Trigonis says, "The perks are almost the lifeblood of what makes people contribute to an actual campaign, so give them some cool interesting perks."
He lays out three types of incentives to include in your campaign: "Standard definition" (i.e. social network shout outs, copies of your film), "high definition" (i.e. producer credit, getting your backers on set), and "3D", which are "personalized" things you can't get anywhere else (i.e. personalized poems, signed copies, tickets to your film's premiere).
3. Not soft-launching your campaign
Your friends, family, and fans are going to be the first ones to support your project, so it's imperative that you alert them about your film's campaign before its official launch. Why? Because it builds momentum!
"Crowdfunding is physics and crowdfunding is psychology."
4. Having no strategy in place
Running a crowdfunding campaign is essentially a full-time job, which means you have to be prepared. You need to set daily goals, determine how you're going to market your campaign, decide when and how you're going to give your backers updates. There is so much to do!
Trigonis puts it perfectly: "It's not free money. You're gonna work for that money. You're gonna work hard for it."
5. Setting your goal too high
This is not the time to start going overboard about how high you're going to set your goal. Approach it rationally: ask yourself how much you actually need and how much of a following you already have.
So, how much should you ask for? Trigonis says that a good place to start is by asking yourself if your friends, family, and fans can raise 30% of your goal.
6. Not having an audience
If you don't have a crowd, how can you crowdfund? If your film doesn't have much of a following, you shouldn't be trying to get one on the first day of your campaign. You should be putting in that work months in advance by tweeting and Facebooking about it, emailing people about it, and asking film blogs if they'll cover your project.
If you want more from John T. Trigonis, check out his TEDx Talk on crowdfunding:
What are some mistakes you've learned from while crowdfunding? Let us know in the comments below!