"You really find the people who connect with your film and they're into the same things you are. And it's not scary."
[Editor's Note: We've invited our longtime collaborators at Seed&Spark to share videos and takeaways about crowdfunding from their filmmaker interviews at SeriesFest 2016, which we'll be posting every two weeks.]
This past June, the Seed&Spark team went to SeriesFest and talked with independent filmmakers who were selected to premiere their series pilots alongside ones from the BBC, FX, NBC, and more. (We were also there to announce the New Voice Crowdfunding Rally, a unique opportunity for original series creators to raise funds and gather audiences for a shot at $30k and a TV development deal.) We made these talks into a series of videos that we'll be posting here on No Film School.
In this week's video, Seed&Spark's Head of Crowdfunding and Education Erica Anderson talks with the creators of At All Costs, a documentary series about the world of competitive gaming. Ryan McDuffie, Daniel Clark, and Michael Tucker discuss their experiences crowdfunding, why it doesn't have to suck, and how it can actually help you advance your storytelling.
Below are some key takeaways:
1. Crowdfunding isn't just for extroverts.
You might assume that, in order to successfully crowdfund, you have to be a loud, brash "me me me" type. However, the team behind At All Costs, with a couple of successful campaigns under their belts, understands that crowdfunding is actually a great way to connect with the people who actually respond to and want to be a part of your project. "You have this false idea that everyone's going to be judging everything you do," says Tucker. "But you really find the people who connect with (your film) and they're into the same things you are. And it's not scary."
2. Crowdfunding isn't just about gathering funds: it's about gathering your audience.
Anyone who's just in it for the money is doing it wrong. Successful crowdfunders know that it's about the crowd first, then the funds. "There are a lot of things you can get out of crowdfunding besides the money," says Clark. "I think we experienced that accidentally (during earlier campaigns.)"
3. Use your crowdfunding campaign to start telling your story.
Again, it's not just about asking for money. In fact, with crowdfunding, filmmakers have a unique opportunity to show off their storytelling skills. Take your potential backers and fans on a journey that shows them why you got into filmmaking, why this project is important, and why they should be a part of it. "The people are really on board with it," says Tucker, "and then they want to see the real thing."
4. Make sure your hard-earned audience knows about your new projects.
When crowdfunding a second or third time, it's imperative to reach out to the backers of your previous campaigns. Some feel sheepish about this, as it feels a bit like going back to the same well, but it's important. Why? Those people who contributed to your previous campaign are a part of your team! "(With past campaigns), we didn't necessarily bring that audience (from project to project)," said McDuffie. With his new crowdfunding campaign, he's being much more diligent about letting past fans know about his upcoming project.