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Most people know that I'm not a fan of crowd funding but I was surprised to find out that 60% of all Kickstarter campaigns are successful.
However, If you read the article, you will notice that film and video is listed as the most popular projects but they are not included within top list of successfully-funded projects. In fact, they stop at 39%.
"Certain Kickstarter categories do better than others. Topping the list of successfully-funded projects are those in the following categories: dance (75%), theater (71%), music (68%), art (57%) and comics (54%). About 39% of tech projects are successful.
Meanwhile, the most popular and competitive projects (based on the number of projects submitted) are film and video (no. 1), music (no. 2), publishing (no. 3), art (no. 4) and theater (no. 5). Technology placed in the no. 12 spot."
My question is why do you think crowd funding is not as successful for film and video, what is the number one factor that determines it's success? I know this is a broad question but I'm curious to find out your thoughts.
And what can the web series / film community do to change the success rate?
Of course I have my thoughts but I want to hear others.
Thanks for posting Mike. Personally I don't think the category has much to do with success/failure of a campaign. It doesn't matter if you're a filmmaker, videomaker or a basketweaver, it you have a strong support base and a clear message you should be able to pull off a successful campaign.
Most web series creators don't care to invest in building and sustaining that strong support base we preach on WSN. I can't begin to tell you how many 'Hi Rich, I'm XYZ and creating XYZ web series... please "spread" the word about us and help us meet our Indiegogo/Kickstarter threshold' email I receive on a daily basis from people I've never heard of or who don't care to become a part of the WSN community at minimum.
Hmmm... thanks but no thanks. Filmmakers have been trained for decades to make art on other people's coin. That's why you see a lot of "investor" jargon floating around in the web series community. Investors? Please! I asked someone to explain to me how the investor(s) would recoup their investments and turn a profit, and her response was that it's for a good cause. Good cause? Okay. Good luck with that.
The solution is sweat equity... meaning create your project with your own financial resources and build a strong base. When people see that you're committed, they are more willing to part with their money and help you out. Coming out of the wood work and demanding monetary contribution won't get you far.
Having done two unsuccessful campaigns myself, I would agree with Rich, and add... Outside of your existing network, if you expect to get "new" people to pitch in, you need to sell them, and be on top of your campaign every single day during it. You need to treat every single potential person like they are your most important funder, give them the information they need to make that decision to fund your project.
You can't be naive to think you should pop it up there and because you're making a film, people will kick you money- it's the #1 project submission, meaning that there are a TON of more people putting up films to be funded than you know. That's what this new tech freedom in Film has done, it's let everyone be able to make a film.
It would be REALLY great to dig deeper into the funder data, and find out how big the pool of funders is that give to multiple projects. In other words, if the only people giving to you are your friends and family, and they don't care about more than supporting you as a filmmaker, then what's the point of crowdfunding? Just call them up and ask them for some money and save all the hooplah.
If there REALLY is a significant population of people that surf through, research and fund multiple projects because they like them, then that validates the idea of crowd funding as a tool. I haven't seen any of that myself, but I am more than willing to attribute that to a poorly run campaign and keep an open mind about it.
"In other words, if the only people giving to you are your friends and family, and they don't care about more than supporting you as a filmmaker, then what's the point of crowdfunding? Just call them up and ask them for some money and save all the hooplah."
What I noticed is that the most successful people in the Web Soap genre have done so by actively engaging their fans. You have many people who come straight out of the Daytime Drama industry and build their model for success by casting actors and actresses from television soap operas and interacting with soap fans through social media. Often times via the actors themselves.
Former soap star Crystal Chappell who is the producer of Venice: The Series was able to raise funds to produce and even pay her actors due to her huge interaction with fans of daytime soap operas. This all when fans of the genre were weary of looking at serialized content on the web. Heck, she even charged fees for a season pass to view the web soap and fans were willing to pay.
Another former soap star turned producer of The Bay, Tristan Rogers spent a whole year promoting the series before he had even secured the funding. He used every avenue and outlet to get the word out there promoting it and enticing potential viewers and investors without being heavy handed. They are on their 3rd season.
One thing that made both of these web series a success when it comes to raising capital is that they cast their series mostly with actors who were on or are currently on soap operas. Thus, they took a tough sell audience and turned them into a can’t wait to see the next viewers who were willing to fork up some cash to keep each series running.
I look at it this way, I'm a big fan of Joss Whedon's Firefly. If I knew that by donating my own money to help a filmmaker continue to create a product that I love, then thats my right. I don't agree with blasting people with emails asking for money but if someone wants to support something that they enjoy, what's wrong with that?
I've been a member of WSN for a long time now and nobody's personally asked me for money. Has this been an issue?
I won't call it an issue but I've had to delete a few forum discussions of people starting a thread to advertise their funding efforts. Forum is for relevant discussions only, not to hawk a funding campaign. I get excited when I see Forum posts on good topics because I love participating and sharing as much as I know, to a degree. We are all fundraising trust me. Heck, I'm fundraising by working my butt off. I even met an 80 year old recently in my apartment building who's fundraising to make a film that he couldn't talk about. :) I actually think he's 80+. I'll ask him when I see him again. :)
I went to a talk last night to hear producer David Reynolds discuss his Kickstarter campaign for The UnderWater Realm (web series of 5 x 2 mins episodes). They shot past their $60,000 target to hit $100,000 in 4 weeks.
They worked hard, very hard, all the while they were in production as well but they never missed an opportunity and they never ignored the people who had already contributed.
They identified magazines, websites and bloggers before they went live and made sure they all knew of their campaign so the publicity they got from them coincided with the opening week of the campaign.
And their campaign targeted strangers and that's who funded it.
And they made it exciting for other filmmakers to get involved by offering exclusive video tutorials on how they did certain things (the series is set underwater so they had to invent lighting techniques).
On the subject of asking others on WSN to contribute. I don't see why there can't be a thread just for that like there is a thread for Facebook pages or YouTube channels.
Crowdfunding is more than just asking for money its actually intrinsically part of the marketing. If one filmmaker from WSN can get excited about another's campaign then they will pass the message on their network. If the whole point of this forum is to support each other than why not find a way that we can post about campaigns so others who choose to can share them or contribute to them?
I had an idea about this forum and I don't know if you'll like it but what if we helped each other by posting videos and critiquing which I already saw on here but also like fan pages on facebook and supporting each other in other ways cause I'd like a topic dedicated to us supporting each other (not financially). Maybe there already is and I'm blind but I think that would be good. It would be the WSN way of support cause that doesn't cost money just time and very little of it. Also we should be nice to noobies. (I'm a noobie but I feel like I just passed the hump for noobie) Some of them don't know how this works. Some of them don't understand that this is a community of support but they will learn. They have to learn or they will fail unless they have an insanely rich friend or grandparent. In this business, I feel like most people can't do this on their own. They need help whether it's your best friend or a close friend who says I believe in your dream so they push you toward it (without givng money). I understand your frustration with them but some like me will learn. I'm doing my own kickstarter right now and I've learned so much about doing this, about people, about the business, and the compassion of my friends. I agree with no kickstarters on here because it would be like a homeless guy going up to another homeless guy asking for change. They are both trying to get on their feet. Plus, some people are just out for themselves and they don't deserve our time but if your looking out for everyone, I might donate to such a cause. Sorry If I rambled.