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I was wondering two things
1) I was wondering how is everyone funding their web series?? Is it out of your own pocket? a Funding body or grant body? Independent investors (lucky buggers!) or a cash cow (moooo!)?
I would just like to hear a bit about what people are up to. I know that a lot of it does come from out the personal pocket because we love our baby and want to see it grow. The pilot that i made for "Out of Your Box" cost about 4000! I am estimating about 20,000 for website, logo and production and post production - 10 part series.
2) How does everyone expect to make money from their productions? Independent buyer? Advertising on website? pay pal? etc?
I just notice that everyone seems to put it up on youtube which a free service that does build viewers but not really the bank balance.
I would love to discuss some ideas and get the ball rolling!
My series, "The People That Touch Your Food" used a few fund raising methods. Our big one was indiegogo where we raised half of our funds (and without a U.S. bank account we couldn't use kickstarter). It was a good way to get money out of friends and friends of friends, and even a few randoms. The major drawback is to get random people going through the site to donate you really need some content (we ended up cutting a trailer from early footage), but that didn't go up until halfway through our campaign and several hundred people had visited our page already. The trailer really could have helped us raise more funds.
We did apply for a City Arts Grant (Edmonton Arts Council) and are still waiting to hear about it. The good thing about government grants is that there are a lot of them (at least in Canada) at a variety of levels (local, regional, and federal) and you can generally find some that will apply to your project. The big cons are long wait times (some Alberta grants take 4 or more months to be decided, then more time for awards), and a lot of competition from people who can't get independent investors. If we do get this one it will cover the other half of our budget (roughly).
My company donated $200 dollars to the series, it's best to look at companies that are patrons of the arts, or have a reputation for community giving (the owner of my company is on a lot of community foundations), they're far more likely to donate. The location was donated by a local restaurant (the Upper Crust Cafe) the owners of which are big on local theatre and independent film (because their nephew is a relatively well-known Canadian actor). They also provided us catering for 3 or 4 nights of the shoot (a total of 10 days). A big key to this is looking at local or regional companies, for example I know a few productions that got limited sponsorship from Big Rock beer. One friend of mine was able to raise about $75,000 for a feature by approaching businesses in his home town.
I also recommend making friends in the local film community, we were able to borrow over $2,000 worth of lenses and lights from friends, and had access to discounting rental rates at a local A/V store from another friend. Also look to see if your community has any film co-ops, Edmonton has one called FAVA and for 12 hours of volunteer time and $85 per year you get an approximately 90% discount on their commercial rental fees.