financing Has anyone succeeded with crowdfunding a film, and if so, how?

I've taken a few runs at Kickstarter and the like over the years. Each time it seems like only large groups of people with publicity funding already in place end up with results. Has anyone in the history of this forum ever actually suceeded in raising a full project budget on a crowdfunding site, without having significant advantages in place at the start?
 
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directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
That has been my experience, too. An unknown filmmaker with no following cannot
get strangers to donate money. You have to have a big following in order to raise
money this way.

Have you ever donated to a project started by a filmmaker you have never heard
of?
 
I understand your question, but to me it appears state specific. When I was a kid, I was penniless. I never gave any money to anyone and always asked it from everyone, because I had so much less than them. When I was 23, I became a millionaire, and I gave freely to others that needed help, until eventually I became poor again. Now that I'm poor again, I ask others for help. But others rarely help me in the way I once helped them so often.

The wording of your question is a bit off, or is it? Obviously I can't donate money to someone if I'm not aware that they even exist. Since making someone aware you exist is now a pay to win affair, the people that need help the most are the ones least able to get it. If I had more money than I needed, and I became aware of someone talented that was struggling, I would help them, and that's what I always did.

It may be unfair, or maybe I'm seeing the world through darkly tinted glasses, but I feel that many don't bother to think about how this all works, and in that state create a world that's more and more unfair. I'm constantly encouraged by others to simply do what they do, and tag along behind whoever inherited money. They don't see it that way, they see possession as proof of intelligence and success. It works that way sometimes, but more often, it's just a random number generator. Let's say there was this fictional person that inherited 430 million dollars at birth. Then that person bought some skyscrapers with that money. People look at the skyscraper and say "a great businessman must have made many smart decisions in order to create something so great, he must be far beyond me to achieve so much" Then another comes along and the first person says, you should become a servant of this guy, he is so smart that he owns a skyscraper. Just join them and try to learn what made them such a heroic genius.

Here's the problem. There is no genius to learn, no example to follow, no reason to follow it. This guy was handed the money to buy a commodity, then he bought it. It's no more impressive an act than if I took a 10 dollar bill to Kroger and bought some hamburger.

What would actually be impressive, is more like that kid in Chicago from a few years ago. He had 80 dollars, and he started a hot dog stand, and 2 years later, that hot dog stand was worth 80k. The kid was 11 or thereabouts. Unfortunately no one made him president, even though he took something small and made it big, rather than taking something huge, and making it less huge. We should in general, stop awarding prizes to whoever was born closest to the finish line, but rather, look at who is gaining the most distance with the least resources.

So I think what we have started doing as a somewhat simple minded society, is rewarding whoever has money, rather than people who actually made it or, as I'm trying to illustrate here, show the capability of multiplying it.

I saw a kid come through here a month ago or so. No one payed him much attention. He made a short surrealist film, where he had a pet whale that he flew around the sky like a kite. This kid was creating 3d models, demonstrating advanced compositing workflow, thinking outside the box, and trying hard with what limited resources he had. I visited his kickstarter page. It was good, but he had very little help coming in.

I'll make my point more clearly, I think independent filmmakers should really start trying to back each other up. If you don't have money, help someone out in another way. If we sort of unionized to a degree, some headway could be made.
 
I've been involved with a few campaigns. I wouldn't call them successful to the level you're asking but they hit the $10-20k range. Each of them blew their one shot. None of them were able to garner much in the way of donations from strangers. Most came from either friends and family of the key team members with about 15% coming from one step of separation.

Afterwards, each and every one of them ran a second campaign for an additional project. They all found they either burnt up their social/professional capital on the first campaign, the second never gained enough traction. Each of them had a decent traction in the local indie film scene.

Have you ever donated to a project started by a filmmaker you have never heard
of?

The wording of your question is a bit off, or is it? Obviously I can't donate money to someone if I'm not aware that they even exist. Since making someone aware you exist is now a pay to win affair, the people that need help the most are the ones least able to get it. If I had more money than I needed, and I became aware of someone talented that was struggling, I would help them, and that's what I always did.
Socialist remarks aside, rik's wording and your response pretty much sums up the chicken and the egg issue with crowdfunding.

If you don't have a following, you need to be able to market your proposal. You need to get your message out there. You need to find those who are willing to support you... and then you have to sell them.... in such a way that you either provide greater value than you're asking them to invest (in which case you'd usually be able to get investors anyway) or convince them to trust that you spending their hard earned money on what you want is better than them spending their money on what they want. If you had that skill, you'd probably already be rich.

Either that, or figure out a way to be lucky. I say, it's better to be lucky than good.
 
A woman I once worked with used to say "money comes to money" ; a variation on the theme, that I heard later, was "the best way to get a job is to have a job". I also did a financial management course at one point which started with the declaration: just about everyone will earn a million over the course of their working life; the challenge is to keep it.

People like to spend their money on what's familiar, and on what makes them feel good, so if you want to relieve other people of at least part of their million, you need to offer them a feel-good familiar experience. And inspire them with confidence. Unfortunately, whether you like it or not, whether it's consistent with your personal values or not, if someone says they were a millionaire and they gave it all away, that's not a great inducement to hand over more money (unless you've built up a see-no-evil personality cult, of course ... :rolleyes: )

Your frustration with the injustice of the world of finance is evident, and understandable - to an extent. After a chance encounter with a reality TV show in France, I started watching a YouTube vlog by a woman who bought a cheap chateau about half an hour from where I live. At the time I discovered her, she'd been here only a year less than me, and was not much further along in her renovation than I was with my farmhouse. One pandemic year later, she's raking in 20000 $£€ a month, and people are sending her exotic and expensive gifts (she now has a whole sub-channel dedicated solely to opening these) for no good reason at all. Her editing is crap, her sound is hit-and-miss, her narration is dire - everything is "unbelievable" or "amazing", it looks like all she knows about video production and presentation has been learnt from her reality TV appearances.

And yes, there are days when I think it's "unfair" that she's wallowing in cash while I'm trying to save 4€ on the delivery of a spare part for my strimmer ... but then again, she first spent fifteen years living hand-to-mouth in a damp, draughty building, she's been hospitalised twice due to exhaustion and complications arising therefrom, and she's effectively put her whole life on display to the entire world, with all that that entails ... So no, in the end, I think its perfectly fair that she's got the cash but I've got my privacy, and thanks to a couple of other YouTubers, I've been motivated to make the changes and improvements to my own property that make a difference to me. Oh, and I have a mini-excavator; she doesn't! :lol:

I've said it before, and make no apology for saying it again: it sounds like SavePoint is eating you up. Take a break. Within the limits of Covid restrictions, get away from where you are - physically and mentally - and live in an alternative reality for a while.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
Difficult to keep up with you, Nate.

My point is; very few of us ever donate to a project initiated by someone we
don't know - or have at least heard of. You don't for several reasons. I don't
for my reasons. That makes crowdfunding nearly impossible without - as you
point out - significant advantages in place at the start.

How do we become aware of that talented person who is struggling? And
when we do which of them do we help? As you point out there are a lot of
talented filmmakers out there who need back up. You help who you can -
and that leaves thousands unhelped. I help when I can and that, too, leaves
thousands unhelped.

I'm one of those independent filmmakers really trying to back each other up.
And I miss, I suspect, thousands of fellow independent filmmakers who could
use my help. In my neck of the woods there is a lot of cooperation because
there are a lot of people making movies.

But even then, I don't donate money to a crowdfunding source unless I am
know the filmmaker in some way.
 
To build off of Directorik's previous post, I'll give you an example from my own life here on Indietalk. A number of years ago, there was a member (purported to be a teenage girl) who wanted to get into filmmaking but didn't even have a cellphone. Being the gear hoarder I am, I had a prosumer level video camera I no longer used. I offered the camera to her, free of charge (I even paid the shipping), with the stipulation that, within six months, she would send me the results of her first real shoot (or a link to it), no matter how short or how bad she thought it was. She agreed. Four months later, she decided filmmaking wasn't for her and sent the camera back. I still have it. I still don't use it. My point is; a person I had a (superficial online) connection to had a need and I had the ability to fill it. At the time, I was doing fairly well for myself, and the generosity wouldn't cost me anything I couldn't do without. And, the key point here is, it made me feel good to help this one person with, what for her was, an insurmountable obstacle to unleashing her creativity.
 
To build off of Directorik's previous post, I'll give you an example from my own life here on Indietalk. A number of years ago, there was a member (purported to be a teenage girl) who wanted to get into filmmaking but didn't even have a cellphone. Being the gear hoarder I am, I had a prosumer level video camera I no longer used. I offered the camera to her, free of charge (I even paid the shipping), with the stipulation that, within six months, she would send me the results of her first real shoot (or a link to it), no matter how short or how bad she thought it was. She agreed. Four months later, she decided filmmaking wasn't for her and sent the camera back. I still have it. I still don't use it. My point is; a person I had a (superficial online) connection to had a need and I had the ability to fill it. At the time, I was doing fairly well for myself, and the generosity wouldn't cost me anything I couldn't do without. And, the key point here is, it made me feel good to help this one person with, what for her was, an insurmountable obstacle to unleashing her creativity.
You sound like a nice person that cares about others, I wish I got to say that to more people I meet online, lol. Before anyone starts to feel too sorry for me though, I feel I should clarify something. While what I have said about my 285 dollar a month operating budget is absolutely true, I think I would be remiss not to mention that I actually have quite a bit of physical wealth remaining from the better days. I am a very rare person that lives on 9 dollars a day, and has over 100 grand in assets in my room here. Please don't rob me! It's actually a bit surreal to sit in a matrix style multimonitor command center filled with dual xeon servers and the like, eating a can of beans, lol. There are toe holes in my shoes, and I kick them off next to the Epic and gimbal. like I said, a bit surreal.
 
I've never myself been involved in crowdfunding, but an associate of mine, Justin "The Kickstater Guy" Giddings, does it professionally and does consults and holds classes, too. He's very successful at it. Tell him Kay Luke sent you.
 
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