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> My Crowdfunding Experience

rayw

Member
Crowdfunding: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdfunding

I thought it might be a good idea to have a thread dedicated to discussing our individual KickStarter & IndieGoGo crowdfunding experiences (in as much excruciating depth as bearable) so that we may all better understand the resource's limitations.





(Click on images to goto sites)

Anyone care to share their stories?

- Overall expectations going into the "Yes/Pursue" decision
- Pre planning
- What you received advice and were warned about before or during the campaign
- Campaign architecture
- What you were trying to (and not to) convey in the campaign?
- Nuances in the donor premium/reward structure
- Financial and attitude observations of family, immediate friends, long distance extended e-friends, strangers
- Donation expectations and observations
- Take aways
- How did X-input correlate with Y-response?
- What did people seem to "miss"?
- Surprises, good and bad
- Next time what would you repeat and what would you do differently?
- Would you try crowdfunding again?
- Alternatives


Thank you.
 

Kholi

Member
Project: Avery and Pete: Superseeds (Feature length narrative)
Campaign goal: 17,250.00
Success (Yes or No?): Yes
Link to Campaign: (Kickstarter) -- http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2099062204/superseeds-a-super-powered-action-comedy
Date: October 2010


Overall expectations going into the "Yes/Pursue" decision


That we* weren't going to hit 17,250.00. The number is pretty outrageous, and that's coming from someone that did have a moderate amount of people that knew about about the project, knew about my work, so on and so forth. However, we wanted to take a go at it anyway, because I guess no risk no reward.

Of course, later on, I realized that it wasn't that outrageous at all for some. Friends have since raised much... much more than that.

(*we -- refers to the producer and myself, as I actually did have a producer by some miracle.)

Pre-Planning

None. Would love to say that we spent a lot of time figuring out how to harness the power of crowdfunding, but when we were thinking about starting the campaign, believe it or not, there weren't many case studies on how to do it that I could find.

At least not for the kinds of projects that were like ours.

So, there was no pre-planning beyond "we have to go and shoot a video." Which we did, and it was not good.

What advice did you receive or what were you warned about before the Campaign?

None. I didn't ask anyone about it because I know filmmakers, most would be negative if they hadn't tried it, most would be negative if they had tried it and didn't succeed, and those that did succeed probably wouldn't have any idea how they did, anyway.

So, we just went ahead and started one without doing much more than searching for examples of others like ours.

Not saying it was a good idea or bad idea, but, the quickest way to get discouraged in doing something is to ask too many people for their opinion.


Campaign Architecture


Just the usual. The help pledge, on up to the DVD/Blu Ray pledge, and then the big money pledge for EP (executive producer) Credit.


What you were trying to (and not trying to) convey in the campaign?


The major sell for us was the amount of work I had done on very little budget, and in relation to that budget how things looked. At the time, I was actually only labeled as a DP and had only directed, and half-finished, one short.

Still not finished... but, anyway...

So instead of pushing the movie, my instinct was to push the fact that we had a lot of stuff going for us behind the scenes, like gear and great crew, and that despite the low target number--in addition to what money I and others were going to put into it as well, we could actually succeed in finishing something and live up to the claim.

AS well, we definitely made sure to push the idea that we were interested in making something that was a bit more ambitious than the typical micro/nano-budget feature film.

On the opposite side, I made sure not to mention anything about competing with Hollywood, how it was my or anyone's life long dream, so on and so forth. That's just personal, but I think everyone's got a lifelong dream... and what makes a simple, fun, feature film with nothing to really to say about society today more important than the next person's lifelong goal, one that may entail actually helping people directly?

That's just personal preference, and honestly it probably doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things because I've seen people raise larger budgets partially pitching on having a family, needing to fulfill a lifelong goal, etc.

Overall, we tried to convey that we were experienced enough to deliver something beyond the average micro budget feature, and that fun was our target.

Nuances in the donor premium/reward structure

None really. The big ticket, of course, was the ten-thousand dollar EP credit ($10,000) but that's about it. Everything was as basic as it could've gotten

I'm not a business major, but being broke for most of my life (a year or two there I actually had money, coincidentally I was also working a corporate nine-to-five and not doing anything related to this...) I have a decent idea on how to handle money.

It costs to ship and package things, so overdoing it on the kinds of things you ship below the 25.00 pledge mark is a bit hairy. A postcard, cool, but 35+ should be the place where you start shipping. Producer agreed.

Turns out, after the campaign ended and more case studies were showing up, that was part of the strategy other high dollar pledge raisers used as well.


Take Aways

By the middle of the campaign, I had to be told that the video sucked. The original video. And, I took that to heart. The audio was bad, the setup wasn't very encouraging and I hadn't shown anything of what we had done as a company, or not a lot of it.

So, the second video I threw in a small clip from the feature (which is still up on the kickstarter), actually voiced it and showed the crew, and got a tad bit more involved in pitching.

The video is hyper-important, but don't think that you can't change it after a bit and do a better one. It helped out a lot.

Another big no-brainer is the fact that you'll have to really push your links across the internet, and find those people outside of friends and family that are interested in what you're doing. Enough to pledge the larger amount.

We pushed, but nowhere near as hard as I've seen others push. I also didn't have Twitter at the time; smart.

Choose a project that's got heart, and means something to more than just yourself. Can't recommend that enough. It doesn't have to be a documentary about life and death, it can be straight-up fiction, but something that and entire niche can be interested in backing.

Horses, for example. I don't really know much about them, other than they smell weird.

And, lastly, it's kinda not over until it's over, so push til the end.


Surprises, good and bad


Big surprise was the larger pledges from people that I didn't even know, that had no connections to me outside of seeing my work on the internet, and my involvement in filmmaking forums. There were two guys that I had never even spoken too whom put in more than 350 by the time the campaign was done.

And, of course, the 10K pledge was pretty cool

The bad surprise? Well, when the campaign slowed down and we were only halfway over the mark with like fifteen days left. I guess that wasn't a surprise, but after the initial boom the encouragement got some hopes up... won't fib.

Oh, and another good one was getting to the front page of kickstarter for two days. That's cool.



Next time what would you repeat and what would you do differently?


Plan. And, get off of the internet to push my campaign.

I'd also choose a different project, one with a niche and not so broad. That was another shortcoming, because really... how many superhero feature films are being pumped out without our addition.


Would you try crowdfunding again?


Absolutely. But with a very very niche project.


Alternatives


Alternatives should probably be "Additional". When you're funding, everything goes into the pot. I'm not about to wash anyone's car, though.

That's just me.
 
Last edited:

Kholi

Member
Was this from a stranger or someone known to you?
Someone that knew of me, and had been watching my progress for a while online (another forum), believe it or not.

Turns out that those other guys had been watching me as well. And, after the trailer was released a total of three people came forward via email and asked me what I was working on next and how they could get involved financially.

Obvious moral of the story: the internet is a big place and you never know who's watchin'.
 
As soon as I'm not swamped with Pre-pro for the project I plan to write my successful $2500 campaign up.

I will say overall one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life. I'd try just about any alternative before I did it again.
 
I feel like this point is pure gold:
"So instead of pushing the movie, my instinct was to push the fact that we had a lot of stuff going for us behind the scenes, like gear and great crew,"
Thanks for sharing, Kholi!

Project: Avery and Pete: Superseeds (Feature length narrative)
Campaign goal: 17,250.00
Success (Yes or No?): Yes
Link to Campaign: (Kickstarter) -- http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2099062204/superseeds-a-super-powered-action-comedy
Date: October 2010


Overall expectations going into the "Yes/Pursue" decision


That we* weren't going to hit 17,250.00. The number is pretty outrageous, and that's coming from someone that did have a moderate amount of people that knew about about the project, knew about my work, so on and so forth. However, we wanted to take a go at it anyway, because I guess no risk no reward.

Of course, later on, I realized that it wasn't that outrageous at all for some. Friends have since raised much... much more than that.

(*we -- refers to the producer and myself, as I actually did have a producer by some miracle.)

Pre-Planning

None. Would love to say that we spent a lot of time figuring out how to harness the power of crowdfunding, but when we were thinking about starting the campaign, believe it or not, there weren't many case studies on how to do it that I could find.

At least not for the kinds of projects that were like ours.

So, there was no pre-planning beyond "we have to go and shoot a video." Which we did, and it was not good.

What advice did you receive or what were you warned about before the Campaign?

None. I didn't ask anyone about it because I know filmmakers, most would be negative if they hadn't tried it, most would be negative if they had tried it and didn't succeed, and those that did succeed probably wouldn't have any idea how they did, anyway.

So, we just went ahead and started one without doing much more than searching for examples of others like ours.

Not saying it was a good idea or bad idea, but, the quickest way to get discouraged in doing something is to ask too many people for their opinion.


Campaign Architecture


Just the usual. The help pledge, on up to the DVD/Blu Ray pledge, and then the big money pledge for EP (executive producer) Credit.


What you were trying to (and not trying to) convey in the campaign?


The major sell for us was the amount of work I had done on very little budget, and in relation to that budget how things looked. At the time, I was actually only labeled as a DP and had only directed, and half-finished, one short.

Still not finished... but, anyway...

So instead of pushing the movie, my instinct was to push the fact that we had a lot of stuff going for us behind the scenes, like gear and great crew, and that despite the low target number--in addition to what money I and others were going to put into it as well, we could actually succeed in finishing something and live up to the claim.

AS well, we definitely made sure to push the idea that we were interested in making something that was a bit more ambitious than the typical micro/nano-budget feature film.

On the opposite side, I made sure not to mention anything about competing with Hollywood, how it was my or anyone's life long dream, so on and so forth. That's just personal, but I think everyone's got a lifelong dream... and what makes a simple, fun, feature film with nothing to really to say about society today more important than the next person's lifelong goal, one that may entail actually helping people directly?

That's just personal preference, and honestly it probably doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things because I've seen people raise larger budgets partially pitching on having a family, needing to fulfill a lifelong goal, etc.

Overall, we tried to convey that we were experienced enough to deliver something beyond the average micro budget feature, and that fun was our target.

Nuances in the donor premium/reward structure

None really. The big ticket, of course, was the ten-thousand dollar EP credit ($10,000) but that's about it. Everything was as basic as it could've gotten

I'm not a business major, but being broke for most of my life (a year or two there I actually had money, coincidentally I was also working a corporate nine-to-five and not doing anything related to this...) I have a decent idea on how to handle money.

It costs to ship and package things, so overdoing it on the kinds of things you ship below the 25.00 pledge mark is a bit hairy. A postcard, cool, but 35+ should be the place where you start shipping. Producer agreed.

Turns out, after the campaign ended and more case studies were showing up, that was part of the strategy other high dollar pledge raisers used as well.


Take Aways

By the middle of the campaign, I had to be told that the video sucked. The original video. And, I took that to heart. The audio was bad, the setup wasn't very encouraging and I hadn't shown anything of what we had done as a company, or not a lot of it.

So, the second video I threw in a small clip from the feature (which is still up on the kickstarter), actually voiced it and showed the crew, and got a tad bit more involved in pitching.

The video is hyper-important, but don't think that you can't change it after a bit and do a better one. It helped out a lot.

Another big no-brainer is the fact that you'll have to really push your links across the internet, and find those people outside of friends and family that are interested in what you're doing. Enough to pledge the larger amount.

We pushed, but nowhere near as hard as I've seen others push. I also didn't have Twitter at the time; smart.

Choose a project that's got heart, and means something to more than just yourself. Can't recommend that enough. It doesn't have to be a documentary about life and death, it can be straight-up fiction, but something that and entire niche can be interested in backing.

Horses, for example. I don't really know much about them, other than they smell weird.

And, lastly, it's kinda not over until it's over, so push til the end.


Surprises, good and bad


Big surprise was the larger pledges from people that I didn't even know, that had no connections to me outside of seeing my work on the internet, and my involvement in filmmaking forums. There were two guys that I had never even spoken too whom put in more than 350 by the time the campaign was done.

And, of course, the 10K pledge was pretty cool

The bad surprise? Well, when the campaign slowed down and we were only halfway over the mark with like fifteen days left. I guess that wasn't a surprise, but after the initial boom the encouragement got some hopes up... won't fib.

Oh, and another good one was getting to the front page of kickstarter for two days. That's cool.



Next time what would you repeat and what would you do differently?


Plan. And, get off of the internet to push my campaign.

I'd also choose a different project, one with a niche and not so broad. That was another shortcoming, because really... how many superhero feature films are being pumped out without our addition.


Would you try crowdfunding again?


Absolutely. But with a very very niche project.


Alternatives


Alternatives should probably be "Additional". When you're funding, everything goes into the pot. I'm not about to wash anyone's car, though.

That's just me.
 
Two campaigns, neither successful, but I really enjoyed putting them both together so no sour grapes or major disappointments! I was grateful and humbled that a few IT regulars chipped in to the cause. Just wish the outcome was better.

The Silence of Walter Sheltin
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jbpalmer/the-silence-of-walter-sheltin

WORN
http://www.indiegogo.com/worn

The lesson(s) I learned, for both, was setting the funding goals way too high. If I do another one (big if) the budget will be much more modest and therefore, hopefully, attainable. I'd also craft more succinct and detailed video pitches for future projects.
 
Last edited:

rayw

Member
As always, I'm thinking of you guys when looking for some crowdfunding experiences.


I was wondering if your cowdfunding pool felt more like:

this?
- or -
this?​
 
The smaller pool for sure. I hit $2500 with 33 backers, so the (misleading) average contribution was about $75. The more statistically accurate "Mode" contribution was $25.

I had 3 x $500 contributions, 1 X $250 contribution, a couple of $50 contributions, and the 20 or so contributions of $25 or less.
 

CamVader

Member
Excellent topic, guys.

I'll be taking the plunge shortly with crowdfunding and I gravitated toward this thread immediately. I've been reading everything I can on the subject and the video will have to be top notch from the consensus. I'm leaning toward Indiegogo at this point to at least, hopefully, have something to work with if expectations come up short.

The social media aspect seems like the true trick. I don't have the resume of a person like Kholi, and that may hurt the project, but I'm going to give it a go anyway. I agree with Flicker about the project goal being realistic and my number is probably little too high, but it's the actual number from a carefully prepared and listed budget to make the best film possible on a micro-budget. The number is hardly arbitrary. Wardrobe and music licensing are budget killers.

Nervous. Hope this goes well and wish me luck!
 
I made a decision as to what the most I thought I could raise was ($2500) rather than what I really thought it would cost. After all is said and done the pilot episode will wind up costing closer to $4000 or $4500. I dipped into my savings to cover the rest. I knew I couldn't do it for $2500, not and pay anybody.
 

rayw

Member
I get kind of too busy to effectively track multiple targets, so I thought I might consolidate some of the current crowdfunding projects, arranged by maturity date:

Art of the Bag - A Speed Bag Story - sought $5,000 by May 31: Unfunded
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=39908

Buck Shot - sought $2,200 by Jun 01: Funded
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40075

save BBOY for LIFE (the movie) - sought $20,000 by Saturday Jun 2: Funded
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40157

* * * * * * * * E X P I R E D * * * * * * * * * *


INSPIRED: The Movie - seeking $75,000 by Saturday Jun 16
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40595

cockroaches - seeking $80,000 by Sunday Jun 17
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40525

SUPEZ: BOOM OF YOUTH - seeking $5,500 by Tuesday Jun 19
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40567

Shake The Lake Movie - seeking $12,500 by Wednesday Jun 20
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=39970

To Survive - Post Apocalyptic Thriller - seeking $7,500 by Wednesday Jun 20
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40409

Flamingo Close - seeking by Fri Jun 22
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40808

'Hollywood: A People's History' - seeking $10,000 by Friday Jun 22
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40542

Lyncredible - seeking $3,500 by Friday JUN 29 - PROJECT MODIFIED to $500 by SUNDAY JUL 1
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40659

The Flight of the Flamingo - seeking $7,000 by Mon Jul 02
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40186

The Crucible - seeking $15,000 by FRIDAY JUL 6
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40849

The Suicide Theory - seeking $30,000 by Fri Jul 13
http://www.indiegogo.com/thesuicidetheory

Pterodactyl Surprise - seeking $2,500 by Wednesday Jul 18
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40643

Five Stages Of Michael - seeking $8,000 by Mon Jul 16
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?p=272200#post272200 :D

Gild the Lily - seeking $1,500 by Fri Jul 20
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40708

Grim: A Tale of Death - seeking $16,000 by Mon Jul 23
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40861

The Elder Scrolls Short Film Series - seeking $3,800 by Tue Jul 31
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40901

Premier Bundle - seeking $2,500 by Wed Aug 01
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40943

Bimbo Zombie Killers - seeking $6,000 by Tue Oct 02
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40686



A few of those have concluded or are about to.
Anyone care to share their experiences?

For those of you still running I hope this post brings another round of attention to your projects! GL! :yes:
 
Last edited:

bez

Member
I get kind of too busy to effectively track multiple targets, so I thought I might consolidate some of the current crowdfunding projects, arranged by maturity date:

Art of the Bag - A Speed Bag Story - sought $5,000 by May 31: Unfunded
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=39908

Buck Shot - sought $2,200 by Jun 01: Funded
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40075

save BBOY for LIFE (the movie) - sought $20,000 by Saturday Jun 2: Funded
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40157

* * * * * * * * E X P I R E D * * * * * * * * * *


INSPIRED: The Movie - seeking $75,000 by Saturday Jun 16
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40595

cockroaches - seeking $80,000 by Sunday Jun 17
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40525

SUPEZ: BOOM OF YOUTH - seeking $5,500 by Tuesday Jun 19
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40567

Shake The Lake Movie - seeking $12,500 by Wednesday Jun 20
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=39970

To Survive - Post Apocalyptic Thriller - seeking $7,500 by Wednesday Jun 20
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40409

'Hollywood: A People's History' - seeking $10,000 by Friday Jun 22
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40542

Lyncredible - seeking $3,500 by Friday JUN 29
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40659

The Flight of the Flamingo - seeking $7,000 by Mon Jul 02
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40186

Pterodactyl Surprise - seeking $2,500 by Wednesday Jul 18
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40643

Gild the Lily - seeking $1,500 by Fri Jul 20
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40708

Bimbo Zombie Killers - seeking $6,000 by Tue Oct 02
http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=40686



A few of those have concluded or are about to.
Anyone care to share their experiences?

For those of you still running I hope this post brings another round of attention to your projects! GL! :yes:


This conglomerate should be its own thread. Perhaps to compare and contrast styles and different things done to raise money!
 

chrisal

Member
rayw, this is great! Good stuff, nicely done:) And thanks for putting our project up there as well, you're a champ mate!
 

rayw

Member
rayw, this is great! Good stuff, nicely done:) And thanks for putting our project up there as well, you're a champ mate!
Hey, you're most certainly welcome.

Of the campaigns listed yours has both the highest goal as well as the highest pledges - at all!

HOW you've motivated so many contributors and the process understandings you've developed would be a great contribution to the community here.

Hope to see your campaign analysis and insights shortly. :yes:
 

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