> My Crowdfunding Experience

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.
Hmmm, emailing 50 or 80 people is nothing.
The core team of a project should have access to at least 200 people that are friends, relatives or accaintances.

I run my own business and I send my newsletter to approx 300 business relations and there are also my connections on LinkedIn, that add over 100 to that.

That makes approx. 600 people to email.
And I still think that amount is not that much when it comes to crowdfunding.

Twitter: over 600 followers, but with a huge overlap with the other 'social media' and not everyone is active on Twitter. So add another 200 that could read the tweets and didn't know about it yet.
Plus the 200 that already know.
This makes 400 people you could try to make retweet.

In theory I could reach 800 people directly.
If 10% shares the news that will be 80 retweets, shares, etc. Hopefully that reaches at least another 80 people, optimisticly reaching 4000 people.

You will need at least 4 'communication campaigns':
Before starting crowdfunding.
When starting.
Half way.
Before ending.

Some thoughts from me:
there must be a messageboard/forum about the subject of your project (this means there could be an indirect fanbase waiting for your project): be an active member there before starting your campaign.
Indietalk is cool and full of great info and feedback, but filled with filmmakers looking for funding, so you won't get complete funding from this site, maybe unless your project is insanely amazing

Send out pressreleases to different media, but keep in mind what the focus of that medium is.
2 Years ago I sent pressreleases about my 'Easter shortfilm'.
It was the first 'movie' in The Netherlands that was shot on a C300.
For the local newspaper the focus was on the fact that it was done by a local filmmaker using local locations.
For a magazine focussing on DSLR stuff (still and video) the focus was on the gear: C300 and which lenses.
That will increase the chance they will pick it up.
Have them ready before starting the crowdfunding campaign.
Have new ones ready for halfway and for the end rally. (You will just need to fill in some numbers and add an anekdote and maybe say something about how easy or hard the campaign is going.)

Just some thoughts.
I never did a campaign yet, but I manages to get 'A shock before Christmas' managed in 2 local newspapers. And with my 'theoreticle reach' of 800 people (I emailed maybe 250 of them, the rest was facebook/twitter) I managed to get 1400 views while it was finished too close to Christmas...
I consider it training for a crowdfunding campaign :) (and building a fanbase)
Well, we launched our crowdfunding on Kickstarter yesterday and I'll just share quickly my experience.

Here is the link by the way.

Check it out and let me know what you think. We are raising a substantial amount, so I did a lot of research and planning before launching.

  • We emailed a lot of people personally over the last few weeks to prepare them for the launch. We made sure they knew the importance of the first days of the campaign. We directly asked them to take action on the first day.
  • We built a Facebook page for the film and had, by launch time, 338 fans. (Not a lot, but many people who like our work and us personally.)
  • We worked really hard on the page and the video, looking through hundreds of failed and successful Kickstarter campaigns in our goal range to try and make it look inviting and informative. We sent a preview link to people before the launch who gave us lots of great feedback and resulted in some changes on rewards, etc.
We launched yesterday and by 9PM at night we had surpassed the goal we had set for the first day! Even a few friends from the IndieTalk community pledged which was really cool!

The day was spent sending emails letting people know that the campaign had launched and asking friends and fans to post it on social media and email friends and family who might want to contribute.

I have no idea what the future will hold, we still have a month to go and a lot of money to raise, but we are off to a great start. I'll keep people updated in this thread on any major developments.

But please, check out our page, and let me know your comments and suggestions!

And thanks again to the IndieTalkers who contributed!:)
Some nice advice on how to make a good pitchvideo:


and there is more:

Last edited:
Quote from another thread:

While I haven't funded a million dollar project or found a viral idea like making potato salad, or a BIG COOKIE, I have successfully funded two small Kickstarter campaigns, raising over $7,500 collectively for my films. https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/1001692983/created


1. DON'T SLEEP - The reality is... pure and simple, you need to be prepared to lose sleep, contact every person you've ever known, post on every blog related to your specific field you can, etc...

2. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!!! DIG DEEP. Take people to lunch, be prepared that some will say, "sorry, I can't help you right now." Be nice!!! Notice the word, "WORK" in "NETWORK?" Call other people interested in working on your project. Have them make calls, ask them nicely to send emails/facebook messages. You'd be surprised who will help you, if they believe in you.

3. HAVE A GREAT VIDEO - I know a guy that can help you with this... LOL Don't make a boring video that explains the details of what you're trying to do. Notice in my video, I left you wondering? Sales is about the take away, and creating intrigue and interest. You show too much of your hand, people will say, "meh, sounds good, and good luck." Creating the feeling of "wanting more," is an excellent sales strategy.

4. SELL YOURSELF, AND NOT YOUR PRODUCT - Great salesmen know, people are 10 times more likely to buy from someone they like, than someone they don't like. Make a video that makes people like you and your enthusiasm, and they'll buy from you. Most commercials nowadays aren't about the product. They're about selling the company and its sense of humor more than the product itself. You like the company, you will be ten times more likely to buy the product. When was the last time you saw an Insurance company give you the details of coverage in a TV commercial? However, I bet if I sang, "Like a good neighbor..." you could finish the line.

5. FACEBOOK ADS - My co-producer mentioned this to me and I found an Executive Producer out of it. More people use Facebook than even Google. People spend 10 times more time using Facebook than any other website. You can target Facebook ads based on people's interests. For instance, my ads only went out to people who were interested in filmmaking, producing, directing, etc...

6. FIND FUEL - For me, I use people's disbelief and "that'll never work" comments as FIRE!!! What's yours?

7. HAVE A PROGRESS THERMOMETER ON YOUR FB PAGE "Cover Photo" - Self explanatory really. Update it everyday and people will see everytime you do and will eventually invest themselves in your success. Especially if they like you. https://www.facebook.com/justinrusso12 (This will be gone in the next few weeks.)
I'm going to share two resources....

My favorite one is a network of Kickstarter peeps run by a friend of mine, James Mathe (Founder of Minion Games). The group contains people looking for advise on making their campaign more likely to fund, and those who have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars on Kickstarter.


It's closed, but James accepts people pretty openly. Follow the rules, it's not hard to stay around and learn a lot.

Secondly this link was posted there yesterday

https://www.dropbox.com/s/plccn0xgi051z3y/Thesis on Kickstarter - public.pdf?dl=0

It's a thesis on Kickstarter. It goes on to show where percentages of funding come from for each category of Kickstarter. It's actually a very indepth thesis paper. I greatly enjoyed the read, but as me and many others in the group have concluded, this thesis is very flawed in the fact it's only using the referral page as it's #1 source for this information. The referral page only takes into account first unique pings, who knows where a large amount of those people came from. Someone could have found you on a forum, shared a link to facebook, all the people who clicked that facebook link show up as facebook, when really you got them from that forum post. But meh, still a great read.
Quote from another thread:

WalterB, thanks for the bump.

Watch my last successful campaign video here, and feel free to take ideas from it. https://vimeo.com/122176443

The video that you posted above is absolutely correct. We need to move out of this, "if you build it they will come" mentality with crowd funding. The reality is, you don't get funded for simply posting the perfect campaign page. It requires an amalgam of ingredients.

Great Video, Great Rewards (What's in it for them), Hard Work, People Skills, Influential Friends, etc...
It's a thesis on Kickstarter. It goes on to show where percentages of funding come from for each category of Kickstarter. It's actually a very indepth thesis paper. I greatly enjoyed the read, but as me and many others in the group have concluded, this thesis is very flawed in the fact it's only using the referral page as it's #1 source for this information. The referral page only takes into account first unique pings, who knows where a large amount of those people came from. Someone could have found you on a forum, shared a link to facebook, all the people who clicked that facebook link show up as facebook, when really you got them from that forum post. But meh, still a great read.

Also, their sample size for the Film & Video section – 19 respondents – is too small to get any meaningful data.
Hey guys,

Loads of great info on this thread. I wish I've found it earlier. It's not too late, though, and I'm wondering if you can help me with your past experiences to help me plan my next step.

I've been doing pre-prod for a short film for quite some time. I already have cast and crew, but finding a location was a pain within the budget I had. The equipment I had access to was also not ideal considering I want to screen at film festivals. At my DoPs advice, I took a step back to do some crowdfunding.

I've done a lot of preparation work. I've studied several short film campaigns in the same genre and tone as ours and that portray similar social issues. I tried to get a clear idea of what worked for them and what hasn't: content and style of pitch video, pitch text, their perks, what to include at which levels for each perk, etc.

This week, we shot our pitch video, which is now edited and I'm waiting for post sound and music to be finished.

Until yesterday, I really felt we had everything to launch our campaign this weekend and be successful. However, I just realised I made one huge mistake: we don't have many followers yet (and most of them are family and friends of myself and some cast and crew).

It's not an ideal situation, but it's also not too late. We haven't launched yet and we can probably spend another month or so to build a profile online. I wouldn't like to delay the shooting date again. I'm afraid that might feel unprofessional to cast and crew and people might leave the project. On the other hand, the cost of launching a campaign set for failure might be too high.

Not going to ask if you think I should launch this weekend or not (although I would love if one of you had a magic wand and could tell me everything is going to be alright), but in your experience, especially in short film campaigns, how long before launching should you start building a follower base?

Is there a rough number of people outside your circle that you should have by the time you launch the campaign?

And which online tools get you better results? Many people claim Twitter is a must have, but according to some stats given by IndieGogo, email is the prime source for building a community, facebook 2nd and twitter is only 3rd.

Should I pay to promote the campaign online? If it's not to expensive and brings results, it would definitely be worth it. Any place where you've promoted your campaigns with good results?

My other question is how to keep momentum going after the first few days. I know it's important to update regularly, but I don't really have a plan yet of what to do to keep interest in the campaign. What have you done in the past that worked for you? Who do you target? People that already contributed hoping they will contribute more or share more often with their contacts? Your followers that haven't contributed yet? Do you chase people one on one on e-mail and facebook with the links more than once? I personally would be annoyed if someone was constantly sending me the exact same links and request for funding once a week, even if the content is different and original every time.

Would you send the link to a draft of your campaign to your followers before launching, to get their feedback on the perks and get an idea what they would be more interested in having?

One other thing I'm worried we might have done wrong is regarding our number of perks. IndieGogo claims the most successful perk number usually is around 3 and 8. We have 12 (minimum 10£, of course we have a 25£ and maximum is 500£ for exec producer). Is that too much? What does your past experience have to say about this?

I'm the director, but I'm also the producer and I'm starting to feel how much work crowdfunding is. I'm guessing it will only get worse after the campaign starts and I'm required to be all the time on social media and replying to emails (while keeping a day job). Should I get someone else to help me out with that? It's a bit hard to find someone committed to work as much as yourself if that person is not being paid or paid very little money.

Any experience you can share (successful or not) about any of these questions would be fantastic.

Of course I would be an idiot for not taking this chance to ask you to follow us on facebook and twitter and to share with your contacts, so here are the links:


To give you a brief idea, For the Children is a short psychological drama about Julia, a seemingly trustworthy 40 year old, who runs a charity organisation, but sees herself accused of using the charity money for her own benefit, by her own co-worker. The movie is about how the relationship between these two women changes and how they see the same situation in very different ways.

It intends to be an insightful story about how different people perceive good and evil. What is acceptable to some, is not to others and some times, just because it's illegal, it doesn't make it wrong.

I'll consider the movie a success if I get different people in my audience having very opposite reactions to some of the characters' actions.

Any help any of your can provide would be great: answering some of the questions, following us on social media and contribute when we launch or simply sharing our links with your contacts.

Thank you
My Project 'Of Woman And Earth' is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter http://kck.st/1M7HxpY
Its been doing well so far, but need some more push to get all of the funding in the last week.
Hopefully some of you here can help me give some ideas on how to market the kickstarter page on the last week. It is already a staff pick project, but i reckon thats not enough to get the popularity it deserves.
Thanks for any advice
My Project 'Of Woman And Earth' is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter http://kck.st/1M7HxpY
Its been doing well so far, but need some more push to get all of the funding in the last week.
Hopefully some of you here can help me give some ideas on how to market the kickstarter page on the last week. It is already a staff pick project, but i reckon thats not enough to get the popularity it deserves.
Thanks for any advice

This actually looks really good, so I've kicked you $10.

Not sure what advice I could offer you, other than to keep tapping real world resources (friends, family, friends of family, family of friends, local tycoons) and try and be within a couple of $K of your goal going into the final 24 hours. So long as you've got less than 30% to raise, you should be good!
Hey guys I'm Lawrie Brewster a Scottish filmmaker working in the horror genre, and to hopefully help out my filmmaking comrades here are some admittedly brief abridged observations for my Kickstarter campaign for 'The Unkindness of Ravens' which successfully met it's goal of $60k (raising a total of $66k)

Campaign Link - https://www.kickstarter.com/project...f-ravens-feature-film-epic-horror/description

- Overall expectations

Overall we aimed to raise $60k, which would make our kickstarter the most ambitious for any UK Horror Film and the 2nd most for any European Kickstarter Horror Film. With that in mind we were obviously concerned that our goal was ambitious however, we believed overall that it was possible as a result of our pre-planning and case analysis of other kickstarters including experiences learned from our first Kickstarter (also a success) for the film Lord of Tears.

We anticipated a total of just above $60k (so cutting it close) with approximately 700 backers. Our campaign would end up with 640 backers roughly (representing 20% less than we anticipated for smaller backers) and a single larger backer than anticipated (5 instead of 4.)

- Pre planning

I drew up a 30k word case by case analysis with far too many graphs to design an accurate milestone chart (product by product) so that we could have a very clear and accurate understanding of whether we and our specific products were succeeding. Our campaigns have always been on the basis of providing pre-orders for good quality retail products with films in the midst of post-production.

The marketing of our campaign took a novel approach compared to others, focussing far more on products than the abstract sell of 'making the film' though we did communicate that ostensibly this is where their pre-orders would help us also.

We produced a video that originally (as this would later change) sold the 'team' and the 'products' along with a trailer that portrayed our film in a more 'fantasy / action packed' style than our later trailer which would replace it (with a more suspense vibe.)

We had originally intended to market the kickstarter through a combination of viral pranks and traditional grassroots / blog outreach but this too would change as circumstances evolved.

- What you received advice and were warned about before or during the campaign

I didn't really receive any advice per say. I approached Kickstarter with a desire to things out differently.

So instead I'll provide some advice,

1) Scrutinise the campaigns you with to study and learn from. If you cannot accurately decipher how campaigns are funded then it is impossible to learn what makes them successful. That means being sceptical...

For example, any campaign where an enormous reward is pledged for is suspect, usually utilised by folks needing to let their campaign hit their goal for fear of losing smaller pledges. This is usually obvious if for example, a campaign raises a third or more of it's campaign total from a single pledge. Although Kickstarter hates it and it is against their rules, many will do this instead of allowing their campaigns to fail. They will usually consist of rewards that are also out of proportion with the rest. For example, 15k campaign total with a 10k exec producer reward etc. Be wary when you create your own case studies to look out for these. Big pledgers for films should usually make about 30 - 40% of campaigns.

2) Kickstarter is directly responsible for something like 20% of your sales. Bare that in mind if you hope by placing your campaign on the website that people will find you.

3) Friends / Family are essential for smaller campaigns ($10k or less) and be prepared to get personal and comfortable with the fact you'll be asking them for help to realise your project.

4) For projects beyond $20k you will need a brilliant edge to make the difference in marketing.

For example among Horror Films around the $40 - 60k range.)

Starry Eyes had a plethora of rewards provided by a best selling author (comprising half of it's pledges.)

Being had genre names like Lance Henricksen

Dark had a pile of stuff signed by famous genre director Joe Dante

We raised more than those projects and our edge consisted of loyal and appreciated fans of our former film Lord of Tears that we had retained email contacts with along with agreements made in advance and during the campaign with big pledgers consisting of additional production companies getting involved (as well as some amazing luck for which we're grateful for.)

If it hadn't been for that our campaign would have raised less than half, but we have always structured our Kickstarter and future Kickstarters on the basis that we distribute (our main products) ourselves and take our fans with us onto every new film, adding to their number as we go along.

5) DO NOT RELY on facebook advertising or google adwords. They are expensive and conversion rates are brutal. Yes there will be the odd exception where a a set of ads strike gold with a niche... niche being so specific and rare that one can say they will 99% not apply to you. This was not always the case, in our last campaign 2013 FB ads were a lot cheaper with a wider reach which actually helped our Lord of Tears campaign. However this time around the whole game is different, and I struggle to see anyone but large companies spending the amounts necessary to draw sales (and we're talking wiiiide coverage with small but accumulative margins.) Not the stuff of Kickstarter campaigns for indie movies.

- Surprises, good and bad

Our campaign as with may slowed in the middle. I felt at the time that our previous Kickstarter video and trailer was not correctly selling the film (rather the videos were selling themselves as slick looking but proving to be superficial.) So I cut a new trailer and new kickstarter video and this seemed to improve things.

We also scheduled the pre-orders of a new version of our first film, and an additional product associated with that film in the form of an action figure to help galvanise pledges in the 2nd and 3rd week. These were essential (and I always recommend introducing great products mid way) but they became even more vital due to the flop and subsequent abandonment of the first prank video.

We had some generous and unexpected pledges too (these comprised of about 10% of big pledges for $40k plus film campaigns.) Folks claiming that more than that arise from big pledgers normally require a little scrutiny! (Sorry to sound negative, but it's important because remember, you're needing to learn the facts behind the public facade of campaigns to draw accurate objectives and plans for your own.)

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

Originally we wanted to sell our creative team and what we're trying to achieve (with our little boutique production company and distro.) Along with an action packed trailer filled with production value and effects.

But it underperformed in my opinion BUT... not in an obvious way. Anyone asked seemed to love the video (and even Kickstarter loved it making us Staff Pick and Film Project of the Day.) However, conversions improved a lot more after we produced a replacement Kickstarter video and trailer.

The new versions didn't focus so much on team, and dropped a vibe which I felt came across as a little smug and over confident along with a little too much hysteria on the awesomeness of our products :P

The new versions focussed on story and suspense, being a little theatrical in their creepy deliveries, followed by a more lo - fi style intimate pitch of the project, vision and products. The new trailer much more accurately represented the feel of our film, focussing on atmosphere and emotion instead of fast paced visuals and effects.

- What did people seem to "miss"?

One of our product rewards sold none, despite it proving popular on horror forums and reddits. It consisted of a customised t-shirt depicting yourself being burned at the stake by our films monsters. In retrospect it seems obvious but the point would be,

Don't expect to sell rewards that presuppose the audiences enthusiasm for a film before they've seen it. In other words it's hard to sell a Jason Hockey Mask unless the audience has actually seen Friday the 13th. So it makes sense that rewards unique towards certain intellectual properties in a film (such as iconic bad guys) won't be effective as products until after a general release assuming the film should prove popular also.

- Surprises, good and bad

Getting endorsements from Tom Holland (Child's Play, Fright Night) and Alec Gillis (Oscar winning effects artist.)

Staff Pick and Film Project of the Day!

- Would you try crowdfunding again?

Crowdfunding is brilliant, though I use it in conjunction with investments and tax schemes so that overall we can afford to produce and market a film. The crowdfunding component is vital however and without the fans we wouldn't be able to make our films. Crowdfunding allows us as artists and the audience as backers to create a unique relationship outside the sales agent middleman, and i think makes for a more honest and rewarding experience.

Ultimately if a crowd funder accurately reflects your product then it will genuinely inform you as to the popularity of said product and whether it's even worth pursuing.
Last edited: