8 Tips from Film Funding Masters Marc Hofstatter and Carole Dean

By Elizabeth England

Did you know that 89% of IndieGoGo campaigns that reach their goal will overfund by 30% or more?

Or that 1/3 of IndieGoGo’s donors are international contributors from 70 countries?

These are just a few of the juicy tidbits I picked up listening to Carole Dean’s interview of IndieGoGo’s Marc Hoffstatter, Head of Film (@theoriginalhoff) on The Art of Film Funding on Blogtalkradio.

From The Heart Productions has been a partner with Indiegogo since 1991

Partnered with Indiegogo, From The Heart Productions has helped independent filmmakers raise over $1 million for their films

From the Heart has a unique partnership with IndieGoGo.  As a 501(c)3 non-profit, From The Heart provides filmmakers with fiscal sponsorship which allows donors to get tax deductions.   Filmmakers also get flexible funding.  That means they get paid even if they don’t reach their goal.  As an Indiegogo partner, From The Heart has helped filmmakers raise over $1 million to date.

I was delighted to pick up these expert insights and master tips, and give you an overview of the road map they shared.

Build Your Film Contact Database:  90% of your crowd funding comes from your list and their friends.  During pre-launch, leverage your database to create excitement and get commitments for 20% of your campaign goal from funders.  Then have a plan to get your committed funders to donate in the first two days of your campaign.  Reaching 20% of your goal in the first 72 hours will get you noticed beyond your list by IndieGoGo fans and create momentum to fund to 100% of your goal ahead of schedule.

Aim Low – Fund High: Marc and Carole recommend being conservative in selecting your

Marc Hofstatter - Head of   Film at Indiegogo

Marc Hofstatter – Head of Film at Indiegogo

goal to fund faster and stronger.  Hitting that 20% in the first few days is crucial.   It shows you’ve got support and creates momentum which attracts more donors.   So, even if you want to fund your entire feature at once, it’s best to start by funding just part of it.  Besides, 89% of the campaigns that hit their goal overfund by 30%.

Plan to Go Beyond Your Goal.  Carole pointed out that many filmmakers reach their goal early and are at a loss as to what to do for the rest of the campaign.  Marc suggested creating pre-planning stretch goals to keep the momentum going.  For example, imagine telling your fans how stoked you are that you’ve reached 100% of your goal early and now you can do what you had only dreamed of…shoot that scene in 3D with another $2,000 (or whatever your first stretch goal is.) That early success is the juice keeping your fans engaged and your campaign exciting.

Don’t Forget The Pictures:  Marc recommends that you make your Indiegogo campaign page a strong visual representation of who you are, what you are doing and your unique style and talent.   It should not be a page filled with words.   Potential donors must be visually drawn in by your campaign page.  They want to see your style and get a taste of what your filmmaking will achieve with their help!

No Time for Trailers.  Carole and Marc agree that at the start of a campaign a Pitch Video is more important than a trailer.  You need to show donors why you are making the project and why it needs to get made.   Don’t forget to have an “ask” and a call to action to ask them to donate.  But even your pitch video MUST represent your filmmaking vision and style AND give them a reason to click ‘Donate NOW.’  Chances are, they aren’t coming back, so close them NOW.

My own two cents? Consider this – Make a pitch video with two endings:  One for pre-launch promotion and the second for the campaign ask and close.  Another key element on your campaign page is your team: who is on board with you and what are their roles?  Your team inspires confidence in your ability to get the job done with their money, so let your funders know you have quality business and creative talent on board to finish the project.

Pre-planning is Critical: Marc suggests to plan what you are going to do to maintain momentum and excitement at 5, 10, 17, even 22 days into your campaign.  Work out predefined benchmarks for stretch goals, pre-written social media content for both during and beyond your campaign, and new and exciting perks that stimulate new funders.

Out With the Old Perks. Plan to introduce exciting new perks during your campaign that stimulate funding.    Some funders may prefer a credit over a premiere ticket so changing up the perks will attract new funders.  Choosing smart perks like digital downloads and experiences are easier to fulfill and have less impact on your budget than a perk you have to pay for and ship.

Your Crew is Your Team.  Mark recommends having a team on your campaign of at least four.  1- outreach to those organizations and individuals aligned with your project to get their support; 2- provide regular updates, responses and new perks on your campaign page; 3- email campaign management and response; and 4- social media content and interaction.  Carole and Mark emphasize that you are marketing your film already at this early stage–building a fan base, and hopefully attracting the attention of sales agents, distributors and advocates so treat it that way.

Other key points covered:

  • Campaign sophistication will jump in the near future with the entry of major players into the crowdfunding arena as seen in the recent campaigns for Sharknado and Rooster Teeth—this is great for getting your project noticed now by serious film fans and funders.
  • Crowdfunding blogs and thought leaders are interested in your campaign and your project—so add PR outreach to your planning.
  • Your success at funding your campaign is directly proportionate to retaining creative control of your project.  Crowdfunding averages 10% to 35% of a film’s total budget funding, with the balance from grants, equity financing, foreign sales agreements.
  • Crowdfunding is still relatively unknown and is poised for tremendous growth as market awareness explodes and the impact of recent Title II and Title III rulings make room for crowdfunding equity financing with both accredited and unaccredited investors.

The bottom line is that crowdfunding is far from maturity and is the best tool available for filmmakers to simultaneously get exposure for their talents while marketing and funding their projects.

From the Heart’s unique partnership with IndieGoGo gives you a powerful advantage:  a flexible and continuous funding platform combined with decades of experience mentoring filmmakers. Take advantage of this priceless access to this winning combination now.

Here are some cool links I found researching this article that I’d like to share with you:

June 24th Google Hangout with Marc Hofstatter:  http://www.indiewire.com/article/attention-filmmakers-learn-how-to-crowdfund-successfully-in-upcoming-google-hangout-with-indiegogo-kickstarter-and-seed-spark-20140619#.U6SBOREN9Ec.twitter

IndieGoGo’s Essential Tips:  http://go.indiegogo.com/blog/2014/06/essential-tips-for-running-an-indiegogo-campaign-part-ii.html

Title II and IndieGoGo: https://go.indiegogo.com/blog/2013/09/update-on-the-jobs-act-title-ii-and-crowdfunding.html

Rick Dean Crowd 2Don’t get lost in the crowd

Stand out and get funded with From The Heart and Indiegogo.

No penalty if you don’t reach goal, tax deductions for donors, personal mentoring and support. 

Just apply at the From The Heart Indiegogo Partner Page

 

 

Touch My Heart…And I’ll Open My Pocketbook

Everything in your room was a thought before it became a material object.   Thought creates matter.   So says Ken Elliott, author of Manifesting 1, 2, 3, and you don’t need 3  who we interviewed for our Art of Film Funding Show on blogtalkradio.com.

Painting by Rick Dean

Painting by Rick Dean

His information is fascinating.  He shares how he learned to send visions of his thoughts to his teacher.  From this, he went on to manifest a successful career as an artist as well as writing an important, well received book.

Does your film need funding?   You need to see what you want.   Ken says this is the first step in manifesting.  Then, “move it from your head to your heart.”   We communicate through our heart chakra.

Find this heart place to send your vision to the universe.   Remember how special you feel when someone says something that makes your hand touch your heart?  Tell me a great story, touch my heart, and I will open my pocketbook!

I think you should send your visions with emotions.  I like my requests to have“urgency”.  So I send them up with joy, happiness and gratitude.  Emotions heighten manifestation.

Ken talks about children who manifest what they want.  They see it, they say it, or point to it. and they become relentless in their request.  They get what they want through focus, focus, focus. And so can you.

Once you start focusing on a vision things happen.  In our Intentional Filmmaking Class, we focus on what we want by listing it and envisioning it as completed.  We list what we want and send our intentions/visions as if they have happened.  That seems to be essential.  You have to believe you have it.  You are living in it.  It is.  Once you step into the reality that “it is” you can “feel” it and “see it.”  This clear vision is a key to manifesting.

Ken mentions list making.  That’s what we do in our class.  We make a list of what we want.  Short and concise so that we can read it daily and these things become reality.  Ken says that a friend of his who is an out of body person could see his list of things start to manifest on the other side.  Then it comes into our reality.  I don’t know about this.  I just know that the “how” is not important.  I know the vision and imaging that you have it is the key to manifesting.

Did you know that Rhonda Burns and her crew manifested their top selling film The Secret? by using The Secret? concepts?  They manifested what they wanted. They saw this film opening all over the world at once.

At that time, there was no way to download a full film.  That’s how much faith they had.  They envisioned the outcome they wanted. While they were making the film it became possible to download a full feature and they achieved their vision.

Ken Elliott says that your biggest enemy is fear.  You can overcome it by converting your worries to action items.  Put them on your calendar.  I find he is right.  I keep a pen and paper and when thoughts come to me that could be a fear, I write an action note to solve the problem.  For some reason the brain stops worrying. Then the next day, if it is still a worry you focus on it or you let it go.

Ken says to create a movie for the future first it in your mind. Close your eyes and imagine you are in your future. See the future and live it.  Be on your couch in a lovely home sitting at the end of the day and seeing your film completed.

Use the heart now by sending feelings of love and gratitude while you see the completed film and discuss your success. He says you use one of the most powerful things in the universe: gratefulness.  Be grateful that you have the finished film. Charge it with gratitude and love.  See this movie once a day.

This manifesting is available to all of us.  Thought is real, it can create we know this from quantum physics. Why not believe you can improve your life, create more joy, make a film and fulfill your heart’s desire?  Even if for only 90 days, why not use your vision, lists, focus, lack of fear and most importantly faith to create your film?