Platform provides creators, including filmmakers, with the infrastructure to raise capital from a community of investors
by Carole Dean
Read Ezell, Director, Venture Partnerships and Fundraising at WeFunder, shared an insightful overview of his company during our most recent Everything You Wanted to Know About Film Funding Webinar.
It’s clear that Wefunder is not just a platform for raising capital; it’s a tool that can help creators engage their communities and democratize the fundraising process. That includes being used as a fantastic fundraising tool for filmmakers.
Understanding Wefunder’s Core Purpose
WeFunder was founded over a decade ago, and its inception was closely tied to the passage of the Jobs Act in 2012, which allowed for the crowdfunding of investments from unaccredited investors. Since then, Wefunder has worked with thousands of founders and funded a wide range of projects, including over a hundred film and entertainment projects.
At its core, Wefunder operates by enabling creators to accept small investments from a large number of individuals, breaking down the traditional barriers to capital access. This means that filmmakers no longer must rely solely on a few wealthy individuals or institutions to finance their projects. Instead, they can tap into a broader pool of potential investors.
Building and Engaging Your Community
One of the unique aspects of Wefunder is its emphasis on community engagement. Read mentioned that the first group of people filmmakers should approach is their existing community—friends, family, fans, or enthusiasts in their niche. Building and mobilizing this community is key to launching a successful fundraising campaign. Once you have your initial supporters, they can help spread the word about your project, significantly increasing its visibility and chances of success.
Another significant advantage of using Wefunder is the ability to publicly promote your fundraising campaign. This is a departure from the traditional fundraising model, where soliciting investors was limited to accredited investors in closed rooms. Wefunder allows creators to leverage social media and other platforms to reach a wider audience. Moreover, once you have some initial backers, you can enlist them to help promote your campaign, creating a grassroots marketing effort.
Investment Options and Syndicate Structure
The flexibility of fundraising structures on Wefunder is another noteworthy feature. Filmmakers can choose to offer revenue sharing, equity, or future equity in their film project, tailoring the investment terms to suit their specific needs. This flexibility allows creators to align the investment structure with the unique aspects of their project.
Wefunder also simplifies the process of handling numerous investors. Instead of dealing with individual investors, all the investors on Wefunder’s platform are part of a single syndicate. The project leader or founder selects a trusted person to lead this syndicate, streamlining communication and administration.
So, why should filmmakers consider using Wefunder? Firstly, it can help raise capital more quickly, especially if you already have a community of supporters. Secondly, by engaging a broad community of investors, including your fans and enthusiasts, you can potentially create a dedicated army of advocates for your project. These backers are not just providing financial support; they become emotionally invested in your success.
Benefits of Using Wefunder for Filmmakers
Moreover, Wefunder allows filmmakers to maintain greater control of their projects. By distributing ownership among a larger group of smaller investors, you avoid the risk of a single major investor exerting significant influence over your creative decisions.
However, Read emphasizes that using Wefunder for fundraising is not a passive process. It requires effective communication, storytelling, and the ability to persevere in the face of rejection. While having an existing community is advantageous, creators who hustle and pitch their projects passionately can still achieve success on the platform.
Wefunder is more than just a crowdfunding platform; it’s a powerful tool for filmmakers to engage their communities, democratize fundraising, and maintain creative control over their projects. It offers flexibility in fundraising structures, the ability to publicly promote campaigns, and access to a vast community of potential investors.
So, for filmmakers looking to finance their projects and connect with their audiences, Wefunder is a valuable resource to consider.
She is creator and instructor of Learn Producing: The Ultimate Course for Indie Film Production. 26 classes which will teach indie filmmakers how to produce their films.
She hosts the weekly podcast, The Art of Film Funding, interviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film production. She is also the author of The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts. See IMDB for producing credits