No Other Crowdfunding Platform, Not Kickstarter or Indiegogo, Can Claim This. What is The Secret to Seed&Spark’s Success?
by Carole Dean
Web Series “One True Loves”
The films that get fiscal sponsorship at From the Heart Productions have consistently received the “green light” on Seed&Spark. This means they hit their crowdfunding goal and get the funding they raised. This occurs more often at Seed&Spark than other crowdfunding platforms.
Recently, I welcomed Gerry Maravilla, Head of Crowdfunding at Seed&Spark, to my The Art of Film Funding Podcast. He revealed the advice they give to filmmakers on how to have a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Goal Setting on Seed&Spark
This is a crucial part of the entire crowdfunding campaign. Getting this right is a one of the keys to success.
It begins with a surprising statistic and comes down to simple math.
“There’s traditionally a 1% conversion rate from social media share to a donation.”Gerry states. This means, if you have 1,000 Facebook followers, you can expect only 1% of them to donate!
He says that you can get 20 to 30% from your email lists. This must be a personal email to each person, not an email blast that would bring you much less. Personalization is the key to getting the highest percentage rate from your list.
Gerry suggests you ask your crew for their email lists. Ask your family too for any names they will let you use to crowdfund. Put all your names together.
So, how much can you can raise? The most popular donation amount is $25.00. So, consider that 30% of the list will give you $25.00 each. Multiply the number of names on your list by 30% and then by $25.00. This is a goal you know you can hit.
“But this is nowhere near my budget,” you say? Yes, but setting a goal at $100,000 when you can only expect to raise $1,000 will result in a failed campaign and no money.
Take what you can get from this campaign. Use the money move forward with the film and begin expanding your email list for your second campaign.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make an “Ask.”
Seed & Spark recommends that you reach out early to your list long before you start crowdfunding. Let them know that you are planning a campaign to fund your film and give them the start date. Say you need them to commit to make a donation for you in the first few days as that is the critical time.
“Once you hit that 30% in the first week you can easily hit 60% in the second week,” Gerry says.
Get your list excited and committed. Ask them, “Can I count on your support?” Let them know how much you need them.
Be sure that each email you send is full of gratitude. Gratitude is a key word in crowdfunding. Donors appreciate this and the energy in that email will be totally different with your heart on the page.
Creating interesting emails is key to keeping people motivate. Even if they have donated, you want them to be involved and you want them to read every email because you want them to donate again. Use creative titles in your subject line, that will get you a higher opening rate.
Our Fiscally Sponsored Film “Two Weeks” Hit Their Goal and Were Able to Start Filmming
Campaign Preproduction is a Key to Success
Sounds crazy? Right? Yes, you have to treat a crowdfunding campaign just like a film. Gerry believes this preproduction work is another important key to their 80% success rate.
You need to prepare by building your email list and putting it on a mailing platform. (We like Constant Contact at From the Heart Productions, but there are other good ones as well).
Find the “uniqueness” about your film. What makes it special? Start marketing it with that in mind. Send links to the film or your campaign video to your list. Let them know you will be crowdfunding soon and ask if they can share this on social media to support you.
Contact Seed&Spark early and discuss your film with them. They’ve got great instructional videos on their website. Learn how to build your audience. Get your social networks and your email list ready for your campaign.
Give yourself several months. Study successful campaigns and learn from other filmmakers. Don’t rush into this, plan the campaign and it will bring you a greater return.
Give Your Donors an Immediate Tax Write-Off with From the Heart Productions
Our non-profit works closely with Seed&Spark. We are a partner with them and offer the lowest fees of any fiscal sponsor when using their platform. Having fiscal sponsorship allows donors to the campaign to get tax deductions for their donations. That creates a powerful incentive to donate.
Gerry says you want to be sure to mention your nonprofit name on your page. This shows your donor that a nonprofit has reviewed your film and accepted it.
Many donors like the fact that a nonprofit is involved to see that you use the funds for the film. They feel that you will finish the film. We believe that sponsorship gives you more credibility with donors.
Director Robyn Symon’s first Kickstarter campaign for her documentary “Do No Harm” reached it’s goal. Could she make it happen again?
by Richard Kaufman
Documentary filmmaker Robyn Symon was told it was impossible for a film to have two successful Kickstarter campaigns. Her Roy W. Dean Grant winning film “Do No Harm” raised over $100,000 on the first Kickstarter effort. She needed to raise at least that much again to help get her film finished.
On The Art of Film Funding Podcast , she she shared with host Carole Dean tips on how she defied the naysayers and reached her goal the second time around.
Put Together a Team With Connections
“Do No Harm”, fiscally sponsored by From the Heart Productions, reveals the sad shocking truth about physician suicides. While their jobs are to serve as our healers , they have the highest rate of suicide among any profession.
She knew on her second Kickstarter campaign she would need to reach new supporters and expand her followers to be successful. To do that, she wanted to build a team who could connect with those in medical field.
She sought out those “who had vlogs, podcasts and they had like tens of thousands of followers.” She didn’t want anyone just because they loved the film. She selected 5 or 6 people after “I looked at their backgrounds carefully to know that these people knew how to connect with other people.”
One of them, Dr. Pamela Wible, Roybn called her “secret weapon”. She’s considered “the guardian angel to physicians and medical student suseptible to suicide.” Her vlogs get 50,000 views and a Ted talk she did seen by over 380,000 views.
With a team in place, they were getting word out about the film even before the campaign began.
Have Money in Kickstarter Campaign Before it Starts
“You should have a few thousand dollars already committed.” Robyn suggested. So, as soon as you pull the switch on the campaign, the money is already tallied for all to see.
“No one wants to be the first money in.”
Everyone on her team agreed to contribute $1,000 before the campaign went live. So, right at the start they already had momentum.
Robyn Raised $131,313 on Second Kickstarter Campaign
Don’t Have a Goal That’s Too High…Or Too Low
“If your goal is too high, you’re not going to be sucessful”, she said. Conversely, you don’t want to have a goal that is too low and easily attainable.
“Once you reach your goal its very difficult to raise more money.” She suggests not to go for all the funding at once in one campaign. Break it up into smaller asks.
“You have to make it very clear what the money is being allocated for” such as pre-production. So, when you go back for more funding, you’re not rejected by those who think you’ve already raised enough to make your film.
Consider Using a Kickstarter Campaign Expert
Because she was concerned about raising money a second time on Kickstarter and finding new supporters, she hired an Kickstarter expert.
From the Heart Productions has one expert they work with who has a fantastic track record of crowdfunding success with their fiscally sponsored films. They hooked him up with Robyn to help her with her campaign.
“I think it was really helpful.”, explained Robyn. “He has done so many of these campaigns that he really made the page look fantastic.”
She regretted not setting her goal higher as she reached it in a week! Her goal was $60K, but she really needed $100k and thinks she could have raised $200k.
“It’s tough, really tough, to go back and say “Yes, we reached our goal and we have 3 weeks left.’”
Fortunately, she was able to refocus her campaign on raising funds for marketing and was able to get an additional $60,000.
Richard Kaufman is a board member of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-profit that offers fiscal sponsorship and the Roy W. Dean Grant for independent filmmakers. Richard has over 25 years experience in supplying filmmakers with discounted film stock and hard drives. He is currently a Senior Account Executive with Filmtools.
Strategic partners are key to crowdfunding and marketing your film. Connecting with them is a key to audience building for crowdfunding and selling your downloads.
by Carole Dean
You May Not Need to Stand On Your Head to Land Strategic Partners, But You Need to Make a Concerted Effort
Strategic partners are groups or nonprofit organizations online whose members would be interested in the subject matter of your film.
Because I run From the Heart Productions, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, I’m quite aware of how careful and protective nonprofits are of their mailing lists. We never give it out. It’s hard work getting donors who’ve gained your trust.
Most nonprofits live off of their mailing list. They are very familiar with their top donors and take good care of them. That includes only sending them pertinent emails regarding their mission.
But, if you follow these steps, you can build a group of strategic partners of your own.
Start Small, Finish Big
I suggest that you make a list of the top 20 potentials for strategic partners. Some of these will be the largest organizations online that are interested in the subject matter of your film.
However, I wouldn’t start with any of the largest in this group. I would start with some of the smaller nonprofits. Find out what works and what doesn’t with them.
Calling Strategic Partners – What Not to Say When You First Call
When you call these nonprofits or organizations, who can become major “connectors” to your audience, don’t say “Hi, I making a film that your members would really love.” You will not be quickly received. Expect them to immediately close ranks unless you do this right.
They want to know a lot about you and the film you’re making. Also, they will want to know how it will be received by their members. You want to create a long-term relationship with the organization. What you say and how you introduce yourself is most important.
It might take you more than a year to gain the trust of strategic partners. I suggest the first call is to introduce yourself. Tell them who you are and what you’re doing. Make it short, sweet, and engaging.
The goal is to be able to communicate with them on an on-going basis, like every 4 or 5 months, to keep them informed of your film’s development. You know that this nonprofit’s audience is interested in the content of your film. What you want to do is to create a relationship. Begin building trust so they will share your film with their audience.
Create a Script
Before your first call to potential strategic partners, get prepared and write down what you want to say and how you want the call to go. Do not read it. This is to remind you of the highlights you want to say.
Establish credibility. You want to introduce yourself as an award-winning filmmaker or someone who graduated from film school or someone who is very passionate about the subject matter. Make clear you are determined to create this important documentary or short film.
Next, you want to give them an under a two-minute pitch of your film making sure that they get the “essence” of your film. Consider using sticky story content so that you leave them with key elements they can remember.
Don’t Ask for Help…Yet
Get the person’s name and title and ask her if you can continue to communicate with her on the progress of the film. Don’t ask for anything else. Hopefully, you’ve introduced yourself and your film in a charming way to create a long-term relationship. That’s what you’re after.
This is why I want you to only contact them once you have committed to your film. This is a key to increasing your audience for you personally as a filmmaker and for the film.
Stay in Contact
Every 3 to 5 months find something wonderful to tell them. Call after 2 expressos and be upbeat. Convey that you are excited about your film. Make a good impression of you as a filmmaker and how important your film can be to their audience.
Keep it under 3 minutes. Your budding strategic partners will appreciate your concern for their time. If it is hard to get them on the phone, then send a brilliant email. Don’t expect to get a reply because you probably won’t get one.
But, they will read it. I know because people who apply for my grant email me all year with updates. I read them and enjoy them but I don’t always respond because of time. However, when they do call me or apply again to the grant, I remember them and the film. That’s what you want.
When to Get Them Involved
After about a year, you will begin to hear the interest they have for you and the film in their voice. This is when you can begin to decide when you can ask them to get their audience involved in your film.
Don’t ask too soon. You should be able to know when to ask them to post something about your film on their website or drive their audience to your website to see your trailer and you get their email address.
This is a Worthwhile Endeavor
I spoke to filmmakers who created such a great rapport that the nonprofit actually introduced him to their top donor who helped fund his film. Anything is possible. Create a vision of what you want from them and move towards that.
I was introduced to the law of attraction and learned that I could accomplish anything I put my mind to as long as I could imagine it and believe it, having faith that it could come true..
by Joy Cheriel Brown
Joy Directing Scene From Her Short Film
In 2012, I was digging around my home office and found a short script I had written eight years earlier when I was a Senior in college. It was a contender for my thesis film, but I had decided to put it away until later because it would have been a nightmare to find a location for it since the script was based on my first hospitalization for Schizoaffective Disorder, and I was taking a full load.
It was now years later and I had just started my production company when I found this script. I had always planned to do three shorts before I made my first feature film and the third short was always meant for the festival circuit. I would definitely need money to do this, and I had none.
I didn’t quite know how I was going to do this, but I had an idea of where I would get the money. For my second short film, I had gotten a grant from the philanthropic arm of a major telecommunications company. So I decided that I was going to get the financing for my third short film from another big company as well.
I knew that to get a grant from this company, I would have to get a fiscal sponsor because I was not a 501(c)(3) company and therefore, did not have non-profit status, which was the only way I would be able to get a grant from this company. I had no idea how to get a fiscal sponsor either.
During the summer of 2012, I was introduced to the law of attraction and learned that I could accomplish anything I put my mind to as long as I could imagine it and believe it, having faith that it could come true, and that when you have a dream, the universe moves people and circumstances to give you what you want. Because I didn’t know how to get a fiscal sponsor so I hadn’t made any attempts to get one, having so many other things that needed to be accomplished when making a film and building a team. Instead, I was applying for grants that could be awarded to individuals so I applied for the Roy Dean grant and let it go.
Several months later, after I had forgotten that I had even applied for the grant, I got a call from a woman who identified herself as Carole Dean. She told me that I while I did not get the grant, I was a good writer and she wanted to give me fiscal sponsorship. I took this as the first sign from the universe that I was going to get the project done.
I had already missed the 2012 deadline to apply for a grant from the company from which I was sure that I would get the money, so I had to wait for the 2013 deadline. When 2013 rolled around, I applied for the grant and was denied. I didn’t even bother to ask why. However, I reached out to the company again three years later, after two failed indiegogo campaigns, and this time, I got a call from a woman who remembered my application from a few years earlier and told me why they had rejected my application. So, I corrected that item and this time got it approved, even though it was hardly for the amount that I had asked for. Still, I took this to mean that I could get it done with the amount that they gave me and wouldn’t be able to pay all my cast and crew as I had hoped.
Moreover, by the time that the money would be awarded to me through the fiscal sponsor, it would no longer be the time of year that I wanted to shoot the film. The actual incident had taken place during the summertime and it was non-negotiable to shoot it at any other time of the year because I felt that it was significant. Plus, I didn’t want to rush to get the rest of the cast and crew together. Therefore, we would have to wait ANOTHER year before we could shoot, and I still hadn’t been able to find a location.
The next year, I brought on a location scout that did such a phenomenal job that I made her a producer. Previously, she would not have been available to take on such a large responsibility—ironically, I had met her the year I decided to make the film in 2012—but now timing was right. In 2015, I had met a director who would direct my first stage play who I also made a producer, and the three of us were sort of a dream team. If I had made the short in 2012, neither of these women would have been a part of the team, and I believe the film would have suffered for it.
Anyway, my location scout-turned-producer and I stumbled upon the perfect location for the film while checking out another space. The amazing thing about that was that before 2017, the space wouldn’t have been available because people were still living in it!
What I learned from this project is that everything happens in divine timing and at the right time for it to be most beneficial to you. We will release the short, N.O.S., later this year, and the universe continues to arrange people and circumstances as we complete the project.
Joy Cheriel Brown has studied screenwriting since 1991. She has an MFA from National University for Creative Writing, with a concentration in Screenwriting, and a Bachelor of Arts from Howard University, where she studied Film and English and graduated summa cum laude.
She has either won or placed in several contests and has had many of her screenplays chosen as official selections in the DC Chapter of Women in Film and Video’s Spotlight on Screenwriters catalog from 2014-2017 and has served as a mentor on screenwriting panels for DC Shorts and Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council’s Festival of Literary Arts.
Joy also wrote, produced, and directed the short film, Figment, in 2004, and was the writer and one of the producers for the short film, One Chance, which premiered at the Bowie Performing Arts Center in 2011, and wrote, directed, and produced the short film, N.O.S., which will be completed in 2018 and was a semi-finalist in the 2015 ScreenCraft Short Film Production Fund. The feature film, Love’s Duty, is currently in development with her production company, Third Person Omniscient Productions, whose mission it is to produce quality movies, plays, and television shows that enlighten audiences about the human condition and shed light on the meaning of life.
Joy also offers screenwriting coaching to those who want to write meaningful screenplays that are ready to be produced.
Don’t think of crowdfunding as asking for money. Think of it as inviting people to join your community. You’ll be a lot more successful
by Carole Dean
“Invite People to Join Your Community” When Crowdfunding
When you are crowdfunding, you may think you are just asking friends, relatives, your dentist, for donations. But, you are inviting others to join together to support you in the making of a film.
Asking people to “join your community to make a film” is a totally different energy than asking people for donations.
This is the energy of inviting.
When Creating Your Crowdfunding Page Write it Like an Invitation.
People love films. And hopefully, they will love yours enough to join accept your invitation.
Every film has something remarkable about it. What is remarkable about your film? What is it about it that will make people join together and make it happen?
Use the concept of a “sticky story” (make this a link to the article) so that people can remember what you tell them. Create a story with something emotional, something shocking, something concrete and something very credible so they can remember and pitch your film to their friends and earn social currency.
Make a List of What You Need People To Bring
You need more than money to make a film. The benefit of bringing a community together is gathering together those with different talents and skills. Talents and skills you need to make your film.
You should list exactly what you need. That might be people to help you with social networking, a personal assistant, a driver, or someone to help with food on the production, etc. Think of the things that you want and ask for them on your page.
How to Answer “What’s In It For Me?”
You can’t invite someone to join in making your film without expecting to give them something in return. Donors always want to know “what’s in it for me? “
This is where you can get off the charts creative with your gifts for supporting your film. You could have standard gifts like t-shirts, mugs and social media shout outs, but I really, find these are boring gifts.
Think of something unusual and exciting.
Gifts That Donors Share With Others
Here’s one great example. One person on a crowdfunding campaign was very talented with the Photoshop. He asked people who donated “where do you want to be?” Then, he took a photo of them and photo shopped them to that dream location.
One person was put on the moon and another in the South Seas. Another was place on an expensive yacht. Of course, the donors loved these photos and they quickly posted them on Facebook, twitter, all over social media. They also and drove new people to the filmmaker’s campaign and this created new donors. This is what you want. You want your donors promoting you.
Recently, I had a filmmaker offer a hand-drawn portrait for $100 on her network for good campaign. I couldn’t resist! So I donated and she sent me a precious hand-drawn photo. It was well worth the hundred dollars and the fun of seeing a personal rendering of a photo.
Use Your Creativity
Use that brilliant creativity of yours for your crowdfunding. Don’t just focus on how you can get money out of someone. Think about how you can get them to accept your invitation to help you and others make your film a reality.
Need to win a film grant? Carole Dean shares her wisdom and experience on why it helps to know your audience, nail down your story, and never give up!
By Carole Dean
Roy W. Dean Grant winner Leslie Neale and From the Heart Productions founder and President Carole Dean
Having overseen the Roy W. Dean Grant for 26 years, I’ve read thousands of grant submissions. Through my non-profit, From the Heart Productions, I’ve helped our fiscally sponsored filmmakers apply for and win hundreds of thousands of dollars in local, state, and foundation grants over the last 25 years.
I know what makes our judges and others seriously consider a grant application. Here are some tips on how you can improve your chances to win a film grant for your project.
Film Must Fit Criteria for the Grant
Grantors say this is the number one reason for denying a film a grant. So be sure you have a chance to be accepted before you put in your time.
One woman filmmaker I worked with applied for 5 grants and won 4! This was Rebecca Dreyfus and her film “Stolen” won the Roy W. Dean Grant. How did she win so many? She did not apply for hard to win grants that might have been a reach for her project. She chose carefully and put her energy into grants she felt were the best fit for her film.
Story, Story, Story
At the Roy W. Dean Grant, we fund stories. Other grantors look for great stories as well. Brilliant, heart-felt, revelatory, life altering stories with strong characters. So when creating your application for the grant, you will need a visually written proposal. It needs to let me “see” the film as I read your proposal.
For Documentaries, Tell Us What The Film Will Be About
I realize you don’t know what will happen when you turn on your camera to make a documentary. In fact, many times you are taken into an entirely different film. However, you have to tell us what you think the film will be.
We know you often don’t know and that’s ok. The filmmakers behind the award winning “Virunga” thought they were just doing a documentary on an park rangers at an animal preserve when a civil war broke out. But, we want to know that you have thought it out carefully and you “think” you know where it is going.
I can say that most of the documentary films we funded, where the filmmaker did not know what the film would be about in the end, turned out better than any of us imagined.
Why Are You Making This Film?
I want to know this up front. This information tells me if you are there for the long, hard times that may lay ahead. I want to know: Do you have the tenacity to finish? You have to allay my fears in the beginning of your proposal with your passion.
Who Is Your Audience?
Do you have any idea who the people are who will want to see your film? Do you know how you will reach them? I want you to tell me that. All of the grantors want to know this. Just making the film is not enough; you have to identify who will support it. Attach your audience to the film as you are making it. Tell us how you are doing this.
Never Give Up!!!!
It was the motto of the Suffragettes and I want you to adopt it. Know that rejection is part of the process and that you will learn each time you are rejected. Know that each grant you enter, you get better and so does your film. And, you now know the people at that granting organization and in our industry. Who you know is an asset to you.
By using the conscious mind to impress a belief on the subconscious with feelings and visuals (and using every fiber of your body), it causes the subconscious to accept that belief as truth.
What do you think of those people who get up on stage at the Academy Awards to accept an Oscar and say that they’ve been dreaming about this moment since they were kids?
You rolled your eyes and laughed, right?
Well, believe them. They used their conscious thoughts to manifest and create their success. You can too.
The Law of Consciousness
Consciousness, believes noted physicist Amit Goswami, came first in the beginning of time. First, it was consciousness and from that all things evolved.
The knowledge of the law of consciousness and the method of operating this law allows you to accomplish all you desire in life. This is the philosophy of many wise people.
However, first you need a working knowledge of this law. Then, you can build and maintain a great life, an ideal world for yourself.
The Conscious Generates Ideas
“Consciousness is the only reality”, said influential teacher and author Neville Goddard. Neville states that consciousness is personal and selective where subconscious is impersonal and non- selective.
Neville believes that the conscious generates ideas and impresses ideas on the subconscious. Also, he says that first conceiving an idea and then impressing the idea on the subconscious allows all things to evolve out of the consciousness.
This is the only way, he posits, to create your future and bring to you the future you want. Because the subconscious does not originate ideas, it accepts as true those which the conscious mind feels to be true.
This is the heart of the matter.
Getting An Award in Your Hands
Remember when those who win also say they “feel the joy and excitement of being on stage receiving this award?”
That is the result of the conscious impressing on the subconscious the future they intended to create. By doing that, it becomes a reality.
I think this is a powerful concept. By using the conscious mind to impress a belief on the subconscious with feeling and visuals (and using every fiber of your body), it causes the subconscious to accept that belief as truth.
This is how you manifest. This power to imagine and feel is original for humans.
Using Your Feelings to Influence Your Subconscious
You can get control of the subconscious through your control of your ideas and feelings.
What you feel and see the subconscious believes. This is a gift that we all have. It is important to understand that what we see and feel, our subconscious believes.
What is it you want to achieve? The first thing that we want you to do is set goals. You want to visualize and feel your goals in order to achieve them.
Consciousness creates the vision and the subconscious believes it’s real. Because your subconscious mind does not originate an original idea, it accepts as true those which the conscious mind tells it.
The next important thing to realize is that ideas are impressed on the subconscious through feeling. The filmmaker that envisioned winning the Academy Award visualized being onstage accepting the award and giving his/her speech.
It’s the energy in the feeling that creates the future. Your feeling is the most powerful medium that you have to get your ideas to the subconscious. If you’re not in control of your feelings, you could easily be impressing the wrong things on your subconscious and bringing about things in your life you don’t want.
Feelings Can Determine Our Future
Feelings are the greatest form of manifesting that we have as humans. We actually have the ability to bring our future into the present through our feelings.
Focusing on what you do want and feeling like it has already happened tells the subconscious that this truly exists. The only thing that would stop this is if it is counteracted by a more powerful feeling that it doesn’t exist, like disbelief, fear or anger.
If you are seeing yourself getting your Academy Award and you are fearful, then the chances are your vision may not happen. If fear was the more dominant feeling, then you have just nullified your vision.
Create a personal goal that you know you can achieve and a time limit that feels right to you. For example, you may need a great editor. To get that great editor, why not start saying, I love my editor. I chose the perfect editor.
Do this with the emotion of joy, success, achievement happiness and contentment. Feel very proud of yourself feel very confident that you have the right editor.
You want to live it, feel it and see it. Know your vision is coming through your feelings. Remember that all creation happens in the subconscious. What you must do is get control of your subconscious through your ideas and your feelings. The subconscious doesn’t care if you were telling of the truth or not it excepts as true what you feel to be true.
Use your mind to fund your film. Your mind is your greatest asset in film funding.
From the Heart Productions has helped indie filmmakers crowdfund over $3 million for their films. Here are some key tips on crowdfunding your film to help you successfully raise money.
Don’t let crowds scare you. Get them to help you raise money for your film.
1. Emotions Fuel Donations
Among the most important of the tips on crowdfunding your film is one you won’t find on the internet. But, I can promise you that it is most effective when raising money to use emotions.
Let’s go back to some of the earliest Indiegogo campaigns that were quite successful.
First, there was the campaign for a bus monitor named Karen, who asked for $3,000 to go on a vacation. She was responsible for the children on the bus going to school.
Someone took a camera inside the bus and recorded the vicious, demeaning, bullying statements made to her by students. She was in tears. When we saw this, we felt embarrassed and ashamed that she was being so poorly treated.
We were touched and moved and glad to donate as a way to apologize to her. Soon she had over $100,000 and then $200,000. She ended up with over $700,000. Nice vacation.
My second favorite campaign for eliciting emotion is one that did not have a trailer. That’s right, just copy on a page. However, it was professionally done with various font types and a great choice of words.
The campaigner was an admitted geek and he said that we had forgotten Tesla, the greatest geek that ever lived. He wanted to buy back the Wardenclyffe tower, Tesla’s old laboratory, and make it a museum for Tesla. He also used emotion in his campaign.
“Let’s build a Goddamn museum for Tesla.”, he wrote “We overlooked him and we owe it to him!”
He raised close to $1,300,000 That’s using only written words and the right attitude. He was demanding that we make up for our lack of attention and respect to Tesla. It made people feel sad and remiss that we’ve overlooked such a great man.
What’s unique about your film? How can you elicit an emotion with your words and your trailer? That emotion could be joy, happiness or guilt, shame, or any strong emotion that you believe will create an action from your audience. Hopefully, that action is a donation.
2. Setting the Right Campaign Goal
Finding the right dollar amount to ask for is a key to a good campaign. After running many campaigns, I can say that this is the most important part of the campaign. You need to get the goal amount right so that you can have 30% to the goal within three days of the start of the campaign. This is a must for a successful campaign.
It’s very important to create a special group of funders that can help you reach that 30%. Give them a name, like your “founding Indiegogo or Kickstarter sponsors.” You will build your crowdfunding page and send the link to only this founding sponsor group first in what we call a soft launch. You have already spoken to these people and you know exactly how much money you will raise.
Now, you launch your campaign to your entire mailing list. Post and chat on social media about the benefits of your film, why people should donate, and thanking those that do.
Sometimes you set your goal based on the amount you know you can raise in three days. Example, you talk to your family, friends, and staunch supporters and realize that you can get $6,000 in the first three days. Then, set your goal at $20,000 because 30% of $20,000 is $6,000.
Now, you know you have a very good chance of hitting that goal. That is, assuming that you have done the work needed to create a large database of people interested in the subject matter of your film.
3. Finding Your Audience for Crowdfunding
What is unique about your film? Find that and be able to talk about how special your film is because of this uniqueness.
Start listing the various audiences that your film addresses. For documentaries, it’s much simpler than features, but let’s just take an example of a documentary on organic food. Go online and start looking for organizations and groups who fit your film like vegetarians, vegans, organic consumers, benefits of organic food, etc.
Find those organizations through Facebook and Google. Make a list. You want to find the top 40 organizations and set a goal to connect to at least 20. Hopefully, they will have a minimum database of 5,000 members each. Your goal is to get them to support your film. Get them to post about your film on their database, or newsletter, or ask them to tweet about your film.
You can drive them to your website where you can collect their email address is by giving them a nice gift, something they can’t live without. Create short three minute trailers. Then, put them on your YouTube channel to drive people to your website. Once there, they can’t resist your gift and will sign up to be part of your film community.
4. You Need Connectors
Connectors are people who will help you increase your audience. Your audiences will fund your film and then come back and buy the download. You can find your audience online in groups and organizations.
Take the key words that describe your audience and search those on Facebook and Google. Then, contact the top 20 largest groups and organizations. You want to create “strategic partners ” by contacting organizations and groups that are interested in the subject matter of your film. Connecting to them is most important.
You must take your crowd to the crowdfunding. They don’t find you, you find them. My statistics show that on Indiegogo 99% of the donations come from the people who you have in your database or on your social network. In my opinion, Indiegogo does very little to bring you new donors.
Kickstarter campaigns do increase your data base. We work with a crowdfunding expert on Kickstarter campaigns who really understands how Kickstarter works and does quite well raising funds for our filmmakers. As a result, he helped raised $120,000 for a film on sound, $64,000 on a film about a music composer, and over $100,000 for another film. I highly recommend him. If you are interested, email me and I can introduce you to him.
5. Give Them a Sticky Story
A Sticky Story is one that has the elements of surprise, emotion, and it has something credible and something concrete. Give your audience a sticky story, one they can remember and repeat. One that will allow your donors to pitch to people for you and expand your data base.
6. Stay in Touch with Donors
Set up a community with your crowdfunding audience after the crowdfunding. It’s very important for you to keep them engaged and attached like family to you and the film. You’ve probably just raised money for a part of your film, maybe just pre-production or part of post-production, so you want to keep them close by to raise more money.
One woman I was mentoring said that she was writing her Kickstarter group to give them an update. She said “I don’t know what to say because I am behind on my production schedule. I told them I would be much further along at this date.”
I said why not tell them the truth? Quote Orson Welles by saying “I spend 95% of my time raising money and 5% making the film.“ She did just that and someone called and ask her how much money she needed. She told him, $120,000 and he sent her a check!
You never know how much money is available to you from this group of new people that you get through Kickstarter. Taking good care of them is paramount to future donations.
We’ve not just got his work to watch and listen to. We’ve also got his notes.
After we’ve watched and enjoyed Orson Welles classic film noir “Touch of Evil” for the 27th time, what do we remember? Is it the amazing long continuous shot that opens the movie? The dramatic final confrontation in the oil fields? How about the incredible varied and creative way he uses music in the film?
I knew the music was integral to the film. It defines characters, sets the atmosphere, and compliments the action. What I didn’t know was how Orson Welles planned out the music and how it was to be used before he shot the film.
David explained he left detailed notes for his composer, Henry Manicini, and his sound mixer. In my latest video, I cover what filmmakers can learn from those important notes on placing music in their films.
Imagine How Music Will Be Used in a Scene Before Its Shot
The opening scene is probably the longest continuous shot that’s been executed on film without CGI. It follows a bomb in the trunk of car as it heads to a border crossing down a city street filled with people.
Instead of using a traditional score, Orson wanted to use source music. He directed the scene knowing this. As we follow the action, the music appears to come naturally from car radios and musicians that are in the shot.
This music, David describes, was specifically created for A “Touch of Evil” and it creates a magical environment.
It’s not like a typical movie score. It sounds natural as it comes from sources in the shot. But, as music changes as the scene progresses, it’s jarring as well and puts us on edge.
Use Music That Fits the Characters
For example, the characters are walking down the street in a town where they have lots of live bands. The music the characters in the movie are hearing is the same music that the audience is hearing. But, because the camera is moving around to different groups of characters, the music is constantly changing.
The Mexican characters are listening to very festive mariachi music while the detective people are listening more to cool jazz.
This is the sort of thing that their character would listen to but it also tells us emotionally what to feel and gives us insight into the character. It’s source music, it’s character themes, and it’s dramatic underscore telling the story on multiple levels at the same time.
To make it happen was very complicated. Henry Mancini said it was one of the most difficult things he’d ever done. Without the notes and detail Orson Welles provided, it would have never been accomplished or attempted. That music is part of what makes that first scene so involving.
Consider How Sound Will be Mixed
Orson didn’t stop with notes to the composer. He also had a note for the mixer. While most films have a clean, high quality sound, he knew that would not be great if source music was being use.
“The characters are listening to music as they walk down the street,” Orson detailed, “and if the music sounds perfect like it was recorded in a studio, that will destroy the illusion that the characters are walking down the street.”
He suggested they take several loud speakers from your studio and put them out in the alley that’s behind the dubbing stage. Then, record the sound of the microphone traveling down the alley behind the stage on a dolly. This would be like the microphone was the character’s point of view and we’re following them down the street.
When you hear the sound in A Touch of Evil in this first street scene you will truly appreciate all of the great creative genius that went into making it. Getting your sound to enhance and support your story is paramount to a successful film.
Mastering Creative Visualization to Manifest Miracles
Using the work of author Stuart Wilde as a guideline, I’ve created a 5 part series of blogs and videos to show filmmakers how they can have a miracle happen in their life. I outlined creating a miracle action plan and its components.
The final video of my video series on How to Manifest Miracles concludes with how to complete your miracle action plan. Stuart says the final step to master for your plan is visualization.
Visualization is the ability to live as if what you asked for actually exists. You need to live and act as if it is a fact. Stuart says that the inner mind does not know the difference between fact and fantasy.
Once you can see yourself walking through a scene, you can feel you are actually a part of it.
Stuart writes “imagine this: if you can create a powerful and strong image of yourself as a miracle maker, as this wonderful, wonderful human being that has so much to give, so much to offer the world, then that being comes alive. It is almost as if, by putting that energy into the mind, you shine a light in there that stimulates the mind.”
Others will see this light in you and know that you love and support yourself and this brings miracles.
Creative visualization can benefit you when you begin to use it to see yourself living your dream life.
Whatever your life’s purpose, you want to imagine yourself living that now on a daily basis. Day dreaming is part of visualization. Use your driving time or your house cleaning time to see yourself living the life you want. Live it, feel it, see it, smell it. Use all your senses and make it real.
If you are a filmmaker, then see yourself receiving an award for your film. See you and your crew on a TV interview show discussing how you made the film. Just create imaginary scenes that could happen. Give the universe a vision of what you want your life to be.
Goal Setting with Creative Visualization
One powerful use of creative visualization is for goal-setting. Please don’t set goals that are impossible for you because if you can’t conceptualize it or feel that this can happen then you may never reach that goal.
I think setting small goals first is best. Then, when you hit that goal it truly empowers you. You set another realistic goal and hit that and you are on your way.
I like to see myself at a holiday like Thanksgiving at the table with friends. I’m sharing what the goal was and how proud I am that this has happened.
You should “feel” into a goal. If your body reacts with fear or stress, reduce the goal or give yourself more time until your body relaxes. The mind and body need to be in alignment to achieve your goals.
This visualization is the last and most important element in creating miracles. Use this information to create some exciting miracles in your lives and share them with me.