Published on: 17 January 2016 in Resources

Kickstarter and crowdfunding

Crowdfunding remains a popular way for filmmakers to get their projects off the ground. We’ve seen a large number of member projects over the years, and so we thought it might be helpful to outline what we can - and can’t - help with and give some tips on what makes a successful crowdfunding campaign.

The help we can offer

  • We are very happy to discuss your crowdfunding idea with you. We’ve seen, and discussed, numerous member projects. It is often very clear when projects are or aren’t going to be successful; read our tips below to avoid some of the common mistakes that we see people making.
  • We can include your campaign on the Directors UK Kickstarter page. However it is not possible to do this for every project.
  • We can publicise your campaign on social media.

Common mistakes

We see a lot of crowdfunding campaigns, some successful, some not. The unsuccessful ones generally seem to make some or all of the following mistakes:

  • Aiming for far too much money
  • Not making it clear what people are actually funding
  • Not having any supporting content
  • Not having a clear “ladder” of rewards
  • Not having an established or clearly-targeted fanbase
  • Not having a clear communications strategy

Crowdfunding can be a great way to open up your project to a new and diverse range of funders. However it is not a silver bullet and it requires a lot of work.

Three characteristics of successful campaigns

  • A clearly defined and engaged audience: Know who your audience is, if this audience isn’t already aware of you or your project then work out how best to reach them. This may be directly via social media or through websites (blogs etc.) that they may visit. It also helps if you have a handful of champions for your project as this will help amplify your message (and also helps avoid the impression that it is only you promoting the project!). You may already have people that can serve this role, you may need to target them specifically or they may crop up during the campaign (we’d suggest you probably want to pursue all three avenues).
  • Attractive and sensibly-organised rewards: If you are making a short then it shouldn’t cost people £50 before they can access the finished film. When it comes to the rewards you offer try to offer a real range of access (and this relates to our first point about knowing your audience). Some people may be happy with a download of the film, or a signed copy of the promotional poster but other people may want to visit the set, or meet the cast, or meet the director, or be invited to preview screenings. Use your imagination and offer rewards across a range of prices.
  • Strong supporting content: Again, all (or at least the vast majority of) the successful projects we’ve seen have some really strong marketing materials. In the case of film projects this should at least be a video (or videos) from the creator, the cast, etc. or even a short teaser trailer. If you have more than one piece of content to make available then that’s even better (release it across the life of the campaign). You should consider that you are creating content for the internet, it needs to be geared towards being as shareable as possible, this may mean that you need to consider creating content in forms or using a tone that you wouldn’t normally. More advice on creating this kind of content.

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