Published on: 20 July 2017 in Longform

Crowdfunding Diary for Deep Clean: a supernatural horror short film — Part 3: The Universal Will to Become

Reading time: 8 minutes and 28 seconds

I read a book a long time ago by the masterly Kurt Vonnegut called The Sirens of Titan. In this future world on some far flung planet (Titan), they have of course moved past the need for fossil fuel and spaceships are powered by a force called The Universal Will to Become. 

This essentially means that if everyone wants the spaceship to go ‘over there’, then it will, and this idea has always stuck with me. I suppose it’s because I like the idea that a group endeavour can effect meaningful change simply by the focusing of its collective spirit towards a commonly desired goal. And so that is the exercise that we currently find ourselves in.

When we left our littletale with around a week to go, we were closing in on £18k of a £25K goal…signs were looking good but there was still a ways to go. 

Part 3

NB: (All totals are the end of that day, not the start)

Thursday 6 July (7 days to go) — The Perfect Package

Total: £17,511, 70% funded, 152 backers

After a bad night’s sleep, I head up on the early train to Sheffield on a sweltering day to go and speak to the MA students about presenting projects, in a talk that has rather flatteringly been billed as The Perfect Package, hosted by man-about-town Colin Pons at Sheffield Hallam University. We go through pitching, materials, sizzle reels and concept trailers, festival strategy, look books, and end up with crowdfunding of course – an hour and a half straight. Lunch after with the other tutors and couple of guests visiting, where we all talk about crowd funding horror stories, there are looks of knowing pain.

On the way back, it is baking hot. Late, I run for the train, just miss it, and end up sweating and having mild heart palpitations on the platform. If I die mid-campaign, do we still get the money?

Friday 7 July (6 days to go) — Creating genuine win-win offers

Total: £20,113, 80% funded, 161 backers, 

We run a competition with Festival Formula, in which they say lots of nice things about the campaign and hit their mailing list with the premiere tickets package. I think that finding ways to successfully partner with organisations that you can offer genuine win-win interactions for them and their audience is a very important part of this process - can you offer their audience something that they actually want, and do it in a fun way? If so, then you have nothing to fear by ‘making the ask’, because it’s not really an ask, it’s an offer that they will want to pass on to people. See the Festival Formula offer here.

Saturday 8 July (5 days to go) — Amusing videos

Total: £21,063, 84% funded, 164 backers

We are releasing a video a day now – either the DC crew silliness or the new ‘Museum’ videos – where, for example, we outline the 6 stages of contact you will receive from us during the campaign…going from group emails, to texts, to calling to…well, here’s the video so you can see for yourself. The video is meant as a joke but on reflection, is actually a fairly accurate representation of how this goes with people you know. Jesus, has it come to this?

Tuesday 11 July (36 hours to go) — BIG TUESDAY – Skin in the game

Total: £22,134, 88% funded, 197 backers

I decide to make the third backer update video with a stupid promise in it – that if we hit the target, I will get the dolls head tattooed on my arm. I think that it is a great gimmick for the last day’s ‘news cycle’. Everyone else thinks this is a terrible idea, but for some reason it really amuses me – but I think there is also an important point about commitment to the cause, having ‘some skin in the game’ as it were. We shall see…

Watch the pain and suffering video here.

So…we start the day on just over £22k, and then…something happens. It might’ve been to do with us getting moved on to the Kickstarter homepage in the ‘Nearly Funded’ section – I think it’s when you go over 80% funded, we are not sure exactly when it went up – but then money just starts coming in.     

Suddenly we jump to almost 95%, but it doesn’t stop. The thing has caught on, gone wider, and suddenly it’s away, a very strange sensation as each refresh of the screen yields a new total – I had to redo the total graphic 10 times today. 

The team start calling each other, it looks like we are going to hit the target tonight, a day ahead of the deadline. How amazing would that be – that we can stop all the worrying - a day early…!

I call Krent at around 9.50pm as it looks like we are going to do it – and just as he picks up, I refresh…and it’s there. £25,078 – we have hit our goal. Whooping and a cheering follow…

Wednesday 12 July (16 hours to go) — The Last Day

Final Total: £28,388, 113% funded, 164 backers

It doesn’t stop over night – I think the Americans have finally found it, and when I log in again at 7am, we have taken another £2K. 

We smash out our stretch goal video, hoping to get to £30K so we can make ‘The Crawler’ – a scene we had visualised and budgeted but cut due to cost.

Watch the Stretch Goal video here.

We hit £28,388 by midnight – we have made our target. 

Was the HUGE excitement of the last 24 hours worth the preceding 22 days of ulcer-inducing panic? I don’t know, but we now have a fully funded short with some amazing collaborators in place and some great feature/long form interest. We are going to make the film – this is what it’s all about isn’t it?

Thurs 13 July — Tattoos & drinks

The Family Business Tattoo Parlour in Exmouth Market, where I make good on my campaign promise to get the doll’s head logo inked. My advice on this issue is, don’t get it done under your arm, it is very painful, but as it is being done, I can’t help reflecting on the similarities to the campaign – choosing voluntarily to go through short term pain and suffering in pursuit of a longer term goal. Maybe one must sacrifice, even suffer, to attain something meaningful and worthwhile, or else what is the point of…

I am making too much of this, I’m sure, but it feels like a fitting end to the experience we have just been through.

Then we take the team out for well-earned celebration drinks. The scariest moment of the night – when my friend Mark suggests that this is just a dream, and that we are actually still on day three of the campaign. I don’t find it funny. At all.

We’ve done the pain and suffering, now let’s go make that monster movie!

I post the final DC Crew video, appropriately enough entitled Break.

The campaign is still here:

And here’s our final stats and the daily graph totalizer.

Thanks for reading Part 3 of this diary – and if you helped fund the project, may all your dreams come true and we look forward to sharing the rest of our exciting journey to make our funny, scary, weird supernatural horror film Deep Clean with you – watch this space…

All the best,

Matt, Krent, Laura, Roxy, Mike and the DC Crew. 

Read part one of Matt’s crowdfunding diary.

Read part two of Matt’s crowdfunding diary.

You can follow Matt on Twitter at @mattharlock, on Instagram at @halflifefilms and on Facebook.

If you’re a member with an idea for a feature you want to run on the Directors UK website, get in touch at [email protected], and make yourself heard.


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