Crowdfunding 101: Avoiding the car crash


I've set up and run four crowdfunds. Two on Indiegogo and two on Kickstarter. It's jolly hard work.


If you're in the early stages of thinking about crowdfunding, I've reduced my (massive!) personal learning curve into a few points that tripped me up to a lesser or greater degree when I ran my first campaign.


I've also included a video by Emily Best, CEO of Seed & Spark because I find her videos cut to the chase. It's definitely worth watching. And then watch her other videos on youtube, too.

It's all in the preparation

Crowdfunding starts WAY before you ask people to part with their hard-earned cash. We set up the Three Days Twitter and Facebook accounts probably six months before we ran our first crowdfund. I spent that time feeding information about the story, getting people's attention and creating an on-line personality for the project. 


You need to create followers. A tribe. Without that you don't HAVE anyone to contribute to your film other than friends and family. And it's not just about money. Your project needs REACH. One of the most powerful things crowdfunding does is offer free publicity for you and for your project. Attracting the attention of twitter influencers is something that will really move your project forward. Create a support network for your project which has a reach far beyond what you could achieve by yourself.


How do you do that? Show them (not TELL them) how exciting your project is - they'll want to contribute to an adventure they can be part of. Be CREATIVE. Film quirky videos, tweet photos, songs and quotations which link to your film's theme. Invite people to get to know your team. Don't keep people at a distance.


One of our Twitter supporters and backers @theimpalerspeaks lives in the US. He happened to be coming to the UK and pinged me an email asking to meet up for a drink. Cat (my friend and fellow cast member) and I leapt at the chance and had a fantastic time having face-to-face chats with possibly one of the most influential indie crowdfund backers on twitter, Damn Vandals and Goodsoul Promotions in a small pub in Camden. It was surreal and precious.


So here's CEO of Seed & Spark,  Emily Best on The Biggest Lie That Was Ever Told about crowdfunding...

If you're afraid of hard work, leave well alone

I'm not talking about a BIT of hardwork. I'm talking about 24/7, absolutely no life for the duration of your crowdfund. You can't set the thing up and then expect it to run itself. And it doesn't stop after the crowdfund. It doesn't stop until you've made the film and fulfilled all your perks. Backers deserve updates regularly. I generally send one out every four weeks or so. From four accounts.


A long while ago someone contacted me to say they were making a film and to ask if I'd run their crowdfund for them. The answer I gave them was that I was too busy, which was true. I'm still in the thick of Three Days. But my other reason was - if they didn't want to put the work in themselves to raise the funds, I honestly don't believe they want the funds badly enough.

Share the love

If you're not generous with other people, don't expect them to be generous with you. Support other people before you ask others to support you. Tweet about crowdfunds, back projects, share links. Comment if something is awesome, it deserves recognition. I was gobsmacked to be backed by some of my indie film and screenwriting heroes (Hybrid Vigor, Chris Jones, Marcus Marcou,

Lucy V Hay, Larry Fleming) but I suspect it was because they'd noticed me before I started asking for money. I'd already engaged with them.


These are just a FEW observations on things which are worth thinking about if you're considering crowdfunding. There's so much more that can be said about the process itself, which will probably be another post.


A word of warning. When tweeting with a hashtag avoid #crowfunding #crodfunding or #crowdfinding. I did them ALL. It's awkward.


Here are a couple of videos of two awesome crowdfund backers for Three Days. Jon has been relentlessly supportive, having found us on Kickstarter. Gita found us on Twitter and then discovered she and I had an unexpected connection... (revealed in the video)

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