Crowdfunding 101: It's not about the money




You've got a great idea for a film, you've set up your twitter account to establish your brand and form relationships, you've got a facebook page to direct people to, maybe even a website. Now you need money and that's what crowdfunding is for, right? Wrong. It's all about sharing the love.


Okay, of course crowdfunding IS about the money. But it's not just about money. I would argue it isn't even primarily about money. It's about massive promo. Free promo. And it's about developing a tribe of loyal, invested followers to give your promo longevity.


But it's not your right to demand that every person who contributes to the film should shout about it. Your film has to earn the right to be promoted by your backers. And that starts with the way you handle your crowdfund.

Love conquers all

Unless you're very lucky and very unusual at some point in the filmmaking process things may go a little off-piste. Some plot twists will emerge which hadn't been included in the original filmmaking script. It will rain for three weeks solid when you need to nail your external shots. A location will pull out of being available. Your footage may need some intensive "fixing". You may have to re-shoot key scenes. Or the whole film. With a new cast (Woody Allen did this, so don't feel bad).


In other words, your carefully-crafted production and post-production schedule may go belly-up. And because you crowdfunded, you're feeling the pressure to deliver.

Well, yes - you should feel the pressure. You're handling other people's money and so you have a responsibility to deliver and to deliver well. But that's the key - deliver well. Not deliver as quickly as possible, or deliver second-best. So take the time it needs (making sure that you are actively working on your film, not just sitting on your arse watching re-runs of House of Cards waxing lyrical about how gruelling indie film is) to make the film you promised.


And this is where the love kicks in. When the curve balls arrive your crowdfund backers need to trust that you will deliver. So you need to have worked hard during your crowdfund to develop relationships with them that you can carry forward into the more testing times. If you show exceptional diligence during the crowdfunding process, a mature and grateful attitude, a sense of command over the project and an excitement about the filmmaking process they will continue to trust your judgement when difficult decisions need to be made.


Proving yourself to be communicative, relational and fit for the long-haul during your crowdfund will accrue a priceless store of deserved loyalty from your backers. This will make the whole process of delays, hiccups and challenges much less stressful. You can draw on that store of trust and know that you have proven yourself worthy of being cut a little slack.


Backers are SO much more than money. They are people (yes, this seems obvious to state but I see a lot of crowdfunds run which seem to feel incredibly entitled to this "pot" of money out there, forgetting that these benefactors are grafting for it, not growing it on trees) who will become your team. They will encourage and support. In our case they have even voluntarily contributed additional funds to help smooth the delayed process.


Some of the fabulous independent local businesses who have helped make our film possible


Baccarat Hair Salon

Red Boutique

The Lavender House Cafe

Cinnamon Culture

Beckenham Bookshop

Allbone & Trimit

Some of our UK crowdfund backers

Write a comment

Comments: 6
  • #1

    Vinod Eda (Tuesday, 24 February 2015 02:23)

    Good article!

  • #2

    vanessabailey (Tuesday, 24 February 2015 10:54)

    Thanks Vinod - I'm glad it was of interest :)

  • #3

    Cheryl (Tuesday, 24 February 2015 14:55)

    Thanks Vanessa - I'm in the middle of it all right now so it's good to take a breath and remember the long term goal. I've been amazed at people's generosity but I think what's even more precious are their words of encouragement when the backing flatlines. They are priceless!

  • #4

    vanessabailey (Tuesday, 03 March 2015 01:28)

    Cheryl - you're so right. Those moments where you realise you're not alone in a crowdfund and people are rooting for you make ALL the difference :) Best of luck with it!

  • #5 (Friday, 21 August 2015 12:42)

    Thankfulness to my dad who informed me relating to this blog, this website is really amazing.

  • #6

    Fiona Whitelaw (Monday, 25 January 2016 11:16)

    Totally agree Vanessa. Some of the conversations and connections I have had already while crowd funding for Tea and Tenacity tour have been amazing.