Film Crowdfunding5 common crowdfunding myths debunked
June 9, 2017
Working with hundreds of crowdfunding campaigns and filmmakers, our team realized that certain ideas and myths kept getting in the way of successful campaigns, amazing projects and even taking that first step to getting started. Seed&Spark's head of crowdfunding Gerry Maravilla and top film crowdfunding expert Justin Giddings put their super smart brains together to bust some of the most common crowdfunding myths for you live on Facebook recently. Missed the event? Forgot to take notes? We got you, with this handy-dandy-bookmarkable recap:
1. My concept is enough to get me funded.
Sure, this may have been true...many years ago when crowdfunding was new and novel. Now there are literally thousands of active crowdfunding campaigns -- for film, gadgets, medical care, you name it -- at any given moment. So having an amazing project with incredible incentives, page and pitch is the just your entry ticket to be even being considered.
Repeat after us: the project is not the plan. (And no, sending a BCC email to all the people in your address book is not a plan.) Be authentic, be organized and be prepared. No one is going to care about your idea as much as you do, so set yourself up for success by having a plan to make your idea a reality.
2. The work starts when the campaign does.
You wouldn’t make a film without pre-production. Why would your crowdfunding campaign be any different? Remember, having an amazing campaign is the standard (see Myth 1)...how do you think you get an amazing campaign ready to launch? It takes work AND a plan.
Spend time preparing your campaign (your page, pitch and materials) as well as the plan to build your audience and connect with supporters through every stage of your campaign. Do your research, have a schedule, define roles, line up all your assets all before you launch. Because just like making a film, there’ll be surprises along the way. If you do the work in advance, you’ll be better able to do the work during your campaign.
3. Getting on the front page will get me funded.
The reality is that being featured on the front page on the crowdfunding platform is not a golden ticket. While there are super-contributors out there, regularly looking for new crowdfunding projects to support, they’re less than 5% of all contributors (not just on your project). You only have a small window of time to make your campaign successful. Rather than betting your success on the chance to get in front of a small group of maybe supporters, spend the time and effort to connect with your larger and more engaged audience.
In addition, there’s no planning to be on the front page. On Seed&Spark, for example, campaigns get selected for the homepage automatically based on their follower growth. Don’t sit back and wait, hoping that an employee or a generous stranger is out looking for your campaign. Find your audience, clarify your value and work hard (like, super hard).
If you find yourself on the front page or featured by the crowdfunding platform, great! Use this news to engage your audience! Post an update. Write and send new social media posts. Share the news via a video on Instagram. Consider front page placement icing on the delicious cake you already baked.
4. Having a celebrity tied to my campaign guarantees success.
It may sound contrary to common sense, but having that A-lister connected to your campaign doesn’t guarantee success. Sure, a recognizable name (and hopefully a tweet or Facebook post from them) might help get more eyeballs to your project. But guess what? If that campaign, its perspective, value and materials are lacking, you’ve given those viewers no reason to support it. Don’t believe us? Justin had a client where Snoop Dogg tweeted his support. From the more than 12,000 faves, retweets and replies, campaigns only increased by a whopping $45.
Guess what else? Having a celebrity attached to the project doesn’t guarantee they’ll ever mention it. In fact, some known names prefer to be a part of the promotion, even in name only. Having a celeb involved can be a helpful asset, but it’s not a shortcut to getting fully funded. Keep in mind that it’s still your project, your campaign, your passion. You have to do the work.
5. Most of my support will be from bugging my friends and family.
We get it. No one wants to annoy their loved ones, especially by asking for money. Guess what? You don’t have to. That’s the beauty of audience-building: if you’ve done the research and planning, you’ll know who you are trying to reach and where to find them. And chances are that your audience is not identical to your family and friends. Go where the audience is, build authentic connections and allow the quality of your project and campaign earn the support.
Don’t get us wrong; you should still tell Aunt Susan about your campaign. But realize that your true audience is probably not going to 1,000 Aunt Susans. Spend your time and energy building awareness your audience and give them the why: why this campaign matters, why they specifically should be interested and why they need to help make this happen. Build an authentic audience, and that will be your base of support (not good old Aunt Susan).