The Seed&Spark Blog

Film Crowdfunding
Spotlight on: Kevin Keck & 'Manufactured Luck'

August 17, 2021

• Bri Castellini

Filmmaker Kevin Keck's Manufactured Luck raised $3,035 for production on Seed&Spark. The short film is now officially in post-production, and dives into the day to day life of a young Appalachian girl and her grandfather as the two attempt to win a bike in a local grocery store sweepstakes. The campaign itself was wholesome and heartfelt, and we particularly loved their $25 incentive, a random digital East Tennessee recipe to try at home, wherever that may be for you.


What's the latest on Manufactured Luck?

Manufactured Luck just completed post-production in early September. Soon after, we released the film's trailer (see below!). Our team is excited to enter festivals worldwide that highlight family dramas and rural-centric films. We've planned a cast, crew, and Seed&Spark supporter screening for October at our local independent theatre. The theatre is just a block or two away from one of the film's locations: a small walk-up restaurant where my grandparents met almost 60 years ago! Soon, we'll be releasing a behind-the-scenes documentary of the film. You'll be able to find that on our social media pages as well as on our Seed&Spark page.

What’s something you wish you’d known before you launched?

I wish that I had prepared better for the length of my campaign. I felt prepared for the launch of the campaign, and even through the first couple of weeks. But, when the clock is ticking down and you still have to meet your goal, it can be overwhelming.


If I was doing the campaign over, I would take the time to better coordinate the campaign with our social media. I'd have a plan for further incentivizing people to stay up to date on our campaign and to more importantly spread the word about the story we were trying to tell. Luckily, I connected with a very knowledgeable supporter who helped tremendously to promote the film in the final days before we reached our goal. I'd also further prepare to keep the entire "Manufactured Luck family" up to date after our campaign and through to post-production.



What’s something during crowdfunding that surprised you?

Crowdfunding, like filmmaking, is full of surprises. What surprised me the most was how the crowdfunding process with Seed&Spark ignited a community of filmmakers that rallied around our story. Sure, a lot of our supporters were people I knew from previous projects and my local film community. But I was thrilled with the number of people who stumbled across our story, wanted to connect, and then wanted to support our film.

But I learned quickly: crowdfunding is A LOT of work. Whether it's keeping the campaign on track to reach our goal, interfacing with our supporters, or fulfilling our incentives, this process takes time. Crowdfunding (and doing it the RIGHT way) can't be an afterthought. It was more of a balancing act between preparing for production and providing a way to make production possible for our team and our budget.



What advice would you give interested crowdfunders who may be apprehensive?

My advice? Simply, go for it. I was on the fence about whether to crowdfund for Manufactured Luck. But I knew that to tell this story as well as it could be told, we needed additional funds. Seed&Spark took my team through the whole process and acted as our guide in a very difficult and crucial moment for our project. Sure, be prepared and don't take it lightly. But when you're ready, jump in with both feet.


What advice would you give current crowdfunders who are in the thick of it?

Keep going! There will be plenty of roadblocks, but it’s a worthwhile struggle. Make connections with other filmmakers and learn from them. If you find a project that inspires you, follow it. Learn all you can about why it inspires you and how you can bring that same energy to your project. Also, utilize the notes from the Seed&Spark team. Everything that they helped us improve and refine about our campaign better connected us to our audience. It changed the way we talked to other people about our film. A few of those tips have even assisted us as we have transitioned to sending our film to festivals.



Are you a member of any film organizations who have helped you get to where you are? Shout them out!

I'd love to thank the East Tennessee filmmaking community as well as the Chapman University (Dodge College) alumni community for all their heartfelt and generous support. This film would not have been possible without all the hard work, love, and guidance that multiple members of those communities have provided.


What’s next for you/the project you crowdfunded for/both?

As for my next project, I would love to transition to feature films. I have written a magical-realism script set in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. The logline for the film is, after the death of a beloved aunt, two cousins return to their hometown in the Smoky Mountains and embark on a dream-fueled journey of self-discovery where they face grief and struggle to grow as their family falls apart.


It's very similar in tone to Manufactured Luck. So, in a lot of ways, both projects have inspired each other. I am looking forward to what stories lie ahead in the future!


We can't wait to see what's next for Manufactured Luck! And if you're getting started with your own crowdfunding journey, we're here to help.



Bri Castellini

Bri Castellini is the Film Community Manager for Seed&Spark, a graduate-level adjunct professor for digital media, an award-winning independent filmmaker, and, regrettably, a podcaster. She's known for the web series Brains (creator/star), Sam and Pat Are Depressed (creator/star), Relativity (executive producer), and Better With You (director), as well as the short films Ace and Anxious and Buy In (writer/director for both), and for her podcasts Burn, Noticed and Breaking Out of Breaking in, covering the USA television show Burn Notice and practical filmmaking advice, respectively. She has been described by collaborators as a "human bulldozer" and is honestly kind of flattered.



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