Film CrowdfundingSpotlight on: Paula Rhodes & 'Delicate State'
August 16, 2021
Paula Rhodes' feature directorial debut Delicate State raised $4,864 for finishing funds on Seed&Spark. Filmed over the course of their actual pregnancy, Paula and her husband Charlie document their impending parenthood as Civil War breaks out in the US in this exciting, fictionalized (though more real than they could have ever anticipated) war thriller.
What's the latest on Delicate State?
What a year it's been! As our crowdfund was in progress we got the word that we'd been chosen for a special debut screening at the Hollywood Arclight by Slamdance and The Chimaera Project, so we were speeding through post! Buuuuuuut that was spring of 2020, so COVID had other plans. Let's take a moment of silence for the Arclight ... sigh. We took the year to polish her up and now are so thrilled to be about to have our World Premiere at the famous Chinese Theatres as an official selection of Dances With Films on Saturday, August 28th at 7:30pm. I would LOVE to see you there — tickets here.
Why did you decide to crowdfund?
We wrapped up the day before lockdowns started so you could say we had a photo finish, ha! "They're expecting, but not Civil War." This was a docufiction that veered dangerously close to becoming a documentary and remains an urgently needed cautionary tale. We shot over the course of my actual pregnancy with no script and leads as two-man crew. If I can do this, I sure hope other filmmakers feel empowered to tell their tales.
What’s something you wish you’d known before you launched your campaign?
Having advanced knowledge of the impending pandemic would have been helpful (I'm sure the rest of the world agrees), but we really lucked out on timing and rolled with the punches as they came. I do wish I'd known more press contacts as amplification always helps. But really, I felt very prepared and supported for this campaign and the Seed&Spark team helped a ton with that. Ooo I know — I wish I had had the bandwidth to have the social media accounts set up prior to the campaign as growing those simultaneously would have been an easier lift.
What’s something during crowdfunding that surprised you?
I luckily went into my crowdfunding with quite a few successful campaigns under my belt already, so I knew the lay of the land and how much of a job it is. I however had not run one completely solo before though (or made a film that way) so let me just say that having a team is delightful and I look forward to my next one, ha! I would say that you really need to preproduce the whole month. Have every perk roll-out and announcement strategically staggered and planned to sustain interest, have the visuals done prior and ready to just go live with, make it as easy for yourself during the run as you can by doing it ahead of launch, as so much of your energy will be poured into using your passion to drive the asks all month. When it's something you're passionately behind though, that you love, that will come through and get others excited. Oooo, and make perk delivery easy - avoid heavy items, make a spreadsheet to track everything, just go full A-brain.
What advice would you give interested crowdfunders who may be apprehensive?
You GOT this! Pre-plan what your whole campaign rollout will be, stagger the fun announcements and perks. Check out other successful pages and copy what's worked - make it pretty and an example of the level of art you deliver. Once you have all the dominos lined up and set, maybe even an exclusive press piece set, THEN launch. Utilize the Seed&Spark team, they've done this rodeo and can really help guide and advise you.
What advice would you give current crowdfunders who are in the thick of it?
Just keep swimming! If you hadn't preplanned your campaign prior, take a moment and really do it now. Come up with a few fun new perks or announcements each week. They give you a clear reason to reach out to your networks again. Make a press release and reach out to local and relevant press (ie: college press from your school or hometown and those of your cast/crew, local radio, genre related outlets, influencers in your genre). No one will hustle for you quite like you, so set the pace.
Are you a member of any film organizations who have helped you get to where you are? Shout them out!
The Chimaera Project has to get my biggest shout out. They really gave me the confidence, first influx of finishing funds, and continued championing that I needed. I cannot recommend them highly enough for every female and nonbinary filmmaker out there.
What’s next for you and Delicate State?
Our premiere and all the excitement around the fest is up first! Then hopefully a lovely festival run followed by distribution and availability on screens near you. Meanwhile, I truck on aggressively fighting back against that pick-a-lane mentality with all of my hats. I'm filming an episode of TV this week, continuing our Streamily signings for Resident Evil fans (I'm a big bad in Village and Biohazard), and I have a script I wrote with the amazing Tara Platt, America Young and Beverly Hynds in the pipes as well. I apparently hate free time.
We can't wait to see what's next for Delicate State! And if you're getting started with your own crowdfunding journey, we're here to help.