As an independent documentary filmmaker, crowdfunding can be a dream come true. It offers you the ability to gain valuable and substantial financial support for your film, with minimal financial output.
But of course it is not as simple as just asking a crowd of people for money.
What crowdfunding lacks in necessity of financial output, it requires in time and organizational load.
Running a crowdfunding campaign can be A LOT of work, at least if you want to be successful!
Here are some considerations you may want to make before you begin your crowdfunding journey.
5 reasons FOR running a crowdfunding campaign:
#1. You have the ability to decide when you run your campaign and for how long it will run. This gives you the time and space to build the necessary resources and strategies to hit the ground running when you’re ready to launch.
#2. You decide how much you’ll ask for. You could aim to fund a phase of your project, such as production, post-production or distribution, or go all out and try to meet your whole budget requirement.
#3. You offer rewards and not a portion of your film. You won’t be giving away any creative or financial control of your film project (unless you choose to).
#4. You can pre-sell your film. You can offer your completed film as a reward – either as a download or physical copy or both – and effectively pre-sell at a higher price point than you will on its release.
#5. You will grow your audience and fan base. You can exponentially increase the number of people aware of your project, which will reflect in your reach, including social media and email list. Also, those who back your project may assist in promoting it and will eagerly anticipate it’s release.
5 reasons AGAINST running a crowdfunding campaign:
#1. You may have little time for anything else. While your campaign is running you will most likely be a full-time promoter and spokesperson for your project. You will eat, breathe and sleep driving this campaign to fruition.
#2. You will have a lot to prepare and organize. As well as the campaign page, you will need to prepare social media, blog posts, newsletters, and more. This can be stressful and uncomfortable if you are not an organized person or proficient in computer use.
#3. You will be riding a wave of emotions. Regardless of how organized you are, there will be ups and downs in your campaign. This can take an emotional and physical toll on you, especially if you are eventually unable to meet your goal.
#4. You must get the reward balance right. You want the rewards you’re offering to be enticing enough for people to support you, but not too cost prohibitive that you’re giving away your film funds. Get this wrong and it won’t feel good.
#5. You will be opening yourself up to others thoughts and opinions. You will be open and descriptive about your film and about what you’re attempting to do. Also, you personally, will be the face of your project. This is a vulnerable position to be in, especially if you receive criticism or push-back.
So as you can see there is a lot to consider when contemplating running a crowd funding campaign. And truthfully, only you will know if it is the right funding resource for you and your film.
However, as you can see from both the reasons for and against crowdfunding, to give yourself the best chance of success you must utilize your time and resources effectively and have the structure and organization to showcase and promote your film and campaign in the right way.
If you are considering running a crowd funding campaign and are looking for advice on what you’ll need to prepare and how to run your campaign, then consider joining our The Documentary Academy, where we have tutorials and templates to help guide and support you.