Some more thoughts about crowdsourcing, based on my experience as part of the “Reply To All” campaign team, my first experience of Kickstarter fundraising. This is part II - you can read part I of this article here.
Get All The Money
Fourth lesson: remember that you will not get all the money to spend on your project. Even if successful, a percentage is paid to the crowdsourcing website, and another large bite will be needed to pay for the rewards.
You Are A Filmmaker, Damn It!
Fifth lesson: Use your talents for the campaign. You are a filmmaker, damn it! (unless you are something else) and I’m fairly sure a Kickstarter campaign video is a kind of film. So produce it like a film – write a script, use locations wisely, rehearse, shoot in decent quality with good lighting and sound, and pay attention to editing and post-production. We had lots of lovely feedback about our campaign video in particular.
If you are not a filmmaker but, say, a graphic artist or musician – the same applies, make sure you incorporate your own artwork or music into your campaign, and give it the best production value you can.
Dive Straight In
Final lesson: before you dive straight in, I would recommend studying successful campaigns, particularly for similar projects. Follow or back one or two interesting-looking projects yourself so you get a feel for the process, and watch plenty of videos before making yours. We learnt a lot, particularly about choices of reward, and the importance of keeping the updates flowing, from other short film campaigns.
Thanks to our backers, we’ve already been able to shoot “Reply To All” at a standard that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible, and I can't wait to see the final result once the edit is complete. As director I found that the involvement of backers was a great motivator when we were under pressure, I felt I wanted to keep going and create something worthy of all the support.
Crowdfunding is definitely an option for funding an artistic project provided you have the stamina and organization. There’s very little to lose and everything to gain. However at time of writing the Kickstarter success rate is about 43% (up to date figure here) so a Plan B is a good idea – despite all the hard work we put into achieving our result I know luck also played a part.