Top Ten Reasons You’re Not Ready To Launch A Crowdfunding Campaign

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 1.  Your intention is unclear.  Are you raising funds for preproduction, production or post?  Be specific: state your intention before or after the synopsis of the project and your name.

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2.  You have a photo in place of having a campaign pitch video.  Potential donors want to see you, an idea or actual footage of your project, and an emotional component that makes them compelled to give to your campaign.  First and foremost, shoot a campaign video.  Have great sound.  Be in the video.
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(Watch the video interview here)

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Filmmakers, Stop Making Horrible Crowdfunding Pitch Videos by Seed & Spark Founder/CEO Emily Best

Watch her FilmCourage video series here.

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3.  Using your film’s trailer as the pitch video.  Again, potential donors want to see you and your team (if you have a team, if not, then your smiling face).  If you’re camera shy, use it to incorporate a fun angle of this point and show up anyway.  There are thousands of ways to creatively present yourself that don’t require a newsroom style pitch and reading a teleprompter.  People are more likely to back/support a person than they are a project.
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4.  The crowdfunding pitch is all about what you need ($$$$$).  Potential donors want to hear and see parts of the potential story, cause, or idea that will enrich themselves or another. ‘Please help us make XYZ project’ is fine, however, using this angle as your main pitch won’t necessarily draw people in.   Example of This:  Please help us make XYZ project because it showcases one man’s struggle to overcome his corrupt father’s legacy in an unforgiving small town environment.  We want to show our viewers that XYZ is an underdog story where good may not always prevail, but a man’s true values are never compromised.’
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5. Being too brief in your synopsis or info category.  Incomplete description or lack of detail about crew members, characters, plot, etc. shows you may not care enough about the project and are half-heartedly hoping to raise money.  Example of This:  ‘This is an awesome indie film about a girl’s love for her prize horse.  Please support our project!!!!!!  Thank you much!’  A few paragraphs about the story and your plans with it give us more.  It helps us decide if we want to invest and exhibits the filmmaker’s care for the campaign.

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6.  Your bio is lacking description.  Even if this is your first time holding a camera or you’ve yet to finish college (or high school), potential donors want to know something about you.   And we bet there are many interesting things you can share with people!  Your bio can be a mix of serious, quirky, scholastic/film related accomplishments and even a personal fun fact (i.e., that you love to spend time at the water with your dog Muffin).  Severely short bios shut the potential donor down and presents an image that you don’t care (about yourself, others, the project).  Beware the overly written bios, too.  A few paragraphs at best will work.

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7.  Little or no photos on your campaign page.  Let’s say you’re crowfunding for pre-production. There are no set photos and you don’t have a cast attached. You can still find some images to post.  They don’t have to be copyright violated photos from another’s website.  You can create an infographic, collage or simple photo visually explaining your point.  It’s helpful if words/phrases about your campaign are within the graphic.  However, if you’re not a Photoshop wiz, you can still get creative with relevant images from your phone, etc.

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8.  Having a long, awkward title for the campaign.  Descriptive is good.  Overly wordy is confusing.  Example of This:  ‘The Experimental Quasi Kubrick Inspired Antiutopian Independent Project from Professor Smith’s Independent Filmmaking 103 Class at Sunrise Vista City College’ is probably too much information.  Have relevant words within the title for SEO purposes, but be brief. .

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9.  Putting down your work and/or yourself within the pitch video.  Self-deprecating humor is usually fun to laugh at.  A filmmaker who plays the “I suck and so does my work, but please donate to my campaign card’ conjures up images of the Groucho Marx saying ‘I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.’  Maybe you don’t walk across hot coals in triumph every day.  However, you’re creative and diligent enough launch a crowdfunding campaign.   Think Madonna ‘Express Yourself!’  Save the put downs for the therapist’s office.

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10.  Bragging and appearing overly confident in the pitch video.  People feel put off by this because they have to be told how much better you are than they (and let’s face it, most people don’t feel good about their accomplishments even if others continually praise them).  Let individuals discover the magnitude of your accomplishments on their own and they’ll be less mad at you.  It’s great to let people know you are an award-winning director, writer, etc.  There is a fine line to finesse in alerting the audience about your accomplishments and how your mother loved you best from all the other siblings.  It’s absolutely fine to explain if you are a major festival alum, since this instills confidence in your potential donors that your next project will be of a similar caliber.  Try filming one video take mentioning all of your accolades, then film another few takes as if you are speaking to someone one-on-one for an expensive lunch (and they’re picking up the tab).  See which take shows more sincerity.  Letting a viewer see images of your accolades instead of hearing it from you might be another alternative (example festival laurels, a video montage of awards, etc.).
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(Watch the video here)
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From the creator of I’m Not Matt Damon…