The Crowdfunder’s Bible

Instead of digging through my email every time someone asked for advice, I decided to aggregate them here: a comprehensive how-to of first hand experiences and tips from the crowdfunding world. Do you have a favorite article to share that I haven’t read? If so, please link it up below! UPDATED August 2014

 

This page is broken into sections: Best Practices, Features, Reach More People, Pitch Videos, and Extra Credit.

BEST PRACTICES

Taking the pain out of crowdfunding in “Take Away Crowdfunding Night Terrors”

This excellent Pinterest board is the visual version of this page.

I Get My Kicks From Campaign” – an excellent article with real-world advice, data, and insight.

An Introvert’s Guide to Crowdfunding,” from Nathan Williams who funded his feature film via Seed & Spark

What succeeds, by how much, and how often in Analyzing Kickstarter

Filmmaker Jeff Richards crowdfunded a sci-fi webseries and offers his tips in Notes from the Trenches.

Jake Stetler captured this panel at Flyway Film FestivalThe State of Indie Crowdfunding, with Lucas McNelly (A Year Without Rent), Jeremy Wilker (Death to Prom) and Paul Rachman (Co-Founder of Slamdance)

The must-read and must-own Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul, full of case studies by Film Collaborative. Get the book here.

FilmCourage hosted an Interactive Crowdfunding Panel with Lucas McNelly, Meg Pinsonneault, Zak Forsman, Victoria Wescott, and Adam Chapnick, founder of Indiegogo. Please note this is an audio file that costs $5 but it is worth ten times that.
http://www.filmcourage.com/content/hotpixel-post-productionfilm-courage-crowdfunding-panel-audio

Financing Your Micro-Budget Film: A Crowdfunding Case Study brought to you by Film Specific. Video interview with 2 filmmakers on how they used crowdfunding to help raise part of their $500k budget
http://www.filmspecific.com/public/1419.cfm  and,
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/victoriawestcott/locked-in-a-garage-band-feature-film/posts/62421

How To Run A Kickass Kickstarter Campaign: I follow King is a Fink on Twitter, and if you’re involved in film, you should too. But first listen to this podcast: They created whole backstories for every backer in their made-up town!
http://davecharest.com/how-to-run-a-kick-ass-kickstarter-campaign-podcast

Strategizing Your Crowdsourcing Campaign
http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/news/2010/05/strategizing-your-crowdsourcing-campaign/

The above article references this extremely important and comprehensive look at crowdfunding, The Good, Bad, and the Ugly.
http://coffeeandcelluloid.com/2010/05/18/my-kickstarter-experience-the-good-bad-and-ugly/

We could never talk about crowdfunding without pointing out Lucas McNelly’s experience on A Year Without Rent:
http://www.lucasmcnelly.com/2010/07/10-tips-for-successful-kickstarter.html

And that article references this one from Making the Movie:
http://makingthemovie.info/2011/01/kickstarter-and-rise-of-the-crowdfunded-filmmaking.html

Scott Macauley of Filmmaker Magazine also talks about the Year Without Rent Campaign:
http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/news/2011/01/a-come-from-behind-9th-inning-kickstarter-win/

A Pinterest site collecting multiple overcrowding articles and ideas, compiled by John Trigonis

The Spiritual Aspects of Crowdfunding” by Britta Reque-Dragicevic will help you find balance in the middle of what may feel like chaos.

This Kickstarter campaign suggest their own best practices, and gives The Crowdfunder’s Bible a nod!
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/staley33/todd-lucas-singer-songwriter-the-movie/posts/211066

Cliff Notes on Crowdfunding from the incredibly savvy Film Collab
http://www.filmindependent.org/resources/crowd-funding-cliff-notes/

Lucas McNelly‘s breakdown of over 500 Kickstarter campaigns by perk: Perk Distribution

The Tao of Crowdfunding: Three P’s for a Successful Campaign by John Trigonis. His film went to Cannes so listen up.
http://johntrigonis.com/2011/06/27/the-tao-of-crowd-funding-three-ps-for-a-successful-film-campaign/

More from the inspiring Joke & Biagio (follow them on Twitter), their must-read list: 14 Blog Posts That Helped Us Launch Our Kickstarter Campaign
http://www.jokeandbiagio.com/ten-posts-that-helped-us-launch-our-kickstarter-campaign

David Branin of FILM COURAGE provides a fantastic Crowd-Funding Cheat Sheet here:
http://filmcourage.blogspot.com/2010/05/david-branins-crowd-funding-cheat-sheet.html

Adam Chapnick, CEO of Distribber, on The Revolutionary Benefit to Crowd-Funding That No One Knows :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHJNeQ4I4ZY&feature=youtu.be

11 Filmmakers give their best advice on Rooftop Film’s Top Kickstarter Tips:
http://rooftopfilms.com/blog/2010/07/10-crowdfunding-tips-from-kickstarter-filmmakers.html

FILM COURAGE

Karen and David have in-depth knowledge of Kickstarter, from running their own campaigns to this series of video interviews they’ve conducted on the topic.

http://filmcourage.com/content/crowdfunding

Sheri Candler lays down the law: Watch This Before You Crowdfund

Do NOT reach out to Jon Reiss when it’s already too late for your campaign.

FEATURES

How a Feature Raised $12,000 in 30 Days (and they reference this site – thanks guys!)
Kickstarting Triumph

Zak Forsman (see below) takes to Reddit to share his experiences and answer questions:
Quick Advice on Crowdfunding for Filmmakers

Zak Forsman of the Sabi Company shares valuable, well-written insight into raising nearly $50,000 for Down and Dangerous:
http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/news/2011/10/the-microbudget-conversation-down-and-dangerous/

and Kevin Shah’s The Art of Fan-Raising
http://kevinkshah.com/2011/05/28/the-art-of-fan-raising-treating-fans-like-donors/

How Koo of No Film School raised $125k for Man-Child
http://nofilmschool.com/2011/09/how-i-raised-125000-on-kickstarter/

Koo references that he researched 20 articles of success stories, most of which are listed below, but here are his compilations in two sections:
First Ten
Second Ten

How Victoria Wescott raised 65% of her funds in one day on Kickstarter for “Locked In A Garage Band”
http://sistersmakemovies.blogspot.com/2011/03/crowdfunding-win-or-how-to-raise-65-of.html

Joke and Biagio video chat with Film Courage on their best crowdfunding tips for Dying to Do Letterman‘s Oscar nomination
http://filmcourage.com/content/joke-and-biago-talk-crowd-funding-dying-do-letterman

I Am I raised $100,000, and here is how they did it:
http://iamithefilm.com/blog/2011/2/1/raising-funds-on-kickstarter.html

Filmmaker Oklahoma Ward talks using Kickstarter for his films on Hard Core Indie [vide0]:
http://filmcourage.com/content/oklahoma-ward-talks-kickstarter

Filmmaker Gregory Bayne successfully crowdfunded the Jens Pulver documentary DRIVEN, and it was written up by Kickstarter themselves:
http://www.kickstarter.com/blog/success-story-jens-pulver-driven

Gregory Bayne (follow him on Twitter here) also wrote about his experience in THE CROWD:
http://workbookproject.com/newbreed/2010/03/16/the-crowd/

Filmmaker Gary King has run several successful Kickstarter campaigns in the $30k + range and shares with you in Lessons Learned in the Land of Crowdfunding
http://grking.com/2010/06/11/lessons-learned-in-the-land-of-crowdfunding-2/

Gary is also interviewed by CINEFIST about crowdfunding in Conversations About Crowdfunding [vide0]:
http://cinefist.com/category/videos/

Deeply insightful and helpful, Jennifer Fox has a 3 part post on Hope for Film about her successful six figure record-breaking Kickstarter experience on  MY REINCARNATION:
PART I
PART II
PART III

Actor Gary Ploski shares his experiences running the campaign for Rising Star the Movie Kickstarter Campaign Review:
http://garyploski.com/rising-star-the-movie-kickstarter-campaign-review

Jeanie Finlay from across the pond shares her experiences crowdfunding a documentary on Indiegogo in Sound It Out: Adventures in Crowdfunding
http://www.directorsnotes.com/2010/11/14/sound-it-out-adventures-in-crowd-funding/

REACH MORE PEOPLE

The Creators of Improv Everywhere talk Kickstarter
Reaching Beyond Friends & Family

Growing your email list

Infographic from Indiegogo: When do campaigns make the most money?
http://www.indiegogo.com/blog/2012/07/indiegogo-insight-winning-the-middle-game.html

Joke and Biagio also guest posted for Ted Hope with this critical analysis, How To Build An Emotional Connection With Your Audience
http://blogs.indiewire.com/tedhope/archives/guest_post_joke_and_biagio_how_to_build_an_emotional_connection_with_your_a/

From independent producer Ted Hope, an article on “Getting Beyond Your Family and Friends.

Fantastic post from Meg Pinsonneault, aka Thirsty Girl Films (and the only one about Indiegogo so far), Networking Novice to Social Media Maven: How Crowd Funding and Social Media Made Me a Better Filmmaker:
http://filmcourage.com/content/networking-novice-social-maven-how-crowd-funding-and-social-networking-made-me-better

Crowdfunding: Think Like a Marketer and Increase Conversions on CineSpin:
http://cinespin.com/indie-film-funding-crowdfunding/crowdfunding-think-like-a-marketer-increase-conversions/

Filmmakers Etta and Gabriel, behind film festival success, The Selling, talk about “How to Attract Backers.”

PITCH VIDEOS

Of course if you’re going to start anywhere, start with the down to earth how-to from Kickstarter themselves to start thinking about pitch videos:
http://blog.kickstarter.com/post/173046259/creators-guide-to-video

Creating a short, unique, killer pitch video
http://www.chrisjonesblog.com/2012/05/how-to-create-a-short-emotive-engaging-emailable-and-unique-killer-pitch-for-your-movie.html

Speaking of which, one of the best pitch videos of all time is the one for I Am I:
http://blog.kickstarter.com/post/2731694704/best-in-show-project-video

Joke & Biagio on “Creating a Powerful Pitch Video” for your campaign.

CROWDFUNDING 201 (by Lucas McNelly)

Best Friends Forever- Brea Grant’s post apocalyptic road movie.

Capturing an ‘Impasse’- how a Twitter narrative became a short.

Learning From Your Mistakes- one project turns around it’s big problem.

Making Your Campaign An Event- turn weaknesses into strengths.

Matthew Lillard Talks Campaign Secrets of “Fat Kid”- 90′s icon and indie filmmaker Matthew Lillard on the campaign for his feature “Fat Kid Rules The World”.

Anatomy of a Failure- a frank and open discussion with the team behind “617 The Series”.

How’d They Do That?- the surprising campaign for the documentary “I’m Fine, Thanks”.

Seth Godin’s Miracle Campaign is No Miracle- the title says it all.

Movie Cloud’s Messaging Problem- a look at filmmaking guru Dov Simen’s ambitious but struggling campaign.

By The Numbers- what Lucas looks for when analyzing a campaign.

Once More Unto The Breach?- Lucas reflects on some options for a campaign he was involved in that failed to reach its goal.

Three Things We Must Never Speak Of Again – Seriously, don’t ask him anymore.

Kicktraq Predicts the Future – Using data to project crowdfunding gains

Asian Bad Guys – an in-depth interview with a filmmaker about why his project is struggling, despite doing it everything right

Burn Fails to Catch the Second Time Around – Is it double dipping, or is the campaign?

BONUS: Crowdfunding 101: Ten Things You MUST Do- Lucas and Noah each bring five essential crowdfunding tips to the table.

EXTRA CREDIT

Enjoy some common sense found within Tax Consequences of a Successful Kickstarter campaign. Maybe you’d rather start a 501 c3 instead?
http://filmcourage.com/node/244

And new today, a fantastic post from Joke & Biagio who are raising the bar on the central piece of advice from Sheri Candler: GIVE BACK. No one likes a me-centric campaign just so you can go faff around making “art.” Follow all their updates on DYING TO DO LETTERMAN on their Kickstarter page, pledge to the project, and watch the masters at work. Start with this article:
http://www.indiewire.com/article/2011/07/11/the_21_secrets_to_the_success_of_the_kickstarter_oscar_campaign

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If this helped you, share it with someone. Thanks for reading,

Wonder

  1. Hi Bella! I recently wrote an article that Film Courage have added to their own crowdfunding bible. Please take a look http://filmcourage.com/node/680

  1. Pingback: The Crowdfunder’s Bible: Great List of Resources! thank you, Wonder Russell for pulling it altogether! | Transmedia Camp 101

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