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Crowdfunding has proved to be an important source of income for many people working in the creative industries and some projects might not have happened if it wasn´t for crowdfunding. Creative projects cost money, it takes time to make them and the financial results of the finished project/product (if there are some) are not always predictable. Not everyone has rich parents or a sugar daddy to rely on, and many find it to time consuming to apply for grants and funding from local and/or governmental funds for their projects.
When speaking of successful crowdfunding projects, it´s fitting to mention Capital C, a documentary by Timon Birkhofer about the crowdfunding revolution. 586 backers pledged $84,298 of $80,000 goal in June this year. Check out his cool video about the documentary project on Kickstarter or on the project’s website. According to Birkhofer the shooting will start early August and finishing by the end of November this year.
‘The whole movie is scheduled for March, when we are planning to ship the DVDs to our Kickstarter backers. We also aim on festivals during next year’, says Birkhofer.
Award winning documentaries Indie Game: The Movie by BlinkWorks and Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry by Alison Klayman are both successful on Kickstarter. Another succesful crowdfunded documentary is My Reincarnation, a documentary by Jennifer Fox about a Tibetan master in exile and his relationship with his Italian born son. The project broke all records on Kickstarter, raising more than $150.000 or 300% of it´s goal.
Noteworthy crowdfunding project
Björn Flóki is a young filmmaker in New York who currently has his first project on Kickstarter, Drag Dad. The film is an independent documentary about a six-year-old boy named Jeremiah and his father, the drag queen superstar named Tyra Sanchez. Sanchez has been in the limelight since 2010 when his creator James William Ross IV, a 24-year-old single father living in Atlanta, won RuPaul’s Drag Race, a popular reality show in the USA. At 17, James was kicked out of his parents house for being gay and had a baby with his best friend Cynithia. Docs & Film Festivals dropped Flóki an email to ask him few questions about his project.
‘I have been a fan of the reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race from the beginning, and always found contestant Tyra Sanchez a captivating personality. In February 2012 I contacted James and was delighted to find that he was as excited about making the documentary as I was. He wanted to show the world his real life and true personality, which is hard to represent accurately in a reality competition show. From that point on we teamed up and have been trying to make this film since then,’ says Flóki.
Plan and organize your action
A lot of work was carried out before launching the project on Kickstarter. Flóki shot footage with Tyra for the Kickstarter video and trailer, collected photos and quotes to the film.
‘One thing we did not count on was the amount of research and time needed to map out the networks and press contacts needed to get the word out about the film. At least a couple of weeks of solid planning and organization prior to launch is needed to run a successful Kickstarter campaign.’
So far Flóki´s Kickstarter video has got more than 40.000 views and appeared on hundreds of blogs. As of today, 430 backers have pledged $14,128 of 16,000 goal. Flóki says that unlike most Kicktstarter campaigns, he and his team wanted to include all of the costs associated with making this film, from start to finish when they decided on their goal. If they reach it, the $16,000 should cover pre-production, production, post-production, promotions, film festival costs and the costs of the Kickstarter rewards themselves but as Flóki points out,
‘15-20% of each of each contributor’s pledge actually goes towards the rewards that they receive, the costs of which add up with the production, packaging and postage that have to be taken into account. On top of that, Kickstarter and Amazon receive 7-10% of all the funds raised through our campaign’.
Powerful marketing tool
Flóki says he didn´t explore many other crowdfunding sites besides Kickstarter.
‘Firstly, we needed to raise the money in a short amount of time. Secondly, a good Kickstarter campaign can serve as a powerful marketing tool if done right. We’ve been lucky enough to have been featured on Kickstarter’s “Staff Picks” and “Popular” sections, which has helped. I’ve also heard that the “all-or-nothing” model of Kickstarter is a strong incentive for people to contribute, as it provides an immediacy that Indiegogo does not. But I’m aware of great Indiegogo campaigns that have raised a lot of money. Either site should work fine if the project itself has merit, and enough time is spent on getting the word out.’
Flóki’s pledge ends Friday Jul 27 8:30pm EDT. When asked about his b-plan if he does not reach his goal, Flóki says that he might develop sponsorship opportunities with LGBT organizations or other financial supporters that might be interested in funding a film of this kind.
‘This is, however, a much more complicated ordeal and as a fundraising method it is not a sure thing by any means’.
If the goal will be reached, Flóki and his team hopes to finish the film in the fall of 2012 and submit it to as many film festival as the budget allows them to.
For more info on crowdfunding, check out the following:
Crowdfunding 101 – posted on Docs & Film Festivals July 23rd 2012.
The new thundering herd – Wanted: small sums of money to finance young companies. Click here to invest – The Economist, June 12th 2012.
Crowdfunding – Micro no more – The Economist, January 22nd 2012.
Putting your money where your mouse is – The Economist, September 2nd 2010.
Various articles on crowdfunding related to My Reincarnation, a documentary by Jennifer Fox about a Tibetan master in exile and his relationship with his Italian born son. The project broke all records on Kickstarter, raising more than $150.000 or 300% of it´s goal.
7 Things You Need To Know Before Launching Your Crowdfunding Campaign – article on Sponsume.com.
The 7 Deadly Sins of Crowdfunding – article on Sponsume.com.
Pick your project
There is a lot of interesting documentary projects out there currently pledging for funding on crowdfunding platforms. Go on, pick yours to support on these crowdfunding websites;