Campaign Execution with Nathan Williams and Natalie Johns
Okay, so I want to talk about campaign execution I want to get a kind of mini gritty about a couple of things I want to start with I think I can advance this myself so like I said before you guys had these great sort of like weeklong themes and you really you made each week feel different and fun and exciting and I just learned today that the thunder games which I have been talking about in every class I've ever talks I thought it was so clever was was something that you learned from your time for from friends you made on the obama campaign yeah ok, you know, a I worked on the obama campaign and thank you it is it was fun and I have a good number of friends that stayed in that world I went back and said I'm gonna make my little movies but you know really talented really driven really smart people and you know, but they make government salaries don't make a lot of money to support my movies so they're all like how can we help? And this this concept came about after we'd already launched...
this wasn't part of the plan that my good friend joe concha had this concept of a of a contest that you know, people are competitive especially campaign people kind of tapping into that world that if we set up a contest of different teams and we decided do it based on city of who raised the most money per city, you know, you declare your allegiance, we didn't like find people's, credit card, zip codes and things that they would get some, you know, extra incentive, but ultimately was about bragging rights. So, you know, we recruited sort of team captains, uh, different parts of the country. Thie ultimately came down to d, c, minnesota and indiana, but you're not like, you know, funding powerhouses for the arts necessarily, but that's, why you chose them, it's just where we had a nucleus of people, you know, and ultimately we needed that one person to be the captain that, you know, I mean, one thing in a way we way always learned was, you know, don't just get someone a volunteer, get someone to then recruit vultures for you to be to empower them to become leaders on dh we re constantly trying to find other ways to do this, but this is the most successful, so once this launched it, really, I didn't do much, you know? I mean, I hustled a lot in this campaign, but this is one thing I can say I made the little dumb little graphics and updated every now and then, but people don't walk us through the structure of this campaign, so what you guys can see right now is this is the first half of the update, or the first third of the update that announces the thunder games, and but this also happened, like, right around the time that hunger games was out, so top of mind for people, you mean the concept? We didn't have a name for it, I think one of the captains and martinez came up with the name, we had a little contest season name it. So, uh, thank you. Outsource everything. Yeah, source all the thing, yes, assume that other people have better ideas than you do. Yeah, that's, how we need to stay in detour I took to twitter and I was like, what do we call this thing if we're going everywhere? Yeah, so, yeah, I mean, we just way had the team's recruited, and we kind of talked about basically what would be involved, and then we set a launch date, so we did all this behind the scenes, we didn't start promoting it, so we had it all in place, and then, um then we just launched, and they ran, and they had, like, a a little running email list that they you know, talk trash to each other and, uh and I would just be like, all right, nice work, guys, keep it going. Um, it was it was awesome, and it was a way to engage people in a different way, you know, people that are necessarily into indie film, but they were into indie film through this portal, right? You know? Well, so there's, so many things that are cool about this, the first one is crowd funding has been around for a long time before it came to the internet, you guys, and we don't have to learn everything from other filmmakers who crowd funded campaign managers, people who run political campaigns, listen to an npr or like a public radio station, dr they know everything about how to make a matching campaign work about how to create short term incentives to get people involved. Learning from other fundraising experts is really important, so I love that I learned this today and that's going to affect how I talk about this in the future. Also, I was saying wisconsin, not minnesota. I know minnesota one crushed and and we did our the thing they won was they got to see the movie first, so we did. Our test screening a couple months back in minneapolis in the dead of winter was very calm but this is super cool they set out different prizes so the gold prizes for most raise the silver's for most supporters the bronze is for most followers and that meant everybody was a winner to see what they did there this is this is one of the greatest things about this contest is that there was not a chance not to get something for participating the other thing about this was I mean as you said empowering what do you say volunteers to become leaders it's about how do you incentivize somebody to become an evangelist and you pick three cities where maybe you have that first thirty percent like we talked about you want to know who your first thirty percent is so you focus on places where you know you have people and how do you get them to get their friends? Is friends, friends involved in the campaign and it's a risk right? It's a risk to focus a week of your campaign on three cities you don't think of his film or fundraising capitals right that's a risk but it really paid off for you guys, which I think is just so it was such an exciting thing to watch and we actually got one of our equity investors threw it through the contest like, hey, I want to give more top thing I'm like, you know yeah, you should come on let's get on a call thank you yeah well so that I mean and that's another one of those incredible ancillary benefits of crowd funding is if you're demonstrating creativity you're demonstrating audience that's actually what gets equity investors excited they want traction right? Our films have to play like tech companies these days in order to get funding you know angel investors are being trained by the tech industry that what you want to see his traction will crowd funding is a great way to demonstrate traction can I mean I like we said we had our equity level but it was like we raised all that money and we're done like we were we thought this is what we could do and we were doing it but thie all the investors were super interested in the crowd funding campaign some of them donated through the crowd funding campaign as well as investing but yeah, it was an incredible asset so it led to more more of our budget than just the amount we raised through six part you didn't get a cut of that part that's fine I'm fine that you made a beautiful movie that is all the thank you that we need for that natalie yes I wanted tio talk to you because you did some live events stuff and I'm curious about because this is we're in the campaign execution part talked to me about the live events and how you plan them and how they played out well, it was way had a lot of event back in south africa specifically at the skate park were telling gees asleep where used to live and it actually came from the crowd they came to us a couple of guys what you think was a mutual idea I got this in once we launch the campaign I got this incredibly beautiful letter from one man who was just, you know, so unbelievably grateful he just said that he had known telling for so many years he'd wanted to help you didn't have high here's our family it was very difficult to take talent in and so I said, well, here it is one way you could help maybe we could do something together back in south africa because I knew there was a whole level of funders that couldn't really back there that's really existed crowdfunding campaign because they were either too young or not that I was capitalizing on kids, but, you know, there was there was a level of support or, you know, they just didn't have the same sort of connection or understanding how to participate or the finances to participate at the level that, you know, we were asking everybody else to participate so we talked about with this guy who was so, you know, excited to be here about telling success we talked about sitting up in event back there where people could contribute cash donations and they could run competitions and basically we are sponsors were really excited, but we had a huge crowd when we had maybe I don't know two, three hundred kids come down and they were radical petition and they had their own videos and I took a bunch of stills and telling couldn't get there actually was back for a visit with my family and talent was still in nn he stepped in and he talked to everybody and it was it was incredibly moving because, you know, the kids started doing this thing at one stage where they were going, you know, waving to him and just saying, I am telling you I am telling, you know, there was such a they were resonating so much with his story and he's such a there's, another mural up on the wall back there it was such a beautiful day with such a celebration I mean, more than the money we raised, you know, in south african money versus american money it was, you know, small, but the support and the opportunity for locals back home who knew him and have known him for a long time to participate was I think was a great opportunity for them and he just has such a huge following back turns out that process it helped us generate price and people you know yeah and tons more assets right? You had all this video you had all this social media reach you had a bunch of stills and like let's take it up a level and say what did storytellers do? You know when what have they done for thousands of years they rallied the community together they've unified us in different ways and what I think is so cool about what you're describing and how crowdfunding campaigns and particularly live events during the execution of the campaign demonstrate to people there is a really physical community gathering around this story teller right? We're sort of gathering around the campfire together and we're learning about each other and we're connecting with one another and it like I think in some sense is this this is a good example of how we are reminded of the power of storytelling beyond like I'm going to make a movie and like get it into a big festival and be famous it's like no, I'm doing something that is profoundly and deeply meaningful to the lives of people even if it's I mean as you said in your video nathan to entertain you right but it is also to unify all these people in minnesota and indiana and dc around something they don't normally think of its introducing a bunch of people who you know I think you brought a lot of the independent film community into skating to be perfectly honest on dh. Certainly a lot of the skate community into the filmmaking process, you know, because they could really understand something about what you were doing.