Messaging to Your Audience
So we're already crowdfunding and one of these things that these interview questions air really getting us to is messaging we're trying to figure out what you're saying about your project that's compelling where you are saying it, what are the social media platforms and who's going to help you amplify that message right? Who are the sort of the influencers or potential partners along the way? Who might help you tee up your message? And the interesting thing about this information is that it could positively affect the actual thing that you make so if you go out and you discover oh my gosh oddly, I interviewed twenty five people and like twenty three of them said, I like techno music maybe you want to put some of that into the score of your film or at least consider putting that in your pitch video, right? Because you know there's a really compelling argument for why that's appealing to your crowd in another case, you might consider that. So when we made our my first feature film called...
like the water we this was sort of the genesis of seed in spark the wish list came from we needed a way to raise money we didn't want to ask for a pile of money we had ah whole bunch of stuff that we needed more like we'll just ask our friends for stuff and see what happens ins and we needed twenty thousand in cash we raised twenty three thousand cash and hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans and gift of stuff and the cool thing about that was we got offered locations that were so beautiful and so beyond what we thought we could ever get we rewrote the script to incorporate them and I think it's because we communicated something about what we really wanted our film to be and our community expended the empathic space in which we were creating and that made a much better movie than we would have made if we'd stayed very insular and sort of behind those doors there's another like this is part of the creative element of crowdfunding I think it's so exciting so get good at this message testing I think it's going to make you better filmmaker partnerships can take a long time to on board I can't tell you how often filmmakers were like oh I'm making an lgbt film I'm gonna get the value on board or I'm going to get you know p flag on board I'm gonna get all these organizations on board I'm like cool how right those organizations are assaulted with partnership requests they have massive mailing lists that they use for their own purposes right? So if you're going to get a partner or a brand or an influencer of any kind on board you want to do this style of interview you know in order to figure out really how you can appeal to them so you need to know first what they need, right? You can't go to them asking for something, you have to go to them offering something so brands all have something usually pretty well articulated called brand pillars, so it's a car company it's pretty much always going to be like prestige in innovation or something like that, but you really want to go into a partnership meeting speaking their language with a clearly articulated argument of hey, I know you guys were working on expanding this initiative, here's how my project and the audience reach can help you do that for nonprofits who certainly are, you know, as overworked and underpaid as filmmakers, particularly they have their own fundraising initiatives. Are you making something that could help them raise money later? So I have this incredible documentary that I'm making or I'm making, you know, a film that's sort of an allegory about the role of hatred could I? Could I cut something down for you that could be useful to you at your annual event or your fund raising efforts? What do you have to offer that will make them help get to their mailing list and always make sure to let everyone know what you're up to ahead of time because you never know who in your network will be like hey, I'm working on something this happened to us last year we decided to take this class on the road and at the very beginning of the state in detour I got in a car in l a drove across country with nicole, our community manager than eric, our director of crowd funding. We taught this class in twenty one cities in thirty five days and I was talking about it because we were trying to figure out like, what are we going to call this? So as we were just generating the hashtag stay in detour, we found out from a friend of mine that he had just started a company that was servicing independent filmmakers with some some storage and data transfer staff and he was like, hey, can I give you guys some gas money and you tell people about it? So we got our first stand detour sponsorship just because we were chatting about it online and the current iteration of the state and detours now sponsored by g technology. Now you can imagine that once I had already done all this audience building of going to see in twenty one cities in thirty five days and thousands of email addresses later I had a really compelling argument why g technology might wantto get involved with us and they have been an unbelievable partner since then because we really understood how we could help each other but these things take a long time to onboard right sometimes it's because you have to do a lot of audience growth and sometimes it's because it takes organizations a longtime tio you know be able to approve all these things so be patient and persistent with partners and don't expect them to come on board inside six weeks it can take six to eighteen months sometimes you know and for documentaries that's hard we just have to be thinking about this stuff in a dance um tone is really interesting when you think about how you're communicating with your audience. Jill soloway in a speech recently actually said about, you know, writing and filmmaking it's your tone that you sell right that's your brand your unique tone as a filmmaker and if you think about the filmmaker's you really love and admire it's not that they make films about all the same stuff it's something very special about the tone in which they make it that is why we followed and this is where social media can become incredibly useful in developing and honing your tone so if you're like me and you're afraid sometimes that social media might drag your very soul out of your body I feel like this makes me feel better and erica anderson, our director of crowdfunding came up with this venn diagram your tone is really just the intersection of who you are and who you want to reach right so there's all this pink stuff over here that you get to keep there's all this grey stuff over there that you don't need to know about there's a lot of stuff we could have found out about brian that we didn't ask him right that wouldn't necessarily have been useful for our particular purposes on dso your interview questions are really helping you understand lots of the different elements that will help you develop a tone that is the effective intersection between who you are and who you want to reach if you're not a really smiley exclamation point e person there's no reason you should have to do that to effectively communicate with your audience because it doesn't fall in the pink zone right? The interesting thing about social media is that three years ago when we started seeding spark they were saying three to one is the golden ratio three things about other people for everyone self promotional post and then a year and a half ago they were saying five to one and the most recent when I heard with nine toe one nine things about other stuff for everyone self promotional post it sounds discouraging but I think this is actually really cool as faras storytellers are concerned because it means you have to become a hub of cool information and articles and inspiration in and around the stuff we're working on well this puts filmmakers at a tremendous advantage because we are always doing research about our movies, right? Whether documentarian or you're a narrative filmmaker, you might be going out and taking pictures of locations you might be reading articles that are inspiring to you, you might be watching films that are really exciting to you all of these are fodder for social media account that really starts to give people a sense of your stone is a filmmaker, and I think what's particularly great about that is it helps people get involved with your process of inspiration, and I mean, if you want to look teo, the youtubers who are so incredibly good at building big fan bases, they really show us how successful process as product khun b, right? So I had a great time following lindy and her husband, chris, in the process of making their film because they shared a lot of stuff that was inspiration in and around the film they were working on, and I haven't seen a single clip from it, but I feel tremendous affinity towards it and a great amount of excitement about it because I've been following along in the process, and I also read about, you know, really interesting lgbt issues because they were posting stuff, and I got certain inspirational like, I'm not even a horror fan, but now I'm excited because they've tapped into something that's pulled me in, um the way that you do this well is through message testing and that essentially means not everything you say and not everything you write is really going to appeal to your audience. Social media becomes a tool for you to learn about what works best for your audience, for what you're thinking for your crowd so try five different messages and they don't all have to be about your movie right keep track of what works that means you're not just like posting twenty things on social media a day because you might be posting ten things on social media day and seeing how well they perform and it would be interesting if a bunch of people said, well, I get my news from the daily show on last week tonight and some other people said new york times npr and you discovered that wow at this time of day stuff that I post that sounds like last week tonight that's a little more satirical does really well and at this time of day also so interesting my my audience who's sort of the moore area diet more serious crowd is really responding to stuff that I post in the evenings and my my satire crowd is responding to stuff in the mornings well, ok now, aiken schedule my social media post a little bit more informed and make sure I'm reaching my audience where, when and with what language they're interested in yeah, this takes work it's you know it takes about as much work is scheduling your movie does or anything like that you have to test too, because sometimes you put stuff out there and like well, that didn't work at all they don't care about those images they don't care about that text, you just hone it over time it's not an exact science you'll get a feel for it it just means you're going back over your social media and discovering what works and what doesn't. My twitter followers are pretty much only interested if I say and or retweet something witty and satirical like the serious stuff they don't care, I've learned that like that's what my crowd responds to cool, I'm it's a lot of pressure to be witty and funny old I'm not very good at it. There are some pro tips in tone on def you took nothing else away from today and I hope you're awake by now take this do not ask for help with a donation because by and large unless you're back by five one c three that's not even true you want to ask your audience to join what you are offering with a contribution that means you are contributing something and they're contributing something and together you'll make something magnificent why is this really important? Well let's talk about the power dynamic of please help me with a donation audience up here, you little shit down here, right? I have this really incredibly cool thing that you could join with your contribution. We can ride this rocket to the moon together, both astronauts going to make it right. Totally, totally different dynamic. And you know, if I could if it if I could change one thing in the world and leave this world behind, it would be with artists not understanding themselves, as, you know, starving artists who need patrons necessarily so much as we are creative entrepreneurs offering really cool, meaningful shit to the world, right? Storytellers, we've had them as long as humans can speak and that's because they teach us about how the world inside of us works. It's a really important service and it's okay to want to be paid for that and considered equal with everyone else. It is not a lesser job in the universe, so don't plead offer altruism really works. I have one here. Nia on vacation was a film that was crowdfunding and her she started in the last week of a campaign called in honor of you're on vacation was like, eat, pray, love, but on a greek island and in honor of was the film about honor killing. Not similar films, but she tweets early on in her campaign. So much great independent film to support at seeding spark in honor of film is almost at their goal make it happen here and what I love about this, you know, piece of altruism is it also demonstrates a real understanding of the culture of plenty. She doesn't believe that audience for in honor of is not audience for her. She doesn't believe that money for in honor of is not money for her doesn't know these filmmakers. She was in new york, these filmmakers are based in l a she just was doing this because she thought it was cool and that was a really authentic altruistic way and got a ton of response and most importantly, when in honor of film reached their goal, what do you think they did? Well, they spend the next three weeks coming back and tweeting about me on vacation, right? So she created community with people she didn't even know through a couple of tweets it's pretty cool sean mannion, who all talk about some more, made a time travel short called time signature, and when he was tweeting about it, he said, are you a fan of big alon does time crimes that inspired our short time signature currently on seeding spark his world of inspiration? He was offering to you I never heard of big alando. I looked it up. It was cool, right? Or I'm a fan, vega lando's, time crimes, then, like yes, as a matter of fact, I am he's being very specific about who his audience might be in that moment, and the response to this is going to tell him something about who he's effectively reaching or not right. These are very good ways to message test.