Skip to main content

Crowdfunding Your Film

Lesson 10 of 13

Pitch Videos Done Right with Nathan Williams and Natalie Johns

Emily Best

Crowdfunding Your Film

Emily Best

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

10. Pitch Videos Done Right with Nathan Williams and Natalie Johns

Lesson Info

Pitch Videos Done Right with Nathan Williams and Natalie Johns

Let's watch the pitch videos for for I am talent and for if there's a hell below and then we'll talk about making a great pitch video. A bright check is a reporter for the Chicago Mercury. You probably haven't heard of it. Abe left his home two days ago at 9 42 AM He told his editor he was driving to Pennsylvania to interview an Amish drug dealer for a new story, This is a lie. He is actually on his way to Montana to meet Deborah. Last name Redacted. Deborah's an intelligence analyst for a large federal agency. You probably have heard of it. Deborah left her home at 6:20 a.m. Earlier today. She told her supervisor she was going to spend the weekend with an old college friend who had recently divorced. This is also alive. She's actually on her way to meet Aid, and if she decides she can trust him to leak highly classified information that is weighing on her conscience, it is now 2 54 PM in 36 minutes. Thes two will meet an hour later. One of them will be dead. I'm Nathan Williams, direc...

tor of If there's a helpful in this film. We will take you into these lives and draw you into a mystery that will surprise you, provoke you and, of course, entertain you. A story of life and death in 90 minutes. Real time, no relief. Just the characters, camera and you. But first we need your help to make this possible. Without you, the story will never be seen. This mystery never solved. Please join us in this effort and make this one of a kind film. A reality. I don't know. It's kind of like that unexplainable type type thing. It's just when you see it, you know it. You know, skateboarding in Africa. Crazy Callens, A Ripper. You watch talent Kill it in the future, right? Talent over there. How are you? I guess my life is difference. Step, Dad is very abusive. Way to solve drugs for living. My mom passed away for Black. I had no one else, you know. Okay, I'm on my own. Skate Park opened on North Beach. Probably the best thing that ever happened to me. Talent was living in the park and he was also sleeping underneath rubbish bins in the corner. That side you live on the streets if you can lost year. Two months is a long time. I never knew exactly returned. Sometimes I have to look for friends. Got in touch with me from back home. And they asked me if I could help talent if I could make him a video making something Teoh share to help raise his profile. His story was amazing to me. I wanted to tell it, but I wanted to do more than tell it I want. I didn't want to walk away at the end without having given him tunes to be ableto build a life for himself. One trend? Absolutely. I would say I would put him to level off about a nine year old. When he came to me. He was wearing a really fancy watch and you told me you couldn't tell the time, but enough to watch. He can now convert regular time on a long time to 24 hour clock. That was one Leeson with support and gardens from friends. A saw a way out of it. Everyone needs a little bit of loving. Sometimes. You know what you use way market. Really excited to meet you really what's coming apart. I'm just lending a hand. I'll be the conduit to show him the world of skateboarding in L. A. And wherever else we go. Not only is it getting introduced to the world of skateboarding through all the pros and ends in parks in famous places, but he's he's learning about life. Coming to California is a huge step talent. He's gone from observer to participants, and now he's forming friendships and relationships with these guys that he wants only knew on a video screen by sharing stories and sharing their life experiences together talents getting to a level that's much deeper than just tricks and skate spots. He's actually finding out what the core of skateboarding is that it's built on community. It's built on friendships. It's built on an understanding of one another. Whether you live in Southern California, where you live in South Africa, this is not a reality TV show. It's not about false pretenses, him going for him, leaving his circumstances behind in a situation to build a life for himself. With the help of a community from around the world, we've been able to get talent out to California and capture his story up to this point, but there's still a lot to be told. That's why we're coming to you. We need help to finish this movie and share it with fires always out of the burning. And I can see that talent pureness that positive energy. That's what's gonna take him to the next level and this next step in life. It's what he makes of it. We do need funding, but we also need to share his story. So whatever you can do, if you can't donate, just click and share. We hope you'll join the long and become part of the already growing community of people supporting talent in his story and, you know, making a life for himself. T h a N T. That was great. Now one of the things you one of the things I'm seeing that looks so cool about seeing these two side by side, is how perfectly each of them creatively answers the questions. Why me? Why this? Why now And why you you being the audience? So why me? Is why the filmmaker now? I think Nathan demonstrates it by just he made such a beautiful video that gave us such a sense off the kind of film he was going to make that were like, Oh, yeah, this guy, like, we want this guy to do it because he's already demonstrating the quality of content. Um, why this? It's super compelling. That might every single time in 36 minutes, they will meet an hour later, one is dead. And then there's something about, um, you'll never know unless we make this. You'll never know what happens. And I'm like, No, I have to know what happens. So there's a really incredible you know, why now, Um, and and for Natalie's film, Obviously the Wind Me is a very personal story of how her friends got her involved in this. The why this is, you know, talent and how I mean how beautifully and concisely she demonstrates what an impact he's already had in the Durban community. There's a mural of his face, for God's sake, right? Like he is a very special, you know, little nympho in the world that, like, you know, he's very magnetic in his own way. Why now has to do with where he is in his career, and then the y you is demonstrated very clearly in both ways, these air not formulaic, they don't. These two videos do not look like one another, but they answer these questions in a really clear and concise way. So I just I wanted to show them, and they're actually even more powerful side by side, in kind of demonstrating what makes a great pitch video. How did you guys land on this? And how much did it cost you to make your video? Who first? You okay? You 1st may first. Um, we mean we ultimately decided, you know, I don't appear in the video. It all that is my voice, which was a choice. They're better voice over people that may. But we thought Nathan should have some some presence. But the idea was, you know, we wanted to sell what? This movie waas And again, this crowdfunding campaign was, in a way, a test of our people. Respond to this this kind of mystery, this kind of tone, um, and really putting up front, you know, not any of the big set piece part of the movies. And it's not a big action spectacular by any means. But the characters, the tone the mystery and the landscape, which plays a huge role. Um, and then shooting that in just a really efficient way. It was shot by Margaret Longley, who was our A C on set and was second unit photographer. Um, so the fact that looks beautiful is hurt. I just said, you know, shoot some nice stuff. Um, and ar two lead actors generously gave some time to appear in that, but that was, you know, a couple hours to be in it. Um, so, you know, we used markets camera for free. Very nice over something called 100 a couple 100 bucks and gas. But that was it. Um And did you What? You wrote a script for it? Yeah. And the script was refined and refining. We really tested it a lot. So just showing it to trusted people who were not who hadn't read the script. Who didn't know what the story the movie was about saying, like, Does this make sense? Does it hook you? And we didn't want to reveal too much the the kind of basic set up, but not then. This twist happens in the Swiss happens. So the voiceover was changing day by day. You know, I re recorded it aton of times to really hook it, and we we re edited it a bunch of times to really maximize the impact. Great. And, um, I actually what I love about people. There is a lot of advice out there of what you have to appear in your pitch video. And yours is a great example of how you can appear in your pitch video without appearing in your pitch video. And you earned that right because the video is mostly showing us that this is going to be a super cool movie. And so when he says I'm the filmmaker, you're like, I like that guy, you know, like he he sounded like he really knew what he was talking about. It feels like you really earned that and that that your shrouded in mystery is sort of part of the meta narrative of this campaign so that it all just worked really seamlessly together. I think it's really important that, like, let's underline the fact that they showed the script of their pitch video to a bunch of people to find out if it felt effective or not, and because they wanted to maintain the mystery. They chose people who hadn't read the script, right, So they couldn't be sort of altered by their perceptions of that. That's super helpful information to underline if I can add, please. I think it was Eve somebody, it's even spark were and ran the video by. And if they had said you should really be in this, I probably would have done it. But to your credit, you guys were like, No, your presence is strong enough. This work, I think I was Erica. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, but yeah, way. Dio family only first started. It was a family. Even Eric and Liam. Nobody understood who we were. Natalie, talk to me about your pitch video. You obviously had a lot of footage by the time you got there. So you were further along in your process. Yeah, I was. I was a lot further along, but again, I was gonna say the same thing. Nathan just said I took a lot of guidance from you. Ladies and gents had seed and spark. Definitely you, Emily and Erica, both of you sort of held my hand through this process. Without that I would not have. I don't think I would have made us go to pitch video. I didn't think I would have prepared as well, because it's it was not something I knew how to do. I knew, you know, Like I said before, I knew how to make a presentation because I was I was really presenting to financiers, so I wasn't really working on it. A teaser and I had showed you showed you ladies Meyer and Original teaser. And then again, it was the same thing that Nathan did. I went to, not researched. I watched a bunch of others then, you know, a bunch of other campaigns that were running on seed and spark and looked at examples of what people have been done before. And then I saw how I looked at how I could adapt and answer the questions that you specifically said to me. These are the questions you need to answer in this piece s. So I took a lot of direction from seed and spark, and then I think as well, being a part of the community and being amongst film anchors with this even spark helped tremendously. You know, there's a business. There's an empathy on understanding and mutual understanding just how hard it is because And I'm not it. I'm not a sort of director who I direct a shoot. I do it a little bit, but my skills are you know, my ability and editing is not great. So I had to hire an editor, so it didn't It cost me a little bit more money. Um, then I would have liked to. Obviously, I did get, you know, discounted rates of things, But I was still paying out of pocket. And I had been paying out of pocket for the whole documentary film up until that point. Um, I can tell you an exact figure, because obviously I've been shooting for I had been shooting for almost a year, Right? By the time I did that crowdfunding right. At least he added, Yeah, the elements that go to grab it. You know, the other thing that, uh, I saw recently wonder Russell, a Seattle filmmaker, uh, made a beautiful pitch video that was cut by your husband, right? Yeah. Christmas step. Cut the picture. They actually went. Teoh, I don't If you guys were familiar with pond five. But there are a resource for, uh, it's like B roll footage. So if you have a bunch of B roll footage, you can upload it and people can take it. But you can just purchase clips of stuff and they they sort of bolstered for very little money. Um, you know, we're able to get some pretty epic footage there is. There are a lot of really inexpensive options out there. If you can't necessarily get someone to donate their time or you haven't been shooting for a year, there are tons of options out there. And I think being in the community of filmmakers is where you're gonna learn most of this stuff. Really. I mean, the, um I don't think it's like I didn't select them because they were just gonna keep saying I asked a lot of people that is happening organically right now. The fact is, the way that you build the best campaign is you go out and you do a ton of research and you talk to a bunch of people. And the nice thing now is like find a filmmaker who hasn't crowd funded at this point. So everyone has a little bit of expertise around this, and they're tons of people in your community you can go to to find out. And I think it's really important to ask people to watch your pitch video over and over and over again. Asked them to read the script because you should have a script. Asked them to watch the pitch video. Be prepared to edit it, uh, and were when we first It's funny. When we first launched even spark, we had a lot of filmmakers sort of send us the pitch video. And when we would send them feedback, they know you'd understand it's done. You were like, No, yeah, yeah, it can't it can't be done because this is not gonna work for you. And now we definitely see filmmakers are much more sort of open to this iterative process, particularly around pitch videos. We've even had filmmakers, um, you know it a rate throughout the campaign, I will say the video. You only get one chance to make a first impression, right? So it's really important than when you launch It feels good. You know, Natalie, I remember one of the things that when I saw the pitch video that attention to detail. Those graphics are so beautiful. You know, the way the Durban, South Africa comes in, all of that that immediately makes you trust her. It immediately makes you feel like she's a good filmmaker. It is such a small piece of polish, but so important on. And so the little things, like getting decent sound, for example. I mean, you guys sort of covered that well, no. But you covered that bye bye you had voice over and that you could control. That was an element you could utterly control. So this is where you figure out this is the creative, the indie filmmaking. You figure out where you know where you can kind of make the biggest splash for the smallest amount of resource is

Class Description

Raising money and gathering resources is crucial for making movie dreams a production reality. In Crowdfunding Your Film, Emily Best will lay out your options for getting early support and identifying the fundraising sources that will bring your work to life. 

When her film Like the Water needed a last-minute infusion of capital, Emily was inspired to start Seed&Spark – the crowdfunding platform she runs as CEO today. In Crowdfunding Your Film, she’ll share both her front-line fundraising expertise and her years of experience helping others raise the money needed to make their films a reality. 

She’ll teach you how to: 
  • Create an effective social fundraising strategy 
  • Crowdfund your film 
  • Crowdsource gear and supplies 
  • Create incentives for the audience during every stage of production 
You’ll learn how to develop a community of contributors and supporters that ensure you have the resources you need to make your vision come to life. You will also learn to build momentum so your audience will follow your film creation from beginning to end and your film has an audience from the beginning. 

Fundraising and acquiring all the necessary filmmaking materials can be a tremendous source of pressure, but it doesn't have to be. In Crowdfunding Your Film, you’ll get real-world insights and practical approaches to funding your film without fear. 


a Creativelive Student

Excellent source of information re crowd funding for films (docs & narratives, short & long form.) THANK YOU Emily Best!!! You were great, love what you are doing with Seed & Spark. THANKS Creative Live. Love how you bring creative learning to your audience.


This was my introduction to Seed & Spark. Since I have read a number of articles on the same presented by Emily Best and her business partner. So impressed with what they are doing, I have recommended it to all of my readers--all of whom are filmmakers. Emily's approach to crowdfunding as explored in this video series is top notch. I would recommend this series to everyone whether the novice or the more experienced crowdfunder. David W. King, Michigan Movie Media 2.0


So happy to have found, AT LAST! a comprehensive approach to fundraising. Information on this subject is often contradictory and sketchy. Emily brought it all together. Thank you.