Unexpected Pitfalls and Benefits of Crowdfunding
I just want to say for each of you one benefit and let's start with the like draw back a personal sort of thing about crowdfunding that you're like I wish somebody had told me it was going to be like x that was hard, nathan I mean, you I knew it was going to be hard and grueling and basically like you said a full time job it's not even with the team somebody has to be the person waking up in the middle of night, you know, terrified that you're not going you're not going to get there you're implying that was you that was me making me there was some sympathy chatter but I think I bore the brunt of it um in terms of an unexpected negative, I don't I don't know that I have a really strong answer that well, I think the waking what was it you were scared of in the middle of the night? I'm just curious I mean just stalling, you know? I mean, if you look at our graph at the end of it it's like, oh, they have this like perfectly linear graph goes to the end, but it would be nicer to have been l...
ike way ahead of the goal, so at any point in the first few days it's like everybody, you know, it's it's your damn eyes your friends it's like ok, yeah we're killing it but you know that tails off and then at a certain point you get to like people I've never met and um you know, I talked about this and I will interpret skied to film making this like I don't have the personal social network to raise this much money where if everyone and you gave ten bucks we would do it it's like people who need to find this somehow going to do it and you don't know if everything you've put in place is going to work that like if the hunger games is like has a great first week and then stops because that's it no one else out there so it's a little it's little terrifying and you have to like proceed with confidence and energy you know, like going to a ball but it's nerve wracking yeah yeah natalie what about you? Yep executive attempted a incredibly you know, wrecking and then I mean, I just want to top it all off you know, I felt probably responsible as well to talent, you know? So I was you know, obviously if the film doesn't work out that well, you know, if it was just me and it was just a phone, you know, I would have taken that person that I would have seen that as a personal failure and I wasn't really looking forward to taking a hit like that but you know, I also knew that I was e I had kind of promised tell us something I had kind of things selling him on this idea of what we're going to do so I felt like I felt that side of it was really challenging and we did have a platter we had the worst clatter I literally just all I want to do is to do the whole ball thing and just be like, oh no it's true but I don't know, you know there's just you know, use there's these little things that happen to keep you pushing along and you know, it's like that sense of duty and that sense of belief in the story it really is a sense of belief in your story like underneath and you're like no matter what I knew this was it this was a good story and I feel like that, you know, look what listening to make and talk as well because he obviously had the confidence in his story in his script in this film and that's I think what the weather is filmmakers we wait get we gain our confidence that the only place to really have a confidence because I'm not and I'm not a sort of introverted filmmaker and I do have incredible connections because I work a lot in music as well and one of the places travel the world and I've done these great things so I had a network but even with that network it's it's still about this story it still comes down to like the story the power of the story so that was the that was the thing that sort of kept me get me going keep me you know keep me believing get give me the sort of face to keep pushing forward yeah I I like to say sometimes that great crowdfunding happens at the intersection of belief in your idea and the desperation to get it made like those things there are really important because when one fails the other bolsters you along the way I think you articulated that really well so needing you just highlighted one of the ancillary benefits of crowdfunding was an equity investor came along what what else? I think the biggest thing besides the equity stuff was understanding better who our audience is likely to be um I mean we had a very specific idea of the type of people who are film might appeal to um and it didn't radically change like this whole different but is different I mean it is you know, broader and we learned a lot in terms of the data and we didn't we audience built um but still it's only a few hundred people contributed so that's not that audience isn't enough to sell the movie to and make our money back but knowing who responded to it I think is incredibly valuable in terms of eventually marketing and selling the film so yet that I think it's a huge thing that I didn't really count on going into it cool not only what about you what were your ancillary benefits a press press press yeah tons and had a massive amounts of price a za results of the crowdfunding campaign yeah well espn got in there all sorts of people yeah way had follow up stories as well you know we've ever we've got a story that tipped ongoing cost the crowdfunding campaign after the campaign sort of raised the awareness of the story espn for example reached at us and they said can we send a journalist too spend a couple of days with you while you're filming and do a feature story on the film so that was good and so we've had stories come out while we still being making the film over everything within editing on and off for the last year and just finally believe it or not still making final tweaks stood before the telephone pistol but you know the stories the story kept going so I feel like you know, the network that we built through person the interest that was sort of generated through the campaign is something that we really tap into going for border that we have different kinds of markets that we need to get into now for from a press perspective you know we've got to get into the sort of very specific film market where we're going to see whether this film is going to be the you know commercially viable and then there's on dh get the reviews except except for it's not just about you know, supporting supporting talents and raising funds to the film takes you now going to be way need to generate the next round of persons you know based on with films and it good yeah no pressure yeah so do we take some questions because we're close to the end here? One thing that I know you touched upon in the last segment and that I would like to reiterate is gratitude does drive a lot like the more you give out and the more that you try to be like what can I offer what can I give that takes into it takes like a lot of the pressure of asking all the time it's like if you keep offering you keep giving and movies are magical and people find them sexy give over that thing that a lot of people don't get access to of like what we think sometimes is the grind is sexy and powerful and can be offered I I said is that onset meals that there's no where that take out food on a foldout table in a plastic chair is more fun and exciting than on a set if you don't have to be there do you mean like there really are these things that become sort of wrote for us that are really exciting for for people who don't work in the business and a really cool way to reach outside of the industry for sure yeah I mean I know that both of you guys were very meticulous about thinking people as it as it came along breast was possible they didn't contribute at three a m we made sure they were getting a thank you email within an hour that's I mean meticulous and reading alive thank you e mails yes meticulous gratitude is going to be your biggest asset throughout your entire career as a filmmaker full stop crowdfunding distribution on set making connections, networking showing up to offer stuff and being meticulously grateful when stuff is offered to you I feel like is sort of the very foundation of a lot of the really great careers that we see yeah are there other question? Can we touch on irs involvement levels with crown funding fiscal sponsorship versus gifts also one of the proper terms to clarify the difference? Ok, so most crowdfunding sites do work with fiscal sponsors, in which case you're sort of behaving as if you're backed by a five o one c three so it depends on the fiscal sponsor you're working with they all have different rules so you have to clarify it with them, some of them will create a tax write off form for every contribution that's made. Some of them have a have a minimum level at which you have to contribute for there to be a tax write off and to be perfectly honest, people were giving twenty five bucks are not doing it because of the right off it's usually the much higher contribution levels at which that's functional for gift ce the upper limit. I think across platforms is ten thousand dollars and that is set by the irs on dh, you know, as they're adjusting their gifting levels, I think you'll see the platforms adjusting them, but the most a ninja bijou, a ll contributor can give when you're not back by a five a one c three especially is ten thousand, and the irs treats crowdfunding for the most part as income but that's ok, because you're going to write all your expenses, which you're going to spend on making your movie off against it, so it usually doesn't hit your bottom line and you need to talk to an accountant and you need to talk to an attorney don't make movies without talking to accountants and attorneys. They go to school for a really long time to know stuff that, like your friend who's made a movie before just doesn't know so yes get advice from your community raise the money or spend the money talk to a professional there tons of attorneys out there entertainment attorneys who will give you an hour of their time that could be something you ask for his part of your crowdfunding campaign but don't to go willy nilly into you know, incorporating or making an llc those might not even knowing what the right structure is for the business entity of your film is something that should be consulted upon and should be influenced by what you want to do with the movie it is not always true that a single purpose entity llc is the right kind of entity for your film and it's already you don't know what that means that is why you talk to an attorney and an accountant that's really important final questions sarah wants to know I love to know how early you start working with seating spark before launching that process sounds very important well man natalie we worked together for months great three months at least yeah yeah three months so we are as soon as you've decided to crowdfund with cnn spark go ahead and click the launch button and upload your information and start getting feedback from from us because you know for all you know the feedback you get is like this looks great way to go tinker this year tinker this their reach out to these people but you may get feedback that's like wow, you need, like, a fundamental restructuring of this pitch video and here's what we would suggest and you need the time to be able to do that. So if you have a fixed launch date for some reason where you're like, you know, everyone I know is is going out of town by the state, so we need to write or if you know, as most independent films go, you have, like, one window of time where everybody schedules lineups you need to raise your money this before you know you're working backwards from your chute date try to give us a cz much time to work with you is possible, but it's not just for us, right? All we're doing is trying to get you to do is much of this rigorous audience building in advance is possible, and some of that is going to be the research phase. Some of that is going to be the communication phase that natalie was talking about, where, you know, it was just tons and tons of communication, and it was the jigsaw puzzle phase of now have communicated with everyone I've done all the research about all the elements I know what everyone schedules is, how the hell do I fit all this together, right? So you need time to do that stuff, and you know, there's a reason that film productions get pushed all the time, it's a lot to fit together in a jigsaw puzzle, and sometimes it takes longer than you think, so you want to be pretty flexible about it and, you know, give I think we are most effective when you are prepared for us to give, you know, pretty structured feedback about your pitch video when you're prepared for us to give pretty structured feedback about additional research, we think you might need to d'oh, that stuff is is mostly helpful to you. We don't take a lot of time it's really about like, how much time in between edits of the video or whatever it will take for you and, you know, that's that's part of the reason we don't do thousands of campaigns a month, you know, we do will do twenty to thirty on dh it's, partially because people come to us and you know, they usually find they need more time to prep the campaign than they thought. One thing it's really important to know about crowdfunding, it is not true that if you build it, they will come. It is not true, right? You have to do the work to let the people know that it is there so don't believe kevin costner is bullshit cream and butter that's, right what does that report that's from? Catch me if you can go there, you've got to be that mouth. They can't just float on the cream, won't that's, right? So we're just going to leave you on dh goodbye and thank you all very much for listening. Take a watch of the first couple minutes of this film, and then I dare you to not desperately want to follow it. You can find them on stephen spark, no way.