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Crowdfunding Your Film

Lesson 2 of 13

Who is Your Audience?

Emily Best

Crowdfunding Your Film

Emily Best

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Lesson Info

2. Who is Your Audience?

Lesson Info

Who is Your Audience?

If you're thinking about Crowdfunding, which I hope this morning you are, it's already time to think about how you're going to deliver your film. What happens if you get picked up by a distributor costs a ton off money to deliver to a distributor? Um, I think there's a there's a big online platform and like conscious because this is like being recorded. There's a giant online platform, Netflix, that if you deliver in all rights, deal to them. It's well over $150,000 deliverables cost. You have to dub your film into, like, 172 like they don't cover that for you, right? So what happens? You get picked up by distributor. Are you prepared for that? And then what happens if you don't? And it's your job to deliver your film to your audience. What kind of money and elbow grease is that gonna take? Where do you want to screen theatrically and how do you know? Right? New York Times just said they'll no longer guarantee a review. Do you need to screen in New York City anymore? Good question. How...

much will this cost? And I mean in human and monetary capital. So when we start thinking about CROWDFUNDING, we're going to start super simple. Three questions. Who the hell is your audience? Where the hell are they? And how the hell do you get their email addresses? Um, anybody who's ever taken a marketing course, I said The M word. You guys don't be scared. This is sort of marketing 101 but it is also going to be a profound creative tool for you. As I hope we will demonstrate over the course of today. Um, why email addresses? Well, because everybody right now is really excited about their followers on Twitter there likes on Facebook, whatever. Let's talk for a second about the purpose of social media. And let's imagine ah ah, bunch of concentric circles. The outermost concentric circle this is not to scale are all the people you don't know. That's most of the people right then, inside that circle is everyone you can reach by social media. It's probably more than people you know certain, certainly more than people you interact with on a day to day basis. But you're reached to them is not as reliable. It's, uh, it's feed based or it's, um, it's timing based, Like what Twitter is just like you have to have. Somebody has to be looking at the right time with Facebook. It's algorithm based. Nobody even knows how they calculate who gets to see what, and that could be very frustrating. Um, and then inside that is your email list. I think 90% of mobile phone users in the U. S have smartphones, which means almost everyone is getting their email right into their pocket, and email indicates a level of interaction beyond a single click. Right? I've had to enter something in to get involved with you in some way or another, and the reason that's important is Look, we look at the statistics all the time. We look at the data conversion rates from, uh, from social media platforms to, you know, funding and watching tend to be in the 2 to 6, maybe 10% range. If you're really lucky from e mails, it can be as high as to 35% right, and that's because people are have gone a level deeper with you. So the outermost circle we don't know you, the inner circle to that is, we've touched you through social media or we have reached you through there, and the inner circle to that is I have your email addresses. And then there's the innermost circle, the really important ones. That's your actual audience. Those are the people who got out their credit card and bought a ticket to your movie or funded your campaign or shared your campaign right or loan something to you got involved in some meaningful way. But it's really important to understand that social media is not a means unto itself, right? It is a tool to bring people from the ether into the center, And I think, you know, when you have lots of Twitter followers, what you've proven is your go to getting Twitter followers right. You really want to spend a lot of time making sure you can turn those Twitter followers into mailing list subscribers and from mailing list subscribers into action takers. Right? This is this is something that you're going to need to prove that you can do over the course of time or else than your Twitter followers. I mean, unless all you're trying to do to succeed is to get Twitter followers, in which case more Twitter followers of success. But I think our metrics or six of success are growing this center dot of actual audience, right? So really understanding what your metrics of success are is gonna be really important. So here's what happens. We ask this question. Who the hell is your audience? And then, um Well, my first favorite answer is my my films really for everyone. Like really? Okay, so there's this book. It's called the Bible. It's like a couple 1000 years old, and it's had the longest, most expensive marketing campaign in the history of content. And not everyone has read it or wants Teoh. So let's just say your film is probably not for everyone then, because that's a really snotty thing for me to say. They'll be like, fine, fine. My movie is for women between the ages of 24 35. Okay, a demographic very common. We've been taught to think in demographics that's nobody's fault, but then able to point out that these women are between the ages of 24 35 I'm gonna go ahead and guess they're not on the same social media platforms. They don't speak to their friends in the same sling. They probably don't go out to the same restaurants. And they sure as shit don't watch the same movies. There might be some overlap, but that would be a lot harder to find then, if you've got a little bit more specific now, studios who have $250 million marketing budgets, they can absolutely, uh, we like to call the spray and pray method. They could market to an entire demographic and hope they can shake out enough people to pay back. At least there. $250 million marketing budget. Um, filmmakers, independent filmmakers usually have only our own elbow grease to go on. We have to be a lot more tactical and specific about how we go about finding our audience. And this is how we do it. Um, Lindy, may I May I ask you to volunteer here for a moment? Thank you. Um, So tell me about this movie that you just made brides to be Ah, we just made The shortest answer is a lesbian horror film. Uh, but it ah, definite. So we definitely are trying to hit two known demographics of the horror audience and the Just tell me, Tell me the tell me The sort of logline and synopsis. Okay, it is about two women the night before they get married and they go to the fairytale wedding venue of their dreams and something paranormal starts to interact and try to keep them from getting married. And so it's an allegory about how hate and fear infect us if we let it. But we have to believe that love will conquer all. Cool. Okay, So I would be an audience for this film. Either of you guys. Would you be like, if somebody really? Okay, great. Tell me your name again, Brian. Okay, So can the mic friend, Brian. Because Brian is is now a self identified potential audience member for this film. Because that sounds cool. And he probably doesn't look like the person you necessarily imagine immediately. I don't. Brian, your horror fan. Yeah, Yeah, I like her, but he's not necessarily the person you'd immediately be like. Oh, that guy's gonna watch my movie. So this is gonna be an interesting thing, Brian, where do you hang out online? What social media platforms, Um Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook And where do you get your news last week? Tonight. Okay, so this is really important. John Oliver's last week tonight, right? The reason that's important is here's somebody who is who likes intelligence satire, right, which it sounds like kind of fits. But that's not a tone that you would necessarily consider for a horror audience. So that's a very, very helpful detail. What kind of music to listen to? Um, a lot of hip hop, a lot of techno. Um, great. Uh, do you read any blog's or who do you Who do you follow? Who you really like following? I don't really follow anybody. I don't I don't really have a huge online. I gotto, like, invest a lot in following blog's and doing a lot of that stuff. Who are you following, like on Twitter and Instagram like, Who's photos? Or is it just your friends? Yeah, it's just my friends. I don't really follow like famous people because I feel like they're not interested in me, right? So why am I interested in them? OK, so this is really interesting, because behaviour online is really important So you're saying that the people you're inclined to follow are also going to show an interest in you Super cool. That's a really good answer. I mean, it's your answer. So it's inherently good answer. What do you do with Do you have free time? Well, I'm a filmmaker, so I mean, I'm in the middle of like, writing two scripts right now and then working on a music video. And there's corporate, you know, work that I'm doing. So all my time is usually spent like doing some kind of yeah sense. Are you always connected on on your device? Like you realize on social kind of always and kind of never on social media available when you're available And when you watch stuff, Where do you watch you watch in theater? You watch online. Do you watch? Um, you theatre sometimes if it's if it's compelling and I'm gonna go out, spend that money. But, uh, I don't really watch actual network TV. Okay, I only watch like on cable. I only watch Comedy Central and maybe one other show, and most of my time is spent on HBO, Amazon Prime Netflix, and that's pretty much it are you watching on your computer or your streaming to your television? Uh, streaming through my IPad to my television like a chromecast or something like that? Yeah, I got HBO. Go and Sam's on Go. And I can't even keep up with all the ways that you can take stuff from your tablet to your TV anymore. Okay, so you're watching on the television, but it's mostly streaming from the Internet. Yeah, cool. So, um, you have to be a little careful with these sets of interviews that you don't only do them with your filmmaker friends because they will have kind of particular habits. Particularly, however, you do this interview five or six times with people who have independently appointed themselves as interested in your film. Now that means a couple of things. One you have to be out in the world talking about what you're working on to see who's interested, right, because if he's too, hadn't happened to come here today, Lindy might never have considered that Brian was would be interested in her film because you have in your mind to very specific demographics. As you said, right horror fans and you know, women who were interested in like lesbian driven content. And Brian, who is like, kind of a horror fan and clearly not a lesbian, right? So, um, so it's actually it's really important to use social media. And you're you know, when you come to film festivals or when you're interacting with your community to talk to people who are interested, you know, everybody watches stuff. The average American watches 5.5 hours. Ah, video content a day. Oh, what's happening, you guys, that's good for us as media makers, right? So you really want to find out, like, who's out there, who you're not thinking about, and how do you reach them? And the cool thing is, while you're doing these interviews, you are already crowdfunding, right? This is learning about your audience is as much crowdfunding as the actual 30 45 or 60 days you are spending asking them for money, right? So if I could go back to when we decided to take what you know, NPR and non profits have been doing forever and call it crowdfunding because we brought it online, so we to give it a new name. I would like to remake the word crowd dash, dash, dash, dash, dash funding. Because without the crowd there is no funding. It's not called funding crowd for a reason. We're all looking for the funding crowd that they don't exist. Okay, so, um, really understanding that if you don't invest to this time in figuring out who is the audience that you're not thinking about, Who are the actual specific people and how do they behave and what do they like? And what do they think about? If you're not thinking about this and cultivating it well, in advance of your campaign, you will do what's called a friend funding. And as many of us have discovered, that's a lot of what Crowdfunding is. And it's a limited resource because certainly, I mean, I don't know about you guys. I live in Los Angeles. All my friends work in entertainment, right? And so they have the greatest number of requests for crowdfunding contributions and the least amount of money to put towards it. So you have to get outside your friend funding zone and this what we're really going over right now. This is how you do it, and the answer is, yeah, it's a lot of work, and I can't apologize to you for that. I built a company in order to distribute my first feature film, right? Like it's a lot of work to make a sustainable living as a filmmaker but not having a boss and not getting told what you can and can't make. I don't know. Can you put a price on that? I'm not sure. I don't think so.

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.