Crowdfunding Your Film


Crowdfunding Your Film


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 cost a ton off money to deliver to a distributor? 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 ex likes that, uh, if you deliver in all rights, deal to them, it's well over one hundred fifty thousand dollars in deliverables costs, you have to dub your film into, like one hundred seventy two like they don't cover that for you, right? So what happens if 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? It's what kind of money and elbow grease is that going to 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 ne...

ed 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? Anybody who's ever taken a marketing course? I said the m word you guys don't be scared. This is sort of marketing one I one, 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 consent tricks are called 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 your reach to them is not as reliable it's uh it's feed based or it's it's timing based like what twitter is just like you have to hit somebody has to be looking at the right time with facebook, its algorithm based nobody even knows how they calculate who gets to see what and that could be very frustrating. And then inside that is your email list I think ninety percent 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 from social media platforms tio you know, funding and watching tend to be in the two to six maybe ten percent range if you're really lucky from e mails that can be as high as thirty to thirty five percent 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 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 there really important ones that's your actual audience those are the people who got out their credit card, 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 you're going 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 then 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 you're metrics of success are is going to be really important. So here's, what happens? We ask this question, who the hell is your audience? And then, 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 thousand 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 to so let's just say your film is probably not for everyone then melt 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 twenty four to thirty five okay a demographic very common we've been taught to think and demographics that's nobody's fault but then able to point out that these women are between the ages of twenty four and thirty five and I'm gonna go ahead and guests 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 he 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 got a little bit more specific now studios who have two hundred fifty million dollars 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 two hundred fifty million dollars marketing budget filmmakers independent filmmakers usually have on lee 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 man may I ask you to volunteer here for a moment? Thank you so tell me about this movie that you just made brides to be we just made the shortest answer is a lesbian horror film uh but it ah definitely 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 fairy tale wedding venue of their dreams and something paranormal starts to in 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 oh 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 and brian you okay? So can the lakefront o'brien 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 owe brian your horror fan. Yeah look we're really poor but he's not necessarily the person you'd immediately be like oh that guy's gonna watch my movie so this is going to be an interesting saying 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 is who likes intelligence that tire 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 kind of music do you listen to, um a lot of hip hop, a lot of techno um yeah great do you read any blog's or who use pretty follow who you really like following? I don't really follow anybody I don't I don't really have a huge online like I don't like invest a lot in following blog's and doing a lot of that stuff for you following, like on twitter and instagram like whose photos is just your friends? Yeah it's just my friends I don't really follow like famous people because I feel like they're they're not interested in me, right? So why am I interested in them? Ok, so this is really interesting because behavior 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 mia thank you are you always connected on your device like you're always 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 want to watch in theater? You watched online? Do you watch? Um, you know, theater sometimes if it's it's compelling and I'm gonna go out, spend that money, but, uh, I don't really watch actual network tv. I only watched like on cable, I only watch comedy central and maybe one other show and most of my time ms palin aide geo aims on prime netflix and that's pretty much it are you watching in your computer or your streaming to your television? Uh, streaming through my ipad to my television like a chromecast for something like that? Yeah, I got hbo go and sam's on going no, 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 you have to be a little careful with these sets of interviews that you don't only do them with your film maker friends because they will have kind of particular habits in particular 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 these two 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 are interested in like, lesbian driven content and brian who's like kind of a horror fan and clearly not a lesbian, right? So so it's actually it's really important to use social media and your 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 five and a half hours ah video content a day what's happening you guys that's good dress 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 crowd funding as the shewell thirty, forty five or sixty 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 crowd funding because we brought it online so we could 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 really understanding that if you don't invest this time in figuring out who is the audience that you're not thinking about, who are the actual specific people and how did 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 friend funding, and as many of us have discovered that's, a lot of what crowd funding 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.