Life after Crowdfunding

May 19th, 2015

My 30-day kickstarter campaign for my short documentary “ The Encounter “ has ended. I failed to achieve my goal of $ 15000, however my project is by no means dead and in fact, this is just the beginning. My film has garnered a lot of attention and the momentum is really beginning to build. I’m hoping that all the kind and generous folks who pledged on kickstarter will now support my project directly. I will remain accountable for the funds just like on kickstarter and offer the same updates and rewards. The amount pledged during my campaign was not enough to complete my film but cover most of the filming budget. So my plan B is to complete “ The Encounter “ in a number of smaller steps.

It’s a good plan, this plan B! I’m mixing the sound on a 60-minute doc right now that a colleague completed following a similar plan B. She completed the film in small steps over the past year and now her film is finished and looks and sounds great!

Today I would like to share with you my thoughts and observations of the crowdfunding process in the hopes that it may help you in some way should you decide to venture forth.

Many, many surprises!

Who would have thought that I would really enjoy tweeting? I know, I know – OMG Chris! As a means of creating interest and buzz for your creative project – don’t underestimate the power of twitter! Not only is it easy, it’s also quite fun! The positive side effect to tweeting is that it can make you a better scriptwriter. As you are only able to use 140 characters it forces you to think in loglines! There is so much tweeting going on that your tweet better be damn good or no one will read it!

Social networking sites, that I thought would be a great help, are in fact useless in terms of crowd funding. I’m not a fan of mailing lists, so I personally emailed 1500 colleagues, told them about my campaign and asked if they would pledge or pass the info along to their own network,

Interesting stats:
Of that 1500, 20 people replied.
Of those 20, most of the replies were supportive with assurances that my campaign would be passed on to their network.
2 people criticized my filming style and criticized the length of my email.
Not one person in that group of 1500 pledged money.

One person responded by saying that they get 10 crowdfunding requests a week which I found very insightful. So crowdfunding, that great and unique idea when it first began, has now become so common place that it has become a nuisance.

Friends and family.
Most of my friends and family did not pledge financially and most did not support me by spreading the word or even sending me an email or phone call of encouragement. I report this without attachment and I have no desire to shame anyone or make anyone feel bad – it is what it is!
Now at this point I would be remiss in not pointing out that some wonderful exceptions have bent over backwards to support me and have practically run through the streets screaming my name and virtues! You know who you are and I love you for it!

An analogy.
Have you ever thrown a party and invited 100 people? You really don’t expect 100 to show up but rather a smaller percentage, say 10 %. As I told you earlier I reached out to 1500 people just on social media sites.
More interesting stats:
Using kickstarter analytics, about 250 people visited my campaign page and played the video.
19 people backed or pledged me. So 7 % of the people who visited my site pledged which doesn’t sound too bad using the 10 % party invite rule.
However, the total number of people I contacted was more like 2000 which means .0095, not even 1% backed me.
Sobering, no?

The media.
Naturally I sent out press releases. I sent about 30 to the big media players and alternative media geared to my subject matter – one day per week of my 4-week campaign. No one responded until the final week but that response resulted in a live on air interview with CITR 101.9 FM
Since my colleagues are inundated with crowdfunding requests, then the media must be getting slammed! I think a better time for press releases would be after the film is finished and is about to be screened somewhere.

Funny things:
One idea, that I thought was quite brilliant, was to search for groups on the Meet-up website who might be interested in my documentary.. My search revealed about 100 groups in North America most of which were amateur paranormal investigators. Perfect!
So instead of emailing individuals in the groups I focused on the group organizers and asked them to check out my kickstarter page and if appropriate pass it along the info to their members. The first day I sent out about 10 emails. The next day I wanted to send 10 more and low and behold I couldn’t log in to Meet-up. In my inbox, was a curt note stating that I had exhibited the behavior of a commercial party and that I was kicked out of Meet-up for Everrrrrrrrrrrrr! Why the inhumanity of it all. Well actually the gross bureaucracy of it all!

What could I have done differently?
1/ Had I thought of it earlier, I would have tried to attend and get invited to local group meetings as a guest speaker. Groups of a spiritual paranormal nature would have been a good idea.
2/ I would have started building my social media audience way before my campaign launched. These things take time and having a large following before launching would have been wise.
3/ A friend who was successful on kickstarter organized a number of fundraising events during her campaign and that certainly contributed to achieving her goal.

A longish post today but I had a lot of knowledge to pass on.

I had a great time and don’t regret a thing. My main objective was and is to get my film made and I’m on my way to doing just that. It won’t get made the way I thought it would but that’s the way the universe works. The universe will eventually provide you with the opportunity to get what you asked for but not in the way you thought it would occur.


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