[a slightly shorter version of this article originally appeared in Write On! Online]
Pitch Video for Mary Kerr’s IndieGoGo Project “Swinging in the Shadows”
Many writers, filmmakers and other creatives are considering using crowdfunding sites to help raise funds for their projects. These sites allow you to pitch your projects to the public so that funds can be collectively raised. You can create your pitch from a mix video, images, and text. Like PBS or NPR fund drives, potential patrons are offered cumulative ‘rewards’ or ‘perks’ at levels determined by the amount they contribute.
The main crowdfunding sites are IndieGoGo and Kickstarter. IndieGoGo was founded in 2008, Kickstarter in 2009. Both have raised millions of dollars for thousands of projects. Recently, Kickstarter had some headline grabbing projects, such as an iPod Nano watch that raised nearly $1 million (when their goal was to raise $15,000).
That is the exception rather than the rule. Many projects attempt to raise less than $3,000. Regardless of the goal, most fail to reach it.
I was asked by producer/director Mary Kerr to help her set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise finishing money for a two-part documentary she’d been shooting on and off over the last 15 years about the untold story of the California Beat Era. She has self-funded the project until now and the docs are now complete and edited. She needs to raise $8,500 to add audio sweetening, pay her editor, create a boxed set of DVDs with bonus materials, etc.
The biggest difference between the two is that in order to receive contributions at the end of the campaign, you have to make or surpass your goal on Kickstarter (all or nothing), where IndieGoGo dispenses whatever funds have been pledged, whether or not the goal is reached (any money raised is yours). Kickstarter takes a 5% fee; IndieGoGo takes 4% if the goal is reached and 9% if it is not.
In addition, Kickstarter requires contributors to use Amazon Payments (limiting contributors to having a US bank account or a US address); IndieGoGo accepts direct credit card or PayPal.
Check both sites FAQs for more details.
Ultimately, we went with IndieGoGo as Mary wanted to be able to receive whatever funds are contributed.
The process for both is the same:
- Decide how much money to raise and set the goal.
- Determine how long it may take you to reach the goal (up to 120 days)
- Post a project and create a pitch
- Offer gifts and perks to donors based on how much they contribute
- Share your pitch with others
In the pitch video, description text and the perk levels, being clear and clever is a big plus. For example, here are clever, successful Kickstarter campaigns for a book on design and another by a musician.
Perhaps the most important part of a campaign is what you do after you launch – marketing and sharing the pitch to others. Both of the examples had a built in fan base to start and that helped.
As I post this we only have a weeks to go. Feel free to contribute to the project or encourage others to do so.
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