Results in on Look Inside Crowdfunding Campaign
24 hours after the deadline for our Crowdfunding campaign for short film Look Inside and I thought I’d write a short blog post that reflects on our journey to this point.
Firstly, we’re very glad to have reached and even slightly surpassed our target. In 30 days the campaign succeeded in generating £4,288 (approx. $) with 113% funded.
Having used Indiegogo for previous projects, with mixed success, and after a strong recommendation from filmmaker, Louise Salter, we decided to go with Phundee, this time.
Right from the get-go, Phundee MD, Ashon Spooner was hugely supportive of the project and took a very hands-on approach to everything we were doing, both during the crowdsourcing campaign and the crowdfunding campaign.
Writer/Director Shiona Penrake attended some workshops with Phundee to get some greater insight into running an effective crowdsourcing campaign. Because: without at least 4 weeks’ of work priming your network with daily news about your project and intentions to launch a crowdfunding campaign, you are on a road to nowhere.
Budget v. crowdfunding target
We set out aiming for 7K, our total budget, but with only 12% funded in the first week, Ashon advised us to lower our sights so that we stood a better chance of raising the minimum 70% required in order to be eligible to bank the pledged funds. Ashon adjusted the target, and our 12% funded climbed to nearly 30%. Now we looked like we just might hit 100% in the 4-week period we’d given ourselves.
Around week 3, we discussed progress with Ashon and he suggested we drop the figure again to £3,788. Each time we dropped the figure, we noticed a small spike in donations.
What we did on social media
Neither Shiona nor I see ourselves as natural sales types and the process of spending day after day approaching people we hadn’t spoken to in a while and talking to them about the film and of course asking them to share the link and consider donating at least a tenner was at times vaguely mortifying – I mean, who likes asking for money, even if you do believe passionately in your film and are offering ‘perks’ or ‘exclusives’ in return. Still, we’d decided to do this and we were going to see it through to the best we could, and that’s what we did.
One of the unexpected pleasures of the campaign was in fact getting back in touch friends I hadn’t spoken to, in some cases, in some years. To my surprise, they were glad to hear from me and took an interest in the film, and I am now properly back in touch with at least a couple of those ‘old friends’, which is great.
During the crowdsourcing campaign, both Shiona and I worked a few hours each day, putting out social posts with images and supporting videos aimed at generating interest in the project.
LinkedIn drew a virtual blank – I suspect because it looked to most people on there like a student project, although no one on the film is a student. On Twitter we created a page for Look Inside and posted from there, my account and Shiona’s account. Frequent posting with a mix of posts, banners and videos helped create some buzz, I think, but the real winners were the newsletters we sent out via Mailchimp, personal emails, and chat on Facebook.
Given the script was written by a young woman who was a ‘special needs child’ at school, we also got in touch with interest groups for people dealing with e.g. bullying, autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, also anything related to women in filmmaking… although I have to say none of this sort of activity produced any contributions. In the end about 90% of the funds we actually received came from family, friends and work colleagues. Which is – realistically – probably all you can hope for with a short film.
In the third week, over one weekend, a friend of mine offered to put in £50 to run a Facebook video ad, which consisted of a few lines of copy and a 50-second video. Sadly, we gained nothing at all from this besides a dozen or so clicks. Clearly not the way to go for short film funding!
Shiona has made a total of 3 videos thanking all the contributors, but I feel bound to thank the two most generous contributors: Anna Muroni at £200 and Simon Clews at £500.
Next steps for Look Inside
With just over £4,000 raised, we are now confident that we can start the pre-production process in earnest. We already have cast and core crew attached, so our next step is to secure a studio space in London or just outside London for the shoot.
To this end, our production designer, Jonathan Brann, is looking into prices and availability with studios he has used before. With Christmas drawing near, we would be happy to have this side of things battened down by mid January, with a shoot date early-mid February 2018, assuming no major availability issues with cast and crew.
As we didn’t quite reach our total budget for this film, it looks like we may have to add our own funds to bridge the gap. That said, we are still exploring top-up funds from organisations set up to help complete funding of selected short films – more on that later if we have make some progress with that particular route.
Following the shoot, we may also run a second crowdfunding campaign, February-March next year, when we would show people a glimpse of what we have achieved so far, prior to completion – a sort of rough cut trailer – in the hope we might entice a new crop of funders to help us cover the post production costs.
It’s of course great to have made a reasonable success out of this campaign in terms of money raised. But it’s perhaps just as important that Shiona and I learnt how to build an engaged network. This is key, not just for this film, but for any of our future projects.
It’s been a pretty exhausting process and it’s tempting to think, “OK, that’s over now… “ and put our feet up. But in some ways this is just the beginning: we have to continue to engage and grow our network for the next stages of this project and for future projects to come.
As you’re here, please go over to our page for Look Inside and join the ‘conversation’ – we’d love to see you there. Happy to share our experiences with you if that’s of interest.