Film St. Louis: March Review
Fundraising for Your Film
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Café Ventana - Annex
Money Money Money!!
Money and how to get it was the topic of our March Gathering of Film St. Louis.
Todd Matheny, Attorney, value-investor, aspiring programmer, guitarist, entrepreneur, film-fan, founder & CEO of Passerby was our guest speaker tonight.
Passerby (www.passer.by) is a St. Louis-based, film-only Crowdfunding site.
Todd shared with us the insights of the potential of being able to get investors through crowdfunding in the near future. Keep an eye on the "Jobs Act," as that may have a profound impact on how we, as filmmakers, get investors in the future.
As it currently stands, crowdfunding is all about donations, rewarding your donors (or "donators" to borrow a phrase) with recognition or gifts, and working your networks.
One of the things that I took away from this meeting was that crowdfunding is a lot of work! You need to have a plan going in. Plan on working with other people, whether it is people who are in your film and working on your film, or people who know the people you know, the further outside your immediate circle of people you can reach, the better.
You also want to make sure your campaign is Quality - from your video (which is a sample to donors of what you are capable of creating) to your writing (for those donors who skip the video completely) you want to make your appeal creative, professional, personal, and good. You are asking people to believe in your project. Your campaign should show them that you care enough to believe in your own project and are willing to put some effort into putting it together.
Communication is also key. Keep your donors in the loop. Let them know how the project is going, make them feel that they are a part of the project, that they are getting the inside scoop. This sense of 'ownership' will help you in the long run, as the donors will then also become your advocates and will help to talk your project up once it is complete.
One of the things that separates Passerby from other crowdfunding sites is its flexibility. Other sites make you meet your goal or lose all the money. Another will let you keep the money if you only get a portion of your goal. Passerby offers both options. Also, Passerby lets you choose the amount of fee that goes to the site - meet your goal, pay what you choose!
As filmmakers, we are all in the same boat trying to get the funds to do what we love: Create! As a filmmaking community, let's help each other as much as we can. If you see a fellow filmmaker on Passerby, let's donate to their project if possible. If not possible, let's help out by spreading the word - post on Facebook or Twitter the link to the campaign and help each other. You never know who you know who might take an interest in a project. Let's build each other up, and grow the filmmaking community here in the Midwest!!