Christopher Brennan kicks off The New Digital Filmmaker’s Guide series with a look at crowdfunding.
So you have a script that you’ve been itching to get made. You’ve tried many of the traditional ways of bringing this puppy to life, but so far, No Dice.
Have you ever thought about Crowdfunding? By now, you’ve probably heard of this movement that’s been sweeping the independent film sector!
Now there are hundreds of different online companies that specialise in crowdfunding. But, how do you know which one is right for your project?
Well, that is exactly what we are going to look into today!
Top Crowdfunding Platforms
There is no real answer to which one is better. They each have their own advantages and disadvantages. But let’s see which one is right for you.
Let’s start with the biggest company first: Kickstarter
Averages a 44% success rate on campaigns overall
Exposure – As the world’s largest crowdfunding platform, you will have the opportunity to reach a larger number of people if you use Kickstarter. Now this doesn’t mean you will. It just means you could!
High Project Goals – If you are looking to raise a significant amount of money, then Kickstarter may just be the best option. If your project happens to go viral, then your campaign has the potential to raise a lot of money. More so than with the other platforms anyway.
Project Acceptance – There is a chance that your campaign could be rejected by Kickstarter. Now this may sound like a disadvantage at first, but in reality, it could be to your advantage as well. You see, Kickstarter will only reject your campaign if they feel that you have not created a proper strategy that will lead to success. So, if you do get rejected, then it means your campaign may not yet be strong enough to go live yet (better to find that out before you launch, right?)
Competition – With the larger platform also comes the stronger competition. It can be very difficult to attract attention to your campaign, with so many others fighting for interest as well.
All or Nothing – You have to reach your intended target. If you don’t, then you get nothing. Oh, and you should aim for higher than that. Because if the credit card of one of your contributors doesn’t work, then that could mean that you didn’t reach your target as well. Even though, Kickstarter are very good at contacting contributors about overdue payments, it’s still not a guarantee.
Offline Fundraising for Kickstarter – If you are raising money through other offline areas, then it can be tricky to post those earnings on Kickstarter, as you are not allowed to pledge to your own campaign. This means that you would have to find another person to trust with your own donation.
Averages a 34% success rate on campaigns overall
Keep What You Raise – Unlike Kickstarter, IndieGoGo will allow you to keep whatever money you raise. This means that even if you don’t reach your target, you still get to keep the finances raised. While this might be an advantage on some level, it can also be detrimental to your campaign as well (See Disadvantages)
Basically Rule-Free – IndieGoGo declare that you can “raise money for anything, including for-profit ventures, creative ideas or personal needs.” This means that you don’t have to go through the vetting process that occurs in Kickstarter.
Advice Page – IndieGoGo has an extremely detailed advice page that will breakdown all the stages of developing a successful campaign. This page is actually considered better than Kickstarter’s.
Lack Of Urgency – As mentioned above, even though keeping all you raise can be seen as a good thing, it also takes away from one of the driving factors for contributors: Urgency.
One of the most common times for contributors to pay is at the end of the campaign. It really lights a fire under them to pledge their support.
If you are going to keep whatever you raise, then you lose the priority-factor of hitting your target.
Exposure – IndieGoGo has a much smaller community. This will limit the exposure of your campaign.
Fees – IndieGoGo has a 4% fee for successful campaigns. While that might be slightly better than Kickstarter, if you don’t reach your target, then they will take an astounding 9%. So be sure that the actual money raised at the end is worthwhile before you start your campaign.
Averages a 74% success rate on campaigns overall
Success Rate – As you can see, Fundit.ie has a very healthy success rate. Those figures show that that you have a good shot at reaching your target.
Limited Competition – Because there aren’t as many campaigns on Fundit, you may have a better shot at being funded by someone browsing through the site. Also, your chances are higher to be one of the featured projects on their homepage.
Project Support – Fundit are quite known for providing very helpful support and advice to ensure that your project will reach it’s goal.
Overall Exposure – Your project may not reach the same level of people as it would on Kickstarter.
No Live Edit – Once your project goes live, then that’s it. You are unable to edit it. This means that you cannot add any more prizes or stipulations (However, you can add these into the updates section).
Financial Limits – As the audience is smaller, so is the amount of money you can raise. Whereas some Kickstarter campaigns have been able to raise over $10 million, Fundit just doesn’t have that kind of reach. To date, Fundit’s highest grossing campaign has been just over €20,000. So if your project requires more than that, then perhaps you might seek one of the bigger companies.
Which One Works For You?
So, as you can see there is no clear-cut winner in this group. Each of the companies have their own unique set of advantages. In the end, it’s best to examine your own specific project, and then determine which one of these platforms would be of the most benefit.
For instance, if you are making a story that will really strike a chord with an Irish audience, then perhaps using a more targeted platform is the way to go.
Alternatively, if your project has a very interesting universal hook – something that will immediately peak the interests of casual film-goers, filmmakers and enthusiasts alike, then perhaps using a bigger, more international platform like Kickstarter could really help spread the word.
Either way, before you start off on your campaign, it’s best that you have a fully orchestrated strategy ready. The campaigns that succeed are the ones that know that you can’t just stick your project up and hope to get funding. It’s takes a lot of work!
So, what do you think? Have you used any of these platforms before? Or is there a lesser known one that you feel needs recognition? Which one do you think is best?
Let us know, by either dropping a comment below or tweet @chrisbrennan_1
Thanks for reading and good luck with your campaign!