The Potential in Crowd Funding

By Justin McGoldrick

Crowd Funding is the newest way Web 2.0 has encouraged film development. IndieGoGo, Kickstarter, and RocketHub – all of these sites allow you to find projects that interest you, but more importantly they allow you to donate money. You may not know the person, but you know the idea and that just might be enough.

But who has ever invested in a project on the idea alone? Filmmakers are as much salesmen as they are artists. Nobody’s handing over money if they don’t believe the money will go to a person with the capacity for success. So why would people donate if they don’t know the artist? Most filmmakers promote the donation as a chance to make it into the credits and to receive free promotional and autographed products. The Catch-22 of this is that unless money is donated, these “valuable” items aren’t worth anything.

One reason why crowd funding probably doesn’t Producer's Foundation Cerificatework as efficiently as it could is because the butter is scraped so thin on the toast. There are at least five major sites that carry enough legitimacy to even get potential investors looking. Amongst these sites are hundreds of filmmakers, musicians, web designers, painters, and charity organizers hoping for a private endowment of their own art. Not to mention, the ratio is so excruciatingly off. The number of people with enough extra cash, even if it’s only five quid, compared to the number of people with projects seeking donations of £5000+ is not in favor of the artist.

There isn’t enough faith in the method yet to guarantee crowd funding as a reliable means to earn a budget. It certainly can work; it certainly has worked. Because it isn’t a traditional method of funding films, though – it’s existed for no more than five years and has only just garnered popularity in the past three – the verdict is still up in the air if it’s worth relying on.

Crowd FundingThere are ways to make it work. First and foremost, do not make it your main source of funding. Some crowd funding sites promote projects with goals upwards of £35,000. You better have one hell of a tagline to earn that kind of dough. You must be realistic. Take part of your budget, perhaps marketing, and hope that people will invest specifically in that line item. This can work in your favor, especially because you’ll have footage you can show off to investors. You’ll have something you know won’t embarrass you or the people who put faith in you to deliver online.

The BP Portrait Award Project: Facing the Gulf - Portraits in Oil
is a project early in development, but they’ve set a modest and realistic goal that can be achieved within a month. Also, the subject of the film is relatable and will endorse a cause that will become a defining point of the millennial generation. The chance of receiving funds for this film is far greater than, say, the character study of a city bus driver dealing with his cat’s death.

This alternative source to funding still has plenty of time to prove itself. But the indelible truth to getting your film made still remains: It isn’t about what you know, but whom you know. It will be very hard to convince strangers to give you money. Perhaps the best form of crowd funding implementation is simply to use it as a clean, convenient, and organized way of tracking your investors. Most likely family and friends – people you know. Networking off the web is more important than networking online; this will remain true for a very long time. Remember this as you plan the film that’s going to prove crowd funding’s worth.

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About The Author

Justin McGoldrickJustin McGoldrick is an undergraduate Film & Media Arts student from Temple University in the United States. He’s studying in London for the semester and is less than anxious to get back to Philly (and responsibility) in the Spring.

He is also pursuing an English Writing Certificate. He likes to write and edit. He’s done some poetry, tutoring, journalism, producing, and charity work back in the States.

Here, he’s done some studying, traveling, and interning at Raindance.

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The Potential in Crowd Funding