5 reasons you’re not ready to crowdfund.

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Etta DevineCrowdfunding is an amazing resource for people who want to make cool stuff but it is not free money. I’ve had two successful campaigns on Kickstarter (Adventures of Huckleberry Finn {Robotic Edition} and Help “The Selling” get a Theatrical Release) and it is a lot of hard work. A LOT of hard work. No, seriously. It’s a full time job.

I’ve informally advised or otherwise been involved with many other campaigns and there are mistakes I see people making again and again and it hurts! I want you to succeed! So before I write a post about best practices I’m going to take a step back and address some of the things people do that sabotage their effort before they even start.

1. You didn’t do your research.  

There are tons of resources out there about how to do it right.

Filmcourage

Jon Reiss

The Film Collaborative Crowdfunding Resource Place

The Kickstarter Blog

The Quora Kickstarter Topic

The indiegogo blog

The Quora Indiegogo Topic

Turnstyle New’s The Crowd Crowd

Kicktraq

Also Google

Anyone trying to raise more than a couple thousand dollars should read through ALL of this. Anyone trying to raise more than a couple thousand dollars should have done so much research that nothing I say will be surprising at all. Do. Your. Research.

 

2. You don’t have a social media footprint.

I know Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr,  and websites etc. are a lot of work.  But how do you expect anyone to know about your crowdfunding campaign if you have nobody to tell. There is a distinct inverted bell curve of pledging to a crowdfunding campaign. There is a burst at the beginning and another at the end. That burst at the beginning is your friends and family and your own personal network. That personal network that you have cultivated and nurtured on social media. There is a clear correlation between your social media footprint and your chances of success. If you don’t even have a social media footprint how could you possibly raise your goal? Start building your network now if you haven’t already.

 

3. You’re just an artist.  

If the words “but I’m just an artist, I don’t know how to…” have crossed your lips in the last six months you are not ready to crowdfund. Asking for money from the world to make your project come true requires that you be more than just an artist. You have to produce your campaign just like you’d produce a film. There is pre production, marketing, press, outreach, follow through, spreadsheets and tears. Just being an artist would be great. Actually getting to build a career without having to rely on social media and cultivating your own audience is an old paradigm.  But it is not realistic in today’s creative environment and when you say things like “I’m just an artist” everyone who already knows it’s not realistic will think you’re an idiot.

 

4. You’re shy

I’m shy too. There is nothing I hate more than constantly having to yell, “Look at my thing!” because we all know that “Look at my thing!” means “Look at me!” and only big dumb jerks who nobody is already looking at need to do that. Stop. You have to be the one yelling, “look at my thing” because nobody else is going to do it. You have to get comfortable with self-promotion. Don’t be annoying. But you have to learn to put your project out in the world or your crowdfunding campaign will fail. It’s probably the hardest part.

 

5. You aren’t engaged in the community.

There really is a crowdfunding community. You need to be a part of it through pledging to other people’s campaigns before you crowdfund yourself for two main reasons. The first reason is so you can see from the inside how people run their campaigns. Do you like the way they communicated with you as a backer? Did they do something stupid that you will now never do? You don’t have to spend a ton of money on this. It is perfectly acceptable to back projects at $1. When you get those $1 pledges yourself you’ll be thrilled. The second main reason you should join the community by backing other projects is so you don’t look like a stupid selfish jerk. When I see that a project creator has NEVER backed another project it kind of pisses me off. Why should anyone support you when you’ve never supported anyone else?

If all of this seems totally reasonable to you then you might be ready to pull that trigger and design your campaign. Good luck! I’m cheering for you! And if you’re making a movie or a web series feel free to cast me.

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Etta Devine

About Etta Devine

Etta Devine is an actor, filmmaker, and writer with a script on the 2017 Blacklist and one of 2017's Movie Maker Magazine's 25 Screenwriters to watch. With partner Gabriel Diani she directed, wrote, produced and starred in the feature film “Diani & Devine Meet the Apocalypse” which premiered at the 2016 Austin film festival and won awards from the Mill Valley Film Festival, Spokane International Film Festival, Omaha Film Festival, San Luis Obispo Film Festival, and many others. She co-produced and starred in the horror comedy “The Selling,” ruined classic literature by creating “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Robotic Edition” and is a member of the Antaeus Classical Theatre Company in Los Angeles and the Film Fatales. She recently recorded voices for the popular Frederator cartoon “Bee and Puppycat“ and wrote multiple episodes of its upcoming second season.