This last month I launched my first ever crowdfunding campaign. The campaign was for a found footage horror film titled “The Sluagh” that I am producing, writing AND starring in. There’s a lot about the previous sentences that make me laugh; never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would take on the tasks that I have in the last month. Sure I have a web series that I do everything for but that doesn’t compare to agreeing to be apart of a team with 3 other people, commit to weekly writing sessions, spend the little extra money you have to launch a crowdfunding campaign and then dedicate a month of your life to shamelessly hitting up EVERY SINGLE person you know for money. It’s terrifying…..but I still did it.
Our goal for the campaign was $20,000. Realistically we could have our dream film if we raised $10,000 yet even if we raised only $1000 we were going to make this film. We have a unique and lucky situation where both our location, our lodging, our equipment and even most of our food is already being provided to us free of charge in Florida. Travel costs to and from Florida, post-production, insurance, actor fees etc. are what we need the money for. Did we get anywhere near the $20,000 we hoped to raise? No, honestly not even close. This could be discouraging however considering we began this project on the idea that we would just take our cameras and go to Florida to shoot this film 100% no budget, we’ve come along way.
The hardest part of this process for me wasn’t the asking for money, although it is uncomfortable, it was the self education you have to commit yourself to learning so you’re not going into crowd funding completely blind. Most people start “relationship marketing” months before they launch a campaign, essentially building an eager audience that is more than willing to pitch in when the time comes. We didn’t have this luxury. For many reasons we essentially NEED to film this in January and we didn’t realize this until August. Then it was a strategic breakdown of the best month to launch and it being a horror film, October made sense. This left us with one month of building an audience which we couldn’t quite figure out how to do because we wanted to keep a lot of the premise secret before the launch. Our answer to this was a few small 15 second found footage promo vids that helped. But obviously, if we had even more months to do this, it would have helped tremendously. If you have the money to do so, hiring a crowdfunding coach helps, A LOT. Naturally we didn’t have the extra dough so it was hours upon hours of drinking too much coffee and reading through articles on the “dos and don’ts” of crowdfunding as you feel your brain starting to turn to mush and the internal gears screech to a halt. The growing pains throughout this process were freaking intense however now having gone through it (and surviving) I am equipped with a whole new set of skills I never thought I would have.
Every time I decide to stretch my creative self, whether it be from starting my own web series to now making my first feature, I gain a different level of confidence than I had previously. It’s nice to be able to form opinions on different areas of filmmaking based on personal experiences. I truly enjoy growing, even if it can be painful and thankless in so many ways because no matter what, you have new life experiences to learn from and a new knowledge to take with you in your next ventures.
As for crowdfunding? As of right now I’d like to NEVER do it again…but ask me again next year.