Kickstarter for Filmmakers -- The Campaign Site

This is our final excerpt from  James Cooper's eBook www.kickstarterforfilmmakers.com. Today James offers suggestions on how to structure your personal Kickstarter page. by James Cooper

Campaign Body

The body text of your campaign page is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle, and should receive your full attention to detail when deciding what information to put in, and how to present it. This is where you pitch people on your film and sell them on why they want to be a part of it.

What is it about?

This is where knowing how to pitch comes in handy. You remember pitching, don’t you? The practice of distilling your story down to one or two sentences so you can quickly tell people what your film is about? I know you hate it, but it’s an essential skill, and one you’re going to have to put to good use here. For the purpose of your crowd funding campaign, a good pitch should read like the back of a DVD case, or like the description that comes up when you’re flipping through films On Demand. What’s most important is that the characters and story of the film are clear and easy to understand, as well as the genre. You’re selling your film to people who haven’t seen it yet, so you’d better be able to hook them!

Who is involved?

I don’t know why this aspect gets looked over so often, but it does, and it’s one of the most common problems I’ve found with many campaigns: usually, the only person you know is involved in the film is the person pitching it to you. They passionately tell you about the film they want to make and how great it will be and why you should love it as much as they will, but they almost always fail to quantify that to-be greatness with any proof. Who is on board with this film that will ensure its greatness?

To this point, don’t be afraid to boast a little. If your previous efforts have garnered any award nominations (or wins), or have played any noteworthy festivals, tell us! I know people are always saying that no one likes a bragger, but this is one of those rare instances where it’s perfectly okay to boast about your accomplishments. Likewise, do the same for any of your cast or crew that have done noteworthy things. If you want to go a step further (of course you do), linking to everyone’s IMDB page is a great, easy way for people to get some information.

What is the money for?

This might seem obvious to you: “It’s to make the movie! Duh!” but don’t take for granted that this is always the case. A quick glance at Kickstarter will show you that there are various stages at which filmmakers are pursuing crowd funding: the majority are for production costs to actually make the film, but there are also instances of campaigns raising money for finishing funds for a film that has already been shot and just needs a little extra to finish it off, or you also often see filmmakers crowd funding their festival submission fees. All are equally legitimate reasons to seek crowd funding, but make sure your audience knows where the money is going!Some campaigns go so far as actually breaking down where the money is being allocated, and while the extra layer of transparency is nice, it’s not usually a make-or- break addition.

What if you raise more than your goal?

I know, I know. You’re stressing out enough over actually hitting your goal, and I want you to think about what will happen if you surpass it? It sounds strange, but this is one of the big questions many backers have, so you should make sure you have an answer in place. It doesn’t have to be revelatory, it could be as simple as adding to the film’s production value, or putting money into your eventual festival run.

How Kickstarter (or whatever platform you’re on) works

This might sound redundant, but it’s a good idea to include the ins and outs of your platform of choice in the body of your campaign. Why? Most people are still unfamiliar with how crowd funding works, and you want to make things as easy for your would-be backers as possible. It doesn’t have to be a thorough analysis of the platform, but a paragraph explaining how it works will clear up any confusion people may have about what you’re doing.

FAQ

Some platforms have a section at the bottom of your page to add a FAQ section, should you realize you’re getting similar questions from people and want to address them in one fell swoop. If your platform of choice doesn’t have this as an option, it doesn’t hurt to just make one yourself and amend it throughout the campaign.

What else?

As with the rewards, don’t be afraid to get creative here. Some campaigns include photos of their actors in their campaign body, or their film’s poster. Don’t be afraid to try something a little different. Anything you can do to make your campaign more personal and unique, the better. Perhaps interviews with people involved in the production? Concept art or storyboards? Maybe that great joke you heard at a bar that one time? Actually, better skip that one.

Dropping out after a short stint at Toronto Film School in 2008, James pursued more pragmatic methods for developing his style and expanding his understanding of film language: making films. 
 
After successfully funding his short film Elijah the Prophet through popular crowd funding website Kickstarter, James began compiling his experience into Kickstarter for Filmmakers, an inexpensive ebook guide to assist his peers in planning campaigns of their own. Find him on Twitter: @cooper_jim and online at www.kickstarterforfilmmakers.com