Raising Money for Web Series and Indie Films
Pardon my French, but raising money is a bitch. A droopy cloud on a sunny day. A piece of poo on a shiny white floor.
I don’t like it.
In the past, I’ve been fortunate that most my projects have been funded from pitches, or, if they’re just small one-off things, I self-fund them. But going out and asking people for money? The horror. Even if I think my project is the best thing since goat cheese, I still shudder at the thought of playing salesperson. Hate, hate, hate it.
And then I stumbled upon Kickstarter. (Cue the sappy commercial music.) Perfect for folks who prefer a more passive, less in-your-face approach to raising money for artistic endeavors, Kickstarter is one site that I think could determine the future of the independent artist. You put up a profile, incentivize people to donate with different tiers of donation rewards, and then sit back and let Paypal do all the work. Though it currently seems to be more a site for low-threshold monetary goals (most projects on the site are asking for 10k or less), I am excited about where this could go in the future.
There are a few other sites out there like Kickstarter (IndieGoGo and ChipIn are also prominent), so you have to look at the various advantages and disadvantages of each. I personally chose Kickstarter for my project. It took about 5 minutes to be approved, and whoila!
Here is my project’s full profile: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1845100421/among-the-stars-investigative-feature-explores-th?pos=35&ref=recently-launched
Because of Kickstarter, I’ve raised over $800 in my first day (one tweet!). I’ve still got several weeks to go, but I’m hopeful that we can reach the $7500 goal, which will cover all the post-production costs of my film. (IMPORTANT NOTE: You have to raise all the money in order to collect ANY of it…and then you better actually follow through with your project and rewards…or, run the risk of getting sued. Yikes!)
I’m also looking into grants and scholarships, such as the Women in Film Finishing Fund grant (thank you Jenny Starnes for the tip) and I would love to figure out a way to start an online auction with all the gift suite swag I’ve scored over the past three years.
But enough about me. Most of you who read my blog are artists in your own right, and I’d like to know how all of you have found success raising money outside of the studio/production company development fund system.
Let me know what you’ve tried, what works/doesn’t work, and specific grants, scholarships, awards, online auctions, or other ways to raise money without having to go knocking on doors.
In the meantime, here are some links to articles about raising funds for features/web series:
The Right Way to Raise Money for your No-Budget Film – while the title is a little off-putting (there is no right or wrong way!), this article provides a no-nonsense, traditional path to approaching investors (in good conscience!)
The Money Web – a little outdated (the article was written in 2000), but still has a few websites up there in business to help you fund your latest project.
Indie GoGo – Fundraising for Independent Filmmakers – This is more a review of Indie Gogo, but it provides some insight and sample case studies as to how the site works. I am thinking about giving Indie GoGo a try for my next project.
The List of 9 – Nine tips for raising money for your film. Practical advice about what to expect when raising money.