Equipment, locations, actors, props, catering, insurance; the list of costs when making your own film is endless. As much as we wish we could all win the lottery, or get a million-dollar investment from Screen Australia, crowdfunding is one of the best ways to fund your film when starting out as a film maker.
Luckily for our students, hiring our equipment is free, and with actors on site at the school, that cost can be cut too. However, knowing the right way to crowdfund is a key skill to develop as a filmmaker, so we’ve put together some advice to help you raise those funds and create that masterpiece.
First things first, figure out your budget.
Try to keep your budget small. Realistically, you’re not likely to crowdfund $100k so try to keep your costs down when shooting to make your goal more realistic. You are far better to make a less ambitious film very well rather than a more ambitious film half as well
However, don’t be optimistic with costs as it will only hurt you more later. Always allow ten percent extra as a contingency as most projects will always go over time and over budget and you don’t want to be worrying about lack of money.
Crowdfunding websites; which one is best for you?
When choosing which platform to crowdfund on, you need to find the best pick for you. Some websites allow you to take all the donations that you get given (Flexible), and others you only get the donations if you meet your target (Fixed) so it’s really important to know which is right for you. If your budget is $5,000 and you only make $700, you need to consider if it is better the money goes back to the donators as you won’t be able to make the film you want to make. Some platforms also take a bigger cut of the donations than others, and some have better reach or more ‘trust’ for your donators. So, we’ve put together a list of the top crowdfunding websites, and why they may or may not be for you.
Kickstarter is for the creatives so can be a great place to go when looking to fund your film. However, the amount of films and projects can make it hard to stand out.
Kickstarter takes the “all or nothing” approach: if you don’t raise 100 percent of the goal you set, you get none of it. The site takes 5 percent of the amount raised, and the payment processor takes another 3 to 5 percent.
Indiegogo has around 15 million people visit the site per month, which means a lot of potential traffic and investors for your film. However, this also mean many other people to compete with.
It offers both fixed and flexible funding, and the fee for either is 4 percent. However, if you don’t hit your goal with a flexible funding campaign, the fee is 9 percent, but no fee for a fixed funding campaign if you don’t hit your goal.
Unlike Kickstarter or Indiegogo, Seed&Spark is a site devoted to those who eat, sleep and breathe film, and film only. One of the biggest pros of this site is that they also help you distribute your finished film. If you run a successful crowdfunding campaign and gather 500 followers or more, you are automatically eligible for distribution through Seed&Spark AND their partners which includes iTunes, Comcast, Verizon, Netflix, and Hulu.
You need to get 80% of your goal to get the funds, otherwise the money goes back to the investors, and they take 5% of the funds.
Pozible is as much about the journey as the rewards, and works well for projects that either have or can easily reach out to a base of fans ready to become backers. It practices the all-or-nothing funding, although you can try again if your campaign fails to reach its goal.
They work off a 5% fee. As an Australian company, this is good for Australian projects with an Australian audience.
Australian Cultural Fund
The Australian Cultural Fund is a fundraising platform for Australian artists. It is managed by Creative Partnerships Australia and was established by the Australian Government in 2003 to encourage donations to the arts. Artists set a fundraising goal and if it’s not met it still gets contributed to their project. Some of the benefits to this platform is that, as it’s a government platform, supporters can be assured of its authenticity, and any donations over $2 are tax deductible.
Projects do have to be approved by the board to be funded, although it can be a great way to garner attention from people dedicated to the arts to get more donations for your project.
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