The Secret of Successful Crowdfunding for Film?

camille crowdfunding to go to film school

WE’RE STARTING TO GET a bit of a reputation for ourselves, aren’t we? British people, tea parties aside, will still find a smouldering calorie of energy hidden somewhere within our own Dickensian darkness to laugh at an American. It seemed a shame, then, that Slava Rubin, from crowdfunding film distributor and fundraising site Indie GoGo, was laughed at by the audience during a great panel discussion.

The Secret of Successful Crowdfunding for Film?

Slava happens to be the marketing guru of a great site with a model that is largely unheard of among the masses in the UK. (Invariably, it could be us that are the laughing stock when the Arts Council funding gets pulled from under our feet by the Coalition government.)

He hails from the surprisingly simple website that is a mix between Justgiving and an indie arts shop. It aims to give filmmakers, writers, illustrators, musicians, creatives and campaign protégés (without the helpful contacts to help them garner the resources they’d need) a platform to sound out and fundamentally, earn some cash from by taking a percentage of the money earned online.

Aye. Times are hard, the media increasingly oligopolised and culture funding is vanishing faster than an earring on a bathroom floor – so why aren’t we eating up this new model?

Ingrid Kopp from Shooting People, chair of the panel discussion ‘Ain’t Too Proud To Beg: Adventures in Crowdfunding’ at Sheffield Documentary Festival, was instrumental in extracting debate and vital information for members of the audience needing to find money for the next project.

“Broadcast money isn’t what it once was,” she said to the panel. Indeed – the world is doubly tough for a new director without a back catalogue or indie company on their side. Crowdfunding is the future of film – and the creative industry at large, such as live streaming on YouTube.

“It’s creating a new way of having an audience.” With the best crowdfunding sites spinning in tandem with social media, and with the big broadcasters looking to pump up their online profiles with their future loyal viewers, broadcast money could very well have itself matched and rivalled by the public voting with their PayPal accounts – within the next five years.

Build the audience first

Amidst the egotistic audience laughter at his habit of talking in business-tips styled bullet points, Slava Rubin had some great points to make.

“Your email list is the most important thing,” he said. “You don’t wait for some person in a suit to decide whether you deserve the money or not. No-one comes to Indie GoGo with wallets open wide. 20% of funding will come from strangers.”

And it’s the kindness of strangers that is funding one of the best projects right now: Sending Camille to Film School. On this site, people from across the world can donate in what will eventually become a public scholarship for a young lady to be able to equip herself at film school. Neat, huh? (Why didn’t we think of that before getting student loans?)

“You also need to include participation.” For example, people who donate online to Camille’s fund will include an online badge saying “I sent Caille to Film School” and a personalised, video thankyou note.

“Heart: the audience have to care about you, or your cause, or your campaign,” he said.

Make something, and campaign about something people genuinely care about.

:Like sending someone to film school, like Camille.

camille crowdfunding to go to film school
(C) indiegogo

“Adventures in Crowdfunding” also featured Barbara Tonelli from France’s Touscoprod,  campaigner and filmmaker Emily James from Just Do It, Michael Norton from Buzzbank and Prof. Stephen Reicher from the University of St. Andrews.

See The Guardian’s Kate Bulkely’s special on Crowdfunding at Sheff Doc Fest here:

  • Check out M+ magazine on on the 28th November for our Sheffield Doc Fest feature-special. Update posted here.
  • Fresh from Sheffield Doc Fest
  • [Tweet: #sheffdocfest]

11 responses to “The Secret of Successful Crowdfunding for Film?”

  1. This article is such a load of complete bollocks from start to finish. Why dont you attempt to gain some experience within feature film production, financing, information technology and crowd funding methodology before writing any more words? I mean really, how much experience can an 8 year old expect to have? If you’re not feeling embarassed right now, then you are clearly a bigger idiot than I thought.

    • I honestly can’t see any point in your comment except to vent some unnecessary inner frustration anonymously into an online community for the sake of controversy. Your criticism isn’t even constructive in any way. I am a fairly new reader of this blog, but I have found the content stimulating and interesting. The point of this particular blog is not to claim any sort of inside knowledge on “crowd funding” or any other industry that you have mentioned, it is merely sharing an idea (relatively alien to the blogs UK audience) that was brought up (from what I can gather) in a panel at an arts festival in Sheffield…

      I don’t really understand why you have decided to claim the author is an 8 year old, or why she should even be embarrassed by this work. It does everything it needs to, which is raise awareness without overloading the reader with a plethora of unnecessary information.

      So to put it simply: I don’t see any relevence in your comment. If you want to be critical at least be constructive, otherwise your views become completely irrelevant. Maybe you should gain some experience in literary or media critiquing before you write any more words. I mean really, how much experience can an 8 year old expect to have? If you’re not feeling embarrassed right now, then you are clearly a bigger idiot than I thought.

      Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.

    • “embarrassed” not “embarassed”. You spell like an 8 year old.

      TEAM JANE!!

    • Charlie you know Jane flagged up your comment on her Facebook profile for a laugh.

      You are the laugh.

    • I think you have a couple of bitter exes who read and now decide to write your blog. Yuck!

      Love you loads janey x

    • awesome article Jane!

      think charlie bucket needs to deal with the internet and technology revolution.

      you not got his email address? I’d love to drop him a line!

  2. Hi Charlie Bucket,

    Thanks for taking the time to read and then slate my article, you have every right to do that.

    Your personal aside on my age/maturity (although I am always flattered to be thought of as younger than I am, as it is a credit to my face), do bear in mind that I’m not writing from my experience. The article was inspired by a panel discussion from a Documentary Festival.

    And of course I am embarrassed! OBVIOUSLY anyone would be embarrassed if they were being attacked on their blog through their comments page: especially as I moderate my comments and was happy to publish yours, because it wasn’t spam.

    Indeed, like many other ‘8 year olds’ who are in fact 21 and over, yes, I am finding it difficult to get feature film experience whilst working at two jobs, paying taxes like your good self and interning to get into the industry.

    But I guess that is the risk taken with online writing. You are not the first virtual person to have labelled me ‘complete bollocks’.

    Hope to hear a response from you through this forum.


  3. I don’t think you should be upset at all. The internet is a large source of douchebaggery, as a wise man once told me. The combination of anonymity and audience leads to a whole world of unnecessary nonsense. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  4. Clearly Charlie Bucket, (who has managed to insult everyone’s intelligence and a lovely and beloved literary character in one go, so congrats for that!) has failed to grasp the point of both the article and the blog in general. I would also like to point out if one Miss Jane McConnell (who i regard as a highly interesting and intelligent individual judging from this blog) is indeed as you claim, an 8 year old, maybe she SHOULD look into a career in the media! Because judging from this material she has managed to produce now, she would be doing a much better job than anyone at any newspaper or TV network is doing today.
    I believe you could class yourself within that above category of being an absolute failure and utter berk.

  5. Many words flying around here! Good article and useful link to The Guardian’s page. very good.

  6. Wow. Charlie Bucket’s comment didn’t age well RE: Patreon, Kickstarter – and the rest 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: