“Web Series Production Hacks” is a new bi-weekly Stareable Film School column by Anthony Ferraro. Here I’ll share with the Stareable Community my limited resource workarounds, without compromising quality.
This week let’s talk about my Crowdfunding Hack. Wha? This is not production information you might say? Correct, but every time I talk to creators and ask, what is it you struggle with? Number one, every time (myself included) is budget. Most of the tips I’ll give you in this series will be how to make things happen on a tight budget. Not a zero budget. I’ve done that too but it’s not worth it. So let us start at the beginning: raising those funds.
I’m sure you know you need a pitch video and to decide whether to choose Kickstarter or Indiegogo. I’m not going to go into that, most likely you are finding that info already. Here I want to share with you a few very useful and very practice tips that helped me raise 15K. Let’s go ahead and get you that micro budget with these few simple hacks that will get you started.
• Realistic Funding Goal
Determine the amount of money you can realistically raise. You and anyone on your team (actors, DP, etc) who are invested in the project need to comb your email lists. Go through your contacts and create a list of people you are very sure will donate to you. Then go through that list again and be conservative. Now take the number you come up with of people who will donate and multiply that by $70. That is a very good estimate of what you’ll raise. If you come up with 100 people that’s $7,000. Even if everyone gave you $200, which is unlikely, that’s $20,000. My point is crowdfunding is not going to get you a $200,000 budget. It will get you $10,000 to make your web series at most.
• Tell Them Three Times
Tell people you are going to tell them, tell them, and tell them you told them. A week before you launch you will send one of three emails to your master list you created of likely donors. In your first email, you will keep it short, talk about what you are about to do and what day you launch and ask them if you can count on their support. On average, campaigns that reach their goal raised one-third of their funds within the first quarter of their campaign lifetime. In your email say something like “ If we can raise 30% of our goal in the first 72 hrs we are well on our way. Ask them to commit to donating on that 1st day. Then make a list of those who say yes. The second email you send on the launch day you remind them they said they’d help get things started. And restate the importance of the 1st 72hrs to the rest of your list. The third email is on the third day as the reminder to people who have not donated yet.
•Social Media Thank You
Nobody will be too happy if you hijack their social media feed with your fundraising promotions. However, when someone donates, you should immediately thank them on social media by tagging them in a post. Since you tagged them everyone in their feed will see your info and links and they will see friends of theirs deemed this worthy so maybe they should check it out.
With those simple actionable steps, you should be well on your way to creating your web series. If you are hung up on the pitch video, don’t be. A sincere, authentic message is the most effective. As a bonus mini-hack, I’ll share this pitch video creation roadmap:
- Intro with emotional hook
- Briefly explain your project
- What’s special about it
- How much backing do you need
- What will the budget pay for
- Timeline to completion
- What rewards are you offering
- Call to action. Here is an example of one of mine.
You got this, and once you get your tight budget you can check back with me and I’ll tell you how to Hack a Craft Service Table.