The Seed&Spark Blog

Film Crowdfunding
Where you build, your audience will follow.

March 27, 2020

• Bri Castellini

Crowdfunding should be audience-building first, fundraising second, even when there’s not a pandemic sequestering us all indoors. We know a lot of folks are actively working on a project they no longer feel confident launching a crowdfunding campaign for at the moment. And we’ve already written some tips for how to crowdfund during crisis, and some ways to stay productive when you’re trapped inside. Today, I want to talk about how to build excitement and audience for your project and campaign by building it… and then not launching it. Yet.

 

Let’s back up. Are you familiar with how “followers” work on Seed&Spark? For blogging’s sake, let’s pretend you don’t for a second.

 

A follower on Seed&Spark is a person who clicks this button:

They’re prompted to make an account, verify their email, and voila, a follower! If they already have a Seed&Spark account, the follow happens instantly! It works essentially like a newsletter subscription — this person, without pledging, is now set to receive all the campaign updates you post right in their inbox.

 

This is great on it’s own (and we’ll get to why in a bit), but specifically on Seed&Spark, hitting certain thresholds of followers (250, 500, and 1000), unlocks in-kind rewards and discounts from our partners! Highlights include festival submission waivers and discounts on gear rental, post-production services, software. All told, the rewards add up to over $9,000 in value.

 

Something else you might not know about followers: you can gain them even before your campaign launches, and you can send them updates before launching as well! Log in and head to your project dashboard to find your campaign preview link.



Benefits of accruing followers ahead of launch:

  • It collects your crowd in one place (your crowdfunding campaign page)
  • You get a head start on building up to one of our creator rewards tiers
  • People know your crowdfund is coming and can start to get excited about all the great incentives you’re offering. Building hype is always beneficial!
  • It allows you to provide comfort and content to anyone seeking it without immediately asking for money, and allows you to gauge interest in financially supporting your creative endeavor

 

Now, amidst moments of uncertainty where people need something consistent and positive to hold on to, is the perfect time to get your project out there. Build your campaign, perfect it with advice from our crowdfunding specialists, get it approved, then start sending out the preview link (see below) to accrue followers.

 

What I’m saying is that if you were building a campaign page or thinking about doing it, there’s no pressure to launch it right away (though we have tips if you want to, alongside other brave storytellers!), and there’s much you can do with those completed materials. Particularly because you can start sending updates to folks right away. What sorts of things can you be sharing ahead of the campaign?

 

Ideas for updates to send before you launch:

  • Livestream links to let your audience watch you build props, run table reads, or test wardrobe
  • Images of mood boards you’re putting together
  • Decisions you’re making to pivot the production or script of your project to align with our new coronavirus reality
  • Interviews with cast/crew about what they’re up to amidst quarantine, and why they’re excited to eventually work on this project with you
  • Opportunities to vote on graphic and key art decisions
  • A “Nutty Professor” style scene from the eventual film (ie- you film yourself playing all the parts of the first page of the film you’re funding while in your quarantine space)
  • Reviews and recommendations of other media you’re consuming as research/inspiration (are you making an ensemble workplace comedy? Watch other ensemble workplace comedies, let your audience know how they can watch along, and share what you’ve learned/what you’re thinking afterwards)

 

Remember, crowdfunding should be audience-building first, fundraising second. We’re here to help you with that, so keep submitting your campaign drafts and we’ll keep offering feedback and support to get your work not just made, but seen by the people who have been waiting for a story like yours to be told.

 

Start building your campaign and connecting with your audience today.

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Bri Castellini

Bri Castellini is the Film Community Manager for Seed&Spark, a graduate-level adjunct professor for digital media, an award-winning independent filmmaker, and, regrettably, a podcaster. She's known for the web series Brains (creator/star), Sam and Pat Are Depressed (creator/star), Relativity (executive producer), and Better With You (director), as well as the short films Ace and Anxious and Buy In (writer/director for both), and for her podcasts Burn, Noticed and Breaking Out of Breaking in, covering the USA television show Burn Notice and practical filmmaking advice, respectively. She has been described by collaborators as a "human bulldozer" and is honestly kind of flattered.

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