May 25, 2016
So, you've been fundraising for your next thing! Yay! Your friends, your mom, your dad (and all those long lost cousins) have all contributed to helping your movie become a reality.
But what happens next?
For most filmmakers, this means going through the whole process over again with the next project. More begging, more messaging, more selling of yourself to people you don't know.
It can get exhausting, especially when you just want to spend your time WORKING instead of constantly selling yourself. It's not sustainable.
Now imagine that people were WAITING for your next project. They were excited to fund it. Imagine you didn't even have to ask, they knew, and they were ready with money in hand for your next big thing.
The goal is to make a career creating the art you love for the people who really care about it, not to feel stressed every step of the way.
The key is turning your fundraisers into fans.
If you want an example of how this works, just look at some of the bigger crowdfunded projects out there. Reading Rainbow, Veronica Mars, and Con Man were all funded relatively quickly because people were already passionate about these projects.
You don't need a HUGE audience or to be the creator of a nostalgic favorite to do this, my friend.Here are three ways to turn your fundraisers into real fans.
1. Identity your target market (find your niche)
The idea of finding your "niche" sounds silly for a film project but nowadays, it's pretty much a requirement. There is so much stuff out there; the best strategy is not to compete but serve one audience well. We see it a lot when it comes to TV and film. More now than ever, people watch and participate in the culture that is a perfect fit for them.
This also makes promotion WAY easier because once you identify your ideal market, you go where they are and promote and market to folks who are already want it.
Let's say you are creating a literary adaptation of Wuthering Heights. Your target market will most likely be young feminist women who love books and historical fiction. With that knowledge, you can literally insert yourself in THAT community and build your name vs. just hanging out in filmmaker circles.
This group is primed to become an actual fan because they love the source material and want to see it brought to life vs. someone who is just supporting because you asked. This is also makes it easier to reach out to someone specific for a share or a partnership because it just makes sense to collaborate.
2. Use content strategy to get people excited about your work
Share my project! Give me a tweet! We've all done this before, right? The problem is that most people don't really care about your campaign or your project yet. A lot of times filmmakers approach their campaign from their own point-of-view. You care a LOT about your project because you've put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it but everyone else isn't quite there yet. That is why you need a content strategy.
So what is content strategy?
Content you create to help educate and entice your audience to buy your product and join your community
Content you create to turn followers into lifelong fans of your work
A few weeks ago Cartoon Network put on an excellent content marketing campaign for the Powerpuff Girls cartoon. To promote, they allowed people to create their own Powerpuff Girls. It went viral with everyone changing their avatars to reflect their powerpuff girlized look. Suddenly people cared about the fact the show was coming back when they most likely would have normally missed it.
Here is mine:
When it comes to your project, think about ways you can make your project more interactive. What makes your project really relatable? What will make people curious and want to know more, so they want to support the film and find out? How can you make your project about the viewer?
Let's say you are crowdsourcing a documentary about CIA in cuba in the 1960's. The internet is OBSESSED with true crime and mysteries so creating a podcast about the mystery would be a great way to get people interested. Once people got hooked on the story, asking them for a few dollars to find out what happens wouldn't be hard.
3. Brand yourself online as a filmmaker
You know how there are people who just LOVE Pixar or freak out about Christopher Nolan or Quentin Tarantino?
These filmmakers all have devoted fan bases because they are known for a specific style or way of doing things and their fans flock to the movies whenever they have a new project because they want to know what comes next.
What makes your work special and unique to you? Is it the subject matter? Is it the style of film or the format? Is there a particular character? Do you have a really pop-culture aware writing style?
Make sure that you are highlighting this in your online presence. Show screenshots and previews! Feature some of your jokes. Highlight some of your cool camera work.
Here is a trick: imagine that someone was writing a think piece about your work. What would they say? What style flourishes would they point to?
Those are 3 ways you can turn your fundraisers into fans, friends! What do you think? Have any questions?
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