Seed&Spark UpdatesTales From The List
February 11, 2015
Seed&Spark’s WishList—which allows our crowdfunding filmmakers to build an itemized, wedding registry-esque list of the most important items they need for their production—is proving to be a valuable source of insights into how independent filmmakers are approaching their fundraising efforts, and how audiences are responding. Here are a couple observations from a quick look at the data.
Below is a breakdown of the total fundraising targets for each WishList category across all successful projects over the past two years:
What pops out here is that filmmakers have made paying their crew a top priority, with the “Crew” category representing just over $220k (12.3%) of the total $1.6M raised.
On top of that, “Post-Production Picture” and “Post-Production Sound”—comprised mainly of editors, colorists, motion graphics artists, Foley artists, composers, sound designers, and music supervisors—represent another $270k (14.7%) of the total.
Adding in the smaller categories further down the list—“Location Sound” (2.8%), “Makeup and Wardrobe” (1.7%), “Art Direction” (0.9%), “Casting” (0.7%)—brings the “Crew” total to roughly 33% of all funds raised on Seed&Spark. That means one out of every three dollars crowdfunded on our platform is earmarked for paying the creative people working behind the scenes.
To us, this is really important, because part of our vision as a company is a future in which independent filmmakers have sustainable careers and can aspire to be part of an emerging creative middle class. And the first step toward achieving that vision is ensuring that the crew is getting paid for their enormous contributions to getting these projects made.
In the next chart we get even more granular, breaking out the top 20 cast and/or crew line items into their respective slices of the crowdfunding pie.
What’s really interesting here is that “Director” doesn’t even make the cut (pun actively not intended). At less than $20k, the person responsible for the overall vision of the film accounts for less than 2% of the total personnel budget.
This apparent wellspring of humility (directors on Seed&Spark are incredibly generous) is heartening. But for this ecosystem to thrive, the people at the helm are gong to have to start valuing their own time along with that of the rest of their artistic and technical teams. If you’re not budgeting to pay yourself for work on your own project, you’re only serving to perpetuate an unsustainable system.
The last diagram in this series is a breakdown of the total contribution amounts from supporters across all categories.
As one might expect, the closer to the top of the actual WishList, the more likely supporters are to contribute to that category. For the “Camera” category, which is often first in the list, the total amount contributed accounts for roughly 50% of the target. Whereas, for example, “Post-Production Sound”—usually several categories below—is under 30%.
This makes perfect sense from a product perspective, and actually confirms the value of our sponsored WishList initiatives, where companies with products essential to the filmmaking process offer filmmakers discounts, credits, grants and other support in return for a prominent position on their WishList.
That’s all for now on the analytics front. We’ll share more over time as we continue to drill down into the troves of data. And we want to hear your feedback. If you see any trends in the data we’re overlooking, let us know. The beauty of data transparency is our audience gets to ponder and learn right alongside us!