February 16, 2016
In my 4 years of college, the most important lesson I've learned is: never try to make a film on your own. Filmmaking is a creative process that needs to involve a collective, not just one mind. I had confidence in the script I had written for L'Appetito Venduto (Sale of An Appetite), but I knew I wasn't ready to made a movie on my own. When I met talented director Enrico Granato, I knew I had found the right partner with which to start this filmmaking adventure. But even a dynamic duo needs a team.
When we decided to do a crowdfunding campaign on Seed&Spark, we knew we had to do some pre-work to make sure we hit out goal. We ambitiously decided that we wanted to collect the majority of our contributions within 48 hours of our launch. In order to do that, we personally reached out to close friends and family members prior to the launch of our campaign. This involved not only emails but phone calls. Although social media also played a big part in our campaign outreach (primarily Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook), you can't underestimate the power of your voice, in person or over the phone, to convey your passion for your project to the people who know you the best.
Our hard work during the lead-up to our campaign paid off: five hours into the launch of our campaign, we had raised over $4,000; by the end of the day, we had surpassed our goal by a couple hundred dollars. We celebrated, but then we were in a unique position: how do you continue running a crowdfunding campaign that has already reached its funding goal? Our goal: use the time to gather fans and followers.
Our campaign goal for the remaining 28 days of the campaign changed to gathering 500 followers in order to unlock the distribution possibilities with Seed&Spark.
Three days into the campaign, we had gathered only 60 followers, and the remaining 440 til 500 was daunting. To be honest, this task was more challenging and time consuming than just finding the money. I mistakenly thought that since I wasn't asking for money anymore, it would be easier to convince people to follow my project page. However, I actually found that since I'd already met my financial goal for the project, people perceived that we were 'successful' and, therefore, didn't need any more help. I had to figure out a new way to reach my new goal.
How did I conquer the malaise? I challenged my backers, friends, and family to help me with the audience building goal. I discovered that two friends had extensive mailing lists, and they offered to use them to help me gather followers. Then I went out on a limb and reached out to an Italian journalist about the piece, and he decided to take on our story of two young Italian filmmakers trying to make movies in the United States. Suddenly our film wasn't the story; 'we' were the story.
The good news is, our last wave of effort paid off. If we'd stuck to our goal of only asking for money, we wouldn't have met our secondary goal of audience building. With only 1 day left until the end of our campaign, we surpassed our goal of 500 followers and earned Seed&Spark's newly announced Filmmaker Gift Box.
Thanks to all who supported us through our campaign. We cannot wait to share the completed film with you...and share our next project with you. And if you haven't joined our project as a follower yet, you're welcome to do so now.
Luigi (and Enrico)