DIY Audience Building

Brian Newman has a guest article up on NewFilmschool which totally spells out my thoughts:

“Time and again, I see it – filmmaker makes interesting short. They don’t have a good website for themselves, have no presence on YouTube and valiantly spend more cash on festival entry fees than you can imagine. If they are lucky, the get into some festivals, but a year later, they still haven’t bothered to put it online. They’ve been seen by perhaps a few thousand people in theaters, have maybe amassed an email list of 50 names and 200 people have liked their film on Facebook. Five years from now, they’ll probably have two features under their belt, and if they’re really lucky, one of those films will get picked up and play one week at IFC Center to about 2,000 people total and then be on VOD and DVD for perhaps another 5000 viewers. They still won’t know who their audience is or how to reach them.”

My own experience is the same. Compare my short film “Nahende Ferne”, finished September 2011, waited in the closet for month to go on festivals, was premiered in April at Achtung Berlin Festival, was seen there in two screenings by about 400 people.

My new short Alter Ego, release the day before yesterday on Vimeo, already has 2600 views an counting.

Which option is more fullfilling? That’s a retorical question from my point of view.

Read the article on NewFilmschool or on Brian’s personal blog sub-genre.

My “Kickstarter 2011 Year Review” Review + Some Predictions for 2012

Kickstarter has published an insight review of the developments of their platform in 2011. As the review is quite comprehensive I thought I give those of you who do not have the time to read it all a summary with some thoughts of mine thrown in.

The Stats
Kickstarter quadrupled most of it’s numbers in 2011. The total amounts pledged went up from $27 Million in 2010 to $99 Million in 2011. Successful projects jumped from roughly 4000 to 12000 and page visitors climbed from 8 Million to 30 Million. Read many more statistics in the detailed review here.

The Trends
Dreaming Big – In 2011 Kickstarter has seen some ideas, which would have seemed to big to be accomplished in 2010. But crowdfunding grows so huge projects can be funded, like the Global village construction set, which aims to build a DIY, open-source, low-cost platform, which will allow to fabricate the 50 machines needed to build your very own civilization. Sounds aspiring? Well, how about trying to raise $3,5 Million to shoot a superbowl commercial for the state of Kentucky?

DIY Manufacturing – Some product design ideas on Kickstarter are so good you wonder why no one has done it before. For those ideas backers go crazy and pushed more than 30 project over six figures. The Twine and the Printrbot are two good examples.

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4 Important Audience Types for Crowdfunding!

One of the crucial tasks when running a crowdfunding campaign is to reach a siginificant audience and more important to turn a big percentage of this audience into backers of your project.

To my knowledge there’s hasn’t been an analysis on crowdfunding audiences yet. Interestingly, Kickstarter reached 1 million backers this week and shared some data on the behaviour of their backers. But the question remains:
What are the motivations to disperse a project and more importantly what are the motivations to back a project?

I have knocked down four categories of backers which I think of are the most important ones for your campaign:

Family & close friends are probably going to support your project, no matter how good it is. But most project initiators probably w’ont ask their friends directly for money, it’s always akward being asked by friends for money. So think about how they can help you in a different way! Your sister in law might now somebody important who can spread the word or your cousin can draw a poster for your campaign.

Which people do you know directly or through a friend who have a massive social network? One team member of your soccer club works for a big newspaper or tv station? Your wife’s best friend is in a band and who has 30000 twitter followers? Ask them if they would spread the word about your project, multiplicators can get the ball rolling on your campaign. If you work in the arts you probably know at least someone who allready made it!

Fan Cultures are BIG on the web. If it’s cute cats, strange sports or your personal Bauchnabelflusen-Collection, you will always find others, who are interested in the same things. Meeting similar people forms strong communities and you should think about if your idea matches a particular fan culture. Fan cultures are very passionate, so if you can touch one of those communities with your idea, your campaign will most likely spread! Get in touch with fan-blogs, they probably will feature your story, if you can encourage hin to get more involved.
The german project Saber Rider anf the Sherrifs is a good example. Saber Rider is an old tv series, and the creator of the cf-campaign had the dream to make a computer game about the series. Being a fan himself he knew other Saber Rider enthusiasts, the big amount of pledges for 250€ and 500€ levels show the high involvement of the backers.

Sometimes backers become so excited about an idea that they become almost like a campaign manager for your project. You should always communicate a lot with your backers but if you sense a higher level of involvement you should even intensify that communication. Not only can it be very encouraging to get feedback on your idea, but maybe this stranger open ups completely new audiences that do not overlap with your social network.

…and some general attributes of backers:

On interesting number i found was that the average age of backers is 42 years. I don’t know where that number comes from but it’s most likely true, because older people have higher incomes. So while having younger contacts to spread the word on the net you should also think about how to reach older audience segments.

What do you think about my categorization? Did I fogert another important group of pontential backers?
Share your thought in the comments!

You got 30 seconds! The perfect pitch video!

The pitch video ist the number one marketing tool for every cf-campaign, so what should be in it?

Kickstarter advices you to include these ingredients:

  • Introduce yourself
  • Tell your story
  • Ask for people’s support and explain why you need it
  • Tell people what they’ll get for their money (i.e., your rewards)
  • Say thank you!

Well, that’s a good start, but from my personal experience watching pitch videos I would like to add two more ingredients:

  • Keep it short!
  • Put your USP at the beginning!

Did your ever get bored by a pitch video? I did so many times!!!! Of course, it should be personal but did I really need to know the bio of every intern of your camapaign? Do I really want to know how the idea started 10 years ago at your grandmas wedding, blabla…

When I’m watching pitch videos I normally loose attention after 120-150 seconds the latest. Do your really need 6 minutes to tell your story? Well, maybe you have put so much effort in your project that there are many aspects to talk about, but then at least listen to many second suggestion, and start with your strongest argument!

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