THE CORE COMPONENTS

1.) Which crowdfunding platform should I use? Indiegogo, Kickstarter, Seed & Spark or Gofundme? 
Kickstarter is all or nothing. If you set a goal and don’t reach it you get NOTHING. The maximum pledge is also $10,000 which limits higher pledges. Kickstarter allows for pledging but people don’t get their cards charged until the campaign ends. Indiegogo on the other hand, allows you to keep everything even if you don’t reach your goal. Indiegogo also allows you to pledge more than $10,000 which is outstanding for those investors that contribute for Executive Producer credits.
On several campaigns we’ve worked on, at times investors pledge more than $10,000 on the Indiegogo campaigns. That would not have been allowed on Kickstarter. On the other hand, Seed & Spark will only release the funds to you if you reach 80% of your goal. We’ve seen filmmakers reach 76% of their goal and lose all their hard work simply because of this limitation. When this happens it truly is heartbreaking to experience. 
Lastly, Gofundme in our opinion is the least ideal crowdfunding platform as it makes your film look like a charity campaign and the marketing will be challenging and confusing for some. In our opinion, Indiegogo is the best crowdfunding platform. Most importantly, people’s cards are charged right away instead of when the campaign ends, thereby allowing you to cash in and know that the funds are secured within that same second the pledge occurs. 
2.) Create an outstanding powerful video. People don’t buy logic, they buy emotion. The most important thing to do is invest into making a high-quality promo video that emotionally captivates the audience. If your video fails to capture the audience’s emotion, you are likely to receive fewer donations. An audience doesn’t want to look at a video, but rather they want to be moved by it. Make sure to script and plan your video accordingly in a way that speaks to the person watching.
Your video doesn’t necessarily need to be quick paced and engaging, but rather emotionally captivating to the point where they realize they don’t need the perks, but rather they need to be a part of the film. People don’t buy logic, they buy emotion. Set about $1,000 aside to produce the video, the artwork and the editing of the video. Hire the best people for the job.
3.) Create unorthodox, original and inspiring perks that stand out, and inspire someone to take action. To do this requires research, a mix of basic psychology, and a mix of creativity. In order to find out what the best perks for your campaign will be, you need to test them against a small group of friends first before publishing them to the world. Does a T-Shirt and a signed Water bottle really inspire someone to give you $100? Maybe, maybe not. So you must test test test and split-test.
Test the perks with friends and even strangers. Ask questions, call them, take them to lunch, have them fill out surveys. This will allow you to gather data and figure out what resonates with your investors the most. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Your perks can really make the difference between getting an extra $580 or getting $19,479.
4.) Make your perks range anywhere from $10 to $15,000. Although it may seem ridiculously high for some, high-value perks are claimed at this level. You’d be surprised how often it actually happens. Don’t make your highest perk only $500 because that’s the most you will ever get.
5.) Upsell donations. The best investors are the ones that have already committed to your campaign. For example, when someone claims a $1,000 perk and the gift for that perk is an Associate Producer credit and a small cameo speaking role, you should convince the investor to upgrade their pledge to $2,000 with the simple pretense of  “you will get more lines in the film and it will be worth your time to fly into town”.
8 out of 10 times they go for it. That’s an 80% percent chance. In our experience, at times people invest $70 and suddenly turn into $10K investors. We’ve also seen a $1,000 contribution turn into a $100k investment. You never know how much someone has unless you ask them for it. Don’t be afraid to ask. 
 
6.) Only 11% of campaigns are random contributions. Most of them come from friends and family. The key is to emotionally engage every single person you have crossed paths with in your life and inspire them to be a part of the film.  Individually take them out to lunch, message them, do live streams of pre-production, send them inspiring postcards via snail mail and post constantly at different times of the day.
Everyone that’s in your contact list on your iPhone, should be taken out to lunch or dinner. The return of your meal investment will be 10x and at times 20x. For the more important investors, you should ferociously invest in something charming in which they will find very touching. Are they a fan of the NY Jets Quarterback and they constantly post on twitter about it? Buy an autographed shirt for $100 on ebay and send it to them. The payoff will be worth it. 
7.) Set your goal low. Every single campaign we’ve managed, we purposely set it to $20,000 when the actual goal was $50,000. If you start a campaign with $50,000 people will think a $100 donation makes no difference. It’s better to set a smaller goal so people feel that you can reach it. On campaigns we’ve supervised, this rule was applied and thus resulted in $58,000 getting raised when the goal was $10,000.
Set your goal low and crush it. It’s psychology at it’s best. Not to mention that Indiegogo works off an algorithm. If your goal is $5,000 and you start it off with a $1000 contribution that sets off the algorithm on fire and will put you on “trending” and random small contributions will come in (as long as your campaign video and perks are emotionally outstanding) If your project is uninspiring, no amount of genius marketing will help you raise money.
8.) When and if your campaign donations stall and nothing has come in for a while, begin changing the perks every 4 days. This keeps people interested and constantly visiting your Indiegogo page. 
9.) Keep some money on reserve to secretly invest into your own campaigns. Although this method may seem unorthodox, it works. Start off every campaign by putting $500 to $3000 on it. That builds up the momentum. Any day there is no money raised you should pledge a few hundred dollars secretly. Kickstarter does not allow you to do this.
The appearance of campaign growth is motivating for the investors that haven’t yet donated. For some, they don’t want to put all their eggs in one basket and rather first see steady campaign growth before pledging. 
10.) Just because someone can’t afford a certain perk doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate. Some investors may not be interested in your cool perks, therefore you should create a secret perk for them on “Indiegogo”. It’s a perk that only you and a person with a secret link can see. This allows you to make deals under the table. Sometimes your rich grandpa doesn’t know what Associate Producer means to him. Instead, create a “horseback riding in the countryside for two” perk. Your film will thank you. 
 
11.) Set some money aside for Facebook Ads, and Instagram “Promotion” Sponsored Video Ads. If your film has an element in the story that resonates with people (say Women’s rights, or it’s a biopic) or has someone famous in some way, utilize that element and emotionally inspire people why it’s important they become part of it.
If your film has an element that causes people to emotionally react in a very strong way (such as gun reform) they are more likely donate. Remember, people act on emotion not logic. You may have to do another video for the 60-second cap limit on Instagram in order to promote it. However you never know who is watching. If however your film does not contain any of these elements, don’t spend the money on ads. Save it for another eBay gift for your grandfather’s friend.  
 
12.) Hype the hell out of your project. You should be making progress updates at all times. Let your investors know how exciting your project is. Post auditions, locations scouts, art department prop shopping, and video vlog everything and anything. Reply to every comment, inspire everyone and utilize every form of pre-production as an opportunity for people to get involved, either in person or simply by having them watch you on social media.
You can take it a step further by inviting investors and friends who haven’t donated, prop shopping with your crew, inviting them to table reads and rehearsals, and even visiting the composer’s studio for a pre-production music concept brainstorm session.  The key is to emotionally have them engage. A word of caution: Do not spam groups, pages, or people you don’t know via email or messenger. The likelihood of a pledge from your spamming is close to 0.002%.  
 
13.) If someone contributes to your film, give them a shout out on social media and tag them. If someone contributes and you don’t give any acknowledgment, you may come across as an ungrateful producer that’s simply on a mission to use people. Secondly, the more other people see others put into your campaign, the more likely they will put into your campaign. When people see others doing, the rest will want to copy. Monkey see monkey do. 
14.) Indiegogo allows for a one-time extension. You can set up a campaign to last anywhere from 15 to 60 days. You should set up your first campaign for 30 days and then wait until the last minute and extend it another 30 days. Don’t tell people you are doing this until the last minute.
 
15.) We are visual creatures by nature. Hence videos have more engagement than a written paragraph. You should make a live streaming FB live video and Instagram Live video every week to promote your campaign. Only 5% of Facebook friends actually see your posts so it’s important that you do this constantly. 
16.) Launch your campaign around 5 or 6PM on a payday. People usually get paid every other Friday. This is a great time to launch your campaign due to the emotional psychological reasons that getting paid at work induces. It’s dopamine in nature. And we are at a relaxed joyful state. Don’t launch your campaign in the early morning as people are usually at work and their emotions may not be devoted to you fully. 
17.) Get your leading cast and producers to help promote your campaign. Have them meet with their networks and emotionally captivate their friends to be a part of the film. This will double your numbers guaranteed. However, don’t ask your crew to do this. 
18.) Create custom trackable links on Indiegogo. Instead of sharing one link and not being able to track down where a certain part of the money came from, create separate links to promote for specific groups of people. That way you know what marketing efforts are yielding the best returns. Otherwise you will be promoting in the dark. Create a separate link for each marketing effort.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR CAMPAIGN

STRATEGIC MARKETING
Most indie producers and filmmakers believe that simply because they are creating a film that it should suffice when it comes to raising money. Their plan to raise money is by posting about it on social media, simply because they are making a film. Their film is their plan, and that will never work.
The truth is, your film, your campaign video, your poster, your perks, your actors, the story and the movement you’re creating means absolutely nothing until your ideal audience is actually emotionally engaging with your content on the campaign page. In order to get them to that page, you have to emotionally captivate them to visit that page. The more people that visit the campaign page the better. The question then begs, how many people do you need to visit your campaign page in order to raise all your money?

5% CONVERSION

Reported Research from thousands of film campaigns showcases that one can generally expect a 5% conversion rate on your Indiegogo page. For every 100 visitors, only 5 people will actually convert into investors and donate some money. 

$50 AVERAGE PLEDGE

If your pitch video, perks, and page are outstanding in nature, you can reasonably expect a $50 dollar pledge per person. This figure can certainly be higher such as $75 or $100, but $50 is a safe estimate. 

400 BACKERS NEEDED

If you want to raise $20,000 dollars, and your average donation is $50 dollars, that means you’ll need 400 investors/backers to hit your goal. If you don’t have 400 close friends & family, you need to build your film’s audience. 

8000 VISITORS

If 400 backers are the 5% of people that donated, that means you need to get 8000 visitors to go on your IndieGoGo Page. However, not everyone clicks on a link, hence not all 8000 that see your campaign link, will actually click. When was the last time you clicked on a crowdfunding link? Statistically about 4% of the time you see one, you click. In reality, you need 200,000 people to see your campaign so that 8000 will click on it and actually visit your page so that 400 of them donate at least $50 for you to stand a chance of hitting your goal in a 30-day timeframe. In order to achieve this you absolutely need a marketing plan.  

YOUR SUPPORT TEAM

Just like film is a collaborative effort, crowdfunding is a collaborative effort. In order to accomplish your goal, you need a support team. In order to reach 200,000 people in 30 days you need to create a social mass movement so that your message and story reaches beyond the people you know.
A team of people marketing the campaign can break through the noise of Facebook and Instagram and reach a lot more people. If you do not have a team, your film is doomed to obscurity.
Your team should consist of producers, co-producers, associate producers, assistant producers, actors, social media marketers, best friends, your most loved ones, your supportive college buddies, your old roommate who wants to get into film, your employer who likes the movies you do, your supportive co-workers, and boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife.
Each team member is generally worth about $5000 to the campaign effort. The more the merrier. 4 team members = $20k. 20 team members = $100k.  A strong team is the backbone of a successful campaign. Without it you will absolutely fail.

BEFORE YOU LAUNCH

A typical film will shoot for about 15 days to several weeks, but every experienced producer knows that preparation is key. Even if it takes a year to prepare, principal photography should go smoothly.
In order to actually succeed in raising the money, you need to devote at least 100 days of preparation before launching your campaign. This includes the dinners, lunches, customized perks, networking, reconnecting in person with every person you’ve come in contact with in your life and most importantly building your support team of at least 7 people.
If you are shooting a short film and needs less funds you can do it in less time, but no one in the history of crowdfunding has said they had too much time, in fact it’s always the opposite. There never was enough time.
You’ve probably spent months (if not years) creating and developing your film. DO NOT THROW AWAY all that hard work simply by diving into crowdfunding like an amateur. Mastery of all of this information on this page will guarantee a 98% success rate.
The people who have the power in this industry are the people that can greenlight projects. Stop waiting for permission. You now have the knowledge of what it takes. Greenlight your film, greenlight your career. There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.
This is is the beginning of a new beginning.