The Perk Problem: How not to run your Crowdfunding Campaign

If you want an example of how NOT to do your perks, you can look at the potentially enthralling documentary about the legendary Bob Moog – basically the inventor of the synthesizer.

See the campaign here: link

You’d think a documentary like this would be backed in a few days (as per the Frank Zappa archives documentary). But it’s not. With only a few days to go they are only at 40%. I blame this on the perks. (And yes, of course it’s possible they will reach their goal).

The Perk Problem:
1) Poorly written perks. The perks have way way way too much info in them. Each perk gives you a short history lesson about some facet of Moog’s history. Just tell me price and perk!
2) They have given ‘clever’ names to the perk levels, which is not unusual, but the way they have done it is to name them after a real world thing. It appears at first glance that you will GET the thing they have named it after as the perk. (eg: for $10 you have THE REALISTIC MG-1
(Moog-made, Realistic-branded 2-VCO monosynth with simple poly section, c.1981-1984)). You don’t.
3) They make #1 even worse by saying things like (on the $25 perk): PLUS receive THE REALISTIC MG-1. They mean the perk called the MG-1, not the real world thing called the MG-1.
4) Horrible delivery times. For $25 you get a digital copy of the film. This is an awesome perk price point and normally I back every film I am interested in if they offer this perk. BUT, here they tell me:
“* Please note: digital release date may be up to 1 year later than the theatrical screening premiere.”
Are you kidding me? I have to wait 1 year after the cinema release to get something I helped you make?????
Are you saying that you won’t give it to me because of piracy concerns? So, you’re happy to have me fund you, but don’t trust me with the result.

I feel for these people. They want to make a documentary. They have the access. But for some reason they just don’t get what people are looking for in a Crowdfunding campaign nor understand how to create a sense of trust and community.

See the campaign here: link

An Analysis of Internet Trends for Indie Filmmakers

Over at Marc Schiller has what he calls an ‘evolving document’ where he takes a look at what the internet has to offer – and NOT offer – the independent filmmaker. The article has a great format – each point has a headline and sub-headline that accurately tags his thoughts. You can read deeper on areas of interest to you.

He points out, for example, that blogs like this one – ‘curated’ content – are a thing of the past. This is the story of my life. A day late and a dolla short.

But Schiller covers lots of things in film promotion and gives lots of what to do and not do. Definitely one of the most insightful articles of the year.

Suffer no illusions – for most of us there is no ‘film business’ any more

It’s pretty grim reading.

Modern cinema icons like Spike Lee, David Lynch, John Waters and more can’t get movies made. As detailed in this somber article from, there is no such thing as a mid-budget film any more.

If you think you are going to get into this business and have a career like you imagined your cinema heroes had, you are wrong. Simple as that.

Am I saying don’t try? No. But be aware of the situation out there. And make the most amazing, incredible films you can for the money you can find. Films that appeal to the masses, or a big enough mass, that will get you noticed by studio, press and audience alike.

But it’s going to be tough. For the foreseeable future.

The Crowdfunding Handbook

Over at TechCrunch is a great article – not just for filmmakers – about the economics and approaches of crowdfunding. Again, I and others have hilighted the points mentioned in this article many times, but, you can’t ever hear it too much, because I suspect many of you doing crowdfunding campaigns aren’t doing all of them!

Kickstarter updates Terms and Conditions

Kickstarter has made some tweaks to its terms and conditions to address potential legal issues with failed projects. Basically, to cover their butts. Kickstarter now spells out that there is a direct agreement between the project’s founder/starter and the investor. It is not a triangle with Kickstarter.

Good (i.e. better) summary over at PC Gamer’s site.

6 (More) Crowdfunding tips

Really, there are so many tip lists out there for crowdfunding it is a wonder that anyone fails to get fully funded!

But, in case you missed all the other articles, here’s a good one from Indiewire that focuses on a little bit of a different area – breaking down your project into sections for funding.

You aren’t getting it, so here it is again. How to do your crowdfunding campaign

The advice from the experts is startlingly uniform. Yet spend 10 minutes or more on IndieGoGo or Kickstarter and you will realise that few people are following it.

But, that’s good news for you, right? Because when the time comes for you to do your campaign you will follow the advice of experts and you’ll do just fine.

In the event that you have misplaced such sage advice, John Trigonis, the man who literally wrote the book on crowdfunding for filmmakers (yes, I used that joke before) has such an amazing article that I don’t know why you are still reading this and haven’t clicked through yet!

Click, dammit! Your campaign depends on it.

Psst – you’re doing it wrong. Social media marketing tips for filmmakers

The guys (ok ok, guy) at Stage32 – RB Botto – know a thing or two about social media marketing. They/he have over 100,000 people following the Stage32 twitter account.

So I think he has created some sort of credibility when it comes to talking about this stuff.

Here are his top 5 mistakes you might be making. Read: you are making