Monday, August 11, 2014

Losing Your Mind in Crowdfunding

Hello there. It has been some time since I've graced this here website with an article, and I'm sorry about that, but I have been busy with creative endeavors elsewhere. That and Mike hasn't asked me to write an article since we got into that argument about who would win in a fight, Godzilla or Galactus. (Devourer of Worlds my ass -Ed) Chairs may have been hurled, egos bruised and an understanding on why us geeks don't fight each other: we get tried quickly and look ridiculous.

Anyway, my short hiatus was due to the fact that, aside from mocking films on the internet, I actually do try and make them myself in what spare time I have. My last film, Devil May Care was almost entirely crowdfunded, and went on to win some Best Of Awards at a couple of film festivals. I am currently in the middle of crowdfunding my next picture, a fantasy film-noir comedy called A Bad Luck Guy In A Bad Luck Town. Let me tell you, it's a freaking nightmare from which you cannot wait to wake up from.

You'll read lots of articles about how to make a successful Crowdfunding Campaign. This is will not be one of those articles. At all, it's not that we haven't found success Crowdfunding, but there is a reality to the process that is not often talked about. Here is my rundown on what I'm going through right now, so maybe you can be a bit more prepared if you do try and Crowdfund your project.

Obsession is unavoidable
Oh, that wasn't what you meant? My bad. -Ed

I have checked our IndieGoGo page probably close to five hundred times since we've started, and we are only in our fifth day. I checked it twice while writing this article. You'll check it when you're out with friends and family, and they will get pissed, and you won't care because damn it, you need to see if people donate! My Executive Producer is basically running the campaign and sends me a text every time someone donates, but what if she's in the bathroom? Or she doesn't have internet? I HAVE TO KNOW!
It's going to drive you nuts and there is nothing you can do about it.
 The days where no one donates (and there will be those days) are the worst, because then you are trying to figure out what you're doing wrong. Have you reached out to other services? Posted it on Reddit? Twitter? Facebook? Did you email that one guy you met at your last networking night? Are we just inherently hated? ARE COSMIC FORCES AGAINST US?! (the answer to that is always yes). My hair has already gone a few extra shades of grey because of this damned campaign.

You have to give yourself a day off. Mine is Sunday. I refuse to do any movie related work on Sundays (unless its urgent) because I just need a day to spend doing normal people things, like sleeping and not having anxiety attacks every half hour. So I sleep, play some video games, visit the fam, do the laundry. It's the only thing keeping you from slipping into a dark deep pit of despair and rejection. Mine is under my desk. I spend a lot of time there.

There are lots of snakes in the grass

...I'm still getting this wrong, aren't I? -Ed

Ever since we started the campaign, we have been getting spammed like crazy from all these different people promising to make our campaign a success. All we have to do is give them anywhere from thirty to three hundred dollars. Which doesn't make a lot of sense when you really think about it, does it? We're running this campaign because we have no money, and you want us to give you money so we get money? What the hell are you talking about?

It's a sad reality of the world. If you have a dream there will always be people waiting to prey upon it for their own goals. Don't trust these people and definitely don't give them any money.

People Love To Wait

Damn, I just can't seem to get this right.

We are currently running into this strange mentality with people we know are going to donate. They are all deciding to wait. This weird sense of Bystander Mentality has gripped our probable contributors. If you're unfamiliar with Bystander Mentality, its this form of Crowd Mentality where a large group of people see someone in trouble and they don't do anything because they think someone else will. Unfortunately they all think that, and the sad, inevitable reality is that no one helps.

Now this is on a larger but far less severe scale, but its happening, and there is nothing you can do about it except hope they all suddenly stop waiting. You have to forgive them for not realizing that the sooner they donate, they better your campaign looks and the more attention it gets and the more donations you get because of it.

You have to promote the shit out of this thing and you are going to drive everyone you love nuts.

Pictured: Kyle's friends. Also Kyle. -Ed

This all relates back to the obsession thing from earlier. You are going to Tweet, Facebook, and Reddit as much as you can to squeeze every dollar you can out of people. I personally Tweet out the link to our IndieGoGo campaign at least four times a day, and I'm sure a lot of people have now unsubscribed to me on Facebook because I don't stop talking about the movie or the campaign.
You also have to be shameless and beg your friends and family for donations. I haven't gotten to this point yet. My friends and family came in huge for our last movie, and I don't believe they should donate this time around. However, we are still early in the game, and I'm sure once we have only a few weeks left and the total lacks something to be desired, I'm going to start grovelling and pleading with people who probably can't afford to give all that much. You tell yourself its for the "art" and your local _____ community, but it doesn't take long before people start to resent you for it and it's hard to blame them.

You become grateful for every single dollar

We don't need your inspirational messages! We need money! -Ed
There is an upside to all this and that's the immense gratitude you feel towards every single person who donates. Even if its only a dollar, you plaster their names all over your social media outlets to let them know how thankful you are, because the reality is, they are helping you reach your dream. I love making movies, and I honestly feel its the only thing I may be any good at (other than watching really bad movies to see if they might actually be good and bitching about them on the internet). The contributor is also putting a lot of faith and trust in you. Faith that you'll complete the project and not waste their money and trust that you'll get the rewards out too them.

This does put some pressure on you, as you hope to reward their generosity with a project worthy of their hard earned monies. I'm pretty sure I did that with Devil May Care (haven't heard anyone saying it sucked yet) and I am really confident that A Bad Luck Guy in a Bad Luck Town is going to blow some socks off of people.
And now it's time for what you all know is coming, my shameless plug. We have a really unique project on our hands and its going to be a lot of fun to make and even more fun to watch. So if you want to help us out and donate, help spread the word, or just want to see what a well made campaign looks like, you can check out the A Bad Luck Guy in a Bad Luck Town Indiegogo page.

Kyle Johannessen is a director and writer for film based in the Boston area. He has not only left his pictures, but once again left his bio in the hands of his editor. His favorite director is Uwe Boll. He thought the new Ninja Turtles movie was the best movie of the year. When no one's looking, he puts on the soundtrack to a John Hughes movie and dances around in his underwear. (Actually, that one may be true.)

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