Filmmakers are risk takers too. We groom and grow our projects, and yes, put them to the test in a ring of competitive filmmakers. Funding is the ring; lots of us are out there looking for the money to make our films, competing for grants, and trying to find all sorts of ways to get our films made. Today, we still write grants as we did when I first started making documentaries 25 years ago. But there's a new way to raise money today that didn't exist 5 years ago when my last television documentary was made.
Online fundraising via social networking, social media, social risk taking is now upon us as a viable and new way to find backers for our films. It's called "crowd funding." Many of us now use the tools of the Internet to appeal to our "crowd" -- our fans, our friends, our family, our subcultures. Online communications via websites, emailings, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are strategic musts that no filmmaker today can ignore.
The stories of film projects succeeding using online funding abound at sites such as kickstarter.com and indiegogo.com. The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, Wired magazine, and other publications watch and write about this phenomena. And how-to's abound as well on the Internet.
So I am jumping in and heading to kickstarter.com to raise the money I need to shoot my Thomas Chapin film. Some filmmakers gather their crowd to fund the whole enchilada, the whole budget for their films, for sometimes as much as $200,000. They have confidence that their crowd will come through, and they work their social networks to shake the money tree.
Others seek a portion of what they need to take them to the next step of their filmmaking process. That will be me. I will only be asking my crowd to back me so that I can get my filmming done. With success at kickstarter.com, I will start shooting this summer! The footage will then allow me to make a new, more polished trailer and show off my film idea to hopefully interest bigger funders who can provide the monies needed for the next phases of making this film.
Being new to raising funds this way, I am testing the waters. Taking a gamble yes, but moderating my risk taking, as they say in the stock market. Modifying risks is still risky, but do the work, set up your social network, and ground yourself with strategies that will assist your efforts, and you might just succeed.
In crowd sourcing, no one can really tell who will come to fund you and by how much. That's actually going to be part of the fun. If you build it, will they come? We shall see. I will set a goal, set a date to start and end, and roll the dice of social risktaking. Good thing the risk-taking gene, the gambler gene is in my DNA. Cockle-doodle-do!!!!!
Watch for more blogs as I head to kickstarter.com on February 13 and take a wild ride.