AMA with Christina Raia


(Christina Raia) #41

Definitely chain restaurants. I try to avoid chains overall because usually managers can’t say yes if he they want to. Mom & pop shops are the way to go, especially places that don’t get a lot of traffic because they’d most appreciate the marketing support.


(Christina Raia) #42

Thanks so much, Sunny! Glad you like the series! Most of my short content is unpaid. I make this work by largely working with the same people regularly and creating a barter system where I help with their content as much as possible. I also make sure that shorts are always only a day or 2 shoots, with amazing food. Generally, people like to work on my sets because I work hard to make sure the end product gets seen, they’ll have solid footage for their reels, and I recommend them for paying gigs constantly. I’ve been able to leverage the connections I’ve made throughout the years to get my cast & crew paying gigs, even when they’re not my own. My features pay (and I hire the same people who work for free on shorts), which is where crowdfunding comes in


(Jane) #43

Have you ever funded your projects (in part or whole) via non-crowdfunding means?


(Christina Raia) #44

I don’t depend on them to do it. I encourage them and try to incentivize them to do so. But only the people receiving producer credits are expected/depended on to do email outreach.


(Pablo Andreu) #45

Hi Christina, thanks for doing this. You mentioned this above, and I’ve heard this many times: Know your audience. That seems like sound advice, but if you don’t know your audience, how do you get to know your audience?


(Christina Raia) #46

A big part of it is doing outreach to people before the campaign comes along, so they know you’re working on something new and you’ve given then a personalized reason to care. For instance, my last campaign was last February. I started talking on social media and in my newsletter about why the film mattered in the Trump era months before I launched the campaign. That created a lot of engagement and conversation. So when I started messaging people, I had a foundation of interest to build on.


(Christina Raia) #47

My estimates largely come from knowing what I spent in the past or knowing what kind of deals I can get. With my last crowdfunding campaign, I didn’t feel I could raise more than $20k at once in February and so close to after the election (this was last year), so I put together a production budget with that in mind. Certain things like paying people whereat a set price. But any item or prop that added up to over the budget, I would hit the pavement and find a cheaper or free alternative to replace it with. I didn’t launch my campaign until I knew I could afford the production for $20k. We ended up coming in just under budget. That said, I had learned from my first feature where I made estimates with no experience and went $5,000 over budget.


(Ollie R) #48

Out of curiosity… what do you DO with short films? Are you just making them to be constantly making something/ have something to send out to festivals? Seems to me features and series can get somewhere but shorts are kinda not helpful unless they’re a sizzle or proof of concept for a bigger thing


(Rodrigo Diaz Ricci) #49

Hi Chistina!
Thank you very much for coming to share your knowledge.
Question:
What kind of themes in web series campaigns have the best results with the public? Fantasia, Drama, comedy or social situations (unemployment, abuse, etc.)


(Christina Raia) #50

Haha, I suppose I don’t ever find myself there these days. With IndieWorks, there’s always that to plug even if not a project of my own. So the newsletter goes out once per month to remind people of next month’s screening regardless of what else we have going on. I do try to keep it consistent, and I find I have higher open rates when I do.


(Meg Carroway) #51

What’s IndieWorks?


(Christina Raia) #52

Right now we only do our own content. Most of the content is my own that I’ve directed and produced, but we also have 2 shorts that I only produced (written & directed by another team member). I’m always open to reading scripts and working with other creators but, because we’re a small group that rotates around working on each other’s stuff, it would be hard to focus on/commit to other content. I’m personally not interested in directing for hire, so I don’t dabble in the commercial world.


(Christina Raia) #53

I try to always have someone with a camera on set, even if just a student looking to learn. My first feature was shot in 12 days in Massachusetts in January in the snow, and was super grueling. So I made sure we had a ton of bts photos and videos to share. We built a DIY process trailer, so I made sure we got footage of that before and after. No one had time on set to do interviews, but I made it a point right after wrap to do interviews with the cast & crew about shooting in those conditions. AN EPK is generally a BTS content, the more visual the better. And the more quotes you can get/offer from above the line people, the better.


(Christina Raia) #54

I use shorts a way to keep my ongoing audience engaged while I’m working on longer form content. Also, I like to show my audience my growth as an artist, and shorts are a great way to do that. They’re also a good way to screen at festivals and meet audience members to collect emails and plug my streaming content. I always release them for free as a way to drive traffic to my stuff behind paywalls. I wrote a long blog about this awhile back: http://www.congestedcat.com/blog/2017/1/27/working-towards-sustainability-why-i-keep-crowdfunding-making-shorts


(Christina Raia) #55

Hi Jane, I have not. I like my independence and having the freedom to distribute how I’d like. I also come from humble means and have no access to investor types. The current system is not really designed to support minority, women filmmakers. And crowdfunding has provided a way for me to get my own content made instead of knocking on traditional, biased doors. That said, I’m now at a point where past work revenue does help fund future work


(Bri Castellini) #56

Alright folks, that’s the hour! Christina, you’re welcome to stick around to answer any final questions, but in any case, everyone give a HUGE big thanks to @Craia9 for being here today!!


(Christina Raia) #57

Hi Pablo, this class will help you figure that out: https://www.seedandspark.com/education/crowdfunding-class#Who-is-Your-Audience


(Meg Carroway) #58

Thank you!!!


(Jaime Lancaster) #59

Thank you so much, Christina!! This was so helpful!


(Pablo Andreu) #60

I appreciate that, Christina, but I went through all the S&S videos during our S&S campaign in the fall. Thanks for the response. Much appreciated.