Jeanette Bonner (Ghost Light, The Scoop) - Producer & Content Creator


(Ollie R) #21

Are you looking to expand, even just adding another producer to the fold?


(Jeanette Bonner) #22

I really, really don’t. Once they let you behind the kitchen, it’s way more fun to cook your own meal, right? Lol weird analogy. I knew so little about how the biz worked before I started producing. Producing has given me perspective on the casting process, the audition process, which has helped ground me as an actor. It’s so much more interesting to know what makes this industry tick, and in addition to that, it’s WAY easier to talk to people as a professional – I’m not fearful to talk to casting directors for example, like I used to be, cause ultimately we could collaborate together someday.

That is my favorite role pairing. Producer & Actor. They balance each other quite well.


(Jeanette Bonner) #23

Hi Blair! Oh my god, there are many, many takeaways I’ve gotten from repeat crowdfunding and I could spend an hour talking about them. The first misconception is YOU ARE NOT ASKING FOR MONEY. You are asking for HELP making your film, in whichever way possible. That will change the way you ask for donations. People feel bad “begging” for money. You must remember, you are NEVER asking for money. You are sharing something that you are passionate about. They idea for the donation has to come from them - you have to inspire them to help you. Does that make sense?

In that vein, create things of value. Little shorts. Sketches. Pictures behind-the-scenes. Incorporate your community in the perks. Every day of the campaign you should be making or doing something entertaining. This is actually an Ask hidden in a “let me show you something fun” package.

I could go on, but those are my two biggies.


(Thomas Tulak) #24

Hello, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us.

I’d like to talk crowd funding. Can you talk about how you were able to run such successful campaigns? And what advice you have for someone currently running a campaign that isn’t seeing as much success?


(Jeanette Bonner) #25

Hey Amen! Well to date I only have 2 web series. Both of them are off-shoots of the community I’m already a part of, because it’s true when they say “write what you know.” I wouldn’t, for example, start a new series that’s sci-fi and set in space, because I’m not a part of that community so it would be hard for me to get that audience to watch my show. My first series is about people that work in a theater, and my second interviews people in the entertainment industry. You are a mirror of your community, so yes I’d go in with an idea of what your audience wants to watch. Your friends, family, and fans are always gonna be your first audience. Start with them and build from there as you in turn grow.


(sam lockie-waring) #26

are you a full time creator, or do you do side hustles or have a day job? (sorry if that’s intrusive- just curious if you have advice for becoming a full time creator/writer/etc)


(Thomas Tulak) #27

We all want those precious views. Do you have any advice for marketing a web series?


(Jeanette Bonner) #28

Hey Jaime! This is such a funny question to me because I still consider myself an “early-career producer” lol! I think the fun thing is, you NEVER stop growing. There’s always gonna be someone further up the ladder than us, who give us a trajectory for where we want to go.

It’s hard to answer your question cause it’s so broad. As far as advice I’d tell you what I just responded to another question: start with what you know. Start with your community as your first audience. See where your friends need help on their projects. When you conquer that, look for larger projects with more responsibility. Challenge yourself. This is a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert whom I adore: “Follow your love and your curiosity.” Always be learning and growing, and before too long you’ll look back and realize how far you’ve come.


(Jeanette Bonner) #29

Oh my gosh how funny! Say hi to Phil for me! I’m a big fan of ITV. This year will be my fourth year attending!


(Jaime Lancaster) #30

Thank you!! What are your favorite/most challenging parts of producing work you didn’t create yourself? Or have you done that yet? I know a lot of people on here write and produce but I just want to produce and maybe create but at first it seems best to produce for others and then make my own stuff…


(Bri Castellini) #31

Big Stareable Boss Ajay Kishore will be there this year too- I’ll try to connect you guys! (off of the AMA, lol. Diversion over)


(Jeanette Bonner) #32

No! Because when I founded it in 2007 there WERE no platforms to put content on! But yes - I wholeheartedly see this as the wave of the future. I literally went to a seminar on self-distribution last week and there are companies who will agent your content and sell it to streaming platforms for you. This is an entirely new way to make content and it’s not going anywhere any time soon!


(Jonathan Hardesty) #33

Hey, thanks for coming here and answering our questions!

I’m curious how you approached reaching out to people, networking, and getting eyes on what you were doing. In general a lot of smaller shows have to spend time reaching out to people and sometimes we just don’t know who to start approaching. Just curious how you strategized getting the word out about what you were producing, creating, etc.


(Bri Castellini) #34

I wanna ask about NYC :icecream:- where are the best cheap places to go? Extra points if they’re off the 2-3-4-5 lines :joy:


(Meg Carroway) #35

Can you share any cool tips from that seminar? Sounds really informative!


(Jeanette Bonner) #36

Yeah I think that’s smart. I don’t know about the benefits outside of taxes at the moment. I imagine it might come in handy when/ if I end up co-producing on bigger contracts with other companies, for legal purposes. A brand is essential but down the line it really does matter to be backed up legally to protect yourself for ownership disputes and/or lawsuits. I don’t think it’s an early stage essential. I did it because I was mistaken, but having done it, I’m glad I have it moving forward.


(Jane) #37

Do you have advice or shortcut tips about how to make high quality projects without much of a budget? Or general budget-stretching tips? (also- hello!)


(Jeanette Bonner) #38

I would totally be open to that. But - once you incorporate someone into your company, it’s really hard to undo. I usually hire people to work with me on individual projects. I haven’t yet met anyone I want to share my company with, who I trust to carry the brand. If I ever get SO ENOURMOUS that I need like 8 other people working with/ for me to handle the business then hot damn I’ll call myself lucky!


(Jeanette Bonner) #39

Sure! I put up some tips in response to another question that was similar. A good amount of it is changing your mindset from ASKING for money to PROVIDING a service. Watch how PBS handles fundraising, what language they use, it’s genius. It’s all about “joining us” - they make it sound like a privilege to be a part of their community.

As for the struggle - I feel you. We’ve ALL been there, including myself. For the 2nd season of “Ghost Light” I was only 50% funded with 3 days left to do. It’s a horrible, horrible, horrible experience and the gremlin thoughts will eat you alive. here’s the thing: NOBODY KNOWS HOW IT WORKS. There are zero rules. Restrategize. Restrategize. Steal ideas from other campaigns that succeeded. I hired a crowdfunding strategist, because she talked me down off the ledge each week and helped me view it less emotionally and more objectively. Do not be afraid to ask for help again and again and again.


(Ollie R) #40

Thanks!