Seed&Spark founder and CEO Emily Best, AMA!


(Emily Kelleher-Best) #1

Seed&Spark is the only subscription platform dedicated to making entertainment more diverse and inclusive. We’ve combined the convenience of streaming for audiences with the career building power of crowdfunding for filmmakers, delivering to audiences the chance not just to watch exceptional movies and shows you can’t find anywhere else, but to support 12 new projects a year. Our crowdfunding platform has the highest campaign success rate in the world, and more than 800 movies and shows have raised $8M+ since we launched, and more than 170 titles are currently streaming, with 3 new releases per week. We’re currently running the #HometownHeroes crowdfunding rally where, in addition to raising funds and gathering audiences for their productions, filmmakers are competing for the chance to have their films executive produced by the Duplass Brothers.

I started the company because after producing my first feature film I realized the business was broken – there was not a clear path to sustainability and that could be solved with tools the internet was offering. I made that first feature film because I didn’t see myself represented on screen in a way that I was proud of and I wanted to combine these things - sustainability and representation – into…my life’s work, I guess?

I also make a webseries called F*ck Yes!, which is a sexy anthology about sexual consent.

AMA about crowdfunding, starting a tech platform, and the webseries. (I do not promote myself as any kind of expert about sex, BTW.)


We've got an AMA for that!
What do you need help with right now?
(Bri Castellini) #4

Welcome, Emily! Thanks so much for being here today! Can you talk a little bit about your personal background in film/filmmaking, and what led you to found Seed&Spark?


(Meg Carroway) #5

Hi Emily!! Huge fan :slight_smile:
How do you think women can help each other get ahead in the indie film world and beyond?


(Ajay) #6

Combining a streaming service and a crowdfunding service makes a ton of sense for a indie film platform. What’s next in the evolution of Seed&Spark?


(Joseph Steven Heath) #7

How do you get the word out about something without being annoying? I always worry that I’m putting people off by self-promoting. Secondly, what are some things to do when crowdfunding and what are some things to avoid?


(Hailey Harper) #8

I’ve heard a lot about Seed&Spark but haven’t used it myself- I’ve only ever used IndieGoGo. What sets Seed & Spark apart from other crowdfunding platforms, in practical terms? What would I, as a filmmaker looking to crowdfund, get out of Seed&Spark that I might not get elsewhere?


(Emily Kelleher-Best) #9

Ok, I hope I am doing this right!

I made a feature film called LIKE THE WATER, to address the lack of representation of women on screen (this was 2010!), and it was the challenges and lessons from that project that led to Seed&Spark. I’m not a fast enough typer to give you the whole story in time, but the details are all here: https://www.momscancode.com/single-post/2017/09/04/Meet-Emily-Best-Founder-of-SeedSpark


(Emily Kelleher-Best) #11

Great question! And I am going answer you question and then give you a link for more details.

  1. We have the highest crowdfunding campaign success rate in the world. In 2017, it’s 85%

  2. We’re the only platform dedicated to increasing diversity and inclusion in entertainment.

  3. As a filmmaker who is crowdfunding, you offer rewards to your audiences. Well, on Seed&Spark, WE offer you rewards as you grow your audience. As your campaign gathers steam, you can unlock over $9000 worth of goods and services and well as film festival fee waivers to dozens of festivals.

  4. We have a world-class education program, available for free online and in over 30 cities a year in person. (That’s why we have the highest campaign success rate…)

  5. You get personalized feedback on every campaign from our team of experts. And when I say experts I mean they have successfully crowdfunded for their own films on Seed&Spark (and other platforms.)

And here is even more details: https://www.seedandspark.com/blog/10-reasons-to-crowdfund-with-seedspark


(Jaime Lancaster) #12

Will have to check your film out!! What was your role on that project? I ask because I’m a new producer- do you have any tips for indie producers of low/no-budget projects? :heart:


(Ron Valderrama) #13

Hey Emily. We have been talking to S&S for our upcoming campaign. Just wanted to say thanks to you, Erica and Christina for being super responsive and actually caring about the campaign success. Love what you all are doing. We finally have it in review right now!!!


(Bri Castellini) #14

Can you talk about this part of your platform? What does that look like, for people thinking of crowdfunding with you? How does this dedication impact the people looking to crowdfund, and how can we as a whole do better?


(Filmmaker) #15

Hey Emily!

What do you eat for breakfast on an average day? And how many cups of coffee is the right amount for an indie filmmaker per day?


(Emily Kelleher-Best) #16

OMG ITS GOING SO FAST.
I think the most important thing we can do - generally - is cultivate the culture of plenty. We have been brought up in the culture of scarcity where a job for her is not a job for me, money for her is not money for me, audience for her is not audience for me. And that just isn’t true. Opportunity is not pie, there is enough to go around. So I say gather a community of creators you trust and do everything you can to lift each other up as if opportunity is actually infinite, and the result of your work as opposed to the result of someone else giving you something.


(Ron Valderrama) #17

I would also add that the platform seems to be designed for more than one campaign by the way the profiles are created. In other words, S&S seems to be creating a way for people to follow the creator’s career and follow on projects which I think is genius.


(Markus Viehauser) #18

Hello Emily, huge fan from Europe here! Do you plan to make Seed&Spark available in Europe too? Crowdfunding is still quite scarce here, especially for film projects. I am working on a short film which I would like to crowdfund with S&S.


(Emily Kelleher-Best) #19

Thanks, Ajay. Well, we just launched the #HometownHeroes crowdfunding campaign with the Duplass Brothers, and what we discovered is that we’re in a unique position to distribute Hollywood opportunities (like the possibility of having your film exec produced by the Duplass Borthers) all across the country. We can make it more possible for filmmakers to develop their careers in their hometowns with local talent and resources. We’ll be doing a lot more rallies like this!


(Ajay) #20

This is so true. The beauty of online is there’s no Thursdays at 8pm primetime slot to fight over. We can all win.


(Emily Kelleher-Best) #21

This is a really great question. If you think about crowdfunding or promotion like standing in a square and shouting with a bullhorn, I’d say you’re doing it wrong. Think of it more like a dinner party, where everyone’s been invited and they know why, and they’re all gonna participate in making it fun.

It’s really important to know who your audience is, why they are excited about the possibility of your project, and engaging with them (as opposed to talking at them). In our crowdfunding class videos (particularly chapters 2.1 and 2.2) we get really specific about how to find the right audiences and learn how to engage them well. https://www.seedandspark.com/education/crowdfunding-class#Crowdfunding-to-Build-Independence-Introduction


(Emily Kelleher-Best) #22

I was the producer (and I also am an actor in it but don’t worry about that.) The MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO (after you make sure the script you’re working with is FUCKING EXCELLENT) is figure out who the audience is for your project and start engaging with them every day.


(Kallum Weyman) #23

Hello Emily thanks for talking with us today. What projects do you see being successful? Are they projects for people who are looking for the next step or do smaller starter projects also do well?