Right now, I’m wrapping up a movie review series called The Projectionist Project, but I’d really like to bring back a web series I never got to finish called Monsters Anonymous. It’s a comedy about monsters living together and also going to group therapy. It’s about monsters struggling to figure out who they are and where they fit in the world.
Thanks for this response, Julie. Very thorough.
For the record, I’d watch Monsters Anonymous.
Sunny, where have you been all my life?
First, that is a TOTALLY fair question, and the short answer is that you have to make sure that you have a network of true fans for your project BEFORE you crowdfund so that the responsibility for funding your project isn’t only on your friends and family.
Your friends and family (and co-workers and school mates) are often your first fans, so it makes sense that you’d want to tell everyone when you’re crowdfunding so that they can support you - many will want to!
However, you also have to think: who is this series really for? And you have to start building that audience, connecting with those people early. I recommend using social media to do this. In fact, I wrote a book about it. You can find Social Media Charm School and a great vid about this free (for now) on Seed&Spark.
Josh, did you screen part of this at Sidewalk or Oxford Film Fest by chance?
this to. Blerg.
how do you guys recommend lesser-known or newer filmmakers get attention for their campaigns, past friends and fam? seems kind of bizarre to try and build a fan base before making your first project… or is that really the only way?
Great question, and YES, you can totally run campaigns for multiple projects. And you’re right - you DEFINITELY have to deliver on the first project before you go back to the well for a second, but the good news is that, if you’re keeping your backers updated and excited about your project AND continuing to build your audience, you’ll build up enough good will to have another go.
Despite the fact that your projects might be different from each other (diff genres, topics, etc.), audiences can be VERY loyal to good, communicative filmmakers. So yes, you can let backers from one campaign know that you’re running a new one, and you should: they’re advocates for your projects!
You can watch the original version here. I do want to update it, though. I’d really like to explore the themes and characters more. Also, bring in a more diverse cast. It’s sorely lacking in female and POC characters. Part of my idea for a reboot would be to fix that and also to have the characters figuring out themselves more in regards to sexuality and gender. I really want a gender fluid shapeshifter because I think that would be amazing.
So as long as you complete the project from the first campaign, you can run another one whenever? Even with our whole generation being broke and in debt? I’m mostly worried that I’d be asking too frequently, burning people out, especially if I help someone ELSE crowdfund and promote that a bit to my network in addition to my OWN crowdfunding campaign, if that makes sense?
Think this one might have gotten lost. Signal boost
No, neither the Projectionist Project or MonAnon have screened anywhere. I have had some short films screen at some festivals, though. The Chattanooga Film Festival, the Ha! Film Fest, and the Nashville Film Festival.
Was there a similar film or web series that played at one of these festivals?
Hey, Julie! What web series have you produced? Any we might have heard of? And what’s your favorite part of producing?
Fair question, and you’re right: if feels weird to build an ‘audience’ for a project that doesn’t exist yet. This is why you have to be a fan/audience member/community member before you can start asking for stuff (attention, money, etc.)
The audience/filmmaker relationship is just that: a relationship. So you have to take your time to identify what your ideal audience members look like, find out where they’re already meeting online, then become a part of those communities.
Think about it this way: it’d be weird to walk into a room and just start asking everyone for $25 dollars for a movie you haven’t made yet, right? So instead, you walk into a room MONTHS before you’re crowdfunding, get to know people, take interest in them, share what you’re up to, and then - when the time is right - say ‘hey, I’ve created a FB page, or here’s my website, or I launched a crowdfunding campaign.’
The bad news is that it takes research and time; the good news is that it’s worth it. The fans you gather now will follow you and support you your whole career.
What about for projects that are, say, pretty straight-up comedies? Things with seemingly wider appeal and thus harder to pin down in terms of a specific, manageable community to join?
Oh my gosh, you’re so sweet.
And what do I like about producing? NOTHING! No, it’s hard, but producing allows me to make what I want to make NOW, rather than waiting for some gatekeeper to grant me permission. And I might be a little bit of a control freak…
What are the most common similarities between successful crowdfunding campaigns? Aside from finding an audience beforehand (re: your previous answers here today!)
To that end, it would be great to be able to interact with other filmmakers/creators and build an audience on Seed & Spark even when you’re not currently crowdfunding.
I left a comment for S&S customer service a couple of months ago asking if that was possible. I was told that that feature wasn’t currently available.
Are there plans to allow for that? For the record, I would be interested and would gladly pay a monthly fee to do that as well as get access to the content on S&S.
Good questions, and EVERY series needs to have some sort of specific appeal, or what’s the point?
Think about it: you’re not going to watch a series that says it’s funny but isn’t about anything. Seinfeld was about friends in NY. Big Bang Theory is about nerdy types. Every show has something. And THAT’S the thing that’s going to help you find your audience.
If you someone says ‘my series is for everyone,’ I am very skeptical. Because there’s no show that everyone loves. Not even Mad Men. Not even Game of Thrones.
PLUS: making web series gives us FREEDOM! If anyone here has written specs for traditional TV, you know there are many many many rules. Length. Beats. What’s marketable right now. Demos. By making web series, we’re free from all of that, free to explore stories and characters and issues in a deeper way that the people with all of the rules on their back. You have the freedom, so USE IT.
Be unique. Be outstanding. Your future audiences deserve it. You deserve it.
I think that would be VERY cool, Pablo, and I’m glad you put in a tech ticket for that. At S&S, we’ve built a lot in a short period of time, but there’s so much more we want to do. I’ll second your motion, friend.