There were some top new rehearsals, choreographies, and - King Arthurs new tunic has arrived.
and behind the scenes today!
This isn't really a transcript of the video, which was not scripted, but is to include the same - and additional- information in the written form.
We have been promoted to write about our own experiences, what we found worked, and what we found didn't work, to help others - so please feel free to share this. (all we ask is that you keep the link back to our site or credit us).
In raising funds for this film, we tried both "standard" ways of fundraising, and looked into alternative ideas as well. I cannot guarantee that this will work for everyone, but it might give you some ideas as to funding your film. We were inspired to create this article after finding little clear information on grassroots funding, from scratch. Although we have also had assistance from professional fundraisers trying to help, they have found the same issues, and in discussion, it was suggested that we create this article.
"Mordred" is a collaborative feature-length drama set in the 6th Century in Devon and Cornwall (our home area) UK, using some of the very earliest and less known Arthurian legends, set against the backdrop of the historical times, in the historical region of Dumnonia, soon after the Romans had withdrawn from Britain, during the time of the Saxon invasions.
If you find this helpful, please consider contributing a little bit to our crowdfund (link below).
1 - Crowdfunding (if you want to see ours, have a look here at our Mordred Indiegogo link)
Crowdfunding is a lot more complicated than people imagine. A lot of people think that it is a case of just creating a flashy video and some great concept photos, putting it online, and suddenly everyone will magically give you money. It doesn't quite work like that. Information from this, has come from our first attempt, which didn't work well as we didn't really know what we were doing with crowdfunding, and the second attempt, which is going much better - since we learned from the first!)
Selecting your platform.
The most common sites for crowdfunding films are Kickstarter and Indiegogo. It is a good idea to use a well known one, as that helps create trust among potential contributors. We looked at both, but decided to use Indiegogo.
Kickstarter only gives you the money, if you reach the total amount that you are hoping to raise. Indiegogo either runs the same, or you can opt for flexible funding, in which you can keep whatever you earn. As we are also fundraising in other ways, we have opted for the flexible funding so that even if we do not reach the full £5,000, we can keep as much as we have been able to raise.
Creating the pitch.
Yes, you need to create a good pitch - get a few great images, and a good pitch video. Make sure that your video shows some of the key people involved in the project, and keep it at around 3 minutes or less.
Give plenty of information about your project - think about these questions, and be enthusiastic at all times: Who is involved? Why are you doing it? Why is it special/ what does it contribute? Is there verifiable information on other websites/ press about the project? What sort of problems might the project encounter, and how will you overcome them? What are the unique selling points of your film? What will the money be spent on?
Create a selection of really enticing perks for the project, with a wide range of contribution amounts!
Spreading the word
Utilise everything you can! Regularly!
- Make sure that when you load your pitch video to Youtube (and maybe Vimeo too?) you include a link in your video description to your crowdfund pitch.
- There are a lot of "pay to promote your crowdfund" services, which we tried on our first attempt, but we have found those a complete waste of money, for example Twitter services only shared the link via "bots" which had little real reach.
- Get your team on board. Get your actors, and crew to share it on their social media. Looking at our Indiegogo analytics, the vast majority of contributions have come from people known to members of the team. People are more likely to give to a project where they can see that their friends or relatives are involved - not only are they helping someone they know, but they also feel more confident that it is a serious project, if it is someone they know. Do impress upon the team that it isn't just a case of sharing once, and leaving it, but sharing every few days and both in the sharing posts, and on their social media in general, talking about the project, how it is going, etc, so that people can see ongoing work taking place.
- Twitter - Share often, and use hashtags. The ones we use most often are regional/ subject/ indiefilm based. Go on regional/ subject-based Twitter-Hours and talk about your work. Keep a pinned "tweet" with the link at the top of your page.
- Facebook. We find that the most contributions have come via Facebook sharing, where people have been able to talk at the most length about the project, and share the fund links with more information. Use personal facebook walls, search out crowdfunding and film funding groups. We also share our pitch video, and cast/ director interviews on video-sharing groups (get that word out everywhere!)
- Instagram and other graphics based social media. Make a flyer to share, with the information and contribution link.
- Press releases. Send press releases about your project (see our Mordred Press Office for highlights of our campaign) to your local press, wider indiefilm press (you never know), crowfunding press sites, and also subject specialist press (so we sent to Medieval / Dark Ages/ Arthurian-related press as well) . Make sure they are well formatted and spelt!
- Don't be afraid to ask for tiny amounts - remember if 1000 people on your social media, each contributed £1, less than a cup of coffee, you would have £1,000 for your film!
We advise trying everything you can to fundraise for your film, but we have found that applying for grants is something that isn't that productive, even with the assistance of a professional funding-bid-writer. For Mordred, we applied for heritage-based funding, but were turned down as it was a performance (arts) project, but then applying for arts funding, we were told "its a heritage project" - and there are huge misconceptions that a film must cost millions to make, so a few hundred or thousand pounds is of no help. This is completely incorrect but a lot of the people who look at the grants, are not film or media specialists. If you are an established film production company, you can also contact the British Film Institute, but unfortunately their funding requirements are not suitable for those starting out.
3- Think outside the box!
We have also, true to our team ethos, done a lot of work of getting out there to fundraise ourselves, and you can too. The key to this, is to talk with your team. What skills do you have, that you can use to raise funds in your spare time? The other great thing about doing this, is that you also generate extra publicity for your project. These are some of the successful things we have done - and in some cases are still doing.
Several of our ladies are trained burlesque performers, so, we put on a burlesque night! We also had great help from some other local burlesquers.
Sponsored fancy-dress swim
I honestly was amazed by this. I thought since it was something that lots of people do, it would be boring, and not many people would contribute. By setting it up on social media, and asking people to either contribute in cash, or via paypal, and providing the evidence on video, we actually found this was really popular, and a large amount of funds were raised.
Create a selling ebay account, and sell items which may be collectable, designer, or vintage, to raise funds. (when setting up, buy a couple of small items to start off your feedback. Always post items with tracking to prove delivery, and be unforgiving with yourself on accurate descriptions. Ebay can be a minefield, but done right, is a great source of funds!)
Carboot sales and yard sales
The things which are lower value than those you put on ebay, can be sold at carboot sales or yard sales. Advertise well with posters in shop windows and on social media.
Museum and school talks
Are you an expert in something? Are you a confident public speaker? Could you give educational talks? We have gone around various museums and social clubs, and for donations to the film, we have provided talks - in our case on adapting local history and mythology for film and stage. Just make sure that the venues do actually pay you something, even if it is a small amount.
Talk to local fayres and fetes - see if you, or your MUAs can run a facepainting stand. (we have found this is incredibly successful, but have a team to help. Have a couple of MUAs if at all possible, and someone else to help with taking money and organising queues)
Shop collection tins
If your project has some kind of community interest, like helping to showcase local people, or a local piece of history or culture, talk to local shops and see if they can have a collection tin on the counter.
People love pub quizzes - and for a small entry fee they can enter a team, answer several rounds of general knowledge questions, and the winning team win a prize (usually a bottle of wine, a round of drinks at the bar, or a cash prize. the profits can go into your fundraiser!) Older people especially really enjoy this for a night out. Talk to your local bars and pubs. They often like it because it gets more people in the door, buying drinks!
Running a convention
We have a lot of scifi and fantasy fans in our team, so with their help, and the help of other amazing people, we ran a small convention. Make sure you have great activities, some good stalls, and plan at least a couple of months in advance so that you can publicise well. (remember big conventions can be planned up to a year in advance, and make sure that as far as possible, dates dont clash)
4 - Don't discount getting things "in kind"or second hand - it all helps reduce your budget!
See what you can negotiate for locations. Can you get a discounted location, in return for photos, or publicity (or other help; Redecorating after the shoot? Help with their website or social media? Advertising? A promotional video?
Ask on Freecycle, you may be able to get things for costumes, small props, etc.
Look around your local jumble/ yard sales for cheap props and fabrics, or clothes.
Use ebay and other online shopping for sundries - or your local discount shop.
Drest the Bandit, and Mordred promo photoshoot
We are exceedingly proud to feature "Iron Mike" Mitchell, in our cast, (5X Mr World, 2X Mr Universe, actor appearing in Gladiator, Skyfall and others)
£439 raised in 5 days on our indiegogo! Great perks from just £1, please share and/or support this local film, bringing to life heavily researched early Arthurian legend, against an equally researched backdrop of 6th Century Devon & Cornwall
-and showcasing the amazing skills of local actors! INDIEGOGO CROWDFUND AT