SA Crowdfunding Blog

Tuesday, 18 September 2012 09:40

The Importance of Crowd Funding Support in Funding for Film-Makers

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With one of the recent projects on StartMe coming from a story writer, its useful to remember the variety of entrepreneurs we get here.  Crowd funding can be applied to almost any venture, and the arts are a prime area of need for business finance options. Funding for film-makers is not a new idea by any means, but it hasn't been used in South Africa that much. In June of 2011, Tyron Janse van Vuuren and others began a crowdfunding effort to raise R100,000 for a three-minute video that would raise awareness for the movie script he had written.

"Shady Valley" is one of the first funding for film-makers attempts in South Africa. The comedy-horror spoof concerns a teen who kills phony demons with his own version of karate. The crowdfunding effort received the capital necessary for the promotional video, making the next test the funding for film-makers necessary to make the film itself.

 Investor Funding is Nothing New

 Producers have been playing the part of crowdfunding for many years, but using the internet to reach the smaller investor is a relatively new way to finance film. A well-known producer or director can attract investments from both personal and business perspectives, and name recognition also entices the large movie studios to get on board, but the first time film-maker has a difficult time receiving any attention.

 To tap into the crowdfunding base for a film, a viral video on the net is the ticket. Many careers have begun from building interest by way of the web, and selling both the movie and its participants is necessary for crowd source funding to work best. Whether "Shady Valley" will become a feature film or not is unclear, but the producers are following the right path.

 Teaser trailers are a proven vehicle for business finance. Often the tremendous funding necessary for a film is not available even when the cameras are ready to roll. The teaser is the hook for big name investors to put their money into the effort. One of the reasons why name brands are seen in film is because those companies invested in the movie.

A New Investor Base

Even with a smaller budget, those looking at funding for film-makers can attract some businesses that might not be able to afford the same exposure in a major film. Rewards for the smaller investors might only be free theater passes when the film is released, but the primary reason for any donation is to aid in the completion of the project.

Based on the genre, selling schemes may be different from one film to another. In South Africa, comedies have long been the higher grossing films, so selling that genre isn't that difficult. Horror, on the other hand, requires a little more effort. The makers of "Shady Valley" have promised monster effects by The Creature Shop, which lends credibility to the film.

Internet Based Fund Raising Assistance

Finding someone to help with crowd funding for film-makers who has experience costs something on the back end, but that is often the most productive way to get the money. IndieGoGo is one platform that allows the recipient to keep any funds raised, no matter if the intended goal is reached or not. Using Kickstarter is different because the intended goal must be reached or the film-maker gets nothing. Of course, IndieGoGo receives more money for their efforts.

These are two of the biggest names in the new generation of funding for film-makers, but there are other options. The basic factors necessary to begin a crowdfunding effort for a film, based on expert advice, is to have a great video to raise interest, know who your target market is going to be, have a planned strategy to get the funds, and maintain a schedule so you can deliver on what you promise.

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