Successful crowdfunding campaign – interview with Simon Horrocks – Director of Third Contact
The crowdfunding has quickly become very popular source of film financing. It’s getting harder every day to reach your target and achieve campaign goal – especially as independent filmmakers do not have too many marketing tools to support their campaign. What they have, however, is fantastic opportunity to get involved with potential viewers and backers via social media.
I’ve been following and backing filmmaking projects and filmmaker’s profiles for last couple of months and I am very surprised that, after all articles, there is still so many people using one way communication. Media channels have changed but the rule remains the same. Marketing is an emotional business, it works only if you are willing to communicate with people. To me, communication is the comprehension of the fact that on the other site of the line (even if you don’t see it) there are people. And, as in real life, people are searching for human qualities like understanding, acceptance and friendliness. They want to learn about you and your work but also they want you to learn about them. At the end of the day people will only remember you and your movie if you’ve showed them kindness :)
Recently, I had an opportunity to meet Simon Horrocks, who run one of successful Kickstarter campaigns and directed the upcoming Third Contact feature film. I am truly amazed how Simon managed to built a fantastic community of friendly people using only a good word on social media (whilst companies spend huge amount of money on marketing tools to draw the same attention) :) Simon was very kind with sharing details of his campaign and gave us his crowdfunding best practise..
AS. There is a lot of film crowdfunding campaigns that do not make the required budget. What personal qualities filmmaker has to have to help convince the audience to back the project?
SH. Crowdfunding works mostly at an emotional level. People will back you only if they feel strongly about you and your project. I think it’s important you engage people on an emotional level so they believe in you and your campaign. They also need to see you are putting in the effort. They are giving you their money so they want to see it wont be wasted.
AS. Many filmmakers use social media as one way communication – from Filmmaker to viewers. Do you think that tactic pays off with crowdfunding? How important is personal contact with viewers? What influence has it had on your crowdfunding campaign?
SH. It very important to have a dialogue with your potential backers. Not just backers but people who will support your cause by telling people and spreading the word of your campaign. A one-way message is very weak because people feel they are just being used to fulfill your ambitions. People want to feel that their contribution is appreciated, whether its financial or helping the campaign in other ways. People want to feel part of what you are doing. The thing is, I want people to feel part of what I am doing, so that suits me fine.
AS. What media selection worked for you with your campaign?
SH. Im not sure what this question means. If you mean social media, I used twitter as my main platform, linkedin, google + and facebook were useful too.
AS.There is a great deal of knowledge behind successful crowdfunding. If you were to name 5 “must knows?”for every filmmaker, what would that be?
SH. I don’t think there are any, its best to discover for your self and find your own methods, but these are the things you should focus on:
Build your social media presence. That doesn’t mean having hundreds of thousands of followers. It means having as many engaged followers as possible. Its better to have 100 very engaged connections than 5000 followers who dont know who you are. You can’t start this soon enough.
Choose the best platform, choose the best target, design the best campaign, choose the best rewards, choose the best campaign length.
AS. What action can filmmaker undertake to encourage backers?
SH. Apart from starting a dialogue, you can communicate with your potential backers by writing (or videoing) a blog to let people get to know you better – who you are and what you stand for.
AS.The crowdfunding competition is huge – what techniques did you use to distinguish your campaign from others?
SH. Focus on what makes you as a person or a team unique. What is it you stand for? What difference will you make to the world? What will you add that isnt there already?
AS.Crowdfunding campaigns often resemble auctions. People wait until the very last minute to back the project..Your campaign finished only a few hours before time limit :) What are filmmaker’s options if there are only days/hours to go and money is not there yet?
SH. I ran a 56 day campaign and spent 12-18 hours of each of the 56 days at my computer, talking to people and telling about my campaign. Sometimes, two or three days would go past without anyone pledging so much as ?1. I spent so long at my computer after about 40 days my feet started to swell up due to lack of circulation. But this effort paid off. I had made so many friends and found so many people who believed in what I was doing, at the end they came to the rescue and pushed us over the line.
You have to create a noise using social media – I find twitter to be very effective. At the end, you have to get the total moving. Call on your connections who have shown they believe in you to act. As the total starts to move, let everyone know its moving – once people realise their efforts are having an effect, they will put more energy in. We whipped up a storm on twitter like this. I’m convinced we would have gone flying past the total if twitter hadn’t stopped me from tweeting (there’s a limit of 1000 tweets a day). Luckily, my friends on facebook saw the total was close and everyone got involved.
AS.If you were to do the campaign all over again what would you change?
SH. I would take more exercise breaks so my feet didn’t swell up :)
AS. You know, when you first said that I though the swollen feet were a joke but it really wasn’t :) So guys, to your list of human qualities on social media add lots of exercise and lots of fluids (just keep in mind that liquor actually makes you more dehydrated :)) Thank you Simon for your great contribution!
Oficial film site http://www.thirdcontactmovie.com/