Crowdfunding as the name suggests is a fairly simple practice of allocation and gathering of funds from the public to aid the filmmaking process. In addition to raising funds, crowdfunding also helps the audience to be more familiarised with the film and its cast, thus acting as a soft marketing and publicity tool.
A practice mostly adopted by indie filmmakers, crowdfunding is catching up quickly and efficiently in other mainstream areas as well. Casey Sampson, a Business developer of a crowdfunding agency, explains in Quora, “Many independent film producers view crowdfunding as an excellent way to raise funds to cover production costs. Film producers are able to start to accumulate an interested audience for their movie while raising money to make it.
Spend some time evaluating which crowdfunding platform is the best fit for your specific needs. Tailored user experience and the strength of the community support on a niche market and industry-specific crowdfunding platforms increases the success rate for campaigns.”
Rajat Kapoor, a common name in India’s indie film circuit, took to crowdfunding for his latest project. He stated, “Since the kind of films that I want to make doesn’t fit into the mainstream, I have turned to seeking funding through my audience, supporters and others. When I made Raghu Romeo, it was partly crowdfunded. However, for this film, I seek to cover all costs through this method.”
Although, the modern practice of crowdfunding may be new to India, here is a piece of information- In 1976, Shyam Benegal’s film Manthan, that dealt with formation of milk cooperatives and social order surrounding the same, was funded by 0.5 million Gujarati farmers pooling together INR 2 each to make this INR 10 million film.
Steps to start crowdfunding for your film project
The first step is to choose a suitable and efficient crowdfunding platform. There are several options for those seeking funds but it is advisable to opt for one with low platform fees and a dedicated customer support.
Maithili Pradhan, a student of Public Policy at XIC Mumbai answered in Quora, “As Crowdfunding is quite new in India, make sure you raise funds on a platform which has a certain level of experience in raising funds. To the best of my knowledge, Impact Guru has raised more than INR 3.29 billion till date.”
The second and a vital step is to start a fundraiser. Starting a fundraiser is easy and well free!
However, it is better to keep the fundraiser interesting and innovative. Start with a compelling fundraiser story explaining what the film is about and why there is a need for funds. Add a personal touch to it by citing how important the film is to you while stating your aspirations and expectations from the film. It is best to maintain transparency for the dedicated customer base to feel the need to invest in your film.
The next step to starting a fundraiser is raising awareness about it. In today’s digital age, it is easy to make your fundraiser viral and appeal to the masses. This is the time one can put a good use to all that time spent on Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp. Remember, be innovative. You can post a still from the film and share it on Instagram to engage masses. Once the still gains popularity, post the link to your fundraiser in your bio. Emails work too!
The fourth step- engagements and thank yous. Keep the crowd in the loop for them to not lose interest in the film. Urge them to share it with their social circle. Pradhan believes that is best to offer some rewards like free screening or a thank you card. “Maybe a name in acknowledgement, while displaying credits. This works best,” she states.
The fifth and most important step is to collect the money and extend gratitude to your donors.