The 7 Things We Look for When We Review Crowdfunding Projects

Film set - Pyragraph
Photo by lnjeongwon.

Guest Blogger Gerry Maravilla is the Director of Crowdfunding for Seed&Spark, a crowdfunding platform for independent filmmakers. This post was originally published at Seed&Spark.

You probably already know that we’re a crowdfunding platform for filmmakers, but now it’s time to pull the curtain back on what happens when you hit “submit.”

There are 7 areas our Crowdfunding Experts have identified that are instrumental to the viability of your campaign; these are the 7 areas we give you feedback on.

1. Amount You’re Raising vs. Size of Your Network

There’s a misperception that crowdfunding is an “if you build it, they will come” endeavor. Targeting and developing a relationship with your audience before you launch is essential to crowdfunding success, and email is still the most effective way in getting people to support your project.

To help determine whether you have the network to support what you’re asking for, we’ll be looking at:

  • The number of e-mails you and your team have already collected
  • The size of your social media accounts

2. The Pitch Video

Your pitch video is the primary way people will learn about your project, and there’s extra pressure on filmmakers to really pack a punch in that 90 – 120 seconds. We prefer that you submit a ROUGH CUT of your pitch video and are prepared to receive and incorporate feedback. When we review your pitch video, we’ll check to see if it accomplishes the following things:

  • Gets us excited about your skills as a filmmaker.
  • Exists as more than just a trailer AND more than just talking heads.
  • Accurately reflects and tone and quality of your intended finished film product.
  • Covers the WHO, the WHAT, and the WHY WHY WHY WHY:
    • WHO you and the team are
    • WHAT the project is
    • WHY you’re making it, WHY we should care, WHY you need the money, and WHY right now.
  • Shares all of the important information skillfully in 2 minutes or less. (Fact: Most people only watch online videos for for 90 seconds or less!)

3. The Incentives

Your backers earn incentives when they contribute to your campaign, so it’s essential that what you’re offering are items that you know they want. When we review the incentives you’ve selected, we want to see that:

  • Your incentives are unique to your project and designed specifically for your intended audience.
  • Your incentives are visual and easy to share quickly.
  • You are taking into account the cost and shipping of manufactured items.
  • You have a range of incentives at different price points to accommodate backers at all levels.

4. The Wish List

Your crowdfunding Wish List shows what you and your team anticipate needing in order to make the best possible film. It is a very valuable opportunity to communicate to the audience visually how thoughtful and prepared you are. When reviewing your project, we’ll assess:

  • Does the Wish List break down the needs of your project in a visual and understandable way?
  • Do your Wish List items have images that correspond to the world/style of your project?
  • Does the sum of your Wish List items equal your total proposed campaign goal?

5. Social Media

Social media is a wonderful and effective tool for communicating to, engaging with, and learning from your audience. When we review your social media, we’ll take a look at a few things:

  • When did you start your Facebook page, Twitter account, and Instagram?
  • Are you consistently engaging your followers?
  • Have you been preparing your followers for the campaign?

6. Collaboration / Feedback

Your campaign receives personalized feedback from our crowdfunding specialists, and it can be a very personal and intense experience requiring an open mind and complete honesty. Because of this, we need to know one very important thing in advance:

  1. Are you open to accepting feedback? (For real…how do you handle constructive notes? We’re not all as good at it as we think.)
  2. Have you done your research and watched our Crowdfunding to Build Independence Class? This will make the feedback process faster and exponentially more effective. Filmmakers who have taken the class have a 100% success. How do you like them odds?

Please keep in mind that all of our feedback comes from wanting you to succeed in your crowdfunding efforts, and our feedback is based on years of studying what works (and what doesn’t). It’s the reason we have the highest success rate in the biz!

7. Crowdfunding Experience

It’s helpful for us to know your past experience with crowdfunding in order to give you the best advice, so we’d like to know the following things:

  • Have you crowdfunded before?
  • Were you successful?
  • What did you learn?
  • What would you like to do differently?
Ready to learn more about what it takes to run a successful campaign? Check out Seed&Spark’s Crowdfunding to Build Independence Class, a comprehensive and free online resource that answers a lot of the questions involved in crowdfunding.

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