Giga Omni Media Inc.
The Kickstarter Revolution: A Guide to Successful Crowdfunding
In early 2010, I set out to make my first feature-length documentary film. Like most independent filmmakers, I had a million ideas with no reliable way to see them consistently funded. In early 2009 I discovered Kickstarter.com and began helping friends strategize their fundraising efforts, but it would be almost a year later before experiencing the process for myself[MW1] .
Armed with a few ideas on how I could raise money from my personal network of family and friends, in May 2010 I launched a 21-day project hoping to net $11,000. Hitting the project “launch” button was frightening, and what followed would rank among the most challenging 3 weeks of my life. In the end, completely exhausted and genuinely humbled, I raised over $12,000. One week later, I was contacted by a non-profit that had been following the project and to my surprise and delight, they double-matched what I had raised on Kickstarter. In July I hit the road.
My goal was to create a feature-length documentary, using stylized interview portraits of elderly individuals that as a collection would tell a universal story about life’s most important lessons. People referred me to their grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, and parents, and I began the arduous task of vetting potential interviewees. One person in particular was recommended to me early on, but scheduling proved to be an issue as my wife and I had other plans to get away before I set out on a 2 month filming adventure. Begrudgingly, I decided to figure out a way to make it work and on a hot Saturday morning, I sat down for three hours with one of the most articulate and intriguing people I have ever met.
Louise was a 94-year-old writer from Waco, Texas who had relocated to Vermont in the 1990s. After three hours of visiting and interview, she read passionately from the introduction to her latest novel, her sweet accent somehow making me listen more carefully as she opined, “We all have a history of some kind. Everybody not only has a story, everybody is a story. You are creating your own story everyday of your life, just by living.” Nothing could wipe the smile off my face after hearing this universal truth. Louise had just gifted me the beginning, middle, and end of my film. I was beside myself that I had made such a stink about rearranging things to make the interview work. Those three hours and the months that followed would make a lasting impression on my life.
Since I first discovered Kickstarter.com I’ve helped a number of people navigate the stressful waters of crowdfunding, raising more than $350,000 in the process. I am grateful for those who have sought out my help and advice and am indebted to the 170 strangers, family, and friends that helped bring my own idea to life. It is to them that I dedicate this book and hope that through the collection of stories and strategies that follow, you can set out on your own successful journey in the brave new world of crowdfunding.