I often feel as though I were running for office for all the hustling and campaigning I do to raise interest and money for indie film projects. As galling as the endless supplicating is to the artistic temperament, it is the way of the competitive market-conscious world (especially when you don't have an agent).
Fundraising is a Herculean feat that demands constant research and innovation. How does the screenwriter/filmmaker go about obtaining the means to finance projects? Networking at Chamber of Commerce and Counntry Club events is one way to try and tap into the "monied" people, but if you don't present your case in the language of business, your pitch will go over like a lead balloon. Attending pitch events with producers and agents might get you some notice, but the comeptition is stiff and the cost of attending such events can be prohibitive when you don't have the resources. The other option is to tap into the Internet's vast sea of social networking sites, but time spent on creating accounts and updating posts is all-consuming. If you have a team to fervently pass on news and links, your campaign can take off. But will it raise funds? It can through crowd funding.
There are two dominant crwod funding sites: Kickstarter.com and IndieGoGo.com where you can set up an account for free and post your project. Each cyber venue gives you 45 - 60 days to run your campaign. Kickstarter will only pay out if the financial goal you set is met, while IndieGoGo pays out (htrough your PayPal account) as monies come in. Each takes a small percentage of proceeds raised.
I have two projects currently running on IndieGoGo.com. Both deal with important social issues through very creative presentation. The first is SORE LOSER, about violence and abuse in the deaf community. My ambition is to produce a very short film based on a vision I had while taking a walk along a rocky beach in Maine 5 years ago! The project story and details can be seen here: http://igg.me/p/31356?a=167618&i=shlk
The second concerns wounded and traumatized war veterans and is based on one of the many nightmares I've suffered. (I make bad dreams work for me by turning them into projects.) This one is called THE ADVENTURES OF ZOMBIEMAN. It is a comic book/animation series with potential for a feature film. More information about this project can be seen here: http://igg.me/p/33693?a=199985&i=shlk
The point is this: take a look at my projects along with others on both IndieGoGo and Kickstarter to get an idea of what sorts of projects get posted and how they are pitched and promoted.
I have learned one important lesson in this business: you can't go it alone. Creative minds, as much as they crave isolation and total absorption in the process of creating, cannot succeed in a vacuum. The artist must network, inspire others, and garner support to survive. This can prove more challenging than answering the call of creativity.
As an in-class screenwriting/fiction instructor and online horror writing instructor (http://vu.ksurf.net/catalog/3112.html), the one prevealing concern I see expressed by my students is the fear of promoting their work. They worry about their ideas being ripped off, rejected, or worse, ridiculed. These are risks every writer, indie filmmaker, and artist must take to follow their dreams. Even with copyright protection and non-disclosure caveats attached to the manuscript, parasites in mainstream media will find a way to infringe. Even so, I teach this: Your vision is still your vision. Stick to it and promote it! Damn all torpedoes! Full steam ahead! You never the know the amount of support you can find for your project once you put it out there.
As this blog progresses, I will address the power of dreams, the process of manifestation, and the hard realities of the marketplace. I'll also share tips and stories about the trials, tribulations, and lessons learned in the indie film production process.
Questions, comments, and feedback are always welcome here!