First impressions are everything, and that’s why the most important aspect of your crowdfunding campaign is your pitch video, which is essentially an elevator pitch in the form of a short video. It’s your one and only chance to really sell not only your project, but yourself as well.
In my book, Crowdfunding for Filmmakers, I mention that there are three parts to a strong pitch –– the introduction, the pitch itself, and the showcase. And while there’s really no scientific law to creating a compelling pitch, there are many sound theories. This is mine, presented here as five ways to power-up your pitch video, which has been tried and tested through my own personal crowdfunding experience as well as months of research for my book.
1. Show yourself in your own pitch video
A mistake many crowdfunders make is not starring in their pitch videos. The truth is you must appear in your pitch video. People give to people, not to projects. A most pertinent example, which I’ve also written about in my “Three Ps of for a Successful Indie Film Campaign” blog post, is Jeanie Finlay and her documentary project Sound It Out. When she started her Indiegogo campaign, she had only the trailer for her film acting as a pitch and wasn’t raising much funds. The moment she put herself in her pitch video, voila! –– the funds started pouring in. Since then, Jeanie’s run three successful campaigns for Sound It Out and has raised over $20,000 in total. And each of her pitch videos stars her.
2. Show you’ve thought about the mood and tone of your pitch
Sure, you can shoot your pitch video in your friend’s living room or in front of a white wall, but what’s that saying about how much time you put into your pitch if the lighting’s blown out or too dim? When choosing locations, find one that enhance the mood of the pitch, which oftentimes should instill a warm, cozy feeling to the viewers to make these potential funders feel comfortable and at ease –– after all, you’re looking to them to help fund your film. People will forgive the fact that you shot on a Mini DV camcorder, but they won’t necessarily reach into their pockets if you (and your video as an extension of you) come across as cold and uninteresting.
3. Show you care about production value, even in a pitch
You don’t have to rent a RED Scarlet to shoot your pitch video. You can get by just fine with a relic like the Canon XL-1 or a DSLR. You can even use your iPhone 5. But whatever you shoot it on, put some thought into the production value of your pitch. As I mentioned in the prior paragraph, think about your lighting, audio recording, and all other aspects you’d pay close attention to were you making the film you’re crowdfunding for. Make sure every piece fits and is the best it can be, from the image you capture (we’ll forgive a little graininess) to the music you choose to lay over it all (avoiding overly sentimental elevator music). Make your pitch something you’ll be proud to share with the world.
4. Show you can pitch with conviction (or Don’t solicit, elicit)
There’s a huge difference between pitching and panhandling –– with the latter, you’re asking for a handout while the former is all about the finesse of eliciting a response from a potential funder by offering them a chance to become part of something great. A pitch should never be delivered in so mundane a manner that by the end, the viewer feels sympathetic and hands you a $5 bill. Strive to pitch with conviction and, much like the movie you’re hoping to make happen through crowdfunding, evoke a sense of empathy that will empower the viewer to want to make this happen, and thus contribute more, not less, to your campaign.
How do you do this? Be passionate about your project, be excited about what you’re offering to these potential funders, and always make the pitch about the funders, never about yourself.
5. Show potential funders you’re not an industry greenhorn
One of the three parts of a pitch video that I mention in my book is the showcase, which is very important because it shows your potential funders that you’re not a newb in the field of filmmaking. If you’re raising $100,000 on Indiegogo, your funders will want to be reassured that you’ll know exactly how to use it, and a brief showcase of your prior films is the easiest way to do it. Displaying laurels and awards is good, too, but again, moving images and stories speak louder than a few leaves from some small town film festivals.
And if this is your first film that you’re crowdfunding for, tell us that in your pitch, and show it to us in the amount you’re looking to raise, which will be significantly less than $100,000. The bottom line is to be honest with yourself and your potential funders.
The key word in all of the above is “show,” and as the old adage dictates, whenever possible, we want to show, not tell, what we need, and by following these five tips to power-up your pitch video, your first impression will surely not be your last in the world of crowdfunding for film on Indiegogo.
For further insights on crowdfunding for your next film project through Indiegogo, be sure to follow @IndiegogoFilm and @Trigonis on Twitter, and also visit IndiegogoFilm’s Google Plus page for additional insights.