"It was completely overwhelming and amazing that a stranger would come on board in such an act of faith." –Jeanie Finlay
SOUND IT OUT is a documentary portrait of the very last surviving record shop in Teesside in the North East of England. Directed by me, Jeanie Finlay (Goth Cruise-IFC), starrring Tom, David, Kelly, 70,000 records and the good people of Teesside. A distinctive, funny and intimate film about men, obsession and the irreplaceable role music plays in our lives.
Think "High Fidelity" with a Northern Accent.
We crowdfunded the shoot on IndieGoGo earlier in the year and now we're crowdfunding the post production. Our goal is to raise enough money to finish the film. We aim to release the film like an indie single on DVD, available in independent record shops for International Record Store Day on April 2011.
Vinyl records are much more than just music—it's memories and the soundtrack to our lives and the film shows us just that. I can remember the first 45 I bought with my pocket money, the song I fell in love to, and the LP that healed my broken heart, but I just don't feel the same about an mp3.
Independent record shops are an endangered species and in the last 5 years alone, 500 shops in the UK have gone to the great high street in the sky. SOUND IT OUT is a cultural haven in an area of the country that's struggling with recession, government cuts and industrial decline. It's important to show SOUND IT OUT as a place that is surviving in spite of all of this and it's vital place in the community.
Every penny spent in the shop makes a difference and every penny committed to the film makes a difference–it shows on screen and will help us finish the film. As backer #126 Ange Taggart puts it: Why fund SOUND IT OUT? "Because small shops give us hope."
We're trying lots of different approaches to get the word out there. Social media is obviously fantastic – we have a Facebook Page and a Twitter account. But we've also been doing a lot of "traditional" press and PR in newspapers and on the radio.
We also had some very cute Moo cards printed up with stills from the film on one side and "fund this film for the price of a pint" on the other. $5 is our lowest perk – it's like buying the film a drink, completely accessible as an idea and seems to have caught people's imagination. The more you pledge the more you get.
I think the most convincing approach is hearing from someone else who believes in the film and have funded it too.
The most surprising moment was connecting with a stranger. In our first campaign Andrew Riggs, a US soldier serving in Iraq, saw the link on RSD and came on board as an Associate Producer with a donation of $2000. It was completely overwhelming and amazing that a stranger would come on board in such an act of faith. His brother works at a vinyl pressing plant in Nashville. He liked the idea that some of the records his brother has made would be for sale in the shop.
It was also great to pitch the project at Sheffield Doc Fest at the worlds first ever crowd funding pitches.
There's a lot of difference between a trailer and a pitch. The main lesson I have learnt was a very hard one for me. I had to put my British reserve to one side. When I launched the first campaign, I just put up the film trailer and we raised about 10 pence. I took advice from IndieGoGo old hand John T. Trigonis (Cerise). He told me – “put yourself in the video.” I made a new trailer with me pitching the film and we got some bigger partners on board to help us bang the drum, it made a world of difference. I now believe that people invest in the filmmakers as much as the project.
Don’t be afraid of asking for help. Sally Hodgson came on board as PMD (Producer of Marketing and Distribution) and it has been so much more fun and productive to work with someone else. Filmmaking can be a lonely business and it's much more fun with someone else.
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