Our film Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf? is a story about a woman whom we don’t usually see on the big screen. She is 40 years old, she is a woman of color, she is a lesbian, she is funny and she is desperately lonely. She herself is also a filmmaker who uses her art as activism but seems to be depriving her love life for her film career. Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf? is both a coming-of-age and mid-life crisis film with a female protagonist. She begins the story thinking she has nothing and ends knowing she wants it all. There’s a million things we love about our characters and our storyline in the film. Our crowd-funding campaign gave us a chance to share some of them with people interested in seeing and supporting alternative stories with a lot of heart!
We wanted to gather about half of our shooting budget but at the same time, build an army of supporters who are interested in seeing the film get made and also spread the word while we move from pre production to production to film festival premiere to distribution to DVD and VOD. Reaching out to news media partners, we generated over 20 articles about the campaign in women, LGBT, and filmmaker’s publications. This is a perfect example of the way crowdfunded films arrive to the marketplace with a built in audience. Thus the micro budget indie film (under $250,000) actually stays micro budget with all the PR also generating buzz once the film is made.
Social media. Social media. Social. Media. We followed the traditional model of starting with our inner circle and working our way out. Posting a short message with the IndieGoGo link on EVERY single Facebook friend’s wall. Creating Facebook event pages to invite people to participate in week long drives of fundraising. Assembling LONG lists of emails from all our personal/professional contacts and sending email appeals to them, basically like a filmmakers diary about what was going on and why we needed their help. Looking up all the social and socio-political special interest groups (women, women in film, queer women, queer women in film, women of color, women of color in film, you get the gist) we could find online and emailing them to appeal to their members for support. Reaching out to every publication we could for coverage. Oh, and TWITTER!
Q4. You're rocking the fundraising on IndieGoGo? Congrats! What was working? What was not working?
The most notable tactic we took away was quantity over quality. Ha, that’s counter intuitive but we found that as long as we continued to post anything, anywhere, supporters would donate. The second we signed off twitter, facebook, etc, the money stopped coming in.
The first $1,000 donation we received was surprising. It was earlier on in the campaign when things naturally tend to move a bit slower. When that donation came in, it was like, “Oh wow, this is really happening!” It was reassurance that our campaign was compelling and that we were going to get where we wanted to go.
Prepare your media (videos,pictures, graphics) ahead of time so that you have a case of stuff to go back to in order to keep your online presence fresh. Identify who the contacts are you can reach out to with a wide cast net before you start. Find your foot soldiers, often younger supports with less cash but more social media expertise and more passion to spread the word about your project. Reach out to your donors and team members through-out the campaign and remind them to spread the word!