The Keys to Kickstarting Your Indie Film: Preparation, Hustle, & Heart



This is the third article in a series by filmmaker Brittany Nisco, where she's documenting the entire process of making her first independent feature film, Wandering Off. You can stay up to date with Brittany on the film's websitefacebook page, and twitter page.

If you want to get caught up on the first two installments in the series, you can find them here:

  1. Starting Down the Road of Making Your First Feature Film
  2. The Super Important Logistics of Pre-Producing Your First Feature

When we first got started thinking about running a Kickstarter campaign for this movie back in October, it seemed like a relatively easy thing to take on. We would message everyone we knew, post on Facebook about it, tweet about it, and we would probably be able to hit our goal with that. Then we started doing research.

I cannot express enough how important it is to research everything about Kickstarter.

Since January I’ve been on Kickstarter almost everyday, in the movie section, to check out where projects were at, how much they were trying to make, what the rewards were, how many backers were at each reward level, etc.

Since then, I’ve analyzed about 300 movies, both successfully funded and not. It’s just as important to understand the movies that failed at hitting their goal, as it is looking at the successful ones.

The big reason we started building up our social media was because of this upcoming Kickstarter. No one is going to donate to you because they happen to stumble across your project.

There has to be some effort behind it. There has to be a reason people are going to want to trust you with their money. And there has to be proof you can successfully carry out the project you say you’re going to make.

I’ve analyzed about 300 movies, both successfully funded and not. It’s just as important to understand the movies that failed at hitting their goal as it is looking at the successful ones.

The Kickstarter community is a good one. I’ve backed several projects before, projects that I believed in and eventually saw them go onto success. I kept thinking what was it about these projects that made me want to back them? These weren’t people I knew. It was people who had a clear vision and were following their dream, their passion. Those are the projects I want to get behind. I started making our pre-launch campaign about just that.

Our whole social media presence isn’t about who we’re trying to be; it’s about who we are. If you look on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, it’s all about who this crew is. After all, people are trusting us with their money, so we should let them know who we actually are.

As I write this article, I have our Wandering Off Kickstarter page open, as me and a couple other producers are constantly working on it. You can’t slap this together overnight. We’re asking for a considerable amount of money in just a 30 day campaign.

Every single detail is thought out and looked at by our crew. We play devil’s advocate on everything. Why would someone think that aspect was important? Would someone actually want that reward? If you didn’t know us, why would you want to contribute to our project?

Kickstarter isn’t about thinking you know everything, it’s about being introspective about your project, your goals. If nothing else, it’s a big learning experience in how to brand yourself, your project, and figure out if this is what you really want to do. If you don’t believe in your project enough to put in the months of time and effort into the Kickstarter, then people will notice that, and they won’t believe in it either.

Our whole social media presence isn’t about who we’re trying to be; it’s about who we are.

The other thing we did in preparation for this Kickstarter was do a test shoot of a few scenes. It wasn’t with the same actors we’ll use for the feature or even the exact locations, but it gives a good idea of what we can do and what the movie will feel like.

This was important for a couple reasons; one, so that we had footage to use in our Kickstarter video, and two, to see how the words from the script play out on screen. I would highly recommend doing this.

Quite simply, you have to put in the work.

  • Research everything. Successful projects and failed projects, you can learn valuable lessons from both.
  • Tell everyone you’ve ever met that you’re running a Kickstarter.
  • Decide on a date and tell them again.
  • Post about it on your social media.
  • Hashtags are your friends on Twitter and Instagram.
  • Reach out to local press.
  • Get blogs interested in your project.
  • Remind people 3 weeks before, 2 weeks before, 1 week before, and then 24 hours before. (We’ve created a Facebook event for the morning of the launch).
  • Create a timeline of everything you need to do before launching and then what you need to do everyday your project is live.
  • Make your Kickstarter video (yes, you absolutely need one) as good as it can possibly be.
  • Hold yourself and your team accountable.
  • Have fun.

I have to say, the movie has fully taken over my every thought and it’s starting to do the same with the whole crew as well. This is where I have to mention again, get a good team with you. It makes all the difference in the world.

I could have never done this by myself. The guys I’m working with are incredible, and even now while they’re at NAB in Las Vegas, they’re doing work for the movie. Seriously, get a team you trust and one that shows up in every form of showing up.

Kickstarter isn’t about thinking you know everything, it’s about being introspective about your project, your goals. If nothing else, it’s a big learning experience in how to brand yourself, your project, and figure out if this is what you really want to do.

Hopefully by the next post, we’ll be fully funded and I’ll be able to sleep a whole night through again.

Check out our Kickstarter for our movie, Wandering Off, launching May 2nd at 10am EST.

Talk soon.



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