It seems that whenever I use the word “never” as in “I’m never going to do that again”, I end up eating my words.
Although I AM proud of the fact that I said I would never stop at Wall Drug in South Dakota and I’ve honored those words for over than thirty years.
So What Did I Say?
Fundraising. Said I’d never do it.
For years I’ve felt that if I couldn’t afford to do it then I shouldn’t be doing it.
If I didn’t have the money to go to Yellowstone I’d stay home. If I wanted a new camera, I paid for it myself. As far as my aging memory serves me, I’ve never asked for anything from anyone where my filmmaking was concerned. I feel weird asking people for money to support my passion.
I worried would you be disappointed if you contributed to a film and it fell short of your expectations? In trying to please everybody would the story I was trying to tell get lost and negate the entire reason for doing the film in the first place?
I tossed these and other questions back and forth in my mind, trying to decide what I should do.
Why Did I Change My Mind?
Well, I had a couple of options. I could wait until I raised the money myself or I could ask for others that share my vision to contribute to it.
Waiting would mean another year before I could film the sequences I want to film. I’ve already put this project off for far too long.
A perfect example of what can happen when you wait is what’s going on at Indian Creek Nature Center right now.
In order to be more centrally located and provide a better educational experience, the nature center is building a new self-sustainable building in part of their tallgrass prairie. This particular part just happens to be where I film most of my dragonfly footage.
So not only will the prairie plants these dragonflies rested on be gone but could the extra activity of cars, buses and children exploring the area make them less likely to stay in that areas? Either way, the landscape will be forever changed. So waiting really isn’t a good option.
The only option left to raise the money needed is to ask people who like my work and feel that somehow I can make a difference. By contributing they have a direct impact in making the film possible. Upon completion of the film they can say they had a hand in its creation.
How I’m Going To Do It
As usual, I’m going about my fundraising differently than most filmmakers have done.
There are two types of fundraising, flexible and all or nothing. Flexible means that even if you don’t make your goal you still get whatever was contributed. So if you have a goal of $10,000 and you only raise $3,200, you get that $3,200 minus fees.
With all or nothing if you only raise $9,999 of that $10,000 you don’t get a penny. What has been contributed gets refunded back to the backers.
I’m bucking the trend and will be choosing the all or nothing.
The whole idea of fundraising is not to raise enough to sort of do the film you want to do but to get the funds that you HAVE to have in order to do the film. Kickstarter, the company I’ll be using only has all or nothing for their fundraising. It forces filmmakers to only ask for what they really need and makes sure that they have enough to do the film they want to do.
The other thing I’m doing differently is I’m limiting the posts on social media to about six posts total. I’ve seen filmmakers post multiple posts every day for thirty days or more asking for people to donate. I follow a lot of filmmakers on social media and when you’re getting a dozen posts asking to donate to their film you get kind of desensitized to it all.
The thinking is that if you’re out in front of people all the time they’re more likely to contribute to your film. I’m hoping I can prove this wrong by only announcing the launch of the fundraising campaign, an update every week of the campaign and a win or lose update to the campaign.
Since I’m running a thirty-day campaign that works out to six updates of which only five will ask people to contribute to the film. So if you follow Filmmaking Naturally on Facebook, you’re not going to be subjected to daily pleas to contribute.
I figure you either will want to or you wont and I don’t want either side to be put off when they see a post from Filmmaking Naturally.
So There You Have It
I hope after reading this that when I launch the campaign, you have a better understand of why I’m doing it.
The campaign will explain what the film is about, why I’m making it and what I need the money for.
So until then,
Shoot the ordinary and make it extraordinary!