I Said I’d Never Do It and Damnit Here I Am Doing It!

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.

lightningbug2_630In 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.

Noris Geyser Basin Yellowstone National Park

Early morning at Noris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park

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!

Kevin J Railsback is a wildlife and nature filmmaker

By | 2016-11-06T09:39:01+00:00 April 30th, 2015|Categories: Filmmaking Naturally News|17 Comments

About the Author:

Award-winning filmmaker Kevin J Railsback has traveled as far as Africa to test HD cameras for Panasonic.
His stunning nature and wildlife footage has appeared in productions on National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel as well as in commercials for such corporate giants as AT&T.


  1. Trish
    May 1, 2015 at 10:39 am - Reply

    I think this is awesome, and I’m glad you’re doing it. I hate asking for help too, so I understand, but you’re not asking people for help to follow your passion – you’re offering them an opportunity to participate in the preservation of natural beauty. I think it’s inspiring, and I love that you’re going about it your own way 🙂 Can’t wait to see the campaign!

    • Kevin J Railsback May 1, 2015 at 10:49 am - Reply

      Thanks Trish!

      Trying to figure out some good perks that people will get some benefit from. Was thinking about doing some meditation videos in varying lengths. I’ve licensed a bunch of meditation music already for another project and I certainly have enough visuals to go with it. Here’s a little test footage. https://vimeo.com/89369584
      It’s just a few clips and it’s not cut with timing in mind etc.

      My thought was that people who wanted to participate in the project can get a feeling for what I feel out in the field when I’m filming.

      I want to do something other than postcards and such. So that’s where I’m hung up right now, trying to get some perks that people would want to get on there own and not just because they’re contributing to a campaign.

  2. Trish
    May 1, 2015 at 11:29 am - Reply

    It’s beautiful footage, and a great idea. I got sucked in, lol. Went from that to Fire, the Africa one, Iowa morning… They’re breathtaking. What makes a video a meditation video?

    • Kevin J Railsback May 1, 2015 at 12:13 pm - Reply

      Thanks Trish,
      Most of those are pretty old. Lots of life changes has kept me from putting much together the last couple of years. Still been out filming but haven’t put together much in the way of new work.

      Finally feeling like I’m ready to start telling a story.

      My thoughts for the meditation video is slow moving long shots. Like the ice flowing in the creek. Nothing much to focus on, just drifting ice. So I’ll have long tall grass prairie shots etc. Just things that are visually exciting but not so much as to distract you. Something you could play in the background like those fireplace videos. 🙂

      I need to edit a short one to use as a demo for the perks ao I’ll post it on the site here when I launch the campaign. Hopefully it’ll be soon!!

  3. Trish
    May 1, 2015 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    You’re welcome. Glad you’re getting back to it.

    Sounds good to me 🙂

    Do you have a mailing list? I can’t find it if you do 🙁

    • Kevin J Railsback May 1, 2015 at 12:45 pm - Reply

      I do, I’m just finishing up installing a new theme on my site so I’m totally mobile ready. The old theme wasn’t responsive at all.
      So I’ve been tweaking it little by little so I’ll see about moving up the mailing list a little higher on the list. 🙂

      The old theme had very small featured images so I’m slowly replacing them with higher quality ones. Figured since I’m a filmmaking site I better focus on that as more of a priority. 🙂

  4. Trish
    May 1, 2015 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    Good idea!

    I’ve decided to love my theme, because I’m too afraid to mess with it 🙂

    • Kevin J Railsback May 1, 2015 at 12:59 pm - Reply

      Fortune favors the brave Trish!

      This new theme “Avada” has so many great features. I’m just touching the surface of them.
      Looks like this one should keep me going for quite a few years!

      On top of the new theme, getting the fundraising campaign ready, I started a new international film challenge. I have until the end of the month do make a four minute film based on the theme “Down to Earth.”

  5. Trish
    May 1, 2015 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    Hahaha… I’m not young enough to be brave anymore.

    It’s not the possibility of a new theme that scares, it’s the switching and the losing things…. *shudder*

    So like… groundhogs? Worms? Spiders? Or just scenery stuff?

    • Kevin J Railsback May 1, 2015 at 1:29 pm - Reply

      That’s what backups are for! 🙂

      I made sure everything was backed up before I switched anything.

      About the only thing I needed to fix was the featured images. The old theme they were only 290 pixels wide. So to optimize I made the images 290 pixels wide. So now the new theme the featured images are like 900 pixels wide or some crazy number so I need to use bigger images so they aren’t scaled up and look crummy.

      I can interpret the themes any way I want. Could be a film about meteorites is I had access to some around here. 🙂 Could be about an oak acorn falling to the ground and the life cycle of a tree. Whatever I want it to be that I think incorporates the theme I can do. Nothing comes to mind right off the top of my head!

      • Trish
        May 1, 2015 at 1:51 pm - Reply

        Uh-huh. Backups. I’m gonna have to call someone, lol.

        That’s a huge difference!

        See, if I was told to write a short story about a theme like that I could probably think of 30 (or more) in a day or two, but thinking in terms of images I can’t even process it. Weird, right? The meteorites would be way cool 🙂 Shame there aren’t any around.

  6. Wendy Tomlinson
    May 15, 2015 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    Fantastic idea. We all need financial help from time to time, I know I certainly have in my own business. Good luck with your campaign.

    • Kevin J Railsback May 17, 2015 at 9:23 am - Reply

      Thanks Wendy!
      It’s not an easy thing to as people to contribute to a project but when you realize that the project will either never happen or be greatly delayed, it puts it I a different perspective.

  7. Stephanie Volkert
    May 27, 2015 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    It sounds like the right thing to do to me. Nature doesn’t wait around for anyone.

    • Kevin J Railsback May 27, 2015 at 9:51 pm - Reply

      Thanks Stephanie!
      I’ve seen friends raise over $20k but they’re asking people to pledge money multiple times a day. I just can’t bring myself to do that no matter how much I think I can make a difference with my films.

      So we will see how it goes.

      Thanks again for the comment!

  8. Trond Saetre December 17, 2015 at 8:55 am - Reply

    Go for it, buddy! Your project deserves to be completed.

    • Kevin J Railsback December 18, 2015 at 8:19 am - Reply

      Thanks Trond!
      It’s something I’m very passionate about, just need to find the story that wants to be told/

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