Lessons From Kickstarter

Well, production on my short film, which we re-titled “Cleaning Up,” is going better than I ever could have hoped. My co-producer Lew and I have put together a wonderful crew who are talented and hard-working, and are totally understanding of their pay being deferred until we secure funding.

To this end, we decided to try to raise the majority of the funds through Kickstarter. Let me tell you right now, this undertaking is not for the weak of heart. It was quite an emotional roller coaster for me – and while I love the physical roller coasters, the emotional kind are not nearly as fun.

When I first put up the campaign and sent the link out in posts, tweets, and emails, I got a large influx of donations. These were from people who were either dear friends or people I had worked with, some whom I haven’t seen in years. But they came in over the first week of the 15 day campaign, and I felt such love and joy at this – I will not lie, I actually teared up a few times.

But then the realities of launching a not-fully-prepared Kickstarter campaign began to rear its ugly head. Over the  last week, pretty much the only contributions we got were those friends and such that either didn’t see the posts before, or had to wait until they actually got paid to donate. While the generosity of these people means a great deal to me, apparently it doesn’t mean as much to the Kickstarter community at large. There were on average nearly 1,200 other projects in the Film & Video category alone that were essentially competing with us for attention. It is no wonder we fell behind more prepared campaigns in this regard.

In the end, we failed after 15 days to get the money we were asking for. But we got nearly 60% of the way there, and learned some valuable lessons along the way. One, Kickstarter is harder than it looks, and takes a lot more preparation than we had figured. And two, we have some wonderful friends that really care about us getting this movie done. And I personally can’t thank them enough.

We are pressing forward with the film, cutting corners where we can, and are figuring out our next funding step. I’ll keep posting as we get it done.