After doing some research into the creative project funding platform, “Kickstarter,” I have drawn conclusions on what it takes to create a successful pitch or video that will grab your audiences attention and have them feeling like they MUST contribute money to your project.
Here I am going to focus on the video portions of your pitch page.
As someone who is potentially looking to fund a project I feel I would ask myself these essential questions. What exactly is this project about? Why do I want to fund this project? Who am I funding this project for? How can I be sure that this project will be successful? And what is the worth? Give me a sense of comfort that my money is going towards something that will be successful. As the creator you need to take into account all of that and address that all in your teaser.
Lets address the “What” and the “Who” to start. If your project is a video/film, it is essential that your pitch be in video format. With all of the unique video presentations on Kickstarter, I can’t imagine ever donating money towards one that is strictly in writing. Sorry screenwriters of the world. Sue me. To me it just shows a lack of imagination. Who would want to support that? The first 10-15 seconds are key. You need to capture my attention to make me want to continue watching more of what you have to offer, whether it be you selling yourself or you selling your product.
If you have been a part of successful films in the past, let the audience know that.i.e. I’m John Smith and I’m responsible for the cinematography on such and such successful films that have won such and such awards. For me, that establishes credibility from the get go. I’m not donating money just yet but it makes me think that this guy/girl knows what it takes in order to produce a successful film. I’m going to continue to watch and see what he’s come up with.
Let’s say you don’t have that kind of background. Then you definitely need to capture the audience with some originality. Play to your audience. If your film is a dark comedy, if it’s a horror film, if it’s an action film, if you’re trying to do a musical performance… come out swinging. Grab my attention. Please don’t just sit in front of the camera for the first 30 seconds in a dull voice with a buzzing sound trying to explain your project. That’s a dentists’ job. Need help finishing what you’ve started? Show me the best of the best of what you’ve been able to come up with so far. That or present what you have to say in an interesting setting or dialogue. In Hollywood parlance, have “a hook.” You absolutely need this. What is going to make me want to donate my hard earned money?
If it’s a documentary deliver the scope of your project from the get go. That could be through narration or through vividly descriptive footage. Also, who is the potential narrator or star screen presence? Getting someone who is witty and has command and charisma is going to make a world of difference.
Here are a few pointers to help make your video stand out. Make it as professional looking as you can (for example, place yourself in a studio setting or where you will be creating your work). Share your vision for this project and how you will use the money to accomplish it. Use intriguing background music. Use voiceovers to enhance your visual storytelling. Be inspirational. Give the audience a reference point to compare your project/film to.
Here are a some pitches on Kickstarter I found to be original and blew me away…
Some things not to do: If you are using unknown actors and they aren’t what Hollywood would describe as attractive, don’t just show me pictures of them without footage of them acting. That just gives me absolutely nothing to go on.
Be direct, don’t waiver on-camera while delivering your message. Saying “umm” and “uhh” every other sentence is a huge turn off and makes me think you either don’t care or you don’t know what you’re talking about. Don’t make your plea for donations sound like a fucking depressing infomercial infomercial. Don’t be Sarah McLachlan. You want people to be excited about your project.
Remember you are selling yourself as much as you are selling your project. The audience has to believe that you have what it takes to make this successful. Know what you are talking about and be descriptive. If you have to film yourself 30 times to get it right than do it and get others to review it to give suggestions.
Finish with telling the audience that you know this project will be successful with the right funding. Let them know that this is a film/story that has to be told and why. Ask for the means to complete your dream as well as distribute your end product.
As for incentives, come up with something cool. Signed posters. Premiere tickets, etc… Get creative.
As for your project itself, focus on good screen storytelling which will triumph over any other errors every time. Nothing can compensate for a boring script!
Tap into every resource you can think of. Engage your friends to help you where you see fit. Use social media and blogs to get your project page out there which means Facebook and Twitter and any social network you can think of. Forward to family and friends and tell those people to forward to their family and friends. Find a Blog in your genre and get noticed by that blogger with a great pitch via email or video. Tweet your page to people in that genre who have mass followers and ask them for retweets on their page. If they don’t do it it’s not like you’re any worse off.
And when that fateful day arrives when you start production, seek out local actors at film schools who you think have the right talent but can work for cheap. As for cameras and equipment, look into renting or borrowing if at all possible. See if you can film the shots you want with equipment you may already have. Film making requires compromise and that compromise can be a blessing in disguise.
In summary, make your project your own. Build a phenomenal story line. Be crafty and squeeze every resource you can think of. And then squeeze again. Compromise where needed. Don’t settle for failure. Deliver your pitch as if your life depended on it and get to the point. People are busy as shit. People say fulfill the requirements of your drama…I say fuck it, just be original and if it happens to combine a couple different genre’s then so be it. As long as there is an audience for it then do it.
Here are some crowd-pleasing low-budget trailers you might have missed:
Written by Ian Hovenkamp / Aftershock Digital LA
Aftershock Digital is a top creative boutique to the advertising, film, and television industries. We are a group of hard working, inventive, and client-oriented editor committed to excellent work, extraordinary service, and an extraordinary end-product.
You cannot turn a deaf ear to the world. Either you must speak to it or it must speak to you.