If you recall my Kickstarter statistics post last month, you'll remember that roughly 80% of all successful film/video project campaigns on Kickstarter have had fundraising goals that range from $1,000 to $20,000. Successful 6-figure film/video campaigns on Kickstarter are a rarity. In fact, as I noted last month, of the over 7,500 successfully-funded (through March) Kickstarter film/video projects, only 60 of them were campaigns asking for $100,000 or more. Just 60; that's not even 1%. So when you take that fact into consideration (unless you're a celebrity with name backing or project recognition with a following), I wondered why any independent filmmaker would launch a campaign with a goal of $100,000 or more, when the odds are so stacked against that project being successfully funded.
Well, consider Lanre Olabisi's Kickstarter campaign for his second feature film, Somewhere In The Middle, part of that less than 1% of successful fundraisers that reached (and in this case, surpassed) the coveted $100,000 or more goal.
When Lanre alerted me over the weekend that the campaign had successfully met its $100,000 goal (the final number was $104,429, raised in 60 days), I asked him to briefly share how he and his team went about their campaign, and he replied with what follows. Not that this is some blueprint that will work for every campaign, but given that he was able to beat the odds, I thought it was significant enough to share, so here's what he had to say, in brief:
Our strategy was really quite simple. We figured that we would need roughly 1000 backers pledging an average of $100. We ended up with 1079 pledging an average of $96 so we were pretty close. Since we didn't really have an online following, we felt our best bet was through social media. None of us was familiar with Twitter, so we turned to Facebook. We looked at our combined number of friends on Facebook (there were 7 of us) and figured that if we could get 20% of our friends to pledge, we would have roughly 989 backers. If we got that close, we figured that everyone else would pull us over the top. So we all sent three individual emails (in the beginning, middle and end of the campaign) to every one of our Facebook friends asking them to pledge at least $1 or to share it on their Facebook wall. There are a few more strategic things that we did as well, but the Facebook plan was what everything hinged on.
So, basically, a lot of social media (specifically Facebook) hustling - although, in their case, taking a more direct, personal approach with the emailing. And I'm sure the fact that 7 of them made the very same effort on this one single campaign, also made some difference.
Of course, the project itself must be appealing an sell itself to the contributors who bought what Lanre and company pitched (the project as well as themselves) in their Kickstarter video (it's embedded below).
But congrats to Lanre and the rest of the team, as they'll soon embark on the next leg of this trip.
Somewhere in the Middle charts the interconnected lives and loves of three New York City professionals. It weaves in and out of three seemingly disparate, disconnected relationships, re-telling the same events from varying perspectives. Layers of relationship, motivation and emotional dishonesty are peeled away as the characters struggle with love, sexuality, insecurity, and infidelity until all of the involved parties are left on entirely new and unsteady ground.
The film is based on improv work by and with the New York Independent Film Collective.
Lanre's first feature, August The First, highlighted on the old S&A site, premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival in 2007 and was nominated for a Gotham Award (Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You).
I'm sure we'll be talking about Somewhere In The Middle a year or so from now. Or maybe less...
The video pitch is embedded below: