Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Take Note, Indie Filmmakers: Why Indiegogo Is at the Head of the Crowdfunding Class (Q & A)

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! September 30, 2013 at 1:33PM

At a recent panel in Los Angeles, Marc Hofstatter of Indiegogo was joined by campaign producer Ray Brown ("The Bounce Back") to discuss the ins-and-outs of the company, and what makes a successful campaign -- in other words, sage wisdom for any indie filmmaker looking to crowdfund.
0
Shemar Moore
Shemar Moore

On Indiegogo's funding models:

Indiegogo: Flexible funding is our most popular choice. If someone is trying to raise $100,000 and they only raise $95,000, coming up $5,000 short after a 30-day campaign, did they really fail? In our minds, they didn't, and we give them the option to walk away with that $95k and get that $5k somewhere else. In independent film, you're going to find money from other sources. If you can get that close [to your goal], you are a success.

Ray Brown: We set a goal of $500,000 on the $1.5 million budget and we raised over $638,000. Because the campaign was successful, a lot of people started reaching out to invest. There are brands reaching out to be part of it. As far as distribution we've had companies reach out for that too because of his fan base around the world. We created a stretch code, which was basically if we get more money we can get it in more theaters, we can do more with the distribution.

On marketing campaigns and engaging your audience:

Indiegogo: Even if you don't reach your goal, you're still getting incoming phone calls. The campaign offers pre-awareness, it's free marketing, it proves to your crowd, to your audience and your market that you have value and that your project has value, and that it's worth continuing on... The crowdfunding campaign is not just about the money: it's about the fan. It's a good marketing tool because you're keeping fans engaged. You don't even need to put out a trailer. You're keeping people involved in the whole process. 

Ray Brown: He's got a crazy female fan base (nothing against females!) who were on the campaign site every day. We created a blog and a "Bounce Back" Twitter where they could communicate on both Indiegogo and on the blog. They created a group called "The Bounce Back" Sister Wives. They communicated all day so I didn't have to work as hard but I had to stay engaged with them and he had to stay engaged. There were over 5,000 comments total. I couldn't respond to all of them but fans started to respond for me. We also did live chats, so they felt like it was real.

On controversies surrounding celebrity campaigns:

Indiegogo: Everybody should have the opportunity to crowdfund. Whether it's Zach Braff, Shemar Moore or James Franco, it's about that engagement. It's not just about a celebrity panhandling money. It's about the project and the audience's reaction to it.

Ray Brown: Shemar was thinking about financing it himself, which you're not supposed to do... He explained to fans that it was less about the money, since he could fund it, and more about engaging with them and taking that to Hollywood. Shemar let them know, it's not about me taking the money, it's about you supporting something I think you might enjoy.

Why choose Indiegogo over Kickstarter:

Indiegogo: There's no screening process. We don't tell our campaigners whether or not their project is good. That's not our job. It defeats the purpose of crowdfunding. It's up to the crowd to decide. You have to find your audience and crowdfunding allows that. We have a Happiness Team in San Francisco, about a dozen people who take your emails, your calls and your concerns and walk you through the process. We have an in-house PR team who pushes out campaigns. We have 7,000 campaigns running at any given time, so we make our best efforts to be there for our campaigners because their success is [also] ours. 

Ray Brown: We created this whole plan to go to Kickstarter. Kickstarter felt more corporate to us because if we didn't make it, we would look bad. We didn't want to put Shemar out there like that. So we went to Indiegogo. As soon as we moved over and the campaign started to move, Indiegogo reached out to us to help along the process.

What is the Gogofactor?:

Indiegogo: The Gogofactor is a proprietary algorithm. It levels the playing field and encourages you to be successful campaigner. If you are a $5 million celebrity-driven campaign but you're doing nothing to promote it and on the other hand you have a $15,000 short film or film campaign and you're busting your hump, the Gogofactor will push for you. If you want to be on the front page or on a newsletter, everyone has the same exact opportunity: it all comes down to what you're doing to promote your campaign and how quickly you're contributing. The harder you're pushing to share and get contributors, the more the algorithm will back you. The algorithm will allow it to pop up on the front page, the newsletter, and in every single section of the site.

This article is related to: Crowdfunding, Interviews, Indiegogo , Kickstarter , News


E-Mail Updates