No one sets out to fail when raising money for their beloved project, be it a film, a book, an invention, whatever. But far too many people fall short of their crowdfunding goals. Here are some tips on avoiding their fate:
by Stephen Follows
Hark, Filmmakers! For I hath climb’d the Big Data Mountain and I returned with holy verses for when thouest plans to commit thyself to speak to the masses via crowdfunding and ye shall thee listen… ok I can’t keep this up. I’ll be honest – I liked the headline, but carrying on the tone will get tiresome for you and I.
So here’s the skinny. In the past few months I’ve been studying a lot of crowdfunding campaigns by filmmakers. 47,809, in fact. I gathered data on all crowdfunding campaigns launched on Kickstarter for films between when they launched in April 2009 and October 2015. I’ve crunched the numbers and herewith I presenteth the Ten Commandants for Crowdfunding for Filmmakers…
1. Thou shall keep thy campaign short.
The projects with the highest success rates are 18 days long (67% were successful), followed by those lasting 12 days (63%), 24 days (62%), 21 days (62%) and 19 days (61%).
The only exception to this commandment is, if you’re looking to trying to raise a large amount of money (i.e. over $100,000), in which case the odds are slightly better for longer campaigns. Of those trying to raise over $100,000, campaigns lasting under 30 days were successful 6.8% of the time, 30-day campaigns worked 6.0% of the time and those over 30 days had a 7.6% success rate.
2. Thou shall remember the campaign video and keep it interesting.
The campaign video is the perfect place to introduce yourself, explain your plans and make your audience give a damn. The success rate for campaigns with a video is twice that of those without a video (21% with no video versus 43% with a video).
3. Honor thy audience by keeping thy video short.
The average length of Kickstarter campaign videos is 3 minutes 20 seconds, with a median of 2 minutes 37 seconds. The most successful videos are between 3 and 4 minutes long, with an above-average success rate of 52%. Longer videos performed much more poorly, with videos over five minutes having a 37% success rate.