10 Tips to Kickstart your Film Project

Post by guest Blogger, Lori Robinson, founder of AfricaInside

They earned 10, 20, and $25,000 on Kickstarter for a documentary film on Fracking, to Scout a film about an Asian Elephant, and for a Book on a particular lizard species in Spain.

And in this session –Crowd Source Funding – at the JHWFF, the panel shared all their secrets for designing and running a successful Kickstarter Campaign.

First, a few caveats about Kickstarter.

There are other online funding platforms out there, but for Creative Projects, specifically inventions, books and films, Kickstarter is considered the best.

With Kickstarter no one is charged for their donation until the project has reached it’s total funding goal. In other words, if you have lots of donors but don’t reach the goal you set for your campaign, you will receive nothing. So, it’s an all or nothing campaign and you need to have an all or nothing mind set about it.


  1. Get your ducks in order before you launch your Campaign.
    Make sure you have Social Media to support your campaign- a Facebook Page and Twitter account set up specifically for this project – and that you know how to use social media, and have a plan for spreading the word about your campaign. Start blogging and getting the word out about your project Before you launch your Kickstarter Campaign.
  2. You can only use Kickstarter once every 5 years or so.
    That’s because you can’t keep asking friends and followers for money. Your first campaign will be your most successful so make sure it is an idea you are very clear, and very enthusiastic about.
  3. Be Specific.
    Know your project or the part of your project you want to fund and where all the money will go. Have a mission and a detailed budget and plan for carrying your project to completion.
  4. Always use a Pitch video
    The majority of successful campaigns on Kickstarter have a video at the top of their Kickstarter Page. The video doesn’t need to be professionally done but it does need to tell your story in a personal, engaging way. Two minutes in length is ideal. Anything longer than 3 minutes tends to loose your audience. Watch the videos of lots of successful Kickstarter projects for ideas.
  5. Use giveaways for each level of donation.
    For example: With a donation of $100 you receive the book on lizards and a thank you inside the book. All panelists agreed that about 15% of the money earned went into funding the giveaways for the products (books, DVD’s) and postage to mail out those giveaways.
  6. Set a realistic Funding Goal.
    Make sure you have budgeted for the project correctly. This can’t be stressed enough. Your Kickstarter Campaign is a commitment to donors that if you raise X amount of money, you will  complete your project.  You must be able to do what you say. It would make for unhappy donors if you met your funding goals and then told everyone you were still short of the funds needed for your project.  Having a realistic and detailed budget will also help you when you are reporting back to donors where their money went.


The Most Important point stressed by all the panelists was how important Marketing campaign is to the success of your campaign. Each expert agreed “once launched, the marketing of the campaign was a full-time job for the life of the campaign.”

An audience member told us about a test she did starting a Kickstart campaign. She put up a page and donated $25. Then she left it alone curious to see how many people would find (and donate to) the campaign despite no effort on her part to let others know her campaign was launched.

A month later, at the end of her campaign how much do you think she had in the kitty?


Thus, reiterating the importance of marketing.

  1. Who should you market to?
    Your friends and family will most likely provide 80% of your funding. But even with them you need to be    “shameless and relentless”. People need to be told and then reminded about your project. Don’t be shy in getting the word out there.
  2.  Definitely use Social Media.
    Use Social Media to spread the word. But the panelists agreed it was the personal emails sent to all their contacts which turned out to be their best fund raising marketing tool.
  3. Thank your donors.
    Thank them daily in shout outs, thank them later with their takeaways, and thank them each time you follow up with updates. A professional fundraiser once told me donors need to be “thanked three times.” In my view, you can never give too many thanks.
  4. The most successful campaigns have a time limit of 30 days.
    More than a month and people don’t feel an urgency to donate, and less than that won’t give you enough time to spread the word.

Here’s to your success! Let us know your thoughts or any additional advice you may have for launching a successful Kickstarter Campaign.

One thought on “10 Tips to Kickstart your Film Project

  1. It’s good to learn that you should use a short pitch video to help start a film project. My wife and I are wanting to start filming our lives and we were wondering how we could get a company to help us with the videos. I’ll be sure to make a pitch video to a company before we meet with them.

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