Crowdfund Your Film: A Guide to Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Seed & Spark, and GoFundMe
Written by Josh Coleman | Posted by: Michele Meek
There seem to be no shortage of films seeking to raise money through crowdfunding–just take a look at NewEnglandFilm.com’s Kickstart New England series. If you’re thinking about crowdfunding your film, you’ll need to plan carefully. And one of the first steps is to decide what platform to use, so here’s a breakdown of four of the most popular crowdfunding sites–Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Seed & Spark, and GoFundMe.
Kickstarter remains on of the most popular crowdfunding sites and remains strictly used for creative purposes—so only projects like theater, art, design or film are allowed to be funded through this platform. It was created this way to allow the creator or artist complete control over their material. Funding is All-or-Nothing, meaning if the goal is reached then the credit card is charged the donated amount. If the goal is not met, then no one is charged and the project creator receives nothing. When the goal is reached, Kickstarter takes a 5 percent fee, along with a 3-5 percent credit card processing fee. Backers of the project get an inside look or special rewards for funding the creative material. Project owners keep 100 percent of ownership, allowing them the creative freedom they need to achieve their goal.
What Sets Them Apart: Kickstarter is still known as the de facto crowdfunding source. More eyeballs can sometimes mean more money raised.
More Info: www.kickstarter.com
Unlike Kickstarter, Indiegogo can be used to fund a wider range of projects, including technology, startups and others. Project creators can choose between two methods of funding—fixed funding or flexible funding. Fixed Funding sets the project to a specific amount and will only continue if that amount is reached. If successful, IndieGoGo takes 4 percent fee and PayPal takes 3 percent fee. With Fixed Funding, if the goal is not met, the project remains unfunded. But Indiegogo also offers Flexible Funding, which allows the project to continue with any amount of funding. In that case, if the project reaches its target funding goal, Indiegogo takes a 4 percent fee and credit card fee of 3-5 percent, but if the project falls short of its funding goal, Indiegogo takes a 9 percent fee plus 3-5 percent for credit card processing. Funds paid via credit card are held until goal is met, then it takes 15 business days for money to be dispersed to project owner.
What Sets Them Apart: With Indiegogo, you can choose Flexible Funding, which means you can still raise money even if you don’t reach your funding goal.
Seed & Spark
Seed & Spark is a rare filmmakers-only crowdfunding platform, welcoming feature length, shorts, and animated films. Project creators must submit a pitch video, showing the audience what kind of material they will be funding. The creator must have their logline, plot synopsis and a script ready to go, as well as a “Wishlist,” or what will be needed to make the film, such a camera equipment, props, etc. Unlike all the other crowdfunding platforms, not all projects are accepted into Seed & Spark. Plus 80 percent of proposed funding is needed to get the Greenlight, and if unsuccessful the backers are reimbursed within three business days. However, once you get the Greenlight, the project must be made and there must be updates posted to all backers of the project. All donations are held in an escrow account until the 80 percent is reached, to ensure the amount donated will be received by the filmmakers. Contributors can earn “Sparks” which are points achieved in the platform by donating, following other projects or watching films on the website. They take a 5 percent fee on money raised by Greenlighted films.
What Sets Them Apart: Because Seed & Spark weeds out projects, those that get chosen have a much higher chance of reaching their funding goals.
More Info: www.seedandspark.com
GoFundMe allows someone to fund any project they wish to bring to life, even payment for medical bills, tuition or political campaigns and startup companies. GoFundMe takes a 5 percent fee from every donation and a 3 percent credit card processing fee. Reaching your goal is not required, unless choosing the All-or-Nothing option when setting up the campaign. This platform uses WePay, accepting a 2.9 percent plus thirty cents per donation, bringing the platform’s total deduction of 7.29 percent plus thirty cents per donation of money raised. Thank You notes can be sent out to contributors.
What Sets Them Apart: This crowdfunding free-for-all might be a good place for that hard-to-categorize project.
More Info: www.gofundme.com