Just Crowdfund the $&*# Movie!: Everyone Loves a Winner


Welcome to Just Crowdfund the $&*# Movie!, where indie moviemaker Jayce Bartok talks about the dos and don’ts of crowdfunding from the trenches of his own crowdfunding campaign. Have a question for Jayce about his movie, Tiny Dancer, or just crowdfunding in general? Ask away at .

Tiffany and I are now the proud owners of a successful IndieGoGo campaign for Tiny Dancer! For over 60 days we reached out to friends and family and emailed over 15,000 of our contacts; now, with the campaign officially at an end, we’ve managed to raise a grand total of $10,255, overshooting our original goal of $9,000 by $1,255. It’s been an insane ride, a sort of “This Is Your Life” journey, as we’ve reconnected with many, many lost acquaintances. That’s definitely been my favorite part of this nutso endeavor: Reaching out and saying “Hi” to long-lost pals buried in my contacts. We can’t thank everyone enough for their donations, and we’re thankful as well to the friends and colleagues who went out on a limb to throw up the Bat Signal for our project.

One such incident involved Kevin Smith, whom I had the pleasure of working with on his film Cop Out. About a week ago, Tiffany said to me: “Email Kevin; you have nothing to lose.” How we have his email address, I’m still not sure. Knowing that Kevin is a true iconoclast who honors his indie roots (see Red State, I loved it) and is a lover of the underdog, I fired off an email asking for his Twitter support for Tiny Dancer (seeing as he has nearly two million followers, compared to my 157). Two days went by. I didn’t think anything of the email, but did notice that we were starting to get donations from random people we didn’t know. Still, we’d asked so many film festivals we’re friendly with—like the Vail, Oxford, Ashland Independent and Fort Lauderdale International Film Festivals—to post about our campaign that I figured one of those outreach efforts had worked.

I am obviously Twitter-inept, since it took an email from the editor of this very blog (and donor to Tiny Dancer, I might add!), Ms. Rebecca Pahle, asking me if Kevin’s tweet had helped push us over the edge, to make me realize what had happened. I was at the gym (which I never go to, by the way), and I stopped, thinking she was joking. But I had to ask: “Did Kevin tweet?” Moments later she emailed me back: “Yep. You, my friends, are the proud subjects of a Kevin Smith tweet: http://twitter.com/#!/ThatKevinSmith/status/131394754540875776.”

You just never know. If you put yourself out there, things will happen. Kevin Smith might even tweet for you! I don’t know if I’d want to do something like this again, but it was quite an experience.

You might be asking yourself: How exactly did we raise $10,000?

Answer: One email at a time.

One thing I did notice is that people love a winner, a close race, a photo finish, a boxer who keeps standing in the ring even as he is getting pummeled. To break the Tiny Dancer campaign down: At the midway point, 30 days in, we had barely made a quarter of our goal ($2,250), and we were peeing blood. But once we fought those early battles and enlisted those early believers, we picked up steam, and then everyone wanted to jump aboard. It became exciting. People were watching, like a great baseball game. Toward the end, everyone wanted to help push us over the edge. I’ve often wondered how successful campaigns end up going over their goal. Who would donate to a campaign when it’s already reached the finish line? Duh. People who want to be part of a winning team, a great optimistic successful movement, that’s who.

So here are my words of wisdom: Have faith. Hold out until the halfway point. That’s when things get really exciting!

Jayce Bartok is an actor and moviemaker who runs Vinyl Foote Productions from Brooklyn with his wife Tiffany. Currently, you can see him on USA’s “White Collar” and in the upcoming feature film Predisposed, opposite Melissa Leo. Follow The Independent Collective at twitter.com/ticnyc to stay updated on the Tiny Dancer crowdfunding campaign.

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