Just Crowdfund the $&*# Movie!: Finding Your Inner Shark

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 .

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try… and make sure no one leaves the room without investing! Thank the Movie Gods, our Producer’s Dinner event, hosted by Bobbie Thomas last Monday night at the loft of Patrick Morris and Kate White, was a success. Finally! We secured $14,000 in investments; add that to the $25,000 we raised through donations, and our total raised so far is $39,000. Is that enough? Almost. And we are chasing down another $40,000 from some traditional producers who have expressed interest. Of course, we are hoping that, since we are halfway there, the downhill momentum will take us the rest of the way. I keep saying, “And we can get a loan based on the NYC tax credit for production,” without really knowing how that works… but it sounds good, right?

How did we go from an event where we raised $1,700 to another with just a quarter of the number of guests, yet we raised 800% more? Well… have you ever been to the aquarium and watched sharks in the big tank? They move with absolute assurance, wasting nothing, and when they close in on you staring fascinated behind the glass, you actually jump a little. Tiffany and I became sharks, so to speak, and left no stone unturned. Every guest to the event had either already paid their ticket price (which is an investment in the film) or had pledged to pay. At our previous event, after we screened 20 minutes of our work-in-progress footage people headed to the door in droves, saying “Wow. I loved it. Someone will definitely help you guys get this made. (But not me!)” So this time we walked around the room with the Square—yes, that thing you plug into your iPhone so you can swipe credit cards. As soon as I introduced myself to everyone, our assistant, Sarah, appeared at my side, and I let the guests know that she would be processing investments. And it worked!

Now, I don’t mean to sound crass. The event was filled with love, speeches and tears. We are so grateful to have so many supporters, both donors and investors (some are both!). The evening was filled with soaring music by Ryan and Kieran Hobler and the awesome Susan Justice, plus Vodka courtesy of Medea and food by Food Glorious Food. I also have to mention the amazing donations made by Matrix, Smashbox, Atria Books (special thanks to The Nanny Diaries authors Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin, whose new book Between You and Me—did I mention I directed the book trailer for it?—comes out today), Sansha and designhype (who make those incredible subway map cuffs)!

The high points of the evening for me were when Miriam Shor, star of my last film The Cake Eaters, got up to “endorse” me, as did The Cake Eaters producer Patrick Morris. Their kind words truly made me realize that, as hard as this process has been, when you have supporters it’s all made worthwhile. I have to mention the amazingly generous Bobbie Thomas, style editor for “The Today Show,” who spontaneously auctioned off two private beauty shopping sprees at Bliss, raising $1,700 for Tiny Dancer instantly. How awesome is Bobbie? And, lastly, none of these amazing “Thank you”s would have been possible without the incredibly hard work of my partner and beautiful wife, Tiffany Bartok, who was able to secure all of these donations so that our investors would go home with a gift bag worthy of their investment.

So, a final word… if you plan an event, plan it to win it. Don’t turn into the clueless artist shrugging your shoulders. Think about that shark…

Jayce Bartok is an actor/producer/writer/director who runs Vinyl Foote Productions from Brooklyn with his wife Tiffany. He wrote, co-produced and starred in The Cake Eaters and can currently be seen in USA’s “White Collar” and in the upcoming feature films Predisposed, opposite Melissa Leo, and Price Check, both of which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. To stay updated on his Tiny Dancer progress, follow @JayceBartok and @TICNYC on Twitter.

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