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 .
So we have our LLC set up for Tiny Dancer (it’s amazing how fast you can create a business in this country), we’ve finalized our invitation for the June 4th event and we’ve sent out e-mails letting our supporters know that we have changed our plan of attack to “invest.” We’ve had a few responses requesting our PPM and business plan and are keeping our fingers crossed that we can get some investors. I spent the weekend casually trying to talk up what good sense it makes to invest in Tiny Dancer at the numerous birthday parties we took our son to. (No, Tiffany and I don’t just go around crashing kids’ parties to solicit film finance. Hmmmm… that is kind of a good idea, though.) We’ve also dealt with the scary prospect of changing the super-friendly JOIN tabs on our site (www.theindependentcollective.com) to an INVEST/YOU GET THIS/PROFITS/COME ON DO IT!!! kind of thing. But we still have no celebrity host for our upcoming event.
We’ve gotten some amazing “I wish I could be there” e-mails from awesome people, and in a fit of anxiety I thought about just standing up and reading those e-mails to our guests. But how do you advertise that? “At a certain hour, the filmmaker will stand and deliver a few ‘Sorry I can’t make it’ e-mails from a handful of famous people.” Not going to work. In fact, this whole find-a-famous-person quest feels like a deciding moment for Tiffany and I. It’s certainly creating a dark night of the soul for us. I keep trying to step back and say, “What does this really have to do with the movie anyway?”… then I realize that in less than three weeks I have to fill a dinner table with guests who aren’t just there to party but have plunked down money for the film. What the heck are we thinking?!
Tiff and I are starting to feel like a petri dish of methods for film funding, a virtual laboratory of techniques: Throw a party, then crowdfund…no, throw a party again… wait, invest! I keep putting out to the film gods that it’s really not that much money we need—we just need to find that one person! I repeat to myself various versions of “We can do it!” and “Failure is not an option,” but that isn’t making a celebrity materialize. Yes, we’ve already tried rent-a-celebrity. They all want like $20,000, and if I had that I’d just go finish the film. Do we really need a famous person anyway? What is important here? The story, right? A famous dancer longs to dance again when she realizes motherhood isn’t enough. Come on, people. We are passionate about this stuff! We want to make a movie about a woman who wants to dance so badly she nearly dies trying!
How do we communicate that? How do we sell that to investors? We use what we’ve shot, the script, the creative part—the most important part—of the process. I’m tempted to say we’ve already tried that, but each opportunity is different. Maybe it’s about immersing ourselves so deeply in our material that people have no option but to jump on board. That’s essentially what we did when we launched our Indiegogo campaign. I guess Tiffany and I must, to quote one of our favorite shows, “Toddlers and Tiaras,” “Go big or go home.”
If you have any ideas or happen to know any celebrities, feel free to write me.
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.