Welcome to Just Crowdfund the $&*# Movie!, MovieMaker‘s new blog 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 .
In a recent interview, legendary auteur Jean-Luc Godard declared that the Internet has taken over. “Film is over,” he said. “The auteur is dead. The future is cut-and-paste movie mashups.” Coming from the man who explored the intersection between consumerism and culture in such groundbreaking films as Pierrot le Fou, Made in U.S.A. and Weekend, it seems somehow appropriate to continue my discussion on how to get corporations to pay for your movie with a quote from Godard.
I ended last week’s blog by asking how many sponsors one should try to get. I say, the more the merrier! But how does a moviemaker of limited means get a sponsor to begin with? You start by making a list of companies, media outlets, products, etc… that might be a good fit for your film or event. Be mindful of themes in your work that might discourage potential sponsors. Opening your pitch with “Hi! My movie, Drunk Circus, is about alcoholic clowns” might discourage potential sponsors like Heineken and Party City. After you have a good list of candidates, Google the crap out of them until you locate a contact number for their marketing and PR people.
Take a deep breath, make your voice sound deeper and authoritative with a cigarette and copious amounts of coffee, then dial the number. “Hi, this is [name]. I’m a poor but passionate moviemaker, and I’d like to offer you the opportunity to give me expensive stuff in return for getting credibility and PR through being involved in my masterpiece, which will reach millions of eyes and expose the world to your company. Oh, did I mention that you can also give me some money and I’ll put your name all over my film?” Pause. “Hello…?”
The pause after your initial introduction is critical. You can use this time to impress your potential sponsor by telling them all about your past credits, the movie stars you’ve gotten for your current project and the other stars who have already agreed to come to your party. If none of this applies, you can throw out some simple nuts-and-bolts figures about the demographics of your film’s audience. Be sure to mention all of the people who will be made powerfully aware of the company when they open up their gift bags to see the amazing swag donated by the party’s generous sponsor.
Another thing that seems to work is to let the company know that there will be a photographer at the event taking pictures of tastemakers posing with their products. You can even go so far as to offer them the “opportunity” to spring for one of those vinyl backdrops that people can pose for pictures in front of. They’re called Step and Repeats, and a small one (covered with the company’s logo, of course) will cost around $1,000.
The key is to get your head in the game. You are worth it. Your project is worth it. And you never know what could result from a single phone call. You (literally) can’t afford thoughts of “Why would Company X take me seriously? Why would then even want to listen to me?” Companies are looking for new, fresh ideas these days, so get creative and present them with some unique opportunities. Know the brand you’re pitching front and back, and be prepared to offer specifics on why you thought about them for a partnership. Come up with a wide variety of ideas that the company can choose from. For example, we proposed doing a casting contest in partnership with Dance Magazine’s media website because we knew they were looking for content for DanceMedia.com. They liked the idea and decided it was something they wanted to participate in.
Will our efforts pay off? Stay tuned. I’ll leave you with more from Godard: “Objects exist and if one pays more attention to them than to people, it is precisely because they exist more than the people. Dead objects are still alive. Living people are often already dead.”
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.