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 .
I have been posting entries on MovieMaker.com for about nine months now, documenting the trials and tribulations of crowdfunding our small—but not that small—feature film, Tiny Dancer. In that time, I have been e-mailed by teachers looking for advice on crowdfunding campaigns for their students, filmmakers looking to get their scripts produced (Wait, don’t you read the blog? We have no money!), lawyers and investment groups following the updates on the JOBS Act (I never thought I’d become an authority on SEC rules and regulations) and fellow crowdfunders looking for a shout-out. Into that last category falls Evan Kelly, a publicist in Canada who e-mailed me about his client Erick Boychuk, an indie director raising money for his feature comedy The Cover-Up, about a young man who wants to win back his high school sweetheart, with a cool IndieGogo campaign. Check it out.
I just wanted to say ‘Thank you’ to all of you out there reading. It’s pretty cool to hear what questions you have and what projects you are working on. In fact, this blog even got me on a crowdfunding panel that took place last weekend: NYCFF/IFF Film & Finance Forum, run by Daron Jenkins of ScenePR. Judging by the full attendance and numerous questions about platforms and campaigns, one would think the whole planet has gone crowdfunding crazy. With the exception of one or two “realists” asking the tough questions—“Is there really a future for these small films in the marketplace?”—everyone was empowered by the panel, which also included master fundraiser Till Schauder, whose film The Iran Job (co-directed by wife and fellow panelist Sara Nodjoumi) raised over $100,000 (?!) on Kickstarter.
Till had many insights into the process. He and his team of interns approached their campaign like a full-time job, analyzing past campaigns and looking at the arcs and spikes in contributions to figure out a way to avoid what he termed “the belly,” the mid-point in a campaign when the contributions stop. The Iran Job benefited from CNN coverage and heavy-duty “stranger” contributions. Till even put some of his family’s art up as “perks” and got a $10,000 buyer for one painting. I was amazed by the organization—not to mention the results—of the campaign.
Also on the panel was filmmaker Stuart Ginsburg and indie man about town/producer’s rep Steven C. Beer, who explained that he became sold on crowdfunding after a musician client raised $80,000 for her new record with a Kstarter campaign and a whimsical pitch video.
Now, at this point, if you are reading this blog, you probably have a similar story about a friend who raised some huge amount: How they did it, what they gave away as perks and the kooky album cover with a bird painted on it that they used. These stories are always inspiring in the same way as the ones that go like this: “My friend wrote this indie, then HBO met with her about developing a new series called ‘Girls.’ Crazy, right? How did she get soooo lucky?!” Each person’s crowdfunding journey is dependent on their will, their crowd and their project. But what all this tells me is that now, more than at any other time, people are figuring out how to make their art outside the system. They’re getting themselves to the finish line. Whether their films get seen or not, they’re making them and talking about them, and—dare I say it—in some ways, that’s almost as important.
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.