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 .
Imagine that each indie film being made by one of your friends, plus all of the DIY projects on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, is a trailer, and all of the trailers are lined up in a giant trailer park. Some trailers represent films that have already been made; others are films that haven’t even begun production. There are trailers representing fundraising videos in which sincere, semi-desperate moviemakers ask the world for money. Damn… there are a lot of trailers out there. What will distinguish yours from the rest?
This is a question that we’re currently struggling with as we fundraise for Tiny Dancer. Since last summer we’ve managed to raise $10,000 of the $250,000 we need for production, so we gambled on shooting a few days’ worth of footage, which we’re editing into a sort of “promo reel.” It’s more substantial than a trailer, featuring our cast–Daphne Rubin-Vega and Katherine Crockett–in scenes from the script, shot on a Sony F3 with a Steadicam and a full crew. Tiffany and I have spent the summer editing and refining the piece, screening it for family, friends and industry peers and getting feedback on numerous cuts. It’s a tricky process, because we don’t know what a our promo piece should be like. Our current cut runs about 18 minutes–is that too long? At that length, will people expect it to be a traditional short film with a beginning, middle and end? Our hope is that we have something substantial–meaty, almost–that feels like a work in progress and says to the world, “This film is happening!”
Since we know we’re screening the promo piece at our party, we’ve been paying close attention to length and pace. But our film does have some darker, dramatic material; there’s no way around that. My gut says that either you want to be part of a film about a woman trying to find her creativity… or you don’t. We aren’t trying to dress it up as something else. Will it work? Or will I hide under a table as party-goers pull out their iPhones and start posting to Facebook five minutes into the video? We’re also cutting a traditional, one-minute trailer. Fortunately, we’ve shot enough material already that this shorter promo (which will be premiering soon, details to come) feels like a trailer for a finished film, even though we have yet to shoot most of our scenes.
Ultimately, you just have to make do, using what you have to tell your story and hoping to stand out in the giant indie trailer park.
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.