Crowd Funding – Kicking off the Process – Part 6

In our Crowd Funding series we’ve now – finally – have had lift off.  David and his team on Mulligan launched their Kickstarter Campaign yesterday and they’re doing great!  And you can help them do even better by going to their Kickstarter page.
I’m as a tough an audience as it gets and I loved – absolutely loved – the video they put together.  Special mention to the music – what I heard was outstanding.  The animations are very cool and the video does a great job in telling what they need the funds for AND getting you excited about wanting to see the movie.  (The only thing in need of improvement: for a non-film person is, that it might be hard to understand the muffled voice of the director when he explains some technical terms).
Clearly the team put a LOT of effort into this and it seems to be paying off handsomely. I expect them to totally exceed their goal! They did their homework and I give it an A+.
Here a few questions I asked David:
1. What was your to-do list for the kick off day?  Lead-up was mostly about getting the video done. There were a few last-minute changes to the ‘Story’ section – basically the main part of the Kickstarter page where you describe the project, explain what you’re trying to raise money for, and other details. So we added some extra info to that section and once we had the video in its final format, we launched – at approx. 11am EST yesterday.
Will, the director, also launched the Facebook page late last night. There wasn’t much setup involved, and he’s fairly active on there (he frequently chides me for not being on Facebook). Our strategy is to treat the Kickstarter page as our biggest face/front for the movie right now, with Facebook a close second. The thinking is that we don’t want to bog people down with a website, Twitter, etc. Just get them to the Kickstarter page and let them learn about the movie through there.
2. How many emails/letters/solicitations did you ‘save’ for the kickoff?  It’s hard to count, because between the three main people involved, I’d guess close to 1,000 emails were sent yesterday. Some were based on lists of people who are fans of the web series ‘Reception’ that Will and and Graham, the producer have been working on for a year. That has a sizable following, and those fans had been getting emails in the lead-up to today because a new episode of ‘Reception’ gets sent out every week.
I’m sending out personal emails one-by-one, so I’ll probably be doing that whenever I have time for the next four weeks. I think it helps to do it that way if you have the time and resolve. Getting a Facebook poke or whatever wouldn’t necessarily get me to a website and to fork over dollars, so I’m hoping to seduce people the way I’d want to be seduced. 🙂
3. Where did Kickstarter make your life easy and what drove you nuts?  Kickstarter’s interface is very slick and easy to navigate. Uploading photos and videos and making text changes and descriptions is very easy, and done in a way that allows you to make changes without the fear that everything will blow up. They really nailed that, and I think it’s probably a big key to their success. Only have one minor gripe about Kickstarter – they don’t give you much direction in terms of what’s the proper format/specs for the video, so I think we were a little concerned we’d upload it and it wouldn’t look/sound right. Fortunately it’s not the case, and I think it’s hard to just blame Kickstarter for lack of guidance – there are just too many damn video formats floating around nowadays.
What really drove us nuts was making the video, which I’ve discussed in the previous post and which is in no way Kickstarter’s fault. They actually have really great suggestions and guidelines for making a video and – wisely – encourage every project to make one as a way of increasing the chances of a successful campaign.
4. What was the unexpected?  Nothing was unexpected, which I suspect is a result of lots of planning and agonizing over every last detail. 🙂
5. What was the ‘this sucks’?  Nothing really sucked. OK, so one small thing. Apparently, shortly after launching, a stranger came and made a comment on the Facebook page about the pricing of our rewards. Not a disaster or anything, and I guess someone else came along and deleted the comment. Whatever, it’s part of being on the internet. “Haters gonna hate,” as they say. We spent a lot of time thinking about our rewards and our pricing, and for someone to just come along and make some idiotic remark… alright, I’m over it.
6. And what was the “this is awesome” moment?  Well, that first donation felt pretty good. So did the 22 after it. It’s been less than 12 hours, and we’ve raised over 1/8th of our total goal! (Note: by now, 36 hours later they are nearly 1/3 there). That’s pretty exhilarating. I’ve had to resist staring at the page and clicking ‘refresh’ every 30 seconds. We’re really proud of the video (me especially, since I edited it). It took weeks and weeks and lots of starting from square one. But when I try to step back and be objective about it, I’m pretty convinced it’s a great pitch video. I wish there was a way to quantify the effect it has on people – friends, strangers – when they see it and decide whether or not to donate. I can’t, but I can semi-confidently tell myself that that video is a big reason they choose to give us money.
7. What was the first contribution? How does it feel?  Haha, the first donation was from my brother, Jon, who was one of the first people I emailed. The next two came from very close friends of mine and Will’s. The most wonderful feeling is to see a donation come in, and immediately Will or I email one another (and Graham) and ask “Who is this? Is this someone you know?” and then finding out it’s a stranger. It’s a lot more validating to see someone who has no ties to you and is therefore much more objective about making a gift. That’s a real confidence-booster, and definitely makes you feel as though someday that same effect is going to happen when a random person sees a trailer or a poster for the movie at a movie theater. We’re so grateful for all the friends and family who have come out so far to support it, but at the end of the day you can’t pack a movie theater with them. Unless you’re a polygamist.

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