It’s never ever been easier to get money for a video or film project. That's a fact.
In this digital age, whether you dream of funding an independent movie or funding a funny YouTube channel, you are more likely than ever to find your audience who will pre-pay some (or most) of your costs. From deciding a funding route to go down to narrowing your pitch and keeping your funding pool happy, here are four ways to find video funding online!
Crowdfunding sites are usually the first port-of-call for raising collateral whether crowdfunding for Youtube or crowdfunding a movie. However, the bad news is that two-thirds of campaigns fail, according to Kickstarter’s current stats [https://www.kickstarter.com/help/stats].
But don’t be put off, there have been hundreds of thousands of successfully-funded projects on sites such as Indiegogo, GoFundMe, TubeStart, Subbable and of course Kickstarter. Some of the highest funded video productions ever on Kickstarter include the Veronica Mars movie (achieved 2.5 times its funding goal, over $5.7 million USD) and The Cyanide and Happiness show, who met their goal three times over ($750,000 USD) to produce weekly cartoon clips.
Patreon is a more long-term route, perfect if you’re looking for ongoing YouTube funding options rather than a one-time monetary push, like funding a short film. It’s more predictable and reliable as your audience “buys in” to your community, earning you much-needed funds so you can keep producing amazing content whilst engaging with your most loyal viewers.
Much like a social network, you need to be consistently active and offer frequent perks and incentives, which can range from exclusive videos content, behind the scenes pictures, live hangouts or Q&As and even personalised ‘thank you’ messages or shoutouts.
YouTube fan funding
Did you know that there’s a funding circle on Youtube itself? It’s called Fan Funding or the ‘Tip Jar’, where a YouTube audience can pledge money to help fund YouTube content creators within their profile or videos. This is a great option as it’s localised to YouTube with a non-intrusive widget and can be embedded as a pop-up annotation during the video, so it won’t interrupt the viewing experience.
It also allows your already engaged community on YouTube to support you for all the video content you’ve shared so far whilst funding independent Youtube content in the future. The drawbacks? You can only pay via Google Wallet, there’s no recurring contribution option and YouTube takes a percentage cut in commission, so your funding may go up and down wildly but there are lots of examples of YouTube Fan Funding success out there. Unfortunately, it’s also not live everywhere just yet, as it gradually rolls out to more countries you can sign up for YouTube Fan Funding (beta).
Finally, depending on your situation, funding may be gained via charitable foundations, local area grants, lottery funds, creative talent organisations and independent production companies. Whether you’re funding YouTube content, funding an independent movie production or looking to expand your animation portfolio, there are lots of options in your local community that you might not have even considered.
Look into what local creative media funding options may be available. For example, here are some of the films that the British Film Institute (BFI) Film Fund has helped bring to life
Now… Do your research
Find successful and unsuccessful funding campaigns from other content creators and filmmakers. Watch their pitch videos, scrutinise their crowdfunding methods. Is there a common thread between unsuccessful video funding campaigns? What would you like to emulate from a successful project? What would you like to avoid?
Remember, you’re also a viewer and backer yourself – just like the general video and film-watching public – so what video productions would you personally back? By answering all these questions you will have a clearer vision of how best to reach your funding goal.
Whether you’re funding for an epic blockbuster movie you’ve had an idea for or a weekly Youtube chat show, have a clear vision for why and how you’re hoping to raise funds:
- Describe your project
- Explain why you need support
- Disclose how you will use your funds
- Indicate how long production will take
- Tempt backers, pledgers and funders with rewards they get in return
In saying that, don’t reveal everything. Give your audience or prospective funding pool a delicious taste of what you would like to create and leave them mentally asking for more. Offer an incentive to cement their support and also get a little personal – if this is a lifelong goal or an idea you’ve been dreaming of seeing come to life, people will want to help you see it through. Appeal to their emotions.
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