Funding Your Film Through the Fan Based Social Marketplace

In a previous post, “Let the Public Finance Your Film,” I looked at several examples of filmmakers utilizing the social landscape of the internet for funding their film. Their approach was to reach out and create a fan base that would lend financial support for their project. Kevin Kelly [bio] recently commented on the financial power of a fan base in his article titled, “1,000 True Fans.” Kelly states that “anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.” The expansion of that idea has created other websites that provide a platform for project funding and promotion.

The latest example is IndieGoGo. This is the hottest endeavor to utilize the social market place in helping filmmakers find funding for their projects. It was just launched in January ’08 and Filmmaker Magazine reported that the site announced its first film to reach its funding goal (The Lilliput by filmmaker Minna Zielonka-Packer raised $10,000 through the site). IndieGoGo allows filmmakers to incorporate what they call a “DIWO – Do It With Others” approach. Here’s how they describe it:

IndieGoGo enables this “filmocracy” by providing filmmakers an open platform to pitch their projects to the world, and giving the fans a vehicle to experience and influence the once inaccessible world of filmmaking. Filmmakers get new resources to build and engage a loyal fan base to assist in making their projects happen. Filmmakers can raise money and awareness, find cast and crew, and gain credibility through the help of their number one resource: their fans.” [excerpt from IndieGoGo-About Us]

Film Riot is an example of “crowdfunding” or “crowdsourcing” – using the power of the crowd to test ideas and then to allow them to ‘put their money where their mouth is.’ It’s a spin-off of Cambrian House which also uses “crowdsourcing” for projects in many different entrepreneurial ventures. Here’s FilmRiot’s mission:

FilmRiot endeavors to provide tools to filmmakers for fundraising, promotion and distribution of their film and video projects. The drop in equipment costs and internet distribution of video is creating a whole new layer of media creators. Our goal is to foster this creativity, help raise the quality, and provide wide distribution on multiple platforms.” [excerpt from FilmRiot-About]

Bounty Up is a site that’s “exploring the possibilities of social commerce.” Your idea or project is posted with a “bounty” and is set for the public to invest, donate or purchase. The site works as an escrow service which holds the money until your idea is fully funded. If the project is not completed, you and your contributors get your funds back.

Fundable and ChipIn are also worth mentioning. They collect funding from fans by using widgets that you can put on your film’s website.

Another option may be to explore some social lending sites like Zopa, Lending Club and Prosper. If don’t get what you need from the social marketplace, reach out to your biggest “fans” – your family and friends. Virgin Money (formerly Circle Lending) has set up an apparatus for you to borrow money from your biggest “fans.”

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  • Great Post. Its an exciting time for independent filmmakers. With all these new tools, I cant wait to see who becomes the next DIWO filmmaking success. FYI, another project, Changing the World on Vacation, reached its funding goal on IndieGoGo.

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