Many of us have had this moment: you’re sitting around with friends, storytelling and hypothesizing, when suddenly you find yourselves in the middle of an incredible fantasy world. As the plot thickens, you realize you are writing the script to an excellent movie, short film, or web series! Now… How do you take the next step to turn your creative dream into reality?
If you’re not independently wealthy, the biggest roadblock to producing your film idea will likely be funding. Paying for actors, crew, sets, equipment, costumes, production, post-production, promotion, distribution, and so forth can add up quickly! Thankfully, in the age of the Internet, there are a few ways to tackle these issues head-on.
Unless you’ve spent the past 5 years inside a remote cave, you’re probably familiar with crowdfunding. Crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe have provided convenient platforms for artists, musicians, and filmmakers to raise money for their creative projects. Crowdfunding works because it gives supporters an important role. No longer are audiences just passive watchers; those who contribute to crowdfunding campaigns benefit by receiving perks, updates, and first access to the projects they support. By volunteering money up front, backers get so much more than just a finished product – they actually become a part of the project.
Crowdfunding makes it possible for you to help talented people realize their creative fantasies. We all get to follow the progress and share the sense of accomplishment. Even if you’re not necessarily a creative type, by donating money to a crowdfunding campaign you get the opportunity to say you helped make a movie, album, or artistic project.
Independent artists such as Amanda Palmer have successfully bucked the mainstream system using this method, releasing projects that might not have gotten approved by stuffy top-level executives. This cooperative model takes some of the power back from Hollywood, record labels, and Big Business; thus promoting diversity in the arts. Creators, project backers, and humanity all benefit when finances don’t limit creative expression!
Crowdsourcing is another excellent, and sometimes overlooked resource. Let’s say you are making a zombie movie… of course you have asked all your friends to play zombies. But have you tried posting on Craisglist, or putting fliers up on a local college campus? Have you reached out to videographers and post-production people in your area? By crowdsourcing your project, you get new people involved, who will likely tell their friends about it. You get new perspectives, fresh ideas, and stir up a little bit of buzz in the community. People who have knowledge but lack substantial experience can get the opportunity to gain hands-on experience while contributing to something awesome. When people feel truly involved in your project, they get excited about it! Yes, you will probably still need funding, but you will certainly need less of it if you have a number of people ready and willing to donate their time.
Recently, my friends and I began work on a short film called Who Would Jesus Date? The premise of our film is simple: what if you brought Jesus home to your parents and they didn’t approve of him? It’s a funny little take on modern dating and relationships, centered around one of the most iconic figures of all time.
Once we decided to make this film, we knew we would need some help. We turned to the community, and were overwhelmed by the positive response! As our Kickstarter campaign comes to a close, we have nearly doubled our modest funding goal, and are excited to be working with more than 20 individuals who are donating time, equipment, and energy to make this film a reality! We are humbled, honored, and absolutely thrilled to have received so much support. This gratitude motivates us to make the best possible film we can, to prove to our project backers that Who Would Jesus Date was an excellent investment. We want everyone who volunteers their time or money to this project to share in our success and feel like they had a hand in creating something truly worthwhile.
Helping an artist (or group of artists) realize their vision is as easy as donating a few dollars or volunteering a service. It’s as easy as promoting their project on your social media outlets. It’s as easy as offering to lend a hand, or your expertise. Crowdfunding enables the dreamers to become doers, and forms connections between artists and audiences. One person’s $5 alone might not produce a film, but collectively, we can make it happen!
If you would like to donate to the Who Would Jesus Date Kickstarter campaign or spread the word about it, we would be eternally grateful. (If not, that’s okay too. I still like you!)