We are just over the halfway point in our crowdfunding campaign for our new film Pitching Tents. I thought it would be fun or torturous - take your pick - to run through all the emotions that our crowdfunding campaign has stirred up.
1) Fear.It's really scary to launch a crowdfunding campaign. What if no one contributes? What if I fail to reach my goal? What if I look like a loser? What if my friends and family get so annoyed by my constant search for money in order to make movies that they write me off forever? I know that sounds silly but it's irrational thoughts like these that a crowdfunding campaign can elicit. These feelings can be so strong that some filmmakers never run a campaign.
In these moments of fear, here's what I tell myself: I have chosen to be an independent filmmaker and it's a reality I will be on the eternal search for money to make movies. Never expect anyone to contribute to my films, but jump for joy when they do. The only way I can receive any funding is if I ask for it. I need to work as hard as I possibly can for each and every dime put into my films - it's the only way to achieve success. Never rest on my laurels. I will always be pushing to get my titles in front of an audience. That is my life. I must accept my choice and learn how to overcome my fear of what it takes to be an independent filmmaker. How do I do that? Go into everything I do with good intentions and create a foundation for each project whereby everyone gains - both emotionally and financially. With good intentions and humility and grace, I can overcome all obstacles, including fear.
2) Anxiety.It's really hard to fall asleep at night wondering about the future of your crowdfunding campaign. Anxiety is always lurking, threatening to choke you. You feel the watchful eye of the world on your every move and you hope they aren't rolling their eyes. But again, that's irrational, because in reality, when you launch your campaign, you're already winning. You have committed to your project and you are taking control of its future. You aren't sitting back waiting for someone to hand you the means for making your film. Believe in yourself and your project and hopefully any anxiety can be quelled by the knowledge that you are doing everything in your power to make your film a success.
3) Joy.Each and every contribution or act of support brings us closer to our goal and the amount of joy associated is immeasurable. These moments make it all worthwhile. Revel in the joy and work hard for these moments.
4) Thankfulness.I can't even begin to describe how grateful I am each and every time someone contributes, does a shout out, pats us on the back, shares the campaign with friends/family, listens to me prattle on about my movies, deals with all my Facebook statuses and tweeting - the list goes on. Each and every day, I wake up feeling such immense appreciation and love for everyone in my life. And what a positive way to wake up. It feels glorious. And in turn, I know that I am there for everyone in my life. I will go to the ends of the earth to support my friends/family/fellow filmmakers. It's a two way street. And I love knowing that we are all in this crazy thing we call life, together. That truly makes me thankful.
5) Stress.The stress associated with running a crowdfunding campaign is huge. I could literally be working on it 24/7. But I know that I can't. It's physically impossible to do everything you want to do. That's why it's so important to build a team who will become your film family, who will help carry the weight of the campaign and the making of the film. I know I've said it before, but it truly takes a village. When I start to feel the tight grip of stress, I take a deep breath and I call my teammates and we talk it out. We share the stress. Exercise and hugs help too.
6) Inspired.Seeing all of the support that comes in during a crowdfunding campaign is absolutely inspiring. It makes you want to go out and do great things - to show your supporters that they're belief in you is worth it. Being inspired is a huge motivator for success. I love being inspired!
7) Proud.I am so proud of the work we do on our films. This is our career and our lives. We work so hard to make everything we do, the best it can possibly be. We take what we do seriously. Film has so much power to inspire laughter and tears and even change. There are many films that changed me forever. So we take our strong work ethic and we apply it to our crowdfunding campaigns too. Because we're proud of the work we do and we want our audience to feel something from our stories. Essentially, the pride grows each day as we lay a solid foundation for our indie film.
8) Guilt.How does one feeling guilty when running a crowdfunding campaign? I think it's the idea of asking people for money. And wishing you didn't have to. Wishing it were easier to get indie films made. Wishing you didn't have to struggle when making each and every film and do multiple crowdfunding campaigns. I know we are asking for money in exchange for a perk and involvement in making a film - something many people want. And I know we are going to put every dollar to good use. But it's still never easy to ask others for money and admit that the process of making a film is challenging and truly takes a village. Having to lean on others is inherently a tough realization that can make us feel guilty. But know that you are contributing toward something important - you are helping to keep indie film alive. The arts are truly important for the well-being of mankind. We need to laugh and cry and share our stories. So stop feeling guilty and get out there and make something special that can help make another person's day a little better.
9) Surprised.I don't know if "surprised" is the right word because I'm not surprised that people can be generous. The generosity is absolutely astounding. I can't even express the gratitude I feel for every contribution and act of support. I think the feelings of surprise are that all these people want to help YOU. Why do you deserve the money that you are being given? In response, I would say, let's turn that question around, why don't you deserve the money you're being given? You're making a movie with which you plan to entertain each and every contributor. You're providing a fun perk that they can enjoy and you're giving each person the ability to take part in making a movie. Not everyone has the opportunity to take part in making a movie. You are giving that person an experience. In the end, I think it all comes back to good intentions and old-fashioned hard work. You aren't taking other people's money to just blow it. You're working really, really hard for the money they are giving you. You are providing them with a piece of the journey. And that's worth something. So don't feel surprised. Instead, work hard for the money you're given.
10) Relief.There is a huge wave of relief that washes over you as you see the amount of funding grow. Suddenly all of the anxiety of being able to afford to make the film eases a bit. You realize that you will have the funding to make it happen and you're growing the audience for the film before it's even made. And that, my friends, it's the greatest feeling in the world and what you set out to do when you hit that Launch the Campaign button.
A crowdfunding campaign is about believing in yourself and your film. There's no shame in wanting to bring people together in the common cause of getting your film made. And know that every filmmaker who runs a crowdfunding campaign experiences each and every emotion discussed above. Even those filmmakers who seem to have raised the funding for their projects so easily. I guarantee they had moments of anxiety and joy and thankfulness and even pangs of guilt (am I worthy?). All you can do is deal with the emotions and find ways of working through them. Exercise is a great way of working through your emotions. In fact, I'm heading out for a walk after I finish this entry.
It's true that you will likely fail more times than you succeed. But with each failure, you learn to be stronger and better. There is something positive that comes out of everything you do. So get out there and don't be afraid to ride the roller coaster of life and moviemaking and experience the good and the bad of it all. When you do take chances, you're living.
When it's all said and done, whether or not we reach our goal of raising $75k, we will have won. Every dollar will be used to make our film better and stronger. And the amount of people we have engaged in our campaign and who now know about our film is worth its weight in gold. So thank you to everyone who has stirred up all these emotions. We couldn't be more grateful.
We hope you check out our campaign while it's still going. Just click here on the box and you will be taken to our IndieGoGo page. Thanks everyone! Let's get emotional together.