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Episode 38 – What Makes A Good Kickstarter Campaign?

What makes a good Kickstarter campaign? From making a great video to choosing the right rewards, we tell you our secrets.

Listen now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.


Show Notes / Links

The Daily Struggle

  • Timothy reaches 55,000 views on “LONE” and surpasses Alrik’s “Strange Thing” record
  • Alrik talks about getting rejected from more festivals and we discuss the difficulty of making it into film festivals
  • Timothy talks about the post-project depression

Topic of the Week – What Makes A Good Kickstarter Campaign?

Between the two of them, Alrik and Timothy have raised more than $100,000 on Kickstarter for their films. How did they do it? This week we talk about what makes a good Kickstarter campaign.

What Makes A Good Kickstarter Campaign?

  • What do you put on the page?
  • What do you put in your video?
  • What’s a good reward?
  • What’s a bad reward?
  • How do you tell people about your project?

Timothy’s favorite Kickstarter Campaign is Princess Cicada

Alrik’s favorite Kickstarter Campaign is Blue Ruin

What Happens After Your Campaign Is Over?

  • Kickstarter and Credit Card Fees
  • How the IRS Gets Involved
  • 1099s and w-9s
  • Backer Rewards
  • Taxes!!!

Final Thoughts

Take your time, Kickstarter is it’s own project.

Things to Share

The People Vs OJ Simpson


Contact Us

Thanks for listening

What Do You Think?

We want to hear from you, find us @TimothyPlain and @alrikb!

Do you disagree?

Do you have an experience to share?

Send us an email or leave a comment here

Published inFilm FestivalsFilmmakingKickstarterMarketingScreenwriting
  • Talk to us! What do you think?

  • Really liked this episode! I liked hearing how Timothy structured his Kickstarter campaign. I wonder if the platform requires even more effort than before now that 1) people have been burned by bad Kickstarters 2) it’s more crowded than ever 3) you pretty much need to already be successful or have a large following to meet your goal. Without strong marketing skills or several thousand fans hungry for your product, it seems very very difficult.

    • Plus there’s FundAnything, Seed&Spark, IndieGoGo, Go Fund Me. According to this article there are 22 Crowdfunding Sites: That’s a lot of people asking for money.

    • Yeah, I think you need to think about it as a full time job to run a kickstarter, just really promote the crap out of it and know that each donation is going to be one you get by hustling, not by people finding the campaign on your own. Personally, I’m much more interested in reaching out to friends/family directly for funds and then only fallback onto kickstarter as a last resort.

  • Alex G

    Great episode … really good insights, a lot of which I had never considered before.

    Had a question for both of you: For your respective kickstarters, what percentage of your backers were people you knew (friends/family/co-workers) vs total strangers? Always curious how that breaks out for people.

    And I know you touched a little bit on the marketing side, but other than Alrik’s write-up from the Star Trek convention and e-mail blasts, were there any other specific outlets that you marketed your campaigns through?

    • Most of the money I raised came from people I knew. Only a handful of people were strangers. This was not what I expected to happen, but there you have it. Part of the reason for that is because I wasn’t written up anywhere. I didn’t plan for it. I just put my Kickstarter campaign up without a plan so the success of my campaign came down to me and the other crew members reaching out to our friends and family to make it happen.

    • My answer is the same as Timothy, 90% were friends, family or co-workers/associates of some kind. I really did fail on the marketing side of things, that star trek convention write up was great but I didn’t even know about it till months later so yeah, next time I’ll make sure to get some sort of write up when we launch, some how.

  • Hey guys, great episode!

    I agree with Timothy about Kickstarter thank yous. Maybe include them with $50-$100+ levels. On the low end $10-$20 would seem to be a better option. $5 seems too low, plus I like the idea of getting something. for each level, even if it’s a digital script or BTS content.

    Timothy, you actually created the Traveling Roadshow before Tarantino did it. I think it’s a great idea. It’s a good way to build fans of your work and grow your base.

    Talking about taxes can get boring, but I would love an episode with general tax advice. Many indie filmmakers I know have day jobs and work on shoestring budgets. If there is anything you can add to help new filmmakers it would be greatly appreciated.

    • Yeah, make people buy into Thank Yous if they want them. But why include them automatically?

      I’m with Tarantino that movies need to be an event. I would love to continue to do that sort of thing as I grow as a filmmaker. It’s fun for me and fun for the audience. It means a little more work, but it’s worth it. I think I was inspired for this idea by Kevin Smith, actually. He took his movie on the road instead of getting traditional distribution and I really liked that idea.

      Taxes are a huge topic for me. I don’t know if we could fill an entire episode, but I think it would be worthwhile talking about some of the major points for ten or twenty minutes.

    • Ha, no one likes kickstarter thank you’s…I guess that shows what I know,right?

      Ok, so no taxes only episode but yeah, I think it will be a must once we both produce/direct features as this is going to come up in a big way later on.

      Thanks for the love and for the comment!

  • Just listened to this episode. I think thank yous are fine. I have been contributing to campaigns for years and liked getting a little credit in a film or project that I “helped make”. The paid thank you in a twitter message or something like that was always a little silly to me. Those should be automatic. Someone is giving you money for your project. The least you could do is thank them publicly. “Selling” credits in the end credits and even front credits (producer, etc) is something I still like. It might not be for everyone, but I think their are people that like this. The great thing about credits on the filmmaker side, is that it’s a costs nothing. This is something I think really needs to be hammered home with campaigns. Have as many awesome perks that don’t have a production cost to them. Shirts, DVDs and stuff like that cuts into the whole purpose of what you are raising money for. Keep those to a minimum.

    • I recently heard a podcast (I think it was Just Shoot It) where they discouraged pre-selling your film to the Kickstarter backers because you want an audience hungry for your film when it’s released and if they are already getting the film for “free” then they are less likely to let their friends know it’s out there and available. That sounds great in theory, but how the hell are you supposed to get people to back your film if you aren’t going to give them a copy? Maybe offering a free rental? I don’t know. For me, the purpose of Kickstarter is pre-sales. That’s just how it works. Thoughts?

      • Totally get you Tim! I just heard this somewhere as well. I also think/thought it would be a great way to pre-sell you film. I am currently working on a crowd fund campaign that’s not live yet, but thought of one idea that possibly you could do. This is totally in theory and might be a total bust. Pre-sell a download to backers, BUT you don’t simply give them a copy of the movie off your own site or gumroad or anything like that. You send them either a coupon or something that gets them to purchase off of the platform you are using for your TVOD. This might be way more complicated then I am making it out to be, but just thought of that this week. I am curious if this is even something you could do. Say for example you use iTunes, and when you release your film there, you get your backers to “buy” your film from there. You obviously reimburse them in some way using their money they purchased from your campaign. I don’t know how you actually execute this, but got me thinking this route. It would be a sort of win-win in terms of momentum and algorithms. You would get the ‘sales’ on iTunes, thus boosting your film and boosting it early, which is key to get that iTunes engine working in your favour for organic sales. Am I way off?

        • I like the idea of a coupon or voucher because it puts the traffic where it belongs to hopefully boost your exposure on that platform.

          Step 1. decide where you plan to direct your traffic
          Step 2. find out if that platform offers coupons or voucher codes

          I think I’ve had people send me vouchers for Vimeo, I don’t think I’ve seen it on Amazon or iTunes. I’m guessing they’d want to discourage it because they don’t want to mess up their algorithms with a bunch of free downloads.

          Here’s one idea! Could you GIFT the movie from Amazon or iTunes? You buy the movie a bunch of times using your Kickstarter funding and send them to your backers as gifts through one of those platforms? This way, money filters through Amazon and iTunes, movies get sent to your backers and everyone is happy.

          Let me know what you end up doing. Your thinking is right, now you just have to figure out a way to do it.

          • That’s a great idea. I am going to research more. Getting the funds through the platform systems I think is key, if your goal is to hopefully get some organic sales growth. I will keep you posted on what we do.