Category - Film

Influence is everything! The importance of social media influencers in a crowdfunding campaign.

images3

Social media influencers are trusted voices within their fields, be it tech, music or film. They drive conversation and action on social media and generally have a huge following of people. They can definitely be of huge help to your fundraiser as, through them, your cause will reach a lot more people within similar fields and will come across as credible and promising.

How do I know which influencers I should reach out to?
There are many ways of determining which influencer you might want to reach out to. However, creative folks should first ensure that their project is aligned with their style and genres of creative work. Here are some ways one can reach out to influencers in their industries:

Through individual social networks: Going on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn will allow you to see the number of followers someone has, as well as their level of engagement on social media.
Check their Klout score: Klout is a website and mobile app that uses social media to rank its users. Some metrics to consider for your influencers are number of followers, Klout score and search engine ranking.
Search Engines: For example, if you are looking for social media influencers in the travel industry, you would go to Google, type in ‘travel blogs’ and take the top-ranking blogs that show up on the first page. Then, you would comb through the blogs and crosscheck the users on Klout and their social media profiles and pages. These factors would help you determine whether you would want to engages with these influencers or not.

How can I reach out to them?
Simple, tweet to them, tag them in you post or cause, send them an email (you might procure their email addresses on their blog). The ways of reaching out are vast, and if your project looks promising, they will respond.

How will they help?
They will boost the buzz around your project, hopefully donate generously to your cause, and give you a lot more exposure amongst people doing, and consequently supporting, similar things.

Filmmakers On Crowdfunding #3: Pawan Kumar on Lucia

Source: Campus Diaries

[Want more inside stories on independent filmmakers and their trysts with crowdfunding? Check out Part I exploring Proposition for a Revolution’s journey & Part II, which follows Anamitra Roy’s experience crowdfunding for his One Rupee Film Project.]

After digging deeper into the history of crowdfunding in film with Shyam Benegal, and exploring director Navneet Prakash’s journey working on his racing documentary ‘Sons of Speed’, we decided to cut to the chase. As we continue exploring the relationship between crowdfunding and films, we go straight to the sources — collecting opinions from filmmakers who have crowdfunded for their films and had their audiovisual dreams see the light of day because of it.

In Part III of this series, we look at the journey of the Kannada thriller film Lucia, by Pawan Kumar, to distil the essence of what it is about independent filmmaking and crowdfunding that make it such a natural fit.

Lucia is a bit of a crowdfunding institution in Kannada cinema, having been the first film to be produced by the audience. Straddling the line between fantasy and reality, the story follows a man suffering from insomnia who is desperate for some sleep. He’s tricked into taking a drug, Lucia, that induce dreams in which all his desires come true. While we weren’t able to contact filmmaker Pawan Kumar for an interview, his blog gives us much insight into the process. 

Funnily enough, it all started with a lot of frustration on Pawan’s part, about being unable to fund his film. After months of chasing producers and sponsors, the director of 2011 film ‘Lifeu Ishtene‘ was at the end of his wits and uploaded an outraged blogpost titled ‘Making Enemies’, that interestingly describes his ‘gut feeling’ about how Lucia could become ‘a cult film for the Kannada industry’. It also expressed his grievances with the difficulty of funding the film, and the audience’s obsession with watching films starring celebrities and ‘big names’.

The response to this blogpost was overwhelming, and this was when the concept of crowdfunding first entered the picture. “Around 10 days after I put up the post, a lady from the UK transferred 200,000 rupees (around $3,200) to my account. Soon, I had around 800,000 to 900,000 rupees in my account. That is when I realized I was on to something,” the filmmaker told Reuters.

“They never looked at me as a guy from the industry who might be trying to loot them in the name of entertainment. They looked at me as a guy next door, who was aspiring to do something new,” Pawan explains in his blogpost“And that is why they supported me unconditionally. So, when I told these people, that I will make an honest attempt to make a feature film in Kannada and to put this film on a global platform, they just supported the vision of the project: to take Kannada cinema to a global audience.”

Filmmaker Pawan Kumar, who wrote and directed Lucia, the first crowdfunded Kannada film. Source: bangalore.citizenmatters.in

Filmmaker Pawan Kumar, who wrote and directed Lucia, the first crowdfunded Kannada film. Source: bangalore.citizenmatters.in

Lucia’s goal was to raise INR 6 million in 100 days, which they ended up meeting in just 27 days. As the film gained popularity, he realised that there were enough people who wanted to watch it on the big screen, which — again — was an expensive process. At this point, Pawan decided to give the audience a chance to become an online distributor by pre-ordering the film — they just have to share the film with someone, from which they would get a commission. The digital distribution experiment was a roaring success, and the film earned INR 10.6 million in ticket sales in the first week alone.

“The film is a genuinely good indie, which doesn’t always happen. It’s an out-of-the-box film that can continue on in screens outside Karnataka,” said Shiladitya Bora, who heads PVR Director’s Rare, the indie arm of the multiplex chain.

Pawan has spoken at length about how the whole team made a conscious effort to never waste money on set, and maintained that his first priority was to give back to his backers, who had invested an admirable amount of trust in him. “The fact that we can today make such stories in Kannada is a success,” he says, dismissing the commercial profits the film ended up making. “Finally, it made many people take pride in saying that the Kannada audience made Lucia, and I am so happy that it will be remembered that way..Forever, Lucia will be known as the first Kannada film produced by the audience, and that’s a title the community has earned for itself. 

“Lets stop treating ourselves as creators and the audience as consumers. A filmmaker and the audience are participating together in the success or the failure of a film. As soon as we give our audience the same importance, there will be magic.. I hope, that in the future there will be many more such examples, where the community gets the due credit it deserves.”

The film went on to premiere at the London Indian Film Festival 2013, where it won ‘Audience Choice Award’ and it has also been remade in Tamil. Pawan Kumar is currently working on his second film C10H14N2, which he is crowdfunding as well.

Filmmakers On Crowdfunding #2: The One Rupee Film Project

onerupee-source-madaboutmoviez

[Want more inside stories on independent filmmakers and their trysts with crowdfunding? Check out Part I exploring Proposition for a Revolution’s journey, and stay tuned for Part III!]

After digging deeper into the history of crowdfunding in film with Shyam Benegal, and exploring director Navneet Prakash’s journey working on his racing documentary ‘Sons of Speed’, we decided to cut to the chase. As we continue exploring the relationship between crowdfunding and films, we go, this time, straight to the sources — collecting opinions from filmmakers who have crowdfunded for their films and thus, had their audiovisual dreams see the light of day because of it.

In Part II of this series, we look at the journey of The One Rupee Project, and speak to filmmaker Anamitra Roy to distil the essence of what it is about independent filmmaking and crowdfunding that make them such a natural fit. Roy’s film tackles something a little more abstract that what the average Indian viewer is used to — it’s a DIY docu-fiction that’s based on the indie film scene in India.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

Describing it as a ‘a self-reflexive mockery of the whole journey, our struggle and the place of indie films in the map of motion picture entertainment in the country’, Anamitra explains that the film’s post-structural composition uses several layers of meanings to tell one story, in a non-linear manner.

Initially, Anamitra explains, the aim was to come up with something that’d make their voices reach a larger audience. “People were interested and talking about indie films as far as I remember, but no one was looking at the margins,” he says.

“Crowdfunding was always there if you look at things a little differently,” he says, when asked about how he decided to turn to the means for gathering funds. “When we were in college we used to raise funds for almost everything; from literary bulletins to hardcore political poster campaigns. Making a crowdfunded film was on our agenda since 2009.”

Hosted on Wishberry and Funduzz, their campaign started accepting contributions in February, 2012, with a blog launched in tandem. “We also had handouts being circulated with the details of the campaign for the contributors,” he explains. They managed to raise 215k offline and 85k online, finally, out of which at least 70k came from people they knew.

“The response was huge,” he recalls. “People gave us money to make something most of them would either find boring or too complicated to be understood. We tried to make an engaging film, not an entertaining one, and we did it.”

“We couldn’t manage gap funding for colour grading, ADR and folly, and sending it out to film festivals, but we did make the film. And that’s enough for us to consider it a success. Only a few people have watched it till date, and it was never released even though many articles online claim otherwise.”

The biggest stumbling block that crowdfunding is facing, in his opinion, is the ‘hypocrisy of the new Indian middle class’. Anamitra shares. “By middle class, I refer to people with a disposable salary. Everyone is a revolutionary on Facebook and Twitter, but when it comes to taking a step (this does not refer to signing a petition on change.org) or building up a community dedicated to a cause, what we are left with are mostly those pseudo-activists who are only out to prove a virtual point.”

As for 3 tips he’d give someone looking to start a crowdfunding campaign, Roy says, “Don’t get lost in the myth of the starving artist or else you’ll end up breaking the bank for real. Don’t believe in the hysteria named people’s art. That’s complete BS and art is a very personal thing. Thirdly, it’s all about the momentum. Be desperate enough to not lose it because this kind of a campaign might take a toll on your life.”

Anamitra isn’t sure he’d crowdfund again, but he knows that if he does, he’ll be outsourcing the whole process to someone else so he can concentrate on other aspects of filmmaking.

Filmmakers On Crowdfunding #1: Proposition for A Revolution

pfr

[Want more inside stories on independent filmmakers and their trysts with crowdfunding? Stay tuned for Parts II (exploring Anamitra Roy’s ‘The One Rupee Film Project‘) & III.]

After digging deeper into the history of crowdfunding in film with Shyam Benegal, and exploring director Navneet Prakash’s journey working on his racing documentary ‘Sons of Speed’, we decided to cut to the chase. As we continue exploring the relationship between crowdfunding and films, we go, this time, straight to the sources — collecting opinions from filmmakers who have crowdfunded for their films and thus, had their audiovisual dreams see the light of day because of it.

In Part I of this series, we look at the journey of the team behind upcoming documentary Proposition for a Revolution by Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla, to distil the essence of what it is about independent filmmaking and crowdfunding that make them such a natural fit.

Proposition for A Revolution chronicles the journey of the Aam Aadmi Party from its genesis, right up till its first Delhi Assembly elections.

“The project started with the two of us going to Delhi in late 2012, to find out what exactly was happening on ground with the AAP,” Khushboo tells us. “The news reports that were coming were largely dissatisfactory, so we decided to make a trip. Once in Delhi, we realised something very unique was unfolding, and we began to document everything on camera, simply because there was nobody else documenting it.

“Slowly, the AAP phenomenon became bigger and the story began to play itself out. We had been filming all along so the project really grew organically from one stage to another.”

Khushboo explains that while the initial funding on the project came out of their own pockets and from Anand Gandhi, their first and strongest backer, many that they showed their material to, loved it — but didn’t necessarily want to put money on it. “We were looking for funding continuously, but most private investors in India found the idea of a political documentary rather dangerous and unsavoury,” she explains. Some very prestigious international documentary grants kept the project afloat for a while, until finally, they turned to crowdfunding as a last resort.

10364119_1478158902421712_3176875343945080305_n-(1)

Creating their own platform, they set up their own website, borrowed a friend’s payment gateway and got the ball rolling. With a dedicated crowdfunding campaign team in place, headed by ‘whizkid’ Zain Memon, they set up all the technical, design and organisational workflows for the campaign, which helped them stay on top of things as they went along.

Their campaign ended up raising over 180% of its intended target, to their genuine surprise. Khushboo highlights an important point, “More than money, there have been so many people who have come forward and offered us their resources, and a chance to collaborate. It’s good to know when your work resonates with people.”

Co-creators of Prop4Rev, Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla. Source: Platform Magazine

Co-creators of Prop4Rev, Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla. Source: Platform Magazine

When asked for three tips they’d give someone looking to start a crowdfunding campaign, Vinay says, “Firstly, get a dedicated team for your campaign. You will probably have to pay them but you’ll need a dedicated team. Secondly, be prepared to adapt. It may just turn out that your campaign gets a lukewarm response and you have to rethink your strategy. And lastly, get an accountant/money person on board when you are planning your campaign. Our accountant helped us understand the financial liabilities attached with our campaign and it’s deliverables which in turn helped us plan better. I know this sounds boring but just do it.”

Khushboo’s take addresses different aspects, “Firstly, identify captive groups and online communities which are likely to identify/empathize with your cause. Secondly, your pitch/trailer is the most important part of your campaign. Aim for clarity and a compelling narrative. Thirdly, engage with your backers. You’ll be surprised with what can come out of such interactions.”

When asked if they’d turn to crowdfunding again in the future, their answer’s a no-brainer, “Definitely.”