Crowdfunding Goes To The Sundance Film Festival

English: sundance
English: sundance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Sundance Film Festival is currently taking place, bringing some of the most influential and talented individuals in the filmmaking industry to one place.

 

This year, the festival’s selection committee has chosen a number of crowdfunded films to be shown at the festival. Most of these – sixteen, to be exact – have been funded through Kickstarter, though a few got the funding by turning to other platforms.

 

First, the Kickstarter crop. The crowdfunding platform has released a list of films funded through its platform that are at Sundance. Fifteen films have already successfully completed their funding, while the sixteenth film, Linsanity: The Movie, has three and a half weeks to meet its $117,000 goal. So far, it looks to be on track to reach that sum. It may get a healthy boost in funding throughout the next few days, as news surfaced this morning that Jeremy Lin himself will attend the movie’s screening on the festival’s final day.

 

So far, though, the most-funded of Kickstarter films is Inequality for All, a documentary that looks at the widening income gap in the U.S., having brought in $83,000. In total, the fifteen films (not includingLinsanity) raised over $360,000.

 

 

Indiegogo, which launched at Sundance back in 2008, is also represented at the film festival. Perhaps most notable is the documentary Blood Brothers, which follows a tourist in India who meets a group of children infected with HIV. Not all filmmakers have used Indiegogo to actually shoot and edit their movies – the lead of the film This is Martin Bonner, for example, raised money to attend the screening.

 

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How to Pick A Crowdfunding Consultant

Editor’s Note: The following comes to us from Rose Spinelli, founder of The CrowdFundamentals, a crowdfunding consultancy. Spinelli offers newcomers some tips on how to choose a crowdfunding consultant that’s right for them. The original piece appeared on Spinelli’s blog, and we are reposting it here with her permission. Be sure to follow The CrowdFundamentals @TCFRose.

As trends go, crowdfunding is a toddler: all fired up and streaked with independence, in constant motion and grabbing at any shiny object put in its path, wobbly but growing more confident each day. If crowdfunding were a tactile thing, les enfants terribles would take a bite out of you.

But crowdfunding is not so new that it hasn’t birthed its own progeny—the crowdfund consultant. (I am referring to donor- and reward-based crowdfunding since, to push my metaphor one image too far, equity crowdfunding remains in a protracted period of gestation.) You could argue that the nature of crowdfunding defies such conventional paths, that part of its appeal is that every individual now has the tools and the potential audience to find her own way to success, middlemen be damned. Yet it’s a career track that’s found a foothold, and by the looks of the roster of individuals and companies identifying themselves as such, in my own niche capacity myself included, there are no signs the trend will slacken.

The truth is crowdfunding done well is really hard. It takes a diverse skill set. Creative types, who are big users of this new source of capital, are often weak on the communication, marketing and business end of things. Just scour a popular platform and you’ll see projects with great potential that don’t achieve their goal simply because they don’t know the space well enough to leverage it.

It also takes time to learn how to be successful at crowdfunding. Six months is a reasonable learning curve. Creators would rather be working on their art, innovators are immersed in inventions, and entrepreneurs seem to run on fumes as it is. So there is a need, and the vacuum is filling up, fast.

In an industry so untested, how is an individual or startup supposed to know whom to hire? Just saying you’re an expert doesn’t make it so. Since I spend an ungodly amount of time on the topic, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips I’ve picked up along the way. And since it would defeat the purpose to limit it to just one opinion, I contacted some of my colleagues, with whom I’ve formed a virtual salon on various LinkedIn crowdfunding groups, and asked them to weigh in.

Here’s what’s come of my research:

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Texas Crowdfunding Conference

The CrowdfundTX Conference featured an impressive assemblage of crowdfunding leaders from around the country. Organizer, Chris Camillo who sits on the board of the Crowdfunding Professionals Association, noted that bringing this group of “speakers together may never happen again.” The conference kept participants glued to their seats as real issues were discussed, leaving everyone feeling updated and excited about investment crowdfunding.

The top ten issues discussed at the conference were:

  1. Jobs: Investment crowdfunding was approved in 2012 when President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law; implementation still awaits regulations from the SEC and FINRA. The jobs, however, aren’t waiting. Heather Lopes, CEO ofEarlyShares, noted that the “JOBS Act has already created 1,500 to 2,000 jobs” from firms that have been launched to do investment crowdfunding and provide related services since the law passed. This represents a mere drop in the bucket compared to the potential jobs impact from unleashing investment crowdfunding, panelists suggested.
  2. Investment Crowdfunding: Perks or reward-based crowdfunding arguably goes back hundreds of years though its popularity on the internet goes back only about five years. Camillo noted that some companies can make little use of rewards-based crowdfunding, suggesting that a “If a physician has an idea for a new medical device, that is a better fit for equity.” Lopes also noted that the kindness that led to a New York community raising $75,000 to help a restaurant destroyed by Hurricane Sandy will also influence equity investments in crowdfunding.
  3. Race and Gender: Visiting one-on-one with Jonathan Sandlund of TheCrowdCafewhile being filmed for a segment in the upcoming documentary film Crowd of Angels, Sandlund agreed that crowdfunding would largely eliminate cultural biases observed in angel and venture capital financing, which are dominated by men making investments in businesses controlled by men. Crowdfunding deals go to women in the roughly the same proportion that women own businesses, according to The Crowdfunding Revolution. Sandlund expressed the belief that racial bias is also being eliminated by crowdfunding.  Rodney Sampson, author ofKingonomics, said, “If you don’t know what crowdfunding is, you can’t seek it out. We need an onramp of over-, over-education.” He added that for venture capitalists, crowdfunding “success will come first; race and gender will become secondary.”

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David Marlett Now Accepting Crowdfunding Consultation, on Success-Fee Basis!

DIFF 2011 - Miles for Film Dinner Party - Apri...
DIFF 2011 – Miles for Film Dinner Party – April 4th, 2011 (Photo credit: Dallas Film Society Images)

I received an email from my most esteemed colleague, friend & mentor David Marlett, JD and I wanted to repost this along with my highest recommendation to anyone, especially film makers who are trying to navigate the choppy waters of crowdfunding for their own projects or initiatives. It has been my pleasure to serve under David at the National Crowdfunding Association and I can think of no one more qualified to consult with companies or individuals who are seeking outside assistance.

Crowdfunding Consultation on Success-Fee Basis!

Seeking clients on success-fee basis to help crowdfund their projects, especially film projects. For all film projects, please submit through www.BlueRunCrowdfund.com . For all other projects, please contact me directly at dmarlett@CrowdfundInternational.com.

David Marlett, JD CPA
writer / producer / director

Managing Director
BLUERUN MEDIA
dmarlett@BlueRunMedia.com
214-208-2148
www.BlueRunMedia.com
www.BlueRunCrowdfund.com
linkedin.com/in/davidmarlett
twitter.com/#!/CrowdFundUs
oncrowd9.blogspot.com
skype: dmcrowdfund

Founder and Executive Director
NATIONAL CROWDFUNDING ASSOCIATION
www.NLCFA.org

Founder and Chairman of the Board
WORLD CROWDFUND FEDERATION
www.WorldCrowdfund.org

The World Crowdfunding Federation


World Crowdfund Federation Launches Across Five Continents (via PR Newswire)

Trade associations around the globe form federation to support crowdfunding WASHINGTON and TORONTO, Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today crowdfunding associations in the United States, Canada, Nigeria, Australia, Israel, India and Brazil announced the formation of the World Crowdfund Federation…

Continue reading “The World Crowdfunding Federation”