Hands up who wants to make their own movie? We’d bet there’s a lot of you out there harbouring aspirations to become the next Cameron, Wan or Shyamalan (yes, admit it, at least one or two of you would like to have your own The Happening or The Last Airbender under your belt) but, if you thought writing the screenplay was the hard thing, raising the money to put the screenplay in front of cameras will probably send you bouncing off the walls. It doesn’t matter how experienced a filmmaker you are, financing is always a nightmare – and if you’re a filmmaker who’s still at the start of their career, that nightmare will generally take gargantuan proportions.
If any of that sounds like something you’re experiencing, you should probably pick up Stephen Follows’ new book. Crowdfunding is now a major source of investment for independent filmmakers (according to the author, more than $250 million has been raised for films on Kickstarter alone) so if you’re trying to get your own project off the ground and not considering crowdfunding as a potential source of revenue you’re almost certainly missing out. But what’s that you say? It all sounds too difficult? Read How to Crowdfund Your Film and you may be pleasantly enlightened.
Stephen Follows has obviously done his research. There are concisely written fact-packed chapters on everything from how to plan your campaign, how to craft your campaign’s story and make your pitch even more compelling, what kind of rewards you should offer to your crowdfunding investors, how to promote and run your campaign, how to find the perfect campaign host and even how to cope with failure if – despite all your hard work – your campaign still doesn’t make it off the launchpad. But even if that happens, we’d say the chances are good that this book will have injected you with enough energy and enthusiasm to immediately start crowdfunding again on your next project. With data analysis on over 50,000 film crowdfunding campaigns, interviews with over 50 filmmakers who have run crowdfunding campaigns (including four more in-depth interviews at the back of the book) and the definite sense that Follows has left no stone unturned when he put this material together (right down to including a lot of nifty illustrations), it’s hard to think of anything How to Crowdfund Your Film has omitted.
As filmmaking books go, this is one of the rare ones: useful, uncluttered, very easy-to-read, packed with great ideas and pleasingly free of academic B.S. Sometimes we read ‘how to’ books about film production and it’s obvious they’ve been written by someone who doesn’t really care if you succeed or not. When we read How to Crowdfund Your Film we got the distinct impression that Stephen Follows really wants to help his readers make their films happen. We can’t give a stronger recommendation than that. If you’re a filmmaker you should definitely have this book on your shelf.
REVIEW: HOW TO CROWDFUND YOUR FILM - TIPS AND STRATEGIES FOR FILMMAKERS / AUTHOR: STEPHEN FOLLOWS / PUBLISHER: CREATIVE ESSENTIALS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW