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Kickstarter: Successful Crowdfunding for Films

Do you yearn to create your own projects even though you're short on capital to fund them? Do you wish you had the practical skills to fund your creative visions? Have you struggled with crowdfunding in the past, but want to try it again? Join us at Successful Crowdfunding with Kickstarter, a seminar hosted by the Beverly Hills Playhouse. Actress and expert Kickstarter campaign manager, Leah Cevoli, will teach you the basics for success in crowdfunding, describe the important role of social media, and show you the back end of the Kickstarter platform. Leah has run five successful Kickstarter campaigns raising over $350,000 and is now in high demand as a campaign manager. Seminar attendees will leave with the tools to start their own campaigns.

Joining Leah, will be Mark Gantt. Mark is the co-creator, actor, and executive producer of The Bannen Way. Mark has produced a number successful Kickstarter campaigns. He is also the creator of The Webseries Workshops. Read about Mark in the links above.

 Chapter Markers:

00:09 Seminar Introduction
01:20 Mark Introduction
02:48 Leah's Background
03:41 Leah's First Experience With Kickstarter
07:01 "Everything We Do Is About Leverage"
08:12 Kickstarter Campaign Prep Time
10:22 The Biggest Thing About The Prep: Research
12:04 "It's Not A Cookie Cutter Thing"
12:49 "Figure Out The Angle"
14:29 Pulling Down A Kickstart Campaign
15:58 Q: How Do You Determine How Much To Ask For?
16:25 Stretch Goals
17:56 Putting People In The Forefront
18:35 Setting A Realistic Budget
19:40 The Difference Between Kickstarter & Indiegogo
21:50 The Back-End Of Kickstarter
24:11 "The Biggest Lie We Can Say To Ourselves"
28:16 "Talk About Why You're Doing It & What The Project Is"
32:37 Brad's Video [Inaudible]
35:07 "If I Don't Hit It, I Don't Get Any Of It"
35:27 Q: Is There A Standard Length For The Video?
36:33 It's All About Branding
37:59 Updating Your Kickstarter Campaign
41:16 Spreading The Word About Your Campaign
45:47 Proofread All Of Your Text
46:41 Know How You Plan To Make Your Project
49:44 Q: Will There Be Tax?
58:40 Rewards For Your Kickstarter Campaign
1:09:32     Building Up Your Social Media Pages
1:11:23 What To Do With Your Kickstarter Backer List
1:14:05 Use Hashtags On Twitter
1:17:54 Making Sure Your Thank-Yous Are Sent
1:20:57 Planning Everything Ahead Of Time
1:21:45 Manpower & Task Management
1:23:12 An Example Of Campaign Failure
1:25:02 Paying The People Involved In Your Campaign
1:27:13 Press Releases & Getting Exposure
1:35:41 Q: Any Marketing Strategies When Doing A Campaign?
1:38:34 Q: Are Ads Recommended For A Kickstarter Campaign?
1:41:22 Connect, Interact, & Talk About Your Project
1:45:59 The Potential Role Of "Interns" In Your Project
1:47:48 Wrapping Up The Discussion

Ajarae:
Hi everyone! Thanks for coming to our Kickstarter Success Seminar!

 

We’re all Drama students here at the Playhouse and I consider myself very fortunate to be among a community of artists who work together all the time on their craft. And, I know a lot of us–and those of you who are here from the outside world, welcome–but a lot of us have ideas for projects they want to do and we need the practical skills to fund those projects. And so, if you’re interested in learning that, you’re in the right place because we have a teacher here at the playhouse, Mark Gantt, who is— 

 

Audience:

Yeah! [applause]

 

Ajarae:

—who has created some tremendous projects of his own and is experienced at crowdfunding, and his friend, a serious, like, a legit crowdfunding expert, Leah Cevoli. Let’s welcome Leah.

 

Audience:

[applause]

 

Ajarae:

Leah has funded several campaigns, raising over $350,000, so she’s going to share, they’re both going to share their expertise with us and we’re excited to get your feedback after the seminar. Thanks!

 

Mark:

Thank you. So, I just quickly wanted to say that, you know, Allan Barton who runs this place mentioned wanting to do something like this, you know, something about Kickstarter because everybody is doing that from Spike Lee to, you know, just an actor in this class kind of thing. And there’s a lot of things that you can’t learn just from, like, I mean, you learn it from doing it. I mean, you can learn it from being here with us, but this is kind of like we want this to be more of you guys ask. I mean, she’s got a great outline of what she wants to do and kind of help you guys, just really simple stuff about the back-end of Kickstarter like how you post things, how you do that, how you update, how we do videos.

 

And then, also, more importantly, the creative on it and why there are successful campaigns and why there are not. And I think, you know, I was turned on to Leah through somebody else that she had worked with and I knew she was doing that, but what I love about Leah is that she’s not just, I mean, she is the expert at this Kickstarter, but she’s also an actress, a writer, and producer in her own right, and has done TV series like Deadwood and continues to make a lot of great shows.

 

So, I wanted to have somebody like this here talking about it, not just some guy that’s like a marketing digital guy that goes, “Oh yeah, here, we’ll put this video together and we’ll just do it.” She comes from somebody that’s actually doing it.

 

So, I wondered if you could just give us, you know, a little bit of the history of who you are, how you got here, things like that.         

 

Leah:

Thank you! Thanks, Mark. Thanks for having us.

 

Like Mark said, yes, I’m not just some Kickstarter expert who’s putting in numbers and trying to figure things out. I love social media and I have found that talking to, like, the social media experts out there, they don’t really get it. I think organic is always best. Yeah, sure, you can get all these followers, and these people will like and re-tweet, but are they really concerned in acting with you and interacting? No.

 

So, for me myself, I’m from Philly, originally. Any East Coast people in here? What’s up? Yeah! So, I moved down here in ’99 with a couple of hundred bucks in my pocket and no real plan, and here I am. I’ve been a member of SAG since 2005. I’m an actress, and producer, and writer, and host, and voice actor.

 

And, about two years ago—about a year and a half, two years ago—I was approached to star in a web series that they wanted to use a Kickstarter. So, that was my first experience with Kickstarter. It was a low amount. We were looking to raise about $6,000 and I was pretty much the driving force behind it. But, as it was going to be my first lead in a really popular web series, I was gung-ho and I got everyone involved and so kind of saw how it worked, what was more involved is just the actor in the project, wasn’t really involved in the back-end of it. But it worked, and the money was raised, and we exceeded our goal by a couple of thousand dollars, and the project got made.

 

And, it’s like, “Okay, great! We’re all on here hustling.” I have a couple of web series of my own that I produce on a shoestring budget. Well, how do you make it work on a larger scale? How do you be able to hire a team of three to five people to help you with this project that you’re, you know, the actress, the host, the camera person, the hair, the make-up? You know, you’re doing it all for yourself.

 

So, last year, I got involved. The first thing was as an internship on a feature film called Space Command. Their goal was $75,000. They hit that in three days and, at that point, I took notice because I have got no plan in my career. It was like, “No, no, no. No more internships, I don’t do that kind of thing.” And then, I said, “Well, wait a second. Here is an opportunity to learn.” They had hit $75,000, they were already successful, I had nothing to lose by, you know, agreeing to intern and help.

 

And so, I just took over their social media, and I learned, and it was successful. And, so then, since then it’s been project after project. And, you know, Mark and I have known of each other for a couple of years and he was someone that I’ve always wanted to work with, and just respect that everything that he does. So, earlier this year when he came to me and said, “You know, I think I have something we can work on together,” which is The Night Visitor—close your eyes—how many people donated to The Night Visitor? (Close your eyes, close your eyes.) All right, all right. Good, good, good. I don’t want to put anybody on the spot.

 

So, it was kind of back-to-back for the past nine months. I’ve been travelling a lot. I spent some time in New York, in Nashville, and I’ve been a little all over the place for the past year and a half getting agents all over the place. It’s just like, might as well, right? If you have places to stay and family and friends, just get out there so that you can be called for work anywhere, any city, and you’re prepared.

 

The past nine months here in LA it’s been Kickstarter after Kickstarter after Kickstarter, starting with The Night Visitor, and while I was in the midst of The Night Visitor, I got approached for another feature film, and then, right after that was an album. So, it’s been five campaigns in pretty much the past seventeen months—one web series, three feature films, and one music album. I’ve learned a lot.

 

So, I want to make sure that I’m still putting myself out there as an actress, and as a host, and a voice actor, and it gets tough because, when people start going, “Oh, can you help me with this campaign? And can you help me with that?” So, I’ve created a consultation service where I meet one-on-one. (Come on in! Join us! We just started.)

 

So, I’ve created a consultation service were I meet one-on-one with people and sit down. It’s kind of what Mark and I are going to do today, kind of giving you an extended coffee chat, and I’ve also created packages.

 

Managing a campaign is a 24/7 full-time job for four to six weeks. I’m now at the point where, because of my expertise and experience, I want to leverage that for better acting roles, and that’s something that you guys can do as well. Like, sure, “I can be a part of this campaign and help manage it. What role is there in it for me? What producer credit is there in it for me?” Because everything we do is about leverage.

 

Leverage all your skills to get to the point where you want to get. I know I’m speaking to the choir here because you guys go to the Beverly Hills Playhouse and you already know all this.

 

We’re here to give you just like a really in-depth coffee chat. I don’t know if anybody that’s here… Who has done a crowdfunding campaign before, anyone? Raise your hands high! Okay, keep them up. Keep your hand up if it was successful. Look at that! Wait, wait, wait, wait. They’re all going down now, wait. All right, great! So, how much did you guys raise?

 

Audience:

Only $5,000.

 

Leah:

Only $5,000? Only $5,000. C’mon. $5,000, you got your project made. You were successfully funded. Awesome.

How much did you raise?

 

Audience:

$30,000.

 

Leah:

$30,000!

 

Audience:

Wow, scary.

 

Leah:

It is scary. It is scary. We want to speak to, I guess, first is the prep time because a lot of people think, I’ve gotten a lot of people going, “Hey, I’m doing a Kickstarter. We’re going to put it up next week. Could you help us? We’re going to do it in three days. What do we need to do?” Mark and I know, there’s a lot of prep time. You want to chime in?

 

Mark:

Well, first of all, I wanted to ask if there’s anybody here that is currently doing—?

 

Leah:

Yes.

 

Mark:

—a Kickstarter or about to?

 

Leah:

Wow! One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven. So, pretty much about half of the people here, almost, are either launching, or about to launch a Kickstarter or an Indiegogo. And there’s a couple of other platforms out there for non-profits and things. What I’m hearing is, if it’s a non-profit thing, you want to stay away from Kickstarter and Indiegogo they won’t allow you to do it or it’s complicated.  So, with prep time, I would say a minimum of two weeks, minimum. Mark’s like, “Four weeks.”

 

Mark:

Four weeks, yeah. I mean, I feel like, with anything else, the more preparation you have doing a scene, doing a movie, whatever it is, a wedding, the more prep time you have, the more you’ll be prepared and, you know, it’ll go smoother. So, I see a lot of people that kind of do a half-ass thing where they start and they go, “We’re going to do it. Let’s do it in two weeks and we’ll just move forward.” Then it’s like, “Oh, we’ve got to get the video,” or, “We’re not going to do a video. We’re just going to put some things together,” and then you put it up and you’re putting yourself against the kind of winning solutions here.

 

Leah:

Right! There’s a misconception that you put it up and it just happens. “We’ve got it up! We’ve got our rewards! We’ve got our goal listed! It looks great! We made sure our font looked good and it’s there. We spell checked. We don’t have any spelling errors and it’s ready to go.” It’s doesn’t happen like that. Like, you put it up there, and you want people to notice it, but people notice it because of the effort and the passion and everything that you’re doing with this project to keep the flow going.

 

Mark:

For me, I mean, I think the biggest thing about the prep is—

 

Leah:

The video?

 

Mark:

Well, before that even, doing your homework. Like, doing the research to see what are the successful campaigns.

 

Leah:

That are like your campaign.

 

Mark:

That are like yours [0:10:36.5 unclear]

 

Leah: Are you doing a web series? Are you doing a feature? Go look at the top ten most funded in that category. Kickstarter breaks them all down to you. They list all of them.

 

The last project that I did was an album, and so we went and looked at Amanda Palmer’s. Now, we’re not Amada Palmer, and we don’t have the extensive amounts of rewards that she was able to offer, but we got a lot of ideas. We looked through her rewards and we probably stole, lovingly, at least five, six, seven ideas, and just kind of tweaked them so that it worked for us. So, definitely look at projects that are similar to yours that where successful.

 

Mark:

The key is similar. Not just to go like, “Oh, this campaign is doing this, but I’m doing an indie web series that’s a drama.” And then going off of what Zack Braff did, you know? It’s like you’ve got to really look at specifically that kind of genre, who the audience is, what’s working, what kind of video do they have, what kind of artwork, what kind of rewards—really looking at this specific as possible so that you go. You’re setting yourself up with like, “Okay. Here is some winning actions,” compared to setting yourself up to lose which is, to me, I see a lot of people doing this, kind of going, “Well, these guys did this.” It’s like, “Yeah, but they just did that.” They just put a photo up and a little blur because there is Zack Braff, or whatever they had.

 

Leah:

But even Zack Braff, Spike Lee—I don’t know if anybody followed Spike’s Lee campaign, he was asking for a big number. It did not get funded till the last minute and he was putting web videos of himself on his iPhone up every day.

 

That’s the thing I had. I was telling Mark the other day, I’ve had this music mogul attorney guy reach out to me and be like, “Partner up with me. I’ve got everybody from Pink Floyd on down on down in my label and you’re the expert. Let’s partner up and let’s do this cookie cutter thing.” I was like, “It’s not really cookie cutter.”

 

Yes, there’s a formula, but each project is unique, and that’s, during that prep time, you and your team have to figure out what is unique about your project. What is unique? Is it a heartfelt story? The album that I did, the gentleman just had brain surgery and wants to get an album out before he can no longer do it.

 

Or, is it a niche genre? is something like The Night Visitor where people in that genre are going to be like, “Yeah, I want to see this made.” Or, is it fun? Does it have a message? Figure out that angle, and you have to work that angle till you’re done from start to finish. That’s the angle. Once

 

Once you find that angle that works, that people are like, “Oh, wow! I want to know more about this project.” Then that’s what you passionately push forward. So, figure out your angle, and that has to read through everything—through your video, through your rewards, through your updates. Keep that in mind. Through your press releases. We’re going to touch on all of those points. Yes?                

 

Mark:

It’s fucking hard.

 

Leah:

What else? Thirty days, do you agree?

 

Mark:

Yeah.

 

Leah:

I don’t think you need any more than thirty days. I see people do forty-five. I see people do sixty, ninety. All you’re doing is extending the dead period because what most people don’t tell you is no matter how hard you’re working, in week two and week three, it slows down immensely. Your first day out of the gate should be your strongest day, and that’s where the prep comes in.

 

The feature film that I did over the summer, Blood Kiss, our goal was $50,000, we raised $88,000. $14,000 came in on day one. Typically, you’re thirtieth day repeats your first day. So, if your first day wasn’t super strong, you might want to rethink the whole thing and start over.

With the album I just did, it’s the first time I ever had someone cancel his campaign. I had seen it, it was six days in, he had only raised $5,000.His goal was $65,000. I reached out to him, I saw the angle—this was the gentleman that just had the brain surgery. I saw the angle. The angle’s huge, right? This is someone who’s trying to accomplish a dream that’s not going to be available to him in about a year, right? So, wow! What an angle! And he had $5,000 in six days. That’s horrible.

 

So, I reached out to him, I offered him a coffee chat, half way through, he was like, “Help! Help!” So, we thought about it and we said, “You know what? Let’s pull it down.” I had never done that.

 

So, we actually emailed Kickstarter because I was like, “Oh, wait. Let’s email them, like, are there penalties? Are there fees? What happens we you cancel a campaign?” She said, “No. If you think you can make something stronger, pull it down and do it because nothing happens. Nobody’s money leaves.”

 

So, we were very nervous. But what we did because, you know, he had raised five, six thousand dollars. That is a good chunk. But ,compared to where he was going, it wasn’t enough. So, we had him record a video explaining to his family and friends—he had a lot of friends back in Atlanta, they had no idea what Kickstarter is—his grandparents, his grandmom’s church friends, all these people that had donated had no idea what this was.

 

So, we made a video saying, “Look, I’ve taken on too much. I realize this is more than a one-person job. I’m pulling it down. We are going to re-launch in two weeks.” We set a date, and we kept blasting that date. We were nervous that night. When I left his house, we were nervous. Like, “Did we do the right thing?” Well, the next day the comments on that video showed us we were right. His friends and family were going, “All right. We’ll be back on the 14th. We’re ready! We’re ready” Guess what? We launched it, day one, $8,000.

 

You have to do it. You have to make your first day amazingly strong or you’re fighting an uphill battle. Rather than starting at a really good peak, you’re fighting an uphill battle and you don’t want to be in that position, ever. So, really keep that in mind.

 

Mark:

I have a question. How do you determine how much money to ask for?

 

Leah:

That’s a good question.

 

Mark:

Thanks.

 

Leah:

Well, okay. So, with that example, I also had him lower his funding. We dropped to $45,000 instead of $65,000. So, what I would suggest would be, when you figure out your budget and you figure out exactly what it is you really, really, really need to make this happen, go there. Make your goal on the low end because then you can have stretch goals. So, once you hit that low end goal, Kickstarter doesn’t end. You still have till the clock stops ticking to keep raising money.

 

Sp. do a conservative goal. Enough that you’re going to be able to fund the project, don’t hurt yourself, don’t get halfway there. But, enough that you’re going be able to fund the project on the conservative end, and then you do what’s called stretch goals.

 

The Blood Kiss feature that I was involved in has Neil Gaiman on board to act. This is going to be his first acting role, ever. Neil had given us this suggestion right in the beginning. Now, Neil was amazing. He tweeted; he re-tweeted for us and all that good stuff. But, that doesn’t mean the work and the pressure is off of you. You know, you can’t be calling up Neil Gaiman going, “Hey, you only put out two tweets today. Can you do me a favor and do twenty-two tweets?” And, we did have a producer on our team going, “We need to email Neil!” We’re like, “No, no, no, no, no. This is the producing team, the team that’s involved in this, it’s on your shoulders.”

 

But obviously, you want everybody on your team to help. So, when you’re putting that team together, be conscious of that. We had—I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but—there were a few actors involved in the Night Visitor that I wish would have been more—what’s the word?—more responsive, more active.

 

Now, I got them in there anyway. Because you kind of twist your press around to kind of put them in the forefront, especially if, say they’re on an HBO series right now, and they are like, “Oh, but they are not really that involved.” Well, guess what? You tailor a press release and you send it to the fan sites of that show.

 

So, let’s say somebody’s on Game of Thrones that’s on your project, right? But they’re not really that active. Well, guess what? You write a press release that features, “Game of Thrones actor… blah blahblah,” and you go, and you send it to every Game of Thrones fan site out there you can possibly find. They’re going to run it. They’re going to cover it. Game of Thrones fans are going to get excited.

 

So, that’s another piece of finding the angle: look at everyone in your team.

 

I was on Deadwood. The show has been canceled for seven years, you still use it because the fans are still out there. It doesn’t matter. So, everyone in your team, what shows have they been a part of? What films have they been a part of? And, who do they know? That’s all part of your angle.

 

Wait, what was the question? Oh, money.

 

Mark:

Budget, and I guess my point of view on that is, you know, just because your film is going to cost you $100,000 to make, is that realistic for you with the talent that you have attached to the project to actually do it.

 

Leah: And the team.

 

Mark:

And the team, the cast and everything.

 

Leah:

If you’re two people? Come on.

 

Mark:

Yeah, I mean, yeah. So, you have to really be realistic and I’ve seen people do this where they’ve done, like, three phases of their campaign. One is like a first phase for pre-production money to get that sizzle reel going so that they can then go do a second phase for a Kickstarter campaign which is the production part which is, here’s a trailer, this is a proof of concept, this is what we’re doing, this will be in the film, we are not wasting money, this is stuff that’s going in the film.  And now, that builds trust for people and gets them excited to support more, to reach out to more people, and then, the third could be a post-production.

 

Leah:

Yeah.

 

Mark:

For me, I think that too many people go, “If we need $100,000,” and then they put up for $100,000 and they don’t reach it. They’re so many reasons why.

 

Leah:

And then, you get none of it. I mean, not granted with Indiegogo, you do. We’re both more experience with Kickstarter. I’ve consulted on Indiegogo’s. The difference is—for those of you who don’t know—is the percentage that they take. Kickstarter takes 5 percent. Amazon takes 5 percent. That’s just right off the bat. Once you hit your goal, that’s what’s happening. With Indiegogo I don’t know the exact percentage rates.

 

Audience:

Nine.

 

Leah:

Nine? But, what if you don’t hit your goal? Then they take like…

 

Audience:

Nine if you don’t hit your goal and four if you do.

 

Leah:

If you do. So, they take a larger percentage if you don’t hit your goal, but you still get your money and a smaller percentage if you hit your goal. And then, they transfer all the money into PayPal, correct? That’s where it’s going?

 

Audience:

They actually take 9 percent from the start. If you reach your goal they reimburse you.

 

Leah:

They refund it? Okay! That’s interesting!

 

Mark:

So, this is my point of view, the difference between Indiegogo and Kickstarter in terms of getting people to support it—

 

Leah:

Is the urgency, right?

 

Mark:

The urgency. For me, Indiegogo, knowing that my friend who’s just looking for $20,000—

 

Leah:

Will get it no matter what.

 

Mark:

Will get $5,000 or $7,500 that he’s raised so far. I’m like, “Well, he’s got $7,500.” I mean, you can do something with that.

 

Leah:

Yeah.

 

Mark:

I’m not going to go out of my way as much to, you know, keep trying to get him to that goal because it doesn’t feel like anybody else is going.

 

Leah:

Yup, and you can also extend it.

 

Mark:

I sound like a dick.

 

Leah:

No, no, it’s true.

 

Mark:

I’m just saying, in terms of Kickstarter, it’s like you have that thing of like, “Shit, my friend, they’re not going to get any of this until they get the money at 11:59 PM.” So, everybody is there trying that build. I mean, on every single campaign.

 

Leah:

Every single campaign, you’re last, like, five hours—

 

Mark:

Is ridiculous!

 

Leah:

—are in insane. With Night Visitor, I just remember, I had, like, two phones going, and a laptop. And, Mark is texting me at the same time and, like, your notification are just blowing up all over the place because you have to respond. You have to respond to every single person. Every stranger, every friend, every family that tweets you, that posts, you have to thank them on multiple platforms. Thank the everywhere you can and that’s stuff we’ll get into on the back-end of Kickstarter as well.

 

But, I agree with Mark, it’s the urgency. It’s also the community. Kickstarter does have a really nice community set up where they’ll feature you on new projects page, they feature on the ending products page, they’ll feature you on the popular page, they’ll feature you on the staff page.

 

At the back of Kickstarter—has anybody seen the back-end of Kickstarter? Let me just show you. Let’s put it on this. So, this is the album. This was Brad’s campaign, but when you look at—I’m a numbers geek for sure and I love graphs, and charts, and figuring out where things came from—now look, do I remember the password? I’ve also got, like, fifty passwords stored in my brain.

 

Mark:

[0:22:20.0 unclear]

 

Audience:

You said one of the differences between Kickstarter and Indiegogo in terms of, if you made the money, you get it, what’s—?

 

Leah:

On Indiegogo, whether you hit your goal or not, you get whatever you raised. On Kickstarter, you do not.

 

Audience:

It depends on what on what format you choose. You can choose the same format for Indiegogo as Kickstarter, which is a flexible [0:22:43.5  unclear] which means you can choose whether to get the money or not.

 

Leah:

So, see this pie chart here? The green is the money that just came randomly through Kickstarter people that you don’t know, you’ve never spoken to, nothing. So, I think the biggest goal for any campaign is to get that green slice as big as possible because that means the Kickstarter community is seeing your project.

 

Mark:

Yes. I mean, part of it, you know, looking at that also, is the external. But, do they also breakdown if you go below?

 

Leah:

Yes. Now watch this, this is even cooler.

 

Mark:

I don’t know about “even cooler.”

 

Leah:

Come on! I told you I’m a numbers geek.

So, it will tell you exactly where things came from. So, you know that on YouTube, we got nine clicks through YouTube that resulted in $537. And these are all the different places.

Now everything doesn’t show up and it’s not an exact science because I think with direct traffic, it could also be, you know how YouTube does that thing where, if you post a YouTube video on Facebook, the views don’t actually count because it wasn’t watched on Facebook. So, I’m sure that direct traffic link has something to do with that sort of formula as well.

 

Mark:

Yeah.

 

I guess what’s great about this is just looking at it. For me, you know, when I’ve done the two campaigns, where they were coming from, and also being able to see, a big part of it was it’s not my friend. Like, to think that my friends and family are going to support to support my Kickstarter campaign is like the biggest lie that we can say to ourselves. Seriously.

 

I mean, our family, you can probably count on your mom and dad to put in fifty bucks. You can maybe get your brother and sister to do maybe $25.00 each. Your uncles and aunts, I don’t know. But even in your circle of friends, even in your circle of friends in your class, two percent because everybody is doing it, or everybody says they are going to do it next week, or—

 

Leah:

Unless you’re Mark Gantt, Mark donates to everyone.

 

Mark:

That’s true, that’s true, I pretty much do.

 

Leah:

Which is awesome, I mean Mark while he’s running a Kickstarter campaign will be donating to others and posting it, which is all about giving it back. You know, if you have it to give. I mean, it’s a wash, right? If somebody gave you $50.00 and then you gave them $50.00, it’s a wash.

 

Mark:

Shit, it is?

 

Leah:

It is.

 

Mark:

Fuck!

 

Leah:

But, at least, you’re showing that you care about your fellow artist. But, with what Mark was just saying, that’s like the number one thing I tell all my clients is there is a reason it’s called crowdfunding, it’s a crowd. You can’t depend on your friends and family.

 

Your friends and family will be that first day burst because you’ve prepared them, you’ve let them know what date you’re starting, you’ve Facebooking and tweeting it, and personal emails. Remember personal phone calls even? I don’t know how many of us still use the phone.

 

But call Aunt Aida up in Kansas and tell her, “Look, you know, on October 30th I’ve got this thing. Can you please log on?” Give her instructions. You’ve got to get people prepped. That first day is going to be a big friends and family burst. 

 

You know, friends and family are also going to burst again at the end because, like Mark said, if you’re not making it, you know, what happens in the last, like, three to five days, is everybody starts upping their pledges which is great because, in the beginning, you know, maybe I’ve chipped in ten bucks and I don’t know what my financial situation is going to be like at the end of the month, and they’re so close, and they just added this great new reward, and I’m like, “Hi! Can you chip in another $20.00?” and you can do that, you can start upping your rewards which is something that you’ll make happen as you add on bonuses and perks, and we’ll talk about those two.

But let’s talk about that video.

 

Mark:

Yeah.

 

Leah:

Go ahead. Why don’t you give them The Night Visitor example? I mean, we have a great example.

 

Mark:

That’s true. So, about the indie funding thing?

 

Leah:

Well, yeah, about how they suggested.

 

Mark:

Yeah. So, we had, you know, it’s funny. For the first one that I did, it was for sizzle reel for Annie Takes Off which was, basically, we were raising money to create a sizzle reel for a TV series. And, the creators of the show—I was an executive producer and actor in it—they said, “We don’t really want to do a video. We feel like our friends and family—”

 

Leah:

I didn’t know this story.

 

Mark:

Oh, yeah. “—friends and family aren’t really, you know, they don’t really get social media and stuff. So, we’re basically just, it’s a place for them to give us money.” And so, we didn’t do a video, but we did a lot of artwork and I created a lot of stuff from what the website would look like and what an app would look like. So, we created, like, this is the series, you know? We were successful and we had a lot of people came out of the blue to help and support.

 

On the second one, The Night Visitor, I said, “Well, what we definitely want to do is some kind of intro, an intro video.” So, while we were doing the behind-the-scenes stuff, we did these videos, it was us talking. It was myself, my girlfriend who’s a star, and the director.

 

Leah:

Fiancée.

 

Mark:

She’s my fiancée, yes, fiancée now.

 

Audience:

[Applause]       

 

Mark:

Don’t tell her I said that to you.

 

Leah:

No, you can tell her. I corrected you.

 

Mark:

Yeah, exactly.

 

So, we did it and it was long, and we kind of trimmed it out a little bit, but we didn’t have actually the [0:27:51.1 unclear] we shot the movie. The Night Visitor is a horror sci-fi film found footage we shot. We didn’t have the money for post-production so we were doing a Kickstarter campaign. So, while the trailer was being cut, we put up this Kickstarter campaign, it was kind of like, we didn’t have a lot of time—

 

Leah:

And, at this point, he had brought me onboard and I looked at the video and I looked at the video and said, “Yeah, this looks good.”

 

Mark:

Yeah.

 

So, we did the video, we put it up, we went live, we felt good about everything we were doing. Then, I started getting, I get like this direct messages from Twitter from this guy who had helped, who had donated on the first one—and he takes off the first one—and said, “No offense, but the first campaign was much better. What you did there was cool, but you’re not really doing it here and you’re talking about this other part of the project but you should be talking about not so much who’s doing it but why you’re doing it and what’s the project.” It was literally, like, fifty emails.

 

Leah:

Yeah, fifty back and forth. In my brain, I started going, “You know what? He’s right.” Because we live in Los Angeles, we know who Mark is, Jennifer, his director has her own fans, Brianne has her own fans. But, when I looked at it from an outside perspective, it was three pretty people—no offense, that’s a compliment—three pretty people, sitting on a couch, talking about how much fun they had making this project, and now, we just need some more money to finish it.

 

Well, where was the angle? Where was the like plea of you must get in there, and you don’t want to beg, but you must get in there. We need your help. We need your help to finish this and this is why.

 

So, as great as it was to look at three pretty people talking about how much fun they had, the story, the project, the focus should be not on the people, but on the project and why you want this project to happen.

 

Mark:

So, in the video, and even in the text below, I kind of said that. But I was trying to make it personal. Like, “So, this is my journey and this the thing.” And, the comments from this guy who was fantastic, he got this amazing company called Indie Funded. It’s Indiefunded.com and he’s helped two of my other friends do campaigns. They basically do what she does, the same thing, but kind of on crack and it’s a little bit more expensive.

 

Leah:

Yeah, I think they have a company, right?

 

Mark:

Yeah, they do that.

 

Leah:

They’ve been talking to me about doing something with them so we’ll see where that goes.

 

Mark:

But his thing was, it’s just, you know, it needs to be more about the story, not so much about you. And so I thought, “Oh, well, it’d be about me so people will be more invested in it because it’s a personal story.” So, I had to shift it and so I took those notes. I re-cut the video, the trailer was there, and we put the trailer inside—

 

Leah:

And that was something else we found out. You can take your video down once the campaign has launched and it’s not going to cause any problem. So, we literally pulled the video down and put a new one up.

 

Mark:

Yeah, we redid that, redid everything—all the text and reformatted everything. And, literally, it shifted almost immediately.

 

Leah:

Yeah, immediately.

 

Mark:

People started to respond to it completely different.

 

Leah:

It was shorter, it was just… There was more footage of the actual film because, with this is one, the money was being raised for post-production. People want to see what it is that needs post-production for and so the pieces that were able to be shown where shown.

 

Mark:

Yeah, we blurred our faces so it wasn’t pretty people. No, I’m kidding.

 

Leah:

Unless it’s a heartfelt story, then it has to be personal. So, with Brad—is the gentleman’s name with the brain surgery—when we pulled his campaign down, his video was horrible. He had used footage which was great—he had been featured on The Today Show and all kinds of other news programs because UCLA had live tweeted his brain surgery like four months ago. He thought that would be enough. He though that would be enough, “Hey, I’ve been on Good Morning America.” And no, this is the campaign that had only $5,000 in six days because he was under the mistake that, if you just put it up, and all those people that heard about my surgery are going to find it.

 

Well all his video was was the news footage, and the press conferences and all that stuff. But nowhere in it was Brad saying, “Hi, I’m Brad, and this is my story.”

 

Mark:

How long is his video?

 

Leah:

Uh, yeah, let’s watch it.

 

Mark:

I think we should just watch it.

 

Leah:

So, we did this three times. He’s an actor himself. He’s one of those actors who are, like, meticulous about everything he does which I guess we all should be. But, I had to re-do this three times going over there and recording his parts because I wanted him to get teary-eyed. In his first video, it was kind off-the-cuff, he was joking a lot. When he finally got to a where it was serious, he would turn it into a joke.

 

And you know what? It’s not a joke. This is a serious moment in your life and it’s okay to get teary-eyed. So, if your project has a heartstring aspect, please be real and authentic and show everybody. So, we re-did it and our video rocks.

 

[VIDEO PLAYING]

 

Leah:

[0:32:46.8 unclear] two to go. Volume on there?

 

[VIDEO PLAYING]

 

Leah:

None of this was in there.

 

Mark:

[0:33:34.3 unclear]

 

Leah:

No?

 

Mark:

[0:33:32.0 unclear]

 

Leah:

It’s for us.

 

He’s telling more of his story now which he wasn’t in the first one, he wasn’t telling anything.

 

Mark:

But also, for me, what I loved about it, it’s just like, right from the beginning, you’re getting an idea of what he’s going to be doing. It’s, like, he’s recording something, here’s him playing, oh, here’s some of these tremors.

 

[VIDEO PLAYING]

 

Leah:

And this isn’t just… You don’t just sit down and turn your video camera on. Make it a story. This is a short film in itself.

 

[VIDEO PLAYING]

 

Leah:

So, we told the story rather than just showing news clips from the surgery and everything like that, and it worked. We got $8,000 on day one rather than a week of struggling to get $5,000.

 

And then, talk about the other people in your project. This guy was in a band called Nickel Creek. I don’t know them, but apparently they’ve won a Grammy or two. So, if anyone in your project has any kind of notoriety, get them in there.

 

That’s the end of it.

 

And, make sure you note that. I don’t know if you heard what he just said, but note that over and over. He said, “If I don’t hit the $45,000, I don’t get any of it,” and make sure people know that, and that’s why Kickstarter is urgency. Keep reminding them: if I don’t hit it, I don’t get any of it.

 

What else about the video? Does anybody have any questions about the video aspect of it?

 

Audience:

Is there a standard length for the video?

 

Leah:

I would say under five minutes, under five.

 

Mark:

There’s no standard. But it’s just kind of like anything else that you’re watching online, you know, if you’re watching sitting down, it’s to keeping the interest of it. Our first one I think was seven minutes, and that was too long, then we cut it down and put in the video which was a minute and half, so we had to cut it down more. I think it was about five or something.

 

Leah:

Yeah, and see that? We used that image over and over again, same thing with Night Visitor, find an image for your project and use it, over and over and over. From banners, you do banners on your Facebook page. Mark was a nut ball with Night Visitor, but I’ve incorporated that into everything I do now where there was a new banner. You know twelve hours, eight hours, six hours, five hours, four hours. I do a change of Facebook cover page, but guess what? That shows up in people’s feed and they are like, “What? Wait, what’s going on?” Because, let’s face it, we’re all so busy. It could be thirty days and you could have no idea that one of your best friends is doing a Kickstarter because you’re not even paying attention to what’s going on.

 

So, use the same image. It’s all about branding, brand your campaign. I like the custom URLs which is something I’ve done on all the campaigns now. We did bewarethenightvisitor.com. For this, we did bradcarterkickstarter.com because, instead on going to some big ugly Kickstarter link, you now have put a custom URL. It costs, like, $10.00, you know, if you’re with GoDaddy or whoever you’re with, to just get another URL and then you have the Kickstarter forwarding to that link.

 

That way, it serves two purposes—it’s part of the branding and so it’s not this big long ugly Kickstarter link. I don’t want to say it’s tricky, but when people see a Kickstarter link, automatically they know you’re asking for money, right? If you have some kind of cool, bewareofthenightvisitor.com, you’re like, “Oh, what’s this?” and then you’re like, “Oh, its Kickstarter.”

 

Mark:

But you’re already there.

 

Leah:

But you’re there. So, you’re probably going to click play and watch the video. Want to talk about the rewards?

 

Mark:

Not yet.

 

Leah:

No? Okay, we’ll save rewards.

 

Mark:

Is there the other stuff?

 

Audience:

Question.

 

Leah:

In the back-end? Sure.

 

Audience:

What about feeding several videos during the campaign?

 

Leah:

Absolutely! But not changing your main video, yeah, so parts of your updates are video updates. Video updates are amazing. So, there’s an update area. Here’s something that, for some reason—and I don’t know why, but—a lot of the campaigns that I look at don’t realize they should be updating. Every campaign that I’ve ever been involved in, this one has forty-two updates. Every campaign that I’ve ever been involved in ends up with like a minimum of thirty updates.

 

You should be putting an update out about every other day in the beginning. Your last week, last four or five days, it’s every day. Your last couple of days is every couple hours. It’s every time you have something cool, you’ve got some new blog article, guess what? New update. You’ve got some kind of new bonus, new update.

 

And, on top of that, what I’ve noticed with these campaigns is that not everyone is checking your Facebook and your Twitter every day, but these updates go straight to your email. So, people are getting updated in their email, and if you’re not doing updates, they might not know the latest news and excitement.

 

On top of that, if you haven’t donated to somebody’s campaign, you’re just a stranger browsing through Kickstarter, if this project has no updates, you have no idea what’s going on with the project. You’re just a stranger, you came to look, you wanted to read what the latest was, and there is no update and the project’s been up for twenty days, you’re going to pass it by because it doesn’t look exciting. It hasn’t got anyone involved.

 

So, let me find a video update. So, yeah, here update thirty-three. You know, it’s just a simple video message, just a simple thank you. I’m not going to play it since we can’t hear it. But, it was just a simple thank you video message. It’s two minutes long. And then, we just talked about the rewards that we still had available, we talked about bonus perk that’s coming up, some other rewards that are going to be listed. I like screen capping the rewards because then people see exactly what it is in the reward and then you could put them in a photo gallery on Facebook as well.

 

So, yes, your updates should be so creative, from videos, from bonuses, all sorts of things. And, I like to figure out a way to end it. With Night Visitor, we always ended it with, “Beware the Night Visitor.” So, kind of have a slogan for your campaign. With this one, I think we just did like, “Keep kicking ass”. It was just Brad’s style, his guitar picking, kind of southern rock style, and it was good.

 

What else about that Mark, about updates?

 

Mark:

Actually, can you go back to the home page?

 

Leah:

Yeah.

 

Mark:

You might have it later here when you’re talking about sharp looking texts and layout.

 

Leah:

Yes, let’s do it.

 

Mark:

I did want to talk about that now what we’re doing on—

 

Leah:

Yeah, well, around the front page.

 

Mark:

After the video, it allows you to basically put in your pitch. First, there is that pitch right there. Hold on. That first, it’s kind of like your synopsis.

 

Leah:

Yeah, you get a limited amount of letters there.

 

Mark:

Can you actually go back down again? I’m sorry.

 

Leah:

You mean up?

 

Mark:

Yeah, up. Sorry. Where is it?

 

Leah:

What are you looking for?

 

Mark:

I’m looking for when you can share the widget and it gives you the one sentence below.

 

Leah:

I think that’s on our side. Oh yeah, there you go.

 

Mark:

So, right there, a lot of times you can use that on your website. You can add it to a blog, you can send it to your friends to add to a blog, they can do things. But, what’s really interesting is just what you’ll find in the first words, “Musician fighting to record an album before it’s too late,” and then, the little description.

 

Leah:

And, we changed that because when we first launched, did you notice that when we first launched, it said something like, “Brad Carter to record an album after brain surgery.” Well, guess what? When you post that places, the only thing people where seeing was like, “Brad Carter to record an album. Well, who the heck’s Brad Carter and why do I care?” So, make sure that first thing that’s going to show up when you post it on social media really pulls people in.

 

Mark:

Yeah, because when you share it, that’s what comes up. When you share it on Facebook, when you share it on Twitter, and then, also in the search because once it’s been up and you’ve got a press and everything, it’s going to connect back to this link and you want them to be as specific and clear as possible. Like, what is this campaign, what are we doing, and what’s it about.

 

Leah:

We must have changed that little synopsis under there about five times in our first week. So, we finally got it where we were like, “All right, that’s powerful.”

 

And, Brad, his is an extraordinary case, but it’s the same for everything. Once you find your angle, these are the things that you need to do.

 

Audience:

Do you have one more, an acting project [0:42:38.6 unclear]?

 

Leah:

Yeah, Blood Kiss. So, on Blood Kiss our goal was $50,000, but we raised $88,000. 32 updates, 1,485 backers. The comments section is a cool spot because, what happens is, people leave comments there as well, and you should be writing them back. So, anybody that responded came under our writer’s name, Michael Reaves, because that’s whose project it was. But, make sure that you’re looking at this, make sure that you’re noticing and saying thank you, and answering people’s questions.

 

So with this, are we still, do you want to look at the text, Mark?

 

Mark:

Yeah, I just want to kind of break it down.

 

As you’re setting up a campaign, the first thing will be, obviously, the videos are most important to me. Or, the image, if you don’t have or you’re not doing a video like I did. But, definitely, now I see the success rate is really dependent on a personal video that tells something about the story, about what you’re doing, so you get it, you watch and go, “I know exactly what this is about, I know what it’s going to look like, I know who the people are involved, and it sounds like they actually can get this thing made for X amount of dollars,” which I think is the key.

 

When I was talking about the budget, I always think that when I see someone is going, “We’re going to do a feature film for $4,000.” I go, “Bullshit.” Like, unless you tell me, “I own all the equipment, and I do this thing, and this is how we are doing it, and this is the location,” otherwise it’s going—

 

Leah:

Unless you’re saying, “I’m Steven Spielberg and I just want $4,000 because I know how to do it. I’ve got other people to do it.”

 

Mark:

Yeah.

 

Leah:

If I was like, “I’m going to make a feature film for $4,000.” You’d be like, “I don’t want to see that.”

 

Mark:

But, I also think the same thing when someone says, “I want $100,000.” I go, “Okay, well, who are you to… How did you get to $100,000?”

 

Leah:

And what are you going to do with it?

 

Mark:

Exactly.

 

Leah:

Are you experienced enough and educated enough, and that you’re going to make use of that $100,000? Are you going to know what to do with it?

 

Mark:

Exactly. So, I know a lot of people that have added great videos on kind of a proof of concept. If it’s the director’s, the director would say, “This is the kind of movie I want to make.” And then, there’s some images, there’s videos of other like movies that are already out there. Cool artwork about, you know, what the kind of poster art may be, or something, like, “With this is the rewards T-shirts.” I mean, all that stuff is, like, you can do a T-shirt, you can just do the logo, and do it on CafePress and then do little stills on that.

 

Leah:

Yeah, and just have a little concept up.

 

Mark:

Exactly. But, they key for me in that artwork is in this thing.

 

So, the first thing you do, from what I’ve read, because she did a shitload of researches. The first thing people do is they go there to the page, you look at the video, not everybody pushes play. They start to scroll down and see—

 

Leah:

No, and you can see.

 

Mark:

“—is this a legit thing? Who’s involved? What’s the artwork? Is their sentence structure correct? Is there, like, bold type fonts?”

 

Leah:

And that’s a huge, huge, huge thing. Make sure you’ve got, like, three different people read it over because you miss it. You miss grammar, you miss spelling errors. And, for me, I know that’s a complete turnoff when I see it and I’m like, “Oh my God, they can’t even spell!”

 

So, you’ll notice on your dashboard, it tells you—so this is back to Brad just because that’s the one that I’m inside of—7,296 people played our video but only 27 percent watched the whole thing because people won’t watch the whole thing, right?

 

So, 7,000 people watched it, but yet we only have 892 backing us. That’s another thing, you might get people watching it, but what’s the conversion rate of who watched it and then did they back it.

 

Mark:

So, for me, just a reminder again, the video is great, but below that is also important. What is the show about? How do you plan on getting it made? Or the album made or whatever it is. Who are the players involved? Whether, if it’s a film, who are the technical people? If there’s actors, who are the actors that are cast? And then, to the best of your ability, you know, break down how we’re going to spend your money that you’re giving us.

 

“If you’re going to give us $25,000, this is how we are going to do it. This is the camera, this is the sound, this is where we’re getting this, this is the art people, here’s our three locations, here are some photos of the location, here’s where we’re getting this, this is where the post-production’s happening.” Like, I just want to know.

 

Leah:

Do as much as you can with links.

 

So, just for here, here’s the project that’s listed, the different people that are going to be involved in the project, and then, this was the breakdown we did as to where we think the money is going, and why we picked that goal.

 

And, if there is no harm in noting that, well, Kickstarter’s taking 5 percent, Amazon’s taking 5 percent. Team support—he meant me, and I was going to take another 5 percent. And then, we had somebody editing our videos, we had people helping with publicity, and all those people work from deferred pay, that once we hit our goal, they were going to get paid. So, you add all that in, that’s the money that’s going to be taken.

 

Audience:

I have a question.

 

Mark:

Yes.

 

Audience:

Amazon and Kickstarter is—?

 

Leah:

Both.

 

Audience:

So it’s 10 percent?

 

Leah:

Yes.

 

Mark:

Yes. Amazon is based on how much money you do. So, I think that’s like 4.9 or something if it’s under $4,000 or something. And then, over $5,000 donate, you know, somebody backed it $5,000 it’s more. I think it’s a little slightly different. It’s like 9.98 total, Amazon and Kickstarter together. Kickstarter is 5 percent of everything, and then, Amazon depends on how much money is donated.

 

Leah:

And then, I got off-topic a little bit with the stretch goals, but since we’re still on the front page, and this is where Neil Gaiman’s advice had come in. When we were working on the film project with him, we mentioned in an email something like, “Wow! We’re almost at $50,000 but yeah, we really want to make $200,000—” was really what we were hoping, but we started off with $50,000. And Neil wrote us back and said, “Oh wait, are the stretch goals? Then you need to let the people know right away.”

 

So, on every project you do, list your stretch goals. Say, “Hey! Look! If we hit there then we’re also going to do a music video.”

 

With Blood Kiss they way we did that… did we do that with Night Visitor? We had some stretch goals?

 

Mark:

No.

 

Leah:

Because it was just post-production.

 

Mark:

Yeah

 

Leah:

So, we didn’t need stretch goals on that.

 

With Blood Kiss, we made this cool graphic. It’s all about the graphics; it’s all about really making it look pretty, unless it’s the video then you don’t want it and take the pretty people out of it. For this, you know what it looks like, I can show you. Oh, it looks like you are able to edit this when it was over. But I can show you what we did here.

 

Mark:

Did you have a question?

 

Audience:

Yes, I did. Approximately what’s the tax hit? So, let’s say I’m $50,000, what would be?

 

Mark:

You know, I—

 

Leah:

I’m still trying to figure that out. I think, and I’m not an accountant and I don’t know, but this is what we’re figuring out right now with Brad’s and with Blood Kiss is, I believe it would be better to make yourself an LLC. That way, this is actually like investment money and not income.

 

Mark:

Yeah. The thing is whoever is the person collecting the money on their Amazon account is who is going to be taxed, if there is a tax. The thing is I don’t know, I could look it up before the end of this, I believe it has to be over $100,000. But, if it’s under that, there’s no tax. There’s no federal tax on—a

 

Leah:

What did you say? If it’s under $100,000?

 

Mark:

Yeah, that’s what I heard. I can look it up before we go.

 

Leah:

Okay. Now, that’s kind of hard to see, but what we had out for Blood Kiss was our stretch goals. So, this one here says, “$50,000, proves that our [0:50:44.4 unclear] backers care. We’ll shoot it in our backyards, if necessary. We’ll make this movie for you no matter what.” Then we got to $50,000 so we highlighted the next goal on our list, $100,000. “We now have indie thriller quality, we’ll shoot it with a Red cam, we’ll have perfect sound, we’ll have period custom pieces, special effects,” and then we listed others. We never got further than $100,000 because we hit $88,000.

 

But, in effect, you’re telling people, “Look, with this much more money, these are the things then that we’ll go after. We’ll be able to then hire better, we’ll have access to better directors, we’ll have access to better this, we’ll have access to better that.” It’s only just about being transparent with what you plan on doing with the people’s money that are donating.

 

Shall we look at rewards?

 

Mark:

Yes. Anybody have any questions so far up to that?

 

Audience:

Yeah, I do. Last night, Allan said something and about, in the near future, there’s a possibility that people can donate are going to after be able to have equity. [0:51:42.8  unclear]

 

Mark:

Yes.

 

Audience:

What does that mean?

 

Mark:

Yes, there’s a new act, it’s called the JOBS Act that, supposedly—I mean, it’s been in the works for a while—they’re saying Spring 2014, hopefully, and it basically will allow people like us to ask for money. Right now you have to—

 

Bailey, you might know more of this, too. Does it mean you don’t have to do an LLC still? You can still just do it through a crowdfunding, or do have to do…?

 

Audience:

No, you should definitely form a company with the JOBS Act because it’s equity financing. You definitely want that liability shield.

 

Mark:

Right. But, it’s basically you’ll be able to hopefully do something like this, will you be able to outsource to a larger group of people rather than just—?

 

Audience:

I mean, the big things that are happening, that you’re able to advertise. As of September 23rd, in terms of being able to invest in things, a huge, huge change. I mean, it’s like seventy years this has been in effect where you can’t advertise to [0:52:40.4 unclear] if you’re an accredited investor. So, now that’s gone. You can sell, you can now advertise, but it still right now needs to be an accredited investor. There’s a very small percent, maybe one percent of the people in the United States can meet that quota. Now after that, as Mark says in 2014, sometimes depending on when the FTC basically [0:53:02.2 unclear], some big commissions asides.

 

Audience:

SEC, right? The SEC?

 

Audience:

Once they figure that out and figure out the rules then, all of a sudden, you will be able to raise up to a million dollars using the new crowdfunding thing.

 

Audience:

[0:53:17.7 unclear]] with $1,000 per investor?

 

Audience:

Say it again?

 

Audience: Right now, you could not raise any money, you cannot sell unregister securities which are units in a film to anybody, unless it’s who is an accredited investor.

 

Audience:

Right. You to be an accredited investor right now.

 

Audience:

Yes, exactly. But I remember that they were talking about an investment of a minimum of $20,000 with this new change.

 

Audience:

I’m not sure what that, I know it’s rationed and based on your income. They’re still looking at you and saying, “How much money do you have to lose?” So, there’s these formulas that have to be put in place, and the problem is the people who are funding it, I mean, like if I’m asking you for money, it’s my responsibility to make sure you’re accredited within the new framework. Not a credited investor, but you have at least so much money and that you, you know? There’ll be these rules, and that’s the problem is in terms of—

 

Audience:

Because, right now, even if you get, for example, if I wanted to get you to invest in my movie and you cut me a check, I could bank the check, I could give you equity, and then, tomorrow, if you woke up, you could come back to me and bring me to court for soliciting money. Because the moment I have found you as an investor, I have to present to you not only the condition but the EPM. Then I’ll let pass forty-five days—it’s called cooling off period—at that point, I can come back to you and say, “Oh, are you still interested?” “Yes.” Now you can give me the check.

 

If I take your check before this cooling off period, you can still get me and I go to jail, where at least I’ll pay a lot of money for us to receive that money. The only way to by pass this is, if you have invested with me in the past, so there is a pre-existing business relationship which is usually tricky, et cetera, et cetera. It’s defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and this is why now they are changing.

 

Audience:

They are changing. The big thing that I want everyone to be clear on in here is that we really don’t know how this is going to work. So, anything that I’m saying, take with a grain of salt. We’ve got to wait until it comes to pass. But, the beauty is that, in the future, you’re going to be able up to a million dollars crowdfunding, but it’s already going to be equity and it’s going to set up a whole new set of rules that are outside the per-view of what our guest are talking about. It’s an exciting change, but we have to keep watching and see how it’s going to affect us.

 

Mark:

Yes, there’s an opportunity where, instead of somebody just basically donating money to your campaign, they will get a return on that investment which is huge.

 

Leah:

Right, because right now, some of our campaigns for $1,000 you get a producer credit, but you’re just getting producer credit, you’re not actually getting any points or anything on the back-end.

 

Mark:

You can’t, actually, offer points on the back-end, or deferment, or repayment through Kickstarter. It’s against the law to do that. You can’t say, “If you give us $5000, we’ll make you associate producer and we’ll give you two points in the back-end.” It’s illegal because that’s exactly what he’s talking about. It’s like I’m soliciting something that I have no right to do. Okay.

 

Leah:

Yes.

 

Audience:

As far as financing goes, if you set up in LLC, will Kickstarter pay that money to the LCC?

 

Leah:

Well, you would set up your bank account, and then, the Kickstarter money goes into your Amazon account. So, whatever account you’ve connected to your Amazon account is where you’re going to transfer the money to.

 

When Kickstarter ends, they take their money immediately, and then, they work for a couple of days because some—let’s face it—some people’s payments bounce, you know, and it takes a couple of days for everything to get situated. And then, that money, usually within three to five days, but they have up to two weeks, transfers into your Amazon account. So, whatever bank account you’ve already established with Amazon, then that’s where you transfer it to.

 

Audience:

Can you establish a second bank account?

 

Leah:

I believe so, I believe. I mean, I don’t know for sure because, again, I’ve actually never been the money recipient on one of these Kickstarters. I’m managing them but I believe what Brad just did was he had his personal account and I said, “No, no, no. You need—” So, he just went over to the credit union, SAG AFTRA credit union, opened up a new account, and that way, all that money is going to go there.

 

I highly suggest you don’t put it into your regular personal account. You definitely want to put a business account or just even some other savings account.

 

Mark:

You set it up, and you set up in both ways. You set up in the back-end on Kickstarter. It’ll ask you for the Amazon account. On Amazon, you’re setting it up, you have to say who you are, give your social security number. If it’s an LLC, you’ll put that information in there, and that tax ID, and the back account that you’re having it transferred to.

 

So, it’s all done both in Kickstarter and Amazon so you can determine. Amazon’s going to make sure that you’re legit, that you have, that you’re not, that everything, that that is a tax ID or a social security so they can tax you if they want to so all that’s there.

 

Leah:

It’s such a new thing, but I would, I’m sure you all have attorneys that you regularly or your tax guys that you regularly work with, I’ve been going to Chuck Sloan for years. I’m sure some of you guys go over there. There is, like, fifteen people in that office. Somebody, at this point, has to be knowledgeable about Kickstarter.

 

If you have questions when you’re setting it up about that, especially if you’re looking to raise maybe more than $50,000 and it’s going to be a big amount, make sure to talk your tax guy and let them know what you’re doing. That way, if they don’t know, they can start doing some research on their end as well so that you do everything right, you know?

 

Mark:

Cool.

 

Leah:

So, we could talk about rewards? Yeah, reward.

 

I think with the rewards, and we didn’t actually do it here, we started with $5.00. But what I’ve noticed is a lot of people skip those little ones when you’re creating your rewards. I’ve seen campaigns where the first option is $50.00 or $100. Even though it says, “Any donation is available,” you can donate from a dollar on upward. But make that clear. Put that, put for, “Pledge a dollar and I give you a Twitter and a Facebook shout out,” because people forget that every dollar does count. And so, if I just glance through that, and I’m like, “Pfft. I can’t donate $50.00.” But if it says, “Pledge a dollar,” I might click on that. I might click on a dollar and all those dollars add up.

 

So, start low, and make sure you have a couple options at the low end before you start getting high. Those little dollars add up. Look, 152 people donated, 2,724 people donated $17.00. That’s a lot of money.

 

Mark:

And, you know, part of what’s great is that you can change, adjust all this stuff while the campaign is going. So, in the back-end that we’ll show you a little bit that you can basically go back and change—

 

Leah:

Unless somebody’s already pledged on it.

 

Mark:

Correct.

 

Leah: Yeah.

 

Mark: I’m sorry. You’re right. As long as nobody has pledged on it, you can change it, but you can also add as much as you want on there, you know, new ones on there.

 

Leah:

The new thing that I’ve been doing that I really like, if you see each level has a name, that’s the demon level, the private investigator level, the director level. So, because this is a film noir project, that’s what we did.

 

With Brad’s project, every reward is the name of a famous guitar player that he liked. So, it just kind of gives, again, uniqueness to your project and helps in back your communication because they’re like, “Oh, I donated at the director level”, then you know where that was and what was in that.

 

I also—and this isn’t set up that way—but I think with rewards, because this was two campaigns ago, and I’ve learned so much since then, I think it’s best to list absolutely everything in your rewards.

 

I see a lot of people that say, “You get this, this, and this, and everything at the level above.” Take the time to copy and paste it. It looks better. It’s all there. Again, it helps with backup communication because they can go, “Well, I thought I got blah, blah, blah,” and you’re like, “No, look. It’s listed. This is what you got”.

 

You know, as we get to the higher levels, you know, the text gets pretty heavy. But, you know, so here, “Digital download of the entire Hollywood CD release party.” And then, we listed everything that came before it that’s included because, on some things, you’re not going to include everything. Maybe at some point you start taking off the Skype calls so then you just don’t list it in there.

 

I also think it’s best to start with the new item first. That way, because I see it can happen the other way, but when people go to that level, $60.00, “Oh, the new thing is the digital download.” “Oh, at $75.00, the new thing’s a T-shirt.” That way you know exactly what the new thing is and everything’s listed. Mark?

 

Mark:

 Yes?

 

Leah:

Anything to add on rewards?

 

Mark:

You know, be as creative as possible. There’s, you know, they have their limitations of what you can and cannot do. There’s something about—

 

Leah:

It has to be connected to your project.

 

With Brad’s campaign we actually, he was emailing with Kickstarter a lot. So, for some reason, they were paying attention to everything we were doing a lot more than I’ve ever seen. And there were a few items where he had different celebrity types that he had worked with on TV shows that offered, like, a signing by ten or something. And we had to start saying that like all of these people were going to be in the music video, all these people were going to be backup singers, because you can’t offer something that’s not actually a part of your project.

 

Mark:

When you can offer a certain thing, I mean, again, it can be a signed copy of something else. But, you know, you have to have the rights. There’s some weird thing. You can’t just go and offer random shit.

 

Leah:

Right, something random. It has to be something that you’ve either created or is going to be a part of the project. There’s a little guidelines and, honestly, his is the only campaign where I have ever gotten emails from Kickstarter and I think it was because he was communicating with them and they were paying attention. So, you know, don’t email them unless you really, really have to.

 

Audience:

Is there a reason you chose between 17 and 27 as [1:02:58.7 unclear]?

 

Leah:

Is there a, what was that?

 

Audience:

I noticed that there was a pledge for $17.00 and $27.00 [1:03:05.2 unclear].

 

Leah:

Well, I’ve noticed on some campaigns that using random odd numbers seems to work better. I don’t know why, I don’t know what that is behind it, but on Blood Kiss, we used a lot of just sevens and threes and odd numbers.

 

And it’s interesting because then what happens is, okay, so say it’s a $37.00 pledge, most people are going to kick in $40.00 but then they take that $37.00 pledge because you can put as much money as you want and choose whatever reward you want. You could throw in a $1,000 and choose no reward, or choose the $50.00 reward.

 

This is a Night Visitor example. So, at the $50.00 level, we had two different options. They’re both $50.00. But, if you wanted the signed photo of our director, you chose this one. If you wanted Mark’s Creator Up video, you choose this one.

 

So, get creative and think about the different people involved in your project. And, okay, well, some of our people are going to throw in $50.00, but they like Jennifer while some of them like Mark. So, let’s figure out different ways to have different packages at the same levels.

 

What else did we do here?

 

Audience:

Spike Lee did that, right?

 

Leah:

You know, I’m sure he did. He must have. I know Amanda Palmer did, too. Amanda Palmer had, like, you know, at $10.00 probably like ten different options of things.

You have a question?

 

Audience:

Yeah. About the rewards, I can see a lot of stuff costs money.

 

Leah:

Yes.

 

Audience:

Do you then create a second budget for the reward?

 

Leah:

No, that’s included. You’re definitely keeping that in mind as you’re making up. So, stick with digital for as long as you can, you know? You’re going to get a digital download of a teaser. You’re going to get a digital download of the first episode. You’re going to get a digital download of the behind-the-scenes. You’re going to get a digital download of the final movie. Stick with digital for as long as you can. Yeah?

 

Audience:

I didn’t quite understand that.

 

Leah:

Well, she was saying that these rewards cost money to make.

 

Audience:

Right.

 

Leah:

So, do you need a separate budget? And the answer is no, you have to include that in your budget when you’re coming up with that.

 

Audience:

And that has to be posted?

 

Leah:

No, it doesn’t have to be posted. I mean, you could actually mention that and keep in mind that the rewards cost money yadda, yadda, yadda. You don’t need to post what our budget is for the rewards. People realize that these things cost money to make, but you have to be cognizant of it. When you’re creating that budget to realize, “Okay, $5,000 is going to be spent,” I mean you’ve got to keep in mind shipping on each of these when you create a reward. Let’s show you that.

 

When you create a reward, it gives you an option as to whether there’s shipping costs or not for international. So, keep that in mind when you’re putting the shipping. Look at what’s in that reward. Oh, maybe it won’t let me because it’s done. Let’s see. Will it let me edit anything? Probably not. It probably won’t let me edit a reward. But, in the rewards section, it’s really just a box that comes up and says “What’s the money? Is there a limited amount?” which is also cool to do.

 

Mark:

Can you just start a new one right now?

 

Leah:

Start a new one?

 

Mark:

Start a project up in the middle. It should be able to just take you right to the opening page.

 

Leah:

Oh, my God.

 

Mark:

Click “I understand” and then, don’t worry.

 

Leah:

Not really, I don’t want to start a project! Ah!

 

Mark:

Okay. We’re all going to come up with a project right now while we’re here.

 

Leah:

Okay. So, here’s a rewards, great.  Great idea, Mark. There we go.

 

All right. So, here’s the pledge amount, you know, you can put whatever you want in there. Then, here’s where you put what you’re reward is. You’re going to pick up, you know, typically about a year out, give yourself, like, a year. And then here, “Can this be shipped anywhere?” Well I don’t know. Let’s say, what would be something big and heavy? I don’t know. Say there’s some, like, huge movie poster. You’re giving away the movie poster, a life-size movie poster that’s going to be at the premiere. Maybe you’re not going to ship that anywhere. Maybe you’re going to chose US only for that one. Or, if there’s no shipping involved, because it’s all digital.

 

But, say you’re going to ship anywhere in the world then it’s going to ask you “Well, is there a shipping fee for backers outside of the US?” It gives you the option to put, you know, what you want that shipping cost to be. Then it gives you an option, “Are you limiting the quantity?” So yes, this reward there’s only five of available. So, then we save it, and then let’s see. Will it show up? [1:07:32.1 unclear] won’t I? No? Yes, look! And then, there’s your reward. Your reward shows up right there. It tells you what it’s limited to.

 

Now, you can edit that like Mark said, up until the point there’s a bidder on it. Once there’s a bidder on it, you can’t change anything about that reward.

 

Mark:

And then, one thing I was going to say in terms of the budget of that is like, you know, just doing some simple math beforehand going, “Okay. So, if we’re going to do print up movie posters and they cost $17.00 and we’re going to do twenty-five of them, that’s going to cost us X amount of dollars.” So, before we figure out what our goal is going to be, we have our film goal whatever those costs are, and then we have our Kickstarter goals which could be having somebody like Leah who comes on and, you know, for a percentage of it, will run the whole thing. Then, there’s the fees for, the Kickstarter fees, you know, so you kind of work backwards.

 

You’re like, “Okay, if I want $10,000, I’ve got to add basically 10 percent that’ll be fees. Okay, what is that going to be? Now, I’m up to $11,000,” or whatever that ends up being. And then, any of the prints or DVD copies or all that so add them. Shipment maybe up to $1,250 and only $1,000 of it is really for the film but the other $250, you know, $2,500 is for the fees for having somebody help promote it and then anything to ship and do all of that.

 

Leah:

Keep it in mind when you’re creating your rewards.

 

Is this something that you can feasibly, you know, make happen and put together? Do you have this already in your possession? How much is it going to cost? You know, ask around, “How much do T-shirts cost?” I think we found, you know, we found a guy who said he could do them for under $7.00 a piece. Okay, so then we put the T-shirt at the $25.00 level. And, you know, like, all right, look at what profit you’re making on each reward that you’re offering too.

 

I want to touch on the manpower aspect of it because this is really, once you’ve got it up and running, and it looks great and it’s up and running, you’re not done, you know? You’ve done the root video, you’ve done the text, you’ve done the rewards, it looks great, you’ve gotten people excited, you’ve been promoting it. Also, during that setup time you should be building your social media pages up as much as possible. If you have under1,000 people following you on Twitter, you’re going to have difficulty. Try to have that like your minimum, that you have a 1,000 followers on your Twitter page and on your Facebook page for the project because you want the project Twitter and Facebook page to be the exciting ones. You want to be building those up.

 

If it’s a horror project with Night Visitor, for instance, sci-fi and horror we had created—I’m from the East Cost, I say “horrah”—we had created that Twitter page and it was brand new. What I ended up doing was, in the search bar, “sci-fi horror.” I followed every single horror magazine that I could possibly follow and, when we launched, I took a little bit of a risk and I didn’t tell Mark that I was doing this. I individually tweeted each magazine with, “Hey! Jennifer Blanc-Biehn’s directorial debut just launched on Kickstarter,” and the reason I tweeted each one was because, if you tweet five horror mags, they’re not going to re-tweet you because now you’ve just put them in with all their competitors and they don’t feel special. So, Fangoria got a special tweet, Dread Central got a special tweet. They all got a special tweet, and nine out of ten of them re-tweeted me.

 

Well, what happened was because it was a brand new account, I got suspended for just a couple of minutes. But my heart dropped—and remember, this is the first time I was physically working with Mark Gantt on a project—and my heart dropped that I had just suspended our Twitter account and I didn’t tell him, and then, it came back, like, five minutes later and it was because it was a new account.

 

With a new account, they really pay attention if you’re tweeting too much. So, I would do, like, ten at a time and then take a break for ten minutes, and then ten at a time. And then, as people start following you back, then you don’t have to worry about that. But, when it’s a new account and it’s tweeting too many people and it doesn’t have a lot of followers, they will suspend you.

 

What you do on the backend—do you have anything you want to add to that?

 

Mark:

No.

 

Leah:

Okay. So, on the back-end what I started doing, and this takes up so much time. So, this is the backer list, right? So, we have 896 people. You are going to send every single person an individual message, pretty much every night if you can. Every night, you’re going to look, “Do we have ten new backers? Do we have twenty new backers? Do we have fifty new backers?”

 

What we did with this was, “Thank you so much for your donation! How did you hear about the project?” which was something that Brad actually asked me to add in because then he was able to determine whether it came from, you know, an acting coach, whether it came from his agent, whether it came from a friend, you know, who it came from. “May I have your Twitter handle to give you a ‘Thank you’ shout-out? And then stay connected with us. Here’s our Facebook and Twitter page.”

 

When the person writes back, they tell you how they knew the person, they give you their Twitter handle. Okay, she worked on Bones with him last year and here’s her Twitter handle. He’s an actor as well. So then, over here in the notes section, you put the person’s Twitter handle. Now, if you’re the only person doing it, then you’re the only person doing it. But, if you have a team of people that are doing that part, once you give that person a Twitter “Thank you,” write “Thank you sent.”

 

On the Twitter side of things, the way I do that is you can fit, for this piece you don’t have to do individual tweets. If you’re dealing with magazines and press and things like that, do an individual tweet. But, when you’re dealing with backers, fit as many as you can in the tweet and do something like—I  know, wait, hold on. Like I said, I’ve too many people’s passwords in my brain. I got it, I got it.

 

What the individual “Thank Yous” look like and I’m probably going to have to scroll back a little ways. What month are we in? September, September. I really want to find one. They literally just say, “Thank You,” tagged all of their names but, here you go. So, here’s one. Will that pull it up? No, all right.

 

“Big thank you to new backers,” however you want to say it. Tag as many of those thank-you Twitter handles that you just collected. But always, always, always at least include your Kickstarter link.

 

So, if you can only fit two names in there, then you fit two names. If you can fit five names. But, at the very least, your Kickstarter link. But, if possible, you’re going to be using your hashtags. For this one, #indiemusic, #crowdfunding, #supportindiefilm is a big one, #indiefilm by itself is a big one, #filmmaking. Whatever your hash tag is.

With Night Visitor, obviously, it was always the #thenightvisitor. Whatever your project’s name is, if your project has a really catchy name, that’s what you’re using.

So, every time you send a thank-you out, you have to have your Kickstarter link and your important hashtags. And, guess what? Nine out of ten people are going to re-tweet a tweet that has thanked them and they’re going to follow you back because they didn’t know you were on Twitter. They weren’t already connected to you. So, now you thank them and they start following you.

 

One step further is a Twitter list. Anybody familiar with Twitter lists?

 

Mark:

So, before the Twitter lists, I think the consistency thing that she talked about with the graphics early on, you know, like, when you’re creating the graphics for the Kickstarter campaign, for the video, for the page, that should be consistent with the Facebook page, that should be consistent with the Twitter page.

 

Leah:

The hashtags you use.

 

Mark:

And so, the hashtags are something that are very specific. The pointed URL is very specific. And all it takes is that creativity to go, “Okay, cool. So, this is it. This is going to be the brand for our movie,” whatever it is. So, any time anybody sees a tweet, or a Facebook, or is on any other social media site that even from MySpace or whatever, and they see that, you know, the same hashtag and they see that image with him in a hat, it’s going to be all over. And you start to go, “Wait, what is that?” Somebody’s going to go to say, “What is that guy with the a hat? I keep seeing that as a re-tweet that my friend is,” and then I’ll click on it and it’s something very consistent. The consistency with the Twitter hashtag and tweeting and the Facebook—

 

Leah:

It’s all branding.

 

Mark:

It’s all branding.

 

Leah:

And it shows actors you know, it’s all branding. So, just as you brand yourself as an actor, you have to brand your campaign. So, once you do that Twitter ‘Thank you’, Twitter has an option to create a list. It’s really easy. Just click Create a List, you type a name, you type what it’s about, and then, you save your list, and then, you have a list.

So, do a Kickstarter thank you list. And, every time that you have somebody, what you do is you go to their page. So, let’s go to my page. I think I can do it from here but I’m probably already on the list. Yeah. You go to somebody else’s page, you click on that little thing there, and then you go to Add or Remove from List. So, look, I’m not on the Kickstarter thank-you list because I didn’t donate. I just put it together.

 

So, I’m going to put myself on the Kickstarter thank-you list. So, now I’m there. What that does is, I now get a notification that Brad’s project has added me to a thank-you list. And just, it’s another feel-good. It’s another thank-you. It’s another way to make people feel good. And then, anybody in the public can literally click on that Kickstarter thank-you list and it shows all the people that we’ve added.

 

So, 253, you’re not going to get everybody. We had almost 900 donors, I only got Twitter handles from 253 people. You know why? Because not everybody is on Twitter that’s going to donate. A lot of these people are just on Kickstarter, or just saw it some way. So, that’s why, again, it’s important for the updates because they’re going straight to people’s emails. So, that takes a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of manpower. You’re going to be up for hours every night literally just thanking people.

 

Audience:

How many people do you usually use, or do you suggest, do you recommend to use [1:17:23.9  unclear]?

 

Leah:

In a handle? In the tweet? As many as you can fit!

 

Audience:

No, I mean to match your background?

 

Leah:

Oh, my gosh, as many as you can. Well, I guess you don’t want too many. It depends on the size of your team and who’s better equipped at that kind of handle. Like, you know I am a Twitter queen so I’m always going to be leading up the Twitter stuff. If somebody else is, you know, pick the people whose strengths they are. But anyone can go through, copy and paste that thank-you letter, and at least put the Twitter handle in the notes section. So, if you have, like, two or three people that have access to your back-end—and that could be their job like “Hey, just send out that message, put the Twitter handle, and then I’ll get to it”.

 

If I don’t see a “Thank you sent” next to it, I know that that person has not been thanked yet. You could assign somebody to just put the handles, somebody else to do the thank-yous. But it takes a lot of hours.

 

We implemented this towards the end of Night Visitor because I had come up with this once we were in it and we’re both already swamped. I remember saying to Mark, “So, I’m actually going to send out thank-yous to everybody in the back-end. And then thank them all on Twitter.” And your reaction was something of like a, “Huh?” And I went, “Don’t worry. I got it. I’m not giving you any extra work. I got this one.” And you were like, “All right, as long as you---”

 

Because I had just started doing this and, three campaigns later, it’s fabulous. It’s a great way to help build up your Twitter. And the people that write you back, oh, my God. The messages you get of encouragement and support. And, you know, somebody you haven’t seen since second grade is like, “Oh, I was in second grade with her and I saw she was doing this project.” And it gets you warm fuzzies.

 

Mark:

Yeah. I mean, in terms of the question, I would say minimum two to three people, you know? Again, the more people you have, the more it can get a little chaotic. But, as long as everybody has a job of what they’re doing, like she and I were great working together. It was just the two of us.

 

Leah:

Yeah.

 

Mark:

But we knew exactly what, at the end of the day, “Okay, I’m going to hit the twitter.” “Okay, cool.” She was out doing something, I’m like, “All right, I’ll hit the thank-yous on this. I’ll do the update then I’m going to be cutting these new videos and I’m going to be doing the thing. Oh, you’re you going to do the thing about the—? Okay, great. How about Facebook?” “Yeah, I’ll do the Facebook posts.”

 

Leah:

And, obviously, we’re two busy people with other lives and so it was like “I’m going to be away for two days, I’m going to be away for three days. Okay, I’m going to pick up the load of stuff that I know is on your plate.” And, with the updates, you can literally put an update. You can only do one at a time. But you can get an update ready to go and it’s in what’s called draft mode. So, for instance, Mark was editing a video that wasn’t done yet and I knew, like, the next morning I wasn’t going to be able to do because, you know, I had something happening that morning. So, that night before I went to bed, I got my piece all ready, kept it in draft mode, then Mark just inserts the video, boom, hits it out and it’s ready to go.

 

So, it’s really working synergistically together and figuring out who’s going to handle which pieces. And you need to have a really reliable, dependable team.

 

Mark:

I mean, when we started, we first sat down, I mean, she came on late. This was one of those things where I realized—

 

Leah:

Yeah, it was like s week or so before.

 

Mark:

Yeah, it was six or seven days. I realized that I needed somebody. I was like, “Oh, we’re doing this.” You know, honestly, I didn’t want to do it. I was fighting it. It was one of those things like I’m in denial that there’s going to be a Kickstarter campaign for the Night Visitor. I was like, “We just finished shooting and now we’re doing a Kickstarter campaign?” and like, “How? We’re not ready. We’re not ready.” And it was like, “Shit, we have to do it, otherwise we’re not going to finish post-production and we have to get this stuff done.”

 

And so, we said, “Yeah, we’re going to do it.” And then, I knew she was doing these other projects and so I asked her and then it was, like, she said yes , and then, it took a couple of days for me to convince her. And then, she said yes, and then it was like, “Oh shit, we’re doing it.” And then, we sat down, it was like I learned so much about what we need. I just thought, “Okay, I know we need to do the video, we need to write up the stuff, and there’s rewards.” She was like, “Yeah, but you’ve got to figure out where your updates are for the next four weeks.” I’m like “What?”

 

Leah:

Yeah, we literally mapped out our four weeks of our tentative schedule and updates and what we were going to be doing.

 

Mark:

What the updates, what the special rewards, oh, wait a second. What the updates were, what the rewards were going to be, how we were going to, like, what’s a new reward after two weeks, what going to be our last week?

 

Leah:

If we knew we had this cool thing, what week do we want to announce that?

 

Mark:

Yeah, exactly, and how we were going to do that. You know, it was a huge, huge load to do that in six days. So, that’s why I think four weeks in advance of going, “Okay. Here’s the video. We’ve got to do the video, okay, cool. Here’s our kind of to-do list of the video or text, this is the other stuff. Here’s our updates, here’s our video updates, here’s—“

 

Leah:

Here are our bonuses, here’s is our special rewards, our surprises.

 

Mark:

Who’s going to be then in-charge of Twitter? Who’s going to be in-charge of Facebook? Who’s going to be in-charge of getting press? Who’s going to be in charge of doing all that stuff?

 

Leah:

We haven’t even touched on press yet.

 

Mark:

Yeah. Questions?

 

Audience:

So, do you guys suggest that definitely breaking up your Kickstarter into, like, two sessions—one for what you need to raise to shoot it, and one for what we need to raise for posts, or—?

 

Leah:

Not necessarily. It depends on the budget. What Mark was talking about earlier was he’s seen projects go, “Hey, we need $5,000 to start shooting our web series. Okay, we’ve got it done. We need another $2,000 for post.”

 

Night Visitor did everything on their own, they just needed post-production money. I, personally, if you can do it all in one shot, I think it’s better because you’re coming back to people not too long after asking for more money. But, Mark’s point is, “Okay, but you’re coming back and showing them this is what we did with your money.” So, I think that’s an individual project question and how big your budget is, and what you’re going to be able to show with that budget.

 

Audience:

So, you think that a larger budget, you’re more likely to break it up?

 

Mark:

That was just the opposite because I always feel like, yeah, I almost feel like if it’s just five, five, and five. Okay let’s just get five. We can do five, we’ll go shoot something.

 

Leah:

I mean, honestly, you should be able to get five in a day.

 

Mark:

Yeah.

 

Leah:

You really should, if you’ve done it right.

 

Mark:

Yeah. And so, to me, if it’s a $100, 000, it’s like, if you bring it up to $30,000 and then $70,000, it’s just, I don’t know. It just feels like it’s going to be a harder.

 

Leah:

Yeah, you’re asking people for like another big, big chunk of money.

 

Audience:

Okay.

 

Mark:

Yeah, because I have somebody that’s doing, that is doing one now, and she’d just done one, like, three months ago. And they’re—

 

Leah:

Failing miserably.

 

Mark:

$700 out of it for $12,000 that they’re trying to raise. It was easy for them to get $12,000 before, but she’s already been to that well. She’s been doing it three times in a year and it’s, like, you can’t keep going to the same people.

 

Leah:

Thinking that they’re just going to keep giving you dollars.

 

Mark:

Yeah.

 

Leah:

Especially when you’re at the point, with the friend that he’s talking about, she has so many projects in the works and none of them are really completed yet. They’re all going to be completed and they’re going to be top-notch quality projects. But there’s nothing really to show yet with what I’ve done with your money that you donated for this other project.

 

So, yeah, be careful of, I mean, even for me personally, like, when I take on a campaign, I try my hardest to keep it off of my own social media. Eventually it bleeds in and I have to. But unless it’s something that I’m personally acting in or producing in or I have something really vested in, I don’t really want to be bugging my friends and family because I want to save my friends and family for when it’s my starring role, when it’s my project, right? They’re going to be like, “Wait, I just donated,” you know? So, just be really conscious of that, that you don’t want to wear your friends and family out as well because they’re the ones who are going to give you that big push.

 

Audience:

Going back to, you know, whether or not you have a, how big your budget is, you know, you mentioned how important it is for your campaign to look professional, to look well-made, to look visually attractive and stuff like that. So, you also mentioned how, like, if you gather up a big team to work on your campaign, they way you pay your team is through [1:24:56.0 unclear] but also you can try to pay them with the money that you’ve raised already.

 

Leah:

It depends. I do not work on any projects for free. When I manage a campaign, I get a couple hundred bucks up front, and then I get a percentage on the end because it’s a 24/7 job for four to six weeks. So, if I’m fully taking on a managing campaign, I need money up front so that I can eat, you know? But, the people that are in your project, like your team, you’re all kind of doing it for the greater good. If you have to hire outside people, for a couple of the projects we hired an editor. Well, he was working on a deferred payment of $200 that he was going to get at the end of it for helping edit the campaign videos so that they all have the same look, they all have the same feel, they all have the same branding.

 

There’s a publicist I’ve worked with on a couple of campaigns where we just brought him on for, like, the last week to kind of give us an extra push and, you know, for a couple of hundred dollars. So yeah, you have to take into account. Some people you’re going to be able to work for free because they’re such a vested part of the project. But other people like myself and outside people, you’re going to have to spend some money.

 

Mark:

So, you keep that in mind in terms of going into it for the budget. And, also, you may need to know right from the beginning “Okay, cool. So, we actually we may need $700 before we even start the Kickstarter campaign because we need to pay somebody like her, we need to pay up a little publicist, we need a graphic guy to get help with the website and get a graphic that matches the Facebook, and the Twitter, and our page, and they’re going to do a deal for us for $200 where he’s going to create all these graphics so we have these images that we can use all the time.

 

Leah:

Unless you have somebody like that on your team then awesome!

 

Mark:

Exactly.

 

Leah:

Like Mark was the one doing that for the Night Visitor.

 

Mark:

Yeah. So, if you don’t, then you kind of put that in mind of like, “This is going to be money aside that we have to do.” Or, it’s a deferred thing. Say, “Hopefully, we’ll pay you when, if this thing makes the money.”

 

Leah:

Now, with me personally, I have a little caveat in there that I still get another couple hundred dollars even if the campaign doesn’t hit its goal. But I haven’t had that yet. My track record with managing campaigns is five for five so I’m also now at the point where I’m very, very selective as to who I’m going to—thank you—as to who I’m going to come out and manage because I don’t want to mess up my track record. I’ll be there, I’m like, “Oh, wait a sec here.”

 

Can we talk about—you’ve got another question? I want to talk about press a little.

 

Mark:

Yeah.

 

Leah:

Press releases. You all know what they are, right? All right. So, I’ve gotten really good at writing them myself. If you have writing skills, you’ll be able to do it as well. Just Google some press releases, look at them, they’re the same format.

 

A really catchy opening paragraph, a little bit about the project, always throw in a couple quotes. Like, I was doing one for the Night Visitor and I’m making quotes up from his director. I just, you know, you kind of know how people talk and you’re like, “All right, she would have said this,” you know? Because it just adds some sort of credibility to your press release when there’s a quote from this person and that person.

 

For Brad, for instance, he’s good friends with Tony Hawk, the famous skateboarder. We got a quote from Tony in there and Tony has nothing to do, really, with the project.

With Blood Kiss, Whoopi Goldberg donated to our project, okay? And, one of our producers had the balls to go in and message her back and go, “Can we get a quote?” And she just wrote, “Looking forward to it. Love it,” Guess what? Our next press release said Whoopi Goldberg supports Blood Kiss and we used her quote. Some charity website out there picked up on it and they tweeted like “Whoopi Goldberg donating to a good cause.”

 

Audience:

Awesome.

 

So, use any angle you can, you know, say you worked with so and so on a project and you still have relations with them. Shoot them a message. Be like “Hey! I’m doing this. Can I get a quote from you?” What’s the worst they’re going to say? They’re not going to answer. The worst that’s going to happen is they’re not going to respond. But if you can get a little quote, put it in.

 

I would recommend a minimum of three press releases for a thirty-day campaign—one to announce your launch, one somewhere in the midpoint, or if you have some really cool announcement happening, and then one as it’s closing.

There’s presswire.com. It costs a couple hundred dollars but it gets it out there to, like, everything. But there’s also free sites. I use this site called Free Press Release. There’s also what’s it PR?

 

Mark:

PR Web.

 

Leah:

PR Web. You know for $20.00, you can throw a few photos up there. And, what it does is there’s a home for your press release. It’s not just on your personal website. It’s somewhere where other people can look at it. It tracks how many times it’s been shared on social media. There’s a PDF available to download it. It just adds more credibility to your project and you never know who’s going to pick it up.

 

For instance, with Blood Kiss, I got a Facebook message four or five days before we were ending from this guy on my Facebook. And I try not to, like, my personal page, if I haven’t met you in person, you’re probably not on my Facebook page, and there’s a few people who slip through.

 

So, I wasn’t really sure who this guy was, but he’s from New York and he sends me a Facebook message and he goes, “Hey, by the way, your project is going to be featured in Entertainment Weekly tonight.” And I went “What?” So, I look at his page, like, “Wait, who is this guy?” And hear he’s a photo journalist at Entertainment Weekly and he’s on my Facebook page, I had no idea. And I’m like “Do you know how? Do you know why?” And so, he went and found out and, apparently, the lady that was doing the reporting had just seen our press release on some random site and happened to be a fan of Neil Gaiman who was in the project and so boom! We ended up in Entertainment Weekly, and all we did was put a press release out there. We didn’t even send it directly to them.

 

So, people find it. Press releases are huge. Press is huge. Don’t turn down anything. Like, you should be doing a podcast every night. With Blood Kiss, we split it up between the team and I remember the first one I was given, our producer was like, “Okay, can you handle this one?” And I was like, “Yeah, sure.” It’s a video podcast, you know, I’m like Skyping with this guy, he’s in his basement in Ohio. There are stains on the ceiling I can see, but he’s interviewing me about out Kickstarter. He’s interviewing me about the project and it ended up being his number one downloaded episode of all time. I don’t know if that could have been ten downloads, I don’t know. But it sounded cool to put it on Facebook and go, “Hey, this was the number one downloaded episode!”

So everybody you know blogs, vlogs, podcasts, say yes to all of them. You should be doing press every day.

 

Mark:

Yeah, and so, once you do this kind of press release, it gives you something that you can then send out to people, to bloggers and say, “Hey, this is the project I’m working on, this is what we’re doing. We’d love to some kind of interview. We can do a live interview with the director, with the actors, with the—”

 

Leah:

“Whoever you want.”

 

You know, “If you have a favorite, we could try to get that person. If not, we’ll get somebody.” You’re really hyping yourself out and putting a spin on it because you’re looking for everybody. You’re looking for the bloggers and the podcasts and vlogs all across America. I mean, mainstream press is going to be amazing. ABC News has now covered two of my projects, but they were both like heartstring kind of projects, but they will.

 

ABC News, they call you, and forty-five minutes later, they’re in your house and you have to just be ready to go, and it may or may not air because there could be a car chase that night and you could get bumped. But when it does, like this last time I watched the eleven o’clock news. They aired Brad’s episode and my phone just went, “New backer. New backer. New backer. New backer. New backer”. I was like “Whoa!” So, I mean, if you can, great. But every press, there’s no press, all press is good press.

 

Mark:

Yes. So, I guess what I’m saying is, like, okay, there are people like Brad who kind of has a sensational kind of thing. The Blood Kiss, there’s Neil Gaiman who’s, like, a huge writer and comic book guy. Then, there’s, you know, like with us, we had Jennifer Blanc-Biehn, her husband’s Michael Biehn from Terminator and Aliens, and so, like, they have a following. But if you don’t have that—

 

Leah:

We weren’t allowed to use Michael.

 

Mark:

Right. We weren’t allowed to use him which is—

 

Leah:

But, we did anyway in that way that I was telling you about. Like, I reached out to Terminator fan sites, and what we did was we offered them, it was going to be a reward that we offered them to anybody, it was a big poster from his Italian premiere and what we offered to them was, if they got involved and published it, they could do the raffle among their fans and give out that reward.

 

So, you find those angles. Like even though Michael Beihn is a huge name in the sci-fi world of Terminator, we weren’t really allowed to push him because it was Jennifer’s project you know? She was the director, not her husband. But you’re like, “Yeah, but he’s Michael Beihn! We need to use him!”

 

Mark:

Right. So, you try to find anything you can for your project whatever it is, and then, going after a very specific genre, whatever it is—if it’s comedy, or if its sci-fi, or if it’s horror—whatever the genre is for your project, and you’re going to be going after those kinds of bloggers. Some of the blogs that covered our—

 

Leah:

Oh, my God. Dozens.

 

Mark:

It was like I’d never heard of them. They were, like, again, like in the basement in Ohio.

 

Leah:

Dozens, and dozens, and dozens.

 

Mark:

But they had a shit load of people that are following them, and they’re constantly tweeting and Facebooking about it so you’ve just got to reach out and, like she said, she just started for a horror film, you know, horror sites, and the same thing with Sci-fi, or if it’s comedy, or if it’s a genre, or you know.

 

Leah:

And then, they get excited and, you know, the best thing that can happen is, you know, they do an article on you on the beginning but then they’re still tweeting about you through your whole campaign and they become like a backer themselves and a supporter.

 

You know, Night Visitor had all kinds of horror and sci-fi bloggers tweeting about us and posting about us. You know, even of five people saw it, five people saw it that would have never seen it.

 

Mark:

Yeah. So, again, just because you don’t think you have, like, a huge name, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do the press.

 

Leah:

You have an angle. You have to find.

 

Mark:

You’ve got to find the angle for your project.

 

Leah:

You have to find it.

 

You did one episode on Dexter. Guess what? You are now the [1:34:30.5  unclear] from Dexter when you’re doing your campaign. I’m not even kidding, you know? You’re going to use that. You’ve got a picture of that time that you where on set of Bones? Guess what? That’s going to be in an update. I’m not kidding, and when you tweet about that update that day you’re hashtagging Bones. And then, guess what? Bones fans are going to find it and you’d be surprised that Sally in Iowa went, “Oh, I saw that episode of Bones, I love that role that you did!” And all over sudden she’s now a backer and a supporter.

 

Because remember we live in Hollywood and we kind of get used to and accustomed to, like, I was a day-player here, oh I was co-start here. Guess what? To the average person out there, that’s awesome and amazing, and they want to be a part of it because that’s their favorite show and you’re connected to their favorite show so now they want to be closer to their favorite show.

 

Audience:

Question. Beside choosing an angle and practically choosing the story you want to tell, to lure people in or to attract the audience?

 

 

 

Leah:

Lure is a good word.

 

Audience:

Do you, do you do the study on why you’re a [inaudible 01:35:26] good audience is and try to find out a way to reach it? In other words do you apply any marketing strategy when you do a Kickstarter campaign?

 

Leah:

Personally for me it’s like I said in the beginning, it’s been organic, I mean I don’t have a marketing background. I’m an actress and a voice actor, and a host. I went to school for elementary education, I don’t have a marketing background, it’s just kind of been like a learn-as-you-go process. But with each project, you kind of know who your target audience is. You know Blood Kiss was a film noir with vampires, okay. Night Visitor is sci-fi with aliens, you know who you target audience… you know you’re project, you know who you’re target audience is, but in the end, at the end of the day you’re target audience is open to anyone who enjoys film or TV or web series, and which is practically everyone.

 

Mark:

And so in a part of it is that you can do, again you can go to seeing what the other …

 

Leah:

That were like you?

 

Mark:

That are like you. So I can go, No Kickstarter and you can go on their updates and you can see “Look, Examiner did an article and here’s the author”. Let me click on that person’s name, send her a note with my press release and say “Hey. I’m doing a Kickstarter campaign, this is what we’re doing blah, blah, blah. We just reached this goal, just see what we’re doing”. You know, so you can do that kind of research on like who you know, what are the successful shows and what have they done? Who’s covering those kinds of things? Goggling other kind of you know resources like that as she said she did in the beginning to get the horror sites.

 

You know the more you know about what your project is and how it can be unique. It could be the exact same thing. It could be you know, somebody else can do The Night Visitor, call it you know, ‘The Day Visitor, but  it’s exactly the same shit. They could go and talk to all the people we went to …

 

Leah:

Yeah.

 

Mark:

Actually have success that way. Those are the exact same fans, the exact same people.

 

Leah:

Yeah. And go to the updates and look at all the people that covered it, with ’The Examiner’ for instance, you guys are familiar with the theexaminer.com. It’s a really well known, well read entertainment news website and they’re all freelancers. They all choose their own topics. So pretty much someone from The Examiner has covered every Kickstarter I’ve been in but not the same person even but like they are happy to help. They’re typically artists themselves that wear a couple hats.

 

There’s the bigger website you know, like the Fangorias and things like that like if it’s a horror project, try to shy away from mentioning that it’s a Kickstarter because if not, everyone and their brother is going to be going like “Hey, I’ve got a Kickstarter”. So when you’re approaching the big guys I would tailor your press release a little differently so that Kickstarter isn’t like the main thing. Like Kickstarter may literally be in the last paragraph… “To see more about this film and help donate…”

 

And then you have your custom URL, so again it doesn’t even quite look like a Kickstarter link, it could be a website. But if you send a press release to these really big guys then its like, “Donate to my Kickstarter”, they’re not going to respond. Was that you, did you have a question? Or you were just, yeah. No, you do?

 

Audience:

Would you ever recommend taking out ads for your Kickstarter campaigns on Facebook for like a hundred bucks or…

 

Leah:

What do you feel about that?

 

Mark:

I’ve never done it. People have done the ads and had some success with it. I mean it’s, there’s nothing wrong with it but …

 

Leah:

I’ve had a couple of projects that have done a little bit here and there. We did some with Brad. We did some with Blood Kiss. I had a charity project that is not a fundraiser but they’re trying to get their name out of there that is doing them right now.

 

I found that they’re good for getting likes when you’re building like a fan page up or something. But I haven’t really found much traction as far as donating and caring. But if you have the budget it’s like 10 bucks, 15 bucks, it doesn’t hurt. Interns, I want to talk about interns.

 

Mark:

So we haven’t spoken on this for a little bit. I’m not sure if you’d answered the question or not?

 

Leah:

We did, 20 minutes ago.

 

Audience:

I’m sure you did, and it’s difficult [inaudible 01:39:19] so this is great, how do you critical mass before you start the campaign? Write a critical mass. Would there be a certain number of Twitter followers, a certain number of Facebook people. And so can you kind of address that? I mean, it’s almost like a [inaudible 01:39:37], right. And you may even take three months or four months to think ahead and say oaky I’m building towards Kickstarter campaign. I’m getting all this going.

 

So what is this process, I mean like, you got to reach out to people, you got to start other types of PR to start getting those followers. So you have someone to go to when the Kickstarter happens. So can we address the pre, pre production of a Kickstarter campaign?

 

Leah:

Well, similar to like Goggling all the horror magazines and starting to follow them, that’s what you’re going to do for whatever your project is. If it’s a comedy then make sure you’re following Funny or Die, or big comedy things out there, because then what happens is your page starts to show up in the ‘Similar To’ column. If you’re following nothing but comedians and stand-up comics and talk-shows late at night, you’re going to start showing up in this stream of ‘Similar To The Conan O’Brien Show’, ‘Similar To this’, ‘Similar To that’. Then hopefully people are finding you organically because you’re showing up in there thing.

 

I also can’t stress enough the use of hash tags. Start the use of hash tags immediately then. If it’s a comedy then you’re always hash-tagging ‘funny’, ‘comedy’, ‘laughter’ whatever it is that people are looking for. Twitter’s SEO search is amazing. If I go to a yoga class and I happen to tweet, “Hey I’m going into a Kundalini yoga class.” I get out and I get three new Kundalini yoga people following me. I’m like, “Oh hey, how are you? Namaste”, you know. [Laughing] I’m not even kidding.

 

Just be organic and start talking about your project. Follow people back and start interacting. The more you interact and talk authentically about your project then people are going to find you. There’s all kinds of weird marketing numbers and magic things and stuff like that, but I have found organic is what works the best.

 

Audience:

Just to slice that up a second and move even further back...

 

Leah:

Further back?

 

Audience:

Further back. Like when you’re selecting somebody to work with, you must be looking at how many Facebook followers they have.

 

Leah:

I will be now.

 

Audience:

Right.

 

Leah:

I will be now.

 

Audience:

How many people they have on Twitter? What is the tool bag that you have to use to get people? Your mailing list right away for a Kickstarter. Like Mark has quite a few people, and that gives you a nice boost, that gets you into that person.

 

Leah:

Well you would hope, because Mark has a great bit amount of followers. I have a great bit good amount of followers. I think we got Night Visitor up to about eight or nine hundred followers. It doesn’t always translate your personal followers. You would hope it does, like on Facebook you can invite all your friends to ‘Like’ the fan page that you’ve set up. Again it’s not really about your friends and family. It’s really reaching the masses. If you can start doing some podcasts and blogs and interviews leading up to it as well.

 

Everybody in here has at least one friend that has a cool blog or podcast, guaranteed. Maybe you don’t know it but I promise you everybody in here has at least one friend out there. Go on your Facebook page and go, “Hey, any of my friends have a blog or podcast?” and see who responds. Then message them back and go, “Hey look I’ve got this campaign starting in a couple of weeks. I have this project. Do you have an open slot? Can you talk to me? Are you interested?”

 

Mark:

For me I feel like, [inaudible 01:43:01] you’re asking a question that you already know the answer to, it’s just hilarious. You always say to me the minute I have the idea of the movie I should have a website, I should have a Twitter account and I should have a Facebook account already. The minute that I...I want to do this movie. For right now I have a film eng, done directing in December of 2014...

 

Leah:

Yeah, [crosstalk 01:43:19] a couple of minutes ago.

 

Mark:

I already have a Facebook, I have a Twitter and I have a website. It’s all temporary but the artwork is there. Over the next couple of months I’m going to start pushing it, I’m going to start trying to do interviews, I’m going to start trying to put up artwork, I’m going to start doing little videos of concept art of what I want the film to look like, so I can start building that audience and start building that up. A year and a half before.

 

Leah:

If you build it they will come, right?

 

Mark:

Yeah, that’s what I heard.

 

Audience:

I have one more question because I don’t know the Kickstarter platform. The contact with your followers, the people that are your patrons, your...

 

Leah:

Backers.

 

Audience:

Your backers on Kickstarter, you don’t have access to their actual email addresses. Do they give you access to all of that? Can you use them in the future? How do you propose...

 

Leah:

With the message system that I showed you earlier. You can individually message everyone.

 

Audience:

Right.

 

Leah:

Then at the end it then reports, does it give you e-mail addresses?

 

Mark:

No.

 

Leah:

No. So you’re saying like how do I keep in touch with these people afterwards?

 

Audience:

They are your patrons, in other words you are sending them something ...

 

Leah:

Right. You’ll get their address.

 

Audience:

You won’t get their email?

 

Leah:

You won’t get their e-mail. You’ll get their address you’ll get all that information. You’ll be able to keep in contact with them if they have questions about shipping and whatnot. But hopefully what has happened because they’re back and they’re that excited, hopefully they are now a Twitter follower and a Facebook fan of yours as well, because you’ve sent them that message with the links. You keep updating them and you keep putting all your other links. Hopefully they’ve connected to you now in multiple platforms.

 

Audience:

Okay.

 

Mark:

You’re hopefully... like she was saying she’s got the Twitter list so now you’ve got that list ...

 

Leah:

Now you’ve got their Twitter handles

 

Mark:

Again, you can ask them for an e-mail, “In the event that ... can we get your e-mail?” Some people may not want to give your the e-mail but you have at least access to them. You can always send them updates. You can send them direct e-mails on Kickstarter or as a group, but then also with Twitter and with everything else. It’s like when I did Annie Takes Off the first time. I’m sorry, when we were doing The Night Visitor, I went back to the some of the Kick ... Annie Takes Off and it takes off and I say, “Hey this is the new campaign we’re doing. Here’s the update on Annie takes Off, this is where we are at with it but here’s a new project we’re doing.” Then when you can follow people on Kickstarter now and make them follow you, they know when you’re backing something...

 

Leah:

They also get notifications when you’re backing, when your friends are backing. Twitter has its own stream feed of what’s going on, which is why another reason updates are important. When you do an update, your project is in the general stream for that second. Same thing with the comments, if somebody leaves a comment all of a sudden your project is in the stream.

 

I know we’re almost done I just want to touch on interns really quickly. I know there is a bad connotation around interns and whatnot. What I have found is especially with a smaller team ... the project that originally got me into this, not the project that I was starring in but the one that made $200,000, ‘Base Command’, it’s a science fiction feature. We had a team of about seven people on that, and it still wasn’t enough. We’ve raised over $200,000 so as you can imagine we were busy, notifications were coming in, things were coming in.

 

We were lucky to have 5,000 Facebook followers. All I did one day was put up a status and said “I’m looking for people that are science fiction fans that have specific niche genres. E-mail me if you’re a Star Trek fan, if you’re a Star Wars fan, if you’re a BattlestarGalactica fan, e-mail me.” People would e-mail me, and then what I did was I got about 20 interns all across the United States that simply I made a chart and was like “Okay you’re my BSG girl, you’re my Star Trek girl, you’re my Star Wars girl.” Anytime that there’s a blog, and update, a press release, you’re already somebody that hangs out on those forums and message boards. That way it’s not spam, you’re not just going randomly spamming things.

 

Look for people in your genres, call them interns, call them assistants whatever you like, and they’re going to email. Offer them special perks, special updates, T-shirts, things like that. Mostly these people are happy to help because they’re fans of that genre, especially with science fiction. Especially when you get into the sci-fi geeks, they want to help. I would have certain people that any time there was an update I knew that they were covering all the Star Trek message boards. They were covering all the Star Wars message boards. It helps tremendously because then there’s other people talking about you. It’s always good when somebody else is talking about your project, then it’s not just Leo or Mark posting the latest update.

 

Mark:

So we’re going to be wrapping up here. Is there anybody who has any questions that anybody has that we didn’t answer?

 

Audience:

Do you sing?

 

Leah:

Me? Karaoke yes, and in the choir but soloist, no.

 

Mark:

Alright, cool. Well your info on the event breaking-day contractor?

 

Leah:

I do have business cards with me if anyone wants one. I’ve got my e-mail. I don’t have my cell phone because I don’t [inaudible 01:48:08] that well.

 

Audience:

We’ll put her name and address in your contact information on the HP Connect so anybody at home...

 

Leah:

Yeah, if they want to set up a one-on-one I do a coffee chat. It’s normally $60 for the hour, we’ll sit down you can pick my brain. I’m offering $40 for anybody that’s here with BHB so for $40 we’ll sit there and we’ll talk about anything you could possibly want.

 

On my website which is just leahcevoli.com , I’ve now created a package plan because I’m not available to manage every single campaign out there. To be honest I really want to wait until the next one is a starring role for me. I’ve created packages where I’ll help you set up this, this and this all the way up to at this package level you can make me an admin on your Twitter and Facebook and I’ll help you out with that portion of it. Take a look at that.

 

I’ll be glad to join some of your teams or, at the very least, let’s sit down on a one-on-one if we didn’t get to answer your questions. Then I can look at your project individually and uniquely and help you figure out better angles and better ways to do things.

 

Mark:

Cool. Thank you.

 

Audience:

[Applause]

 

Leah:

Yeah. ... We’re all going to go out there and kick some butt, right? ... You got it. I want to see every one of you with a successful campaign and I’m available to act in each and every one of them.

 

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