How to Run a Kickstarter Film Project: After Your Campaign Ends

Share this post

In this series, Kickstarter’s Film team answers some of the most common questions asked by Film creators interested in running a campaign. In this section, they’ll tackle everything you need to know about receiving your Kickstarter funds, producing and fulfilling your rewards, and keeping in touch with backers.

Browse our other guides on getting started, building your campaign, and managing your live campaign.

In a Heartbeat, directed by  Esteban Bravo and Beth David
In a Heartbeat, directed by Esteban Bravo and Beth David
 

When will I get my money?

If your campaign has reached its funding goal, Kickstarter will begin to collect and process pledges from your backers as soon as the funding period ends. You’ll receive the funds 14 days after the funding period ends. (Depending on your bank, it could take an additional three to 14 business days for the funds to appear in your account.)

If your project has not reached its funding goal by the end of the campaign, your backers will not be charged and you will not receive any funds.

What is the backer survey, and how should I use it?

The backer survey lets you collect information from your backers—their email addresses, shipping addresses, and anything else you need to deliver their rewards.

You can start drafting your backer survey anytime after you launch your project, but you can only send it out once your campaign’s funding period ends. You can only send one backer survey, so make sure you’ve thought through all the information you’ll need to collect.

Remember: You are responsible for keeping your backers’ personal information safe. Don’t collect more information than you need to, and don’t share it with services or third parties you don’t trust.

Learn more about the backer survey in our Help Center.

What happens if a backer doesn’t answer the survey and I can’t ship their reward?

If a backer hasn’t replied to the backer survey and you need their information to deliver their reward, you can message them directly. We’ll also show them a reminder the next time they visit the site. After a certain amount of time, you may want to post a project update to let all of your backers know that it’s their last chance to fill out the survey.

What if there’s a problem with a backer’s pledge?

If we can’t collect payment from a backer, we’ll email them with instructions on how to fix their pledge, and will continue to do so every 48 hours for seven days. They’ll also be able to fix their pledge by logging in to their Kickstarter account and clicking on the "Fix Payment” banner at the top of the page. You can also message the backer directly to encourage them to fix their pledge.

Read more about errored pledges in our Help Center.

What sorts of updates should I post after the project has ended?

We recommend updating your backers regularly after your campaign wraps up but before you’ve completed your film or fulfilled your rewards. After that, send them an update whenever you have something interesting to share. For example, you can post a project update to let your backers know that your film has been accepted into a film festival, or that there’s going to be a public screening. (When the short animated documentary The Shawl was accepted to the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, the team sent out this lovely update.)

We recommend employing a principle of radical transparency in your post-campaign updates. That means letting your backers know when things aren’t going as planned. It’s not unusual for creative projects to hit speed bumps, and the more open and honest you are with your backers, the more likely they are to understand when things go wrong, and even come to your aid in your times of need. Keep them informed if you run into obstacles that slow down your progress; that way, you’ll avoid awkward or even angry interactions with backers who don’t appreciate being kept in the dark.

Here’s a great post written by the team behind The Viking of 6th Avenue that outlines the enormous amount of work they’ve been putting in, as well as the unforeseen developments that contributed to their delay in finishing the film. We think it’s a great example of being radically transparent with your backers.

The Viking of 6th Avenue by Dog Day Films
The Viking of 6th Avenue by Dog Day Films

What should I do with my film once I’ve finished it?

This can be a very personal choice. In their guide to releasing a short film, the team at Short of the Week reminds filmmakers to consider what they want to get out of it.

Short of the Week’s advice is to “be everywhere all at once”—get your short film on as many platforms as you can, and compress your release window to build momentum.

How do I produce and ship my rewards?

If managing all the logistics of your project starts to feel a little overwhelming, or you wind up with more backers than you were prepared for, don’t worry—you don’t need to do everything yourself. There are businesses that specialize in things like mass mailing, warehousing, packaging, and more. If there’s a part of the process you feel comfortable outsourcing and you can find a partner you trust, working with a fulfillment service can help lighten the load and create a better experience for you and your backers.

With the help of many Kickstarter creators, we’ve compiled this list of services that help with everything from packaging and shipping to manufacturing.

For distributing digital downloads, many filmmakers use WeTransfer or Dropbox. For password-protected digital links to your film, many Film creators use Vimeo or Reelhouse. For more tips on releasing your film, check out this guide from Short of the Week.

Ready to launch a Film project of your own? Get started here.

Stay in the know about all things Film on Kickstarter by subscribing to our newsletter.