How to Run a Kickstarter Film Project: Managing Your Live Campaign
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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 project updates, stretch goals, and finishing strong.
Browse our other guides on getting started, building your campaign, and post-campaign life.
I just hit launch. Now what?
Now that your project is live, it’s time to broadcast to everyone you’ve ever met that this project exists and needs their support.
Here are some next steps to take:
- Alert your closest contacts. Enlisting your closest friends and family to contribute in the early days will not only make you feel better, it may also motivate other backers to join in. There’s nothing quite like jumping on a moving train!
- Send out the emails you drafted while you were planning your promotion. You’ll probably raise a large proportion of your budget this way.
- Post a link to your project on social media and anywhere else you exist online.
What are project updates, and how should I use them?
Project updates let you tell your backers how it’s all going. It’s an opportunity to keep the people who’ve shown faith in you informed, and an avenue to express your gratitude. Project updates written with the update tool on Kickstarter are automatically sent to your backers by email and will be posted on your campaign page under the “Updates” tab.
You can use your project updates to:
- Share news and press coverage about your project (“Edie Falco has joined our cast!”)
- Introduce new rewards (“Original The Panic in Needle Park manuscript, signed by Joan Didion”)
- Offer a new trailer, sneak peek, or behind-the-scenes footage or images
- Celebrate funding milestones (“We are 50% funded!”)
- Post calls to action (“Tell a friend and help us reach 100 backers by Friday!”)
- Share new details about the film or your creative process (“Dan Chen on making movies”)
How often should I post project updates?
One to two updates per week for the first three weeks of your campaign should be about right. You may want to increase the update frequency as your funding deadline looms and the stakes rise. After the campaign ends, we recommend updating backers on when they’ll be receiving their rewards and to share exciting news or developments about your film.
I’ve hit a mid-campaign slump. How do I build momentum and keep my backers engaged?
It’s common for Film projects to slow down after the first few days of the campaign. Here are some tactics to keep your momentum going:
- Post project updates. Have you sent a project update yet? See the section above for guidance.
- Add a new reward. Introduce a new reward and announce it to your community, like the creators of The Shawl did.
- Find a matching grant. If someone in your community is willing to give at a higher level, leverage their pledge to act as a matching grant, like the creators of Truth or Consequences did. Set up a financial limit with your backer and announce to your community that all pledges up to that amount will be matched over a set period of time.
- Say thank you! You can message backers individually to thank them and encourage them to spread the word.
- Set up achievable campaign milestones to rally your community, like the creators of The Three Men You Meet at Night did. For example, you can ask your backers to spread the word to help you get to a certain number of backers or a certain financial goal by the end of the week or by the midway point.
What are stretch goals, and should I use them?
Most filmmakers aren’t raising their full film budget on Kickstarter, so it’s always a good idea to have a sense of what you would spend any additional funding on and how you will articulate that to your backers. You might want to include that information on your project page from the beginning—while reassuring backers that if you reach but don’t exceed your goal, you’ll still be able to make the film you’re describing. For example: “With an extra $1,000 we can secure additional music licensing rights; with an extra $2,000 we can also hire a composer.”
Here are a few examples of common stretch goals for Film projects:
- Expand the scope of the project. For example, Stanley Nelson launched a Kickstarter campaign for the theatrical release of his documentary The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution. After reaching his $50,000 goal to take it to 12 U.S. cities, he announced that additional funds would allow his team to bring the film to Ferguson and St. Louis in Missouri and Cleveland, Ohio.
- Add extra scenes. Filmmaker Meirav Haber was able to add an additional stop-motion scene to her short film, Sylvia. She also created a behind-the-scenes video as a reward to backers for helping her reach that stretch goal.
- Add more episodes, if you’re raising funds for a series, like the creators of the record-breaking Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina did.
- Pay for more hours of editing.
- Secure the rights to the music you really wanted in your film, but thought you wouldn’t have budget for.
I’m in the last week of my campaign. What can I do to finish strong?
A lot of our tips for the mid-campaign slump (above) apply here, too. Whether or not you’ve hit your funding goal, there are plenty of things you can do in your final week to power over the finish line:
- Don’t forget to thank your backers for their support! Encourage them to continue to share your project with their networks. Circle back to anyone on your contact list who said they’d back your project and ask again. People might be procrastinating or might have simply forgotten to pledge.
- Post a project update to let your backers know how much time is left in the campaign and how much you still need to raise if you haven’t reached your goal. Encourage them to increase their pledge.
- Introduce a new reward.
- Add stretch goals. If you haven’t already included a note on your project page about what you plan to do with any additional funds you raise, update your page to include that information. New backers might be more excited to get on board if they know what you intend to do with the extra funds.
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