I have raised money for a feature film, for 4 short films, for one web series, for one PSA video, and for charity causes. Every one of them have different challenges, and I have learned a lot from some hits and many misses.
Now, as I get ready to start raising money again for two new projects (I am in the writing process of Scent), I have been forced to do the exercise to realize what has worked and what has not worked. And here are some of the things I have come to realize.
1. You cannot expect to raise all the money in the same way
What does this mean? Well, that some of the money will come from private investors, other will come from a fundraising party, some else will come from crowd-funding initiatives (like IndieGoGo or Kickstarter), and some more will come from you own pocket. So not you, not I, not anyone should exclude any possibilities to raise the most minimum amount of money, because 20$ feed two people on set, gets a wardrobe change in a thrift store, or gets coffee for the whole crew.
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Hit: It’s never to early to start.
2. Financing Never Ends!
It’s true! you always need more money for something! It’s a marathon! You raise money for production, and then you need more for post production, and then marketing comes, and how do you build a website without money? I mean you can really do all this by yourself, amateurish, and slowly. I am really on the opinion that you are better off delegating this task if budget allows, and the only way budget will allow is by raising money… all the time.
3. Pay yourself!
Unless you are sitting on a lot of money, please, pay yourself. Not a stellar amount! That wouldn’t really make sense. Pay yourself the exact dollar amount you need to pay your weekly expenses (remember taxes when you do this). That is the only way you can actually commit productive time freeing your mind of thinking how you will be paying rent next month (been there, done that!).
Some investors will not like that. But you have to explain to them that for the quality of the web series, movie, TV pilot, you need to be available 24/7 during prep and production, and if you editing, also post production. If they know anything about business they will understand. There are many people out there that expect other people to work for free, that only hurts us. So let’s work for little, but let’s make sure we hav a place to sleep and we have food in our mouths.
4. You have to be convinced you will make money.
And I can already hear you saying: “This moron thinks he can make money of a web series.” Yes. I do. I don’t think we can become millionaire right of the bat, but I do believe that well marketed and a well executed and adaptable plan, you can turn a profit on a web series. Bottom line, if you don’t believe it, then you never will! If you believe it you might not make it, but it’s the only way to make it is trying it.
I am currently working on writing a business presentation for one of my projects, and we have identified 12 possible income streams with the series. Will they all work as expected. Probably not, some will do better, some will do worst. But I am a firm believer that you can make a web series that makes money, and you need to believe it, think that is possible, and find a way to make it possible.
What do you think? Is it even worth it trying to get investment, or should we stick to getting donations?