STEAL THIS STRATEGY: Crowdfunded Films at Sundance!

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Welcome to STEAL THIS STRATEGY, the first in our ongoing series where we examine, as outside observers, the social media marketing or crowdfunding campaign of upcoming films of note.

This month, we’re studying films who are on a path many filmmakers hope for when their crowdfunding journey begins. That is, they are about to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival!

THE FILM: Dayveon (previously titled Loudmouth), directed by Amman Abbasi

THE CAMPAIGN: A Kickstarter from June of 2015

THE RESULT: Great success! They asked for $25,000 and reached $25,429 from 139 backers

Still from Dayveon (Sundance Film Festival)



Here’s what we love about their campaign.

Strategy #1: They use imagery effectively

This Kickstarter seems to have happened before the bulk of the film was shot, which could understandably make including images a challenge. But, they managed to nicely incorporate a handful of images (from a test shoot, it would appear) which was smart, because now their potential backers can get a sense for the look and feel of the film.

Your Takeaway: It’s essential to infuse your campaign with multiple images.  If they’re compelling and share a consistent design aesthetic, this shows your audience you have an eye for visual story-telling, and conveys professionalism overall.

Screen shot from Dayveon Kickstarter


Strategy #2: They humblebrag about press coverage

This campaign was fortunate enough to garner press coverage, including mentions in Indiewire and Rock City Life, and they wisely highlighted this fact on the top of their campaign.  They did it perfectly, by inserting logos that linked to the coverage itself.

Screen shot from Dayveon Kickstarter

Your Takeaway: Crowdfunding is no time for pride or modesty. Authentically broadcast your success and it will snowball into more! Getting a blog or news outlet to write about your campaign isn’t necessarily a silver bullet — raising awareness never hurts, but may not always bring the backers in droves. What press coverage does accomplish, however, is to impress people you already know.

So, if you do end up attracting some attention, tell the world! Some love from the media (any media!) ups the legitimacy factor of your whole endeavor. Friends who were on the fence about contributing will more eagerly jump on the bandwagon, and even those who have already contributed will often be excited to share the link.

Screen shot from Dayveon Kickstarter

Strategy #3: Their $25 reward is appealing yet affordable to fulfill

Statistically speaking, your $25 reward will be the most popular reward.  In this film’s case, it was — just barely edging out the $50 reward.  The Loudmouth team’s $25 reward included items that are fulfilled digitally — a shooting script PDF and a digital download of the film’s score. This allows them to pocket basically all of the $25 (minus Kickstarter fees), instead of investing in merchandise and paying for shipping.

Your Takeaway: $25 is the sweet spot for many backers — often they choose the reward at this level not just for the reward but because it’s what they want to spend.  So, be sure your campaign has a $25 reward (don’t go from $10 to $40, for example), and be sure it’s one of the easiest and cheapest to deliver to your backers. At the same time, make sure it’s one with broad appeal — not one that would interest only a subset of your audience.


Video Viewpoint: 

  • Nice length, at 2:35.
  • Great job explaining the personal connection. This is particularly important given that it may not immediately be clear what the writer/director’s connection is to the community in the film

“Social” Skills

  • Key organizations like Made in Arkansas and Little Rock Film Festival shared the campaign on their social streams.  These shares are wins because they will reach an audience predisposed to care about the film. And they’re reasonable shares to obtain, because they’re organizations that have good reason to want to help the film succeed.


Dayveon is screening five times this month at the Sundance Film Festival.

Follow Director/Co-Writer Amman Abbasi on Twitter, go to his website and visit his IMDb.

Get more crowdfunding tips by following Genuine Article on Twitter and Facebook.

Want to talk about Crowdfunding with Genuine Article?  Drop us a note so we can arrange to chat at Sundance or over the phone before or after.  In the meantime, read more about all the ways we support filmmakers with their fundraising endeavors. 


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