If you’re here, you understand the important role that preparation plays in your crowdfunding journey.  Here’s a short list of three invaluable resources that will not just improve your crowdfunding campaign, but make you a better communicator, storyteller and community-builder overall.

Please purchase them from your local independent bookseller.

1. Crowdfunding for Filmmakers

by John Trigonis

The Basics:

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but I’m always surprised by how few of my clients have picked it up. The book takes you step-by-step through all the most important elements of your campaign, including more than a few I promise you haven’t considered yet. With sections like “It’s called promotion not spam-motion,” “Remember when…the power of nostalgia” and “Te: Integrity is the Tao to (Ka)-Ching!” this book tells it like it is with brilliant nuggets that you can apply to your life overall, not just your campaign.

Why I Love It:

  1. It’s up to date. The author released the first edition in 2013, which doesn’t sound that long ago but is actually light years when it comes to ideas on the Internet.  But then, he actually released a second edition in 2016.
  2. You literally couldn’t ask for a more informed authority. John Trigonis has crowdfunded his own projects more than once, and in his role as film strategist at Indiegogo, he has closely observed (and had a hand in strategically architecting) hundreds if not thousands of film campaigns. He knows firsthand what happens when filmmakers take (or – God help them -don’t take) his advice.
  3. The author is accessible.  Lucky for us, Trig is a prolific tweeter. It’s clear that helping filmmakers is his passion, and to that end, he’s one of Indiegogo’s strongest competitive advantages, and an invaluable resource for anyone thinking of launching a campaign.

2. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die 

By Chip and Dan Heath

The Basics:

This book is the rare combination of practical, extremely helpful and with sections like “Jurors and the Darth Vader Toothbrush” and “Who Spoiled Halloween?” it is an absolute page-turner. If you can manage to internalize the universally relevant concepts in this book, you are set for life.

The book explores why we remember some things and not others. What makes some concepts or ideas land immediately while others, no matter how important or foregone the conclusion, fall on deaf ears.  It’s a must-read for teachers, salespeople, storytellers, marketers, and really just about anyone who ever needs to persuade or capture someone’s interest. For filmmakers, this is a book that will revolutionize the way that you pitch your film, be that in a meeting with a studio, in an informal conversation with a potential collaborator, or on your crowdfunding page.

Why I Love It:

  1. It takes its own advice. This is a book that tells you how to make ideas palatable.  And it is in itself evidence that its advice works, because the way it presents its very own concepts follows the rules that it sets forth. You will remember the ideas the book introduces even years after you read it. You will cite them in conversation, and passionately recommend the book to others, much like I am doing now.
  2. It’s all stuff you already know, you just didn’t know that you knew. The concepts are so fundamental yet so revolutionary that by the end, you’ll feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when the good witch tells her she always had the power to go home.
  3. You will use it every day of your life after you read it. Not only will it make your pitch video “pop” and help you to jazz up your campaign copy. It’ll improve everything you write for the rest of your life. It’ll help you get through to anyone from your kids to your boss to a store manager whose return policy is impossibly stringent.

3. How to Win Friends and Influence People

By Dale Carnegie

The Basics:

There’s no better proof that anyone can crowdfund than the fact that one of the resources for advice is a best-selling book that was originally published in the 1930s.

This is a book praised by a diverse set of luminaries – Warren Buffet, Donna Reed and even apparently Guy Fieri (but don’t hold that against it).  If you haven’t read it already, all you need to know about it is that it teaches exactly what the title says it will.  Don’t think about it as a way to manipulate, though. The book preaches authenticity, which we at Genuine Article value a great deal.

Why I Love It:

  1. It’s massively relevant. It explains what makes people tick in ways that relate to many aspects of communication, not the least of which is crowdfunding. Hell, it includes imperatives like “Talk in terms of the other person’s interest,” “Make the other person feel important,” and “Throw down a challenge,” all of which are no-brainers for anyone prepping a campaign.
  2. It’s applicable to audience-building in general. Even the bits that may not seem directly relevant to raising money (like “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound”) are absolutely applicable to building and maintaining an engaged audience, which is a core predictor of success in film.
  3. It works both ways. Not only will it aid you you in applying principles of human behavior in order to make stronger authentic connections, it will help you deduce when those principles are being leveraged upon you, be that by an unscrupulous salesperson or in a manipulative social situation.

In summary, it’s clear that many of the skills you learn and strengthen when building a great crowdfunding campaign for your film will spill over to many other areas of your life. Reading them is a great investment in your film, your career and your ability to be an effective communicator long term.  Best of luck, and if you need any help, get in touch to learn about all the different ways we help filmmakers raise money and grow their audience!


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. 


And now, an alphabetical list of every Sundance 2016 film, along with links to their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.

First, bookmark the page so you can refer to it often.  Then…. Follow, mention, share, engage! Go!

Oh, and let us know if we missed any!

It’s hard out there for a filmmaker these days – and it’s getting harder! We’ve all had that discussion about the double-edged sword that is the lower cost of digital filmmaking, which has flooded the market with more and more content, creating an even greater need to stand out amongst the crowd.

Complicating matters is the growing (and rapidly changing) world of social media marketing for films.  This is undoubtedly driven by the impact social media can have on crowdfunding success as well as its vital role in generating the widest festival buzz.

As marketing budgets shrink and social media capabilities and trends shift on a seemingly daily basis, the task of building and executing a social media strategy for your film gets more and more daunting.

Determining the right approach for your film and your budget can come often down to guess work: knowing the right people to ask for advice. Stumbling on the best online tips. Trusting your gut that those tips make the most sense for your film.

Here at Genuine Article, we’re big fans of quantitative data. Tips and advice? Yep, we’ve got those. But who doesn’t love a generous helping of cold hard facts?

That’s why we decided to compile some data on all of the feature films that make up the Sundance Film Festival class of 2016. We wanted to understand, empirically speaking, how each is handling their social media. We wanted to answer questions like:

How have these filmmakers chosen to represent themselves in the digital space – and where?

When and how often do they post updates?

Which films are stand-outs in terms of audience building, and what platforms have given them the most success?

Does strategy (and outcome) differ based on factors like narrative versus documentary?

We’ve summarized the results in the infographic below, and we hope you find them interesting. If you do, take a second to share!

Sundance Social Scorecard Infographic

Some important notes on our methodology:

  • Our analysis excludes shorts as well as films in the Special Events and From the Collection sections
  • Though this post focuses on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, we imagine there are some films that have (wisely) opted to use other platforms like Tumblr and Snapchat, either instead of or to supplement what they’re doing on the big three platforms.
  • When crunching the numbers, we used median instead of average, so that we didn’t give too much weight to one or two major outliers (including one film that’s playing Spotlight and whose digital presence is in line with what you’d expect considering it’s already been released in a major market)
  • These are very dynamic stats as many films are creating their accounts even yesterday or last week. The data here a snapshot of how things looked as of January 18th.
  • For this piece, we chose to look at only films who have created dedicated accounts for the film itself. For these purposes, if someone’s only Twitter presence for the film is her own personal account, it is not counted here. That’s not meant to be a commentary on efficacy of such an approach – that’s a blog post for another time! It’s just the way we chose to do it.
  • We firmly believe that follower count is only one of many important success metrics. It is far from the only or even sometimes best gauge of a film’s success in the social media space.