The Film Business

Using Kickstarter to finance your movie

Photo by Alan Cleaver

Crowd Funding has become a great new way to raise money for any given project. The ideas range from gadgets like Cine Skates that have gone well over ten-times their 20K goal to multi-million dollar Super Bowl spec spots. Like, Kentucky for Kentucky.

We are about to embark on a little crowd funding of our own. We recently got approved for a kickstarter campaign to help finance “The Board Of Education,” a feature length documentary about corporal punishment in the US public school system.

Kickstarter is one of the premiere crowd funding organizations. It has been very successful at helping thousands of people turn their ideas into a reality. There is simple application process. It only took me about three days from concept to approval. Once you are approved you have plenty of time to create your kickstarter page. You then have only sixty days to meet your funding goal.

We chose Kickstarter over options like IndieGoGo and Rocket Hub simply because it is an all or nothing situation. At Kickstarter, if you don’t meet your fundraising goal, you get nothing. Because of this, we felt that it was worth it to take the risk of not getting funded over trying to make a film with insufficient funds. It feels more challenging to have a successful kickstarter campaign and comes with a higher reward.

Here is a quote from the approval email I received from Kickstarter.

Check out Recommended projects for inspiration:, and explore Kickstarter School for tons of tips on making a great project:

Some of the things you’ll learn:

1) A video is a must. It makes an emotional connection and shows you care. Plus, projects with video succeed at a much higher rate!

2) Cool rewards make a big difference. Not every reward has to be special, but they’re a great opportunity to share what’s unique to you and your project.

3) Spreading the word pays off. You provide the experience and the idea, your network helps fund and promote it.

And remember, funding is all or nothing — you can always raise more, but never less! You’ll want to choose a funding goal that will cover costs and fulfill rewards, but also one that is reasonably attainable through the support of your networks.

If you have questions, check out our Help Center:

Good luck!


There are two kickstarter campaigns that we are following closely. The feature film Man- Child by Ryan B Koo and the TV pilot Riven by Brian Ramage and Philip Bloom. “Man Child” is on a good track and has raised over half its goal with about a week left. I asked Koo how he felt now that he was in the home stretch. Here is his response:

Because Kickstarter is all or nothing, you certainly don’t want to set your goal too high. Man-child is going to be a difficult film to make even if the campaign makes its ambitious goal of $115,000, because of the size of the cast, the number of locations, and the logistical complexity of a team sports film. So there are two things that are keeping me from panicking at this point:

The first is that I couldn’t make this movie for any less, so I’m not second-guessing myself and thinking I should’ve set a lower goal. If someone were to set a goal to raise enough money to pay themselves and make a movie comfortably, I could see doubt creeping in at this stage, but this is going to be a film that’s made with a lot of unpaid positions (including myself).

The second reason I’m not panicking is because I have worked as hard as humanly possible to get the campaign this far — I am not doing anything else with my life other than writing about and promoting the campaign. I’ve also been preparing for this for the last 18 months. And now my days, nights, weekdays, and weekends are all spent working on this. If you’re giving something your all, it’s hard to second guess anything because you simply don’t have time. (Click here for more info on “Man-child”)

Riven the Brian Ramage and Philip Bloom TV pilot project, narrowly missed it’s goal of $48K and has moved into a plan “B” stage of self-funding: simply ask for donations. This is yet another way to fund a project there are no fees, goals or timelines to restrict the flow of funding. Brian has come up with some great rewards. For example: a thirty-five dollar donation gets you “Exclusive access to the Top Secret production blog and a behind the scenes look at Philip, Brian and the rest of the crew as they put together this pilot episode. This and various other rewards are available on the Riven website.

We felt that was important to fund our film “The Board Of Education” via crowd funding simply to stay as impartial as possible on this polarizing topic. Everyone that I have spoken with about this topic has a strong opinion either way. The stories of shoes, rulers and paddles with names just flow out of them. For us to make this documentary properly we must gain the respect of both sides. Crowd funding will give us the complete financial and creative control we need to achieve that goal. We will share our experiences of this process with you as we prepare to launch our own kickstarter campaign.

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MasteringFilm, powered by bestselling Routledge authors and industry experts, features tips, advice, articles, video tutorials, interviews, and other resources for aspiring and current filmmakers. No matter what your filmmaking interest is, including directing, screenwriting, postproduction, cinematography, producing, or the film business, MasteringFilm has you covered. You’ll learn from professionals at the forefront of filmmaking, allowing you to take your skills to the next level.