Recreating crowdfunding profiles

To recreate the crowdfunding profiles I gathered all the research I’d collected so far and divided it up in to profiles, videos, rewards and communication. I also gathered three case studies from Indiegogo, Kickstarter and Seed&Spark.


  • ‘Who will write our History’ by Robert Grossman: Successful-
  • ‘No Greater Love’ by Justin Roberts: Flexible Funding (Unsuccessful) ––29#/
  • ‘NO ALTERNATIVE: Feature Film’ by William Dickerson: Flexible funding (unsuccessful)


  • ‘Tightly Wound’ by Shelby Hadden: Successful –
  • ‘In a Heartbeat’ Animated short film by Beth + Esteban: Successful –
  • ‘Magpie’ by Paul Cook: Successful –


  • ‘Ordinary Women’ by Anita Sarkeesian: Successful –
  • ‘The Big Heist’ by Health Rosetta Films: Successful –

By anyalsing these case studies I was able to draw comparisons and differences that may have added to there success. All three platforms are reward based services therefore the filmmakers offer incentives to funders such as t-shirts, set-access and other perks.


Both Kickstarter and Indiegogo took a more personalised approach to there profiles and didn’t give much detail of the actual production requirements. The content and layouts were very similar. The benefit of Indiegogo is clearly the flexible funding. If a filmmaker is unsure on how much to donate they can put a larger sum than required but still expect some funds if they don’t reach there full amount. This however lowers there stats for successful campaigns as seen above ‘No Greater Love’ and ‘No Alternative’. Kickstarter therefore gives crowdfunders and backers more urgency to complete the project. This was confirmed by James Fair’s reasoning for choosing the platform “all or nothing helps the psychology of funders.” This contributes to the higher success rate for film campaigns.

Seed&Spark takes a more technological and professional approach. These are professorial filmmakers who need money to create there films. The profiles therefore detail more information about the projects and detail exactly where the money will go and how it will be used. The wish list function also allows filmmakers to request specific items or money towards specific areas of the filmmaking process.


All examples included video detailing the project and why the money was needed. On many platforms this has become a must. The videos ranged from 1-3mins and were personalised to these projects. I noted the more professional the video, the higher chance of success for a campaign. The video is the first thing a user sees on all three platforms. Many of the videos detailed a journey of the filmmakers progress and where they need to go next.

Survey 10/11/2016 undertaken by Emma Simms

To create my video campaign I worked alongside Christopher Taylor and Victoria Charles. To keep it as natural and passionate as possible we conducted it in an interview style manner in front of a green screen so we could add images later with more information. This worked well as we spoke how we really felt about the project rather than it being scripted. I would have like more time to edit the video and possibly design it further. Due to time constraints we were also missing the director so we know this version will not be used for the actual campaign but does allow me to draw further comparisons with my case studies. We focused on what makes the production unique, where the money will go and why it is special to us and needs to be made. We know some re-shoots are in order which will be completed Feb 2017.


Each case study included a rewards based system for donating. These generally ranged from £1 – £3000 depending on the target. Rewards included:

  • Copies of the script
  • Clothing/badges/posters
  • Screening tickets
  • DVD copies
  • Director meetings/sessions
  • After party tickets
  • Opportunity to be an extra
  • Executive producer roles
  • Donations to charities

And the list goes on. Each product also varied in price with no set measurement. On one profile a t-shirt could be £30 while on another it could be £60. Pricing is decided based of a filmmakers needs and position i.e. is shipping include, item cost and time.

Max Silverman CEO of Seed&Spark states “The most successful incentives are visual, sharable and free to make. For example, a historical event with the contributor’s face photoshopped in. The most common contribution level is $25, so this is often the best level to include these.” in an interview 10/11/2016.

reward donation.png
Survey 18/11/2016 undertaken by Emma Simms. 46 participants.


Canary crowdfunding campaign rewards list

Using my case study examples, further research and advice from former crowdfunders I have compiled a list of what ‘Canary’s incentives could look like. To do this I researched the cost of making each item and posting it to the recipient. Some of the rewards are free to make and send, which saves production costs. Where possible the rewards help to promote the project as well such as badges, clothing and posters. Larger rewards include set visits. To improve these more I need to go directly to my target audience and ask them what they would like to receive and how much they are willing to pay as this may affect how successful an amount is.


In a survey to crowdfunders, 100% said they promoted there project on social media.




Without promoting there projects none of the case studies would have received donations. This part is often overlooked and the hardest part of a crowdfunding campaign. It requires a lot of time. Not all posts needed to be linked to the campaign some discussed the subject. James Fair’s 72 Project would release cast, crew and location information when targets were met to keep funders interested and interacting with the project.

Canary Crowdfunding campaign communications plan

Following my case studies’ example I have planned each day of communication during the project in different social media formats. I have tried to make them as engaging as possible with the final couple of days focused solely on the project. At the same time we would be facebook/twitting personal thank yous to those who donate. I have also tried to include mini target accomplishments although it is impossible to tell now what they would be. To futher test this I would go directly to my target audience as ask them where they would want to find this information and what they would like to know (Oakley 2016).


Using the surveys, industry interviews and research I applied the information gained and created two mock-ups. I decided that due to the similarities between Indiegogo and Kickstarter I would only recreate one for the both of them following Kickstarters format. This decisions was made due to the difference between flexible funding and all or nothing.

These mock-ups will now be reviewed and adjusted where applicable. They include as much information as possible about the project so far with further details to find more information. Both recreations include information about:

  • The Story
  • The Team
  • Directors Statement
  • Money
  • Timeline

The recreations are then tailored to the site with Seed&Spark giving further details about the production and the Kickstarter profile taking a more personal approach. When applying this in the future I think I would do a combination of both so that users have as much information as possible and can trust the project will be a success.

In conclusion further testing and reviewing is needed to make the information fit the target audience and therefore gain as many backers as possible. This will be done throughout the Christmas period.


Gerber, E., Hui, J. and Kuo, P.-Y. (2016) Crowdfunding: Why People Are Motivated to Post and Fund Projects on Crowdfunding Platforms. Available at:    (Accessed: 11/10/2016).

Howkins, J. (2002) The creative economy: How people make money from ideas. London: Penguin Global. Pages 65-67.

Indiegogo (2016) Indiegogo: The largest global Crowdfunding & fundraising site online. Available at: (Accessed: 9 November 2016).

Jake Hobbs Georgiana Grigore Mike Molesworth , (2016) “Success in the management of crowdfunding projects in the creative industries”, Internet Research, Vol. 26 Iss: 1, pp.146 – 166

James Fair. (2016) James Fair Scrapbook. Available at: (Accessed: 28 November 2016).

Kickstarter (2016) Kickstarter homepage. Available at: (Accessed: 9 November 2016).

Oakley, P. (2016) Social Media Marketing Tips with Phillip Oakley. Be Inspired Staffordshire University. Stoke-on-Trent, 19/10/2016. (Presentation).

Renninger, B.J. (2013) Kickstarter, Indiegogo, seed & spark? Comparing Crowdfunding platform success rates when it comes to film projects. Available at: (Accessed: 2 January 2017).

Seed (2016) Seed&Spark: Fund movies. Watch movies. Empower diverse voices. Available at: (Accessed: 9 November 2016).

Silverman, M. (2016) Seed&Spark Interview Questions. Simms, E. Email. (10/11/2016).


Take my crowdfunding surveys!

When ever your researching something it is very important to gather primary research. This can be gathered through many formats such as surveys, interviews, group studies etc. I found that to gather the information I need, the best way would be to create a number of surveys and target certain people.

My first survey is designed to investigate why people donate to crowdfunding campaigns and how many people actually donate. I used very board questions to be able to identify a demographic and theme when people choose to donate. (Survey still available to take).

My second survey is designed to investigate how people run a campaign and how they made there successful. Is there a trend in the way people run a campaign which increases the chance of success? These questions were therefore more specific and allowed people to go into more detail. (Survey still available to take).

My aim is to get 50 responses on the first survey and 25 on the second. To increase my chances of achieving this goal I have distributed the surveys on my social media network, to friend, to family, to colleges and on open forums. I have also sent some directly to people who I know have been involved in crowdfunding.

I will review the surveys over the following three weeks and continue to promote them and send them out to the public.

Peer Assessment feedback and results

Today we received our peer assessment feedback from our presentations. As stated in an earlier blog post I was very nervous about these results as it was the first time I had been peer assessed while at university.

I had received positive feedback from my lecturer Sam:

It was really interesting to see how your project has come together and the work you have undertaken since we last spoke about it.

 Tutor presentation notes for Emma “Investigating Successful Crowdfunding Campaigns”

A confident and thorough presentation, that evidences clear direction and planning. Film project so utilising CF for investment back-up. Screenings, film events, social media to push campaign. Have you contacted any authors directly of key texts? Much on Emerald? Compare with other forms of investment wider context. Why crowdfunding? Seed & Spark CEO – ace! Make sure you have your creative and enterprising outcomes – have you aligned your work with the Learning Outcomes? More resources underpinning evidence based decision making would be beneficial. A very positive presentation Emma, well done.

The feedback gave me a few things to look at that I had not previously researched or thought about including contacting writers of my key texts. It also made me think about considering information I had not thought relevant to include such as other ways to gather finance besides crowdfunding. Although I had looked into this, I hadn’t thought it was necessary to include within the actual project.

It also brought to light how hard it is to fit all the necessary information into a 4-6min presentation such as the evidence of my journey and how I’d come to each conclusion. Although this information and direction is included within this blog but I will be looking for new ways to include such information within my presentation.

My peers assessment feedback followed a similar theme:

peer assessment feedback.jpg

The majority of my feedback was very positive but did outline a few areas of that I need to work on such as going in to more detail about what I will do with the information I find and how to progress further.

I was presently surprised to see that my peers felt I was confident and clear. For someone who dislikes public speaking I had felt very nervous and at times felt like people could hear me shaking.

From this I now need to:

  • Link my work with the learning objects and address my SMART aims.
  • Develop my research further by reaching out to more industry professionals.
  • Discuss and investigate other areas of investment and funding.
  • Link my research to evidence the decisions I make.


Presentations and Peer Assessment

This week I had to present a presentation to my class about my research and project. Although ungraded this is the first time my work has been peer assessed while at Staffordshire University. This made me more nervous than I thought it would. I prepared by analysing what was needed for the presentation and following the outline given. I decided to keep my presentation slides very simple and more as keep pointer for myself as well as visual information for the audience. I also included key quotes which reflected the section I was presenting.

I began with a short introduction of who I am and what I am doing. I followed this up by going into further detail on my choose subject and what I had learned so far. This then led into why I was doing this. This section also included how my project fit with my future plans and goals. I used two slides to discuss my methods and how I am continuing my research as well as where this fit into a timeline. I finalised this with my final outcomes and what I wanted to achieve at the end.

A few people had questions at the end and I was able to answer these confidently.

presentation slides.png

I haven’t been shown my peer results yet but I eagerly await to know how I can improve. I am not comfortable doing public speaking but find it easier each time I do it. I find it easier to give myself visual reminders rather than prepare a rehearsed speech. I hope that people understood my presentation and learned so basic information about crowdfunding.

I know that I need to continue practicing public speaking to improve and always try to hold in the nerves as I have found that I try to speak faster when nervous. Overall the presentation wasn’t as scary or as hard as I thought it was going to be but I still wish to know what my peers thought.

High House Wallpaper


As of yesterday I joined High House Wallpaper’s campaign team. High House is a wallpaper design company ran by students and staff at Staffordshire University. High “House provides a rare opportunity for graduates and student s to collaborate with established designers to create first class wallpaper designs.”
It also provides opportunities for students like myself to help run the process by marketing the products and running crowdfunding campaigns as part of a small team. This opportunity appealed to me for a number of reasons. Firstly it allows me to put my current research into practice and use the skills I have gained. Secondly it is a new challenge to take on, in a brand new area. Finally it allows me to expand a community and provide more opportunities to students at Staffordshire University and globally.

The collection we will be campaigning to raise funds for is the India Collection. This collection was designed through a competition open to university students at Staffordshire University and across Indian Universities. Two designs which were influenced by Indian culture and architecture were chosen as winners and made into wallpaper.


These amazing designs are now available to buy on the High House Website. But we want these students to have more recognition for there work and see the products sell. To do this we need to let people know that High House is here!

We want to engage with our followers through competitions and opportunities to support High House. The majority of this will be done through social media channels such as Instagram, Twitter and Pintrest.

We aim to launch the campaign in Feb/March 2017 so keep an eye out and follow us! @HighHsWallpaper

Crowdfunding Platforms

In 2012 there were more than 700 crowdfunding platforms available which increased to over 1250 in 2015. Sourcing the ‘Nesta Report’ Drake goes on to say “that the UK alternative finance that includes crowdfunding is estimated to have provided working capital in 2014 for 7,189 small and medium enterprises, equivalent to 2.4 percent of bank lending to businesses.” (Drake 2015).

In this blog post I will be discussing 7 of these platforms and what makes them unique.

46 Partispants. Survey undertook by Emma Simms 18/11/2016


“Kickstarter helps artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, and other creators find the resources and support they need to make their ideas a reality. To date, tens of thousands of creative projects — big and small — have come to life with the support of the Kickstarter community.”

Kickstarter is a global service of over 10 million people and was launched on 28th April 2009. Since then 12 million people have backed a project. It is based on a rewards system for instances backers donate a certain amount which entitles them to specific rewards such as a t-shirt, or copy of the product. Creating an account is easy and simple however once a project is fully completed charges do apply. It is important to take these charges into account when calculating your target. UK fees are as followed:

If your project is successfully funded, the following fees will be collected from your funding total: Kickstarter’s 5% fee and payment processing fees (between 3% and 5%). Please note we do not withhold VAT. If funding isn’t successful, there are no fees.

Kickstarter fee

5% of total funds raised

Payment processing fees

3% + £0.20 per pledge

Pledges under £10 have a discounted micropledge fee of 5% + £0.05 per pledge

Funding on Kickstarter is all or nothing, therefore a project must reach it’s target to receive payment.

Kickstarter also allows users to continue interacting with there backers once a project has been funded. This allows users to provide updates as the project progresses and answer any questions from future investors. Backing a project is also easy with a clear discover section available.

User review on ‘Consumer Affairs’ report good social media connection and easy to navigate profile set-up.

In a survey undertaken by Emma Simms between October 2016 – December 2016 targeting crowdfunders, Alke Groppel-Wegener used crowdfunding for her campaign ‘Writing Essays by Pictures’ and chose Kickstarter because it was ‘easy to use’ and James Fair choose the site to fund his independent film due to ‘Larger audience, all or nothing helps the psychology of funders’. 43% of those who undertook the survey used Kickstarter.


“At Indiegogo, our mission is to empower people to unite around ideas that matter to them and together make those ideas come to life. With the help of our Indiegogo community, we’re redefining entrepreneurship—shifting it from being a privilege to a right. Because every inventive idea should have its shot, and every creative entrepreneur should have their moment. Together, we can do anything.”

Indiegogo is a rewards based platform and runs in 223 countries with over $1 Billion raised for projects. It offers a range of tools to support your campaign throughout the process such as marketing & promotions, integrated analytics, mobile management and more.

Payment works very similarly to Kickstarter making it just as important to check the terms and conditions.

For funds raised through PayPal:

*PayPal fees are determined by PayPal.
*PayPal fees are charged per contribution.

For funds raised through credit card:

*Credit Card fees are charged by payments processor Stripe.
*Credit Card fees are charged per contribution.

For USD funds raised and your bank located outside the US:

If you raise funds in US Dollars through direct credit card contributions and your bank account is located outside the US, a one-time wire fee is charged by the bank.

Unlike Kickstarter there is an option to receive funds even when the project doesn’t meet it’s target. Indiegogo also has extra features unavailable to Kickstarter:


In a survey undertaken by Emma Simms between October 2016 – December 2016 targeting crowdfunders, 43% of people choose to use Indiegogo. Reasons given included:

  • “They take a smaller percentage than others, and offered flexible funding.”
  • Flexible Funding
  • Easy to use

Raindance Film Festival entered a partnership with Indiegogo in 2013 (Alois 2013) cementing crowdfunding platforms as a credible financial source.


Established in 2011 Crowdcube in an investment service. Allowing like-minded people to give money and knowledge to British Business. Aimed at helping small business to start-up. Backed by ‘Balderton Capital’ and ‘Numis’ Crowdcube presents itself as a reliable, trusted and professional investment site and has successfully raised £201,410,773 for 476 projects. It is a UK only platform and the more you invest, the bigger proportion of the business you own.

“Crowdfunding is an alternative method of financing a business, which allows everyday investors, professionals and venture capitalists to invest as little or as much as they like, typically through an online platform.”

Due to Crowdcube being an investment site it takes a higher overall percentage of 7% but has no additional costs such as charge per backer like Kickstarter.

Who is Crowdcube good for? (MG 2016)

  1. Investors looking to diversify their assets to include private businesses.
  2. People looking to invest in a company that they truly believe in.
  3. Investors looking to optimise their tax strategy – As mentioned above, you can claim tax back on investment if they are EIS or SEIS approved. Another great aspect of EIS is that if your investment is profitable and you eventually sell your shares, it is exempt from capital gains tax under certian conditions. This is particularly beneficial for higher rate or additional rate tax payers.


Slated is specifically designed for filmmakers and based in the USA. It works as a film investment service allowing projects to find distribution costs. Therefore the fees are a lot higher than standard platforms due to the size of the projects.


“Slated’s Executive Producer Services fee is 2-10% of the project’s budget plus 5-10% of the back-end after recoupment plus 20%. The fee includes some third party fees (e.g., Slated Advisors’ fund management fees, agency packaging fees, etc.) but not others (e.g., completion bond and CAM account fees). Slated’s fees are payable upon release of funds to the production; Slated receives no compensation for its Executive Producer Services unless the project goes into production.” Mary C 2016.

The site also offers assistant to build a better script by using a ‘package score’ and would be recommended to filmmakers in the Los Angles region with high quality cast and crew.


“Raising money for ideas

Thousands of people have used Crowdfunder to raise the funds they need to make things happen.”

Crowdfunder is a UK based platform for community based projects. It focuses more on charity and community work than the wide range that indiegogo offers. These projects include ‘Mobility house renovation’, ‘Yoga for Refugees’ and ‘Support a veteran’. Due to this Crowdfunder also offers an ‘Extra Pledge’ service where extra funding of up to £10,000 is also available for projects. Fees are up to 6% including VAT with a further charge on cards and paypal payments. It offers two types of funding – ‘All or nothing’ and ‘Keep what you raise’. The second option has more fees attached.

Crowdfunder is a rewards based platform with a simple layout and easy to use system similar to Kickstarter and Indiegogo.  In a survey undertaken by Emma Simms between October 2016 – December 2016 targeting crowdfunders, Footlights’ Production- ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ was successful completed using crowdfunder.


GoFundMe is a fundraising platform for individuals, groups and organisations. Funds are received even if the goal is not reached and and there is no penalties for missing a goal.


GoFundMe supports artists and musicians. Filmmakers often look at GoFundMe for documentary work.

Seed and Spark:

Seed and Spark is a rewards based platform for filmmakers based in the USA.

“We started Seed&Spark because we want to make movies & shows independently but we needed a healthier environment in which to make them. We believe the art of storytelling is about expanding imagination, shining a light on the world inside and deepening empathy for the world outside.”

Unlike Slated, Seed and Spark is aimed towards independent productions and offers a Streaming service too.


In an interview with Max Silverman CEO of Seed and Spark he states “Seed&Spark is a crowdsources film studio (, so it’s value is much broaden than that of a general-purpose crowdfunding platform. Our monthly subscription allows audiences to discover finished movies & shows to watch now and pick new projects to fund to watch later.”  (2016). 

It also offers a wishlist function for users to ask for things directly i.e. locations, crew food. You need to raise at least 80% of your goal. What about the fees? “The lowest in the biz, actually. Seed&Spark’s platform fees are 5%, but we offer contributors the chance to cover that fee at checkout ( and the majority chose to do so ). Credit Card processing fees are $0.30 + 2.9% of the contribution. On average filmmakers keep 95% of what they raise!”

The only downside is the service is currently only available in the US, this will be possibly expanded over the coming years.



After review each platform in further detail and linking it to my feature film the sites most suitable to use would be ‘Kickstarter’, ‘Indiegogo’, ‘Seed&Spark’ (if UK based). Therefore these sites will be more focused for further research.


Alois, J.D. (2013) Indiegogo pushes partnership with Raindance film festival. Available at:  (Accessed: 1 January 2017).

Barnett, C. (2013) Top 10 Crowdfunding sites for fundraising. Available at: (Accessed: 9 November 2016).

Best Crowdfunding sites for 2016 (2016) Available at: (Accessed: 9 November 2016).

C, M. (2016) Advice and answers from the slated team. Available at: (Accessed: 1 January 2017).

MG (2016) Crowdcube – A review of the equity crowdfunding website 1. Available at: (Accessed: 1 January 2017).

Silverman, M. (2016) Seed&Spark Interview Questions. Simms, E. Email. (10/11/2016).

Seed (2016) Seed&Spark: Fund movies. Watch movies. Empower diverse voices. Available at: (Accessed: 9 November 2016).

Slated (2016) Where great movies get made – projects, talent, film financing & distribution. Available at: (Accessed: 9 November 2016).

Indiegogo (2016) Indiegogo: The largest global Crowdfunding & fundraising site online. Available at: (Accessed: 9 November 2016).

Kickstarter (2016) Kickstarter homepage. Available at: (Accessed: 9 November 2016).

Crowdfunder (2015) The History of Crowdfunding. Available at: (Accessed: 10/10/2016)

Crowdfunder (2016) Crowdfunding, UK fundraising website for community, business and creative projects. Available at: (Accessed: 9 November 2016).

Crowdcube (2016) Available at: (Accessed: 9 November 2016).

Falcon, A. (2007) 10 Crowdfunding sites to fuel your dream project. Available at: (Accessed: 9 November 2016).

GoFundMe (2010) GoFundMe: #1 for Crowdfunding & fundraising Websites. Available at: (Accessed: 9 November 2016).

US President Trump: What does this mean for my creative business?


The news arrived this morning that Donald Trump will be the president of the United States for the next four years. This news has rocked the internet and world. I have struggled to find a post within my facebook news feed that doesn’t relate to the American presidency result.

A similar wave of shock was presented with the Brexit vote where the British public voted out of the EU. Both votes were incredibly close and no large majority was presented. In my eyes this means that both countries were undecided on how to progress. Do they push forward into an unknown future or retreat backwards to known territory? Regardless these results will effect us all in some way or another. As Britain negotiates trade deals with America and other countries, these new political tries could have drastic affects for our future (Giannangeli, 2016). This includes the creative industries which operates worldwide.

Throughout the election people, newspapers and experts discussed the affects of a Trump presidency on the economy. The majority showed a poor outcome and clearly supported Hillary. Such as ‘How a Trump presidency would ruin the long-term future’ by Adele Peters (Peters, 2016) and ‘How to Trump-proof your small business’ by Scott Yates (Yates, 2016). However, Trump is a business man and we therefore expect him to have an understanding of the economy but previous ventures suggest otherwise (Eichenwald, 2016). In August 2016 Trump announced plans to change trading across America and to other countries which contradicted previous Republican beliefs. These changes could have a direct effect on jobs but Greg Wright, Merced and Emily Blanchard state “The simple truth is that trade agreements change the composition of jobs in the economy. Some workers will be happier with their new jobs, and others will not. Whatever the job losses from the TPP, a roughly equal number will be created.” (Keogh and Costello, 2016). If done correctly these new trade agreements could benefit the UK or potentially isolate it further. An article by David Barstow suggests that’Trump’s deals rely on being creative with the truth, therefore we may not be getting exactly what is stated or available (Barstow, 2016).

The creative economy targets alternate areas of a market to fill a need. It adapts and follows consumer wants and needs. Due to this shock result, buyers traits and expectations may change and business must prepare to adapt to this. Trump may make changes which will directly affect creative business which may make trading more difficult however it is important for us to research the market and find the consumers that are buying. This may mean a geographical change.

For the moment my business is focused within the UK and has not yet been affected but with all the economic change on it’s way I will prepare as best I can. I am unsure on how the UK’s vote for EU freedom will affect me and I struggle to see how the American election will affect a tiny UK business but I still need to realistic and prepare for ripple effects of change. These may include:

  • Limited Trade in the USA
  • Higher prices to trade aboard
  • New avenues of trade opening up
  • Higher or lower taxes
  • A larger or smaller market

At the moment I can only control the things close to me and what I own. So it is important to reel in the shock and fear from these votes which I can not directly control and instead focus on the things that I can. I believe we have some interesting years ahead which could see the creative markets flourish or shrink and all we can do is make preparations to overcome these obstacles.