Survey Results

Two surveys have been conducted to gather professional and public views. The first was aimed at donator’s habits published 18/10/2016 and completed by 46 users. I was very happy with the response rate for this survey and it revealed  many interesting results that I can now compare with research already gathered. Due to further research there were additional questions I would have like to have added and would have perhaps done another survey if there was more time. We were very limited with the timescale.

The second survey was designed for campaigners who had completed a crowdfunding project. Due to the more direct questions this had lower participation. Published 10/11/2016 and completed by 7 users. I was slightly disappointed with this response rate and had emailed it directly to over 15 campaigns but received very few results. Friends and Family also shared the survey but the results remained low. In the future I would conduct this section as an interview rather than a survey due to the direct questions that can be affected by previous answers. I did however receive contact information to gather more info later.

Trello

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Trello is an organisation tool which can be used for everyday projects or large campaigns. It allows you to easily share information, swap ideas and progress a project. Melanie Pinola says Trello is an awesome project management tool that makes collaboration easy and, dare I say, even fun.” The simple and flexible set up allowes users to use the product to its full potential.

Trello uses a board system which you can add to, move or delete when needed. Images can also be added as well as colour coding. It is also possible to tag particular members to a card if there is a particular task for them.

The product is free to use and easy to share. Fiances online gave a user satisfaction of 97%.

Currently I am using this tool alongside High House Collections to project manage our crowdfunding campaign held in March. I also had the opportunity to use this software during 2016 summer with Staffordshire Students Union to organised the Welcome Week Fairs. The tool was great at discussing ideas between departments which cut out the need for a physical meeting. Ideas seemed to appear faster and decisions made more easily. It was also visually pleasing and information easy to find, especially when it was an assigned task.

This is a tool that I would be happy and likely to use on more projects and collaborations.

Online, F. (2016) Trello reviews: Overview, pricing and features. Available at: https://reviews.financesonline.com/p/trello/ (Accessed: 16 December 2016).

Pinola, M. (2015) How to organize your entire life with Trello. Available at: http://lifehacker.com/how-to-use-trello-to-organize-your-entire-life-1683821040 (Accessed: 16 December 2016).

Trello (2016) Trello. Available at: https://trello.com/ (Accessed: 16 December 2016).

Finance for the Independent Film

Without money it is impossible to make a feature film. You need to have equipment, canary-1locations, crew, cast, props, make-up and the list goes on. Currently I am going through the process myself in preparation for my feature film ‘Canary’. I have secured a director and have put out word for cast and crew (mainly thanks to Jamie Weston).

Today the average Hollywood movie can cost from $50 million – $250 million (Trigonis 2013) while independent films usually have a lot less to work with. The big question is where will we get the funds?

There a number of sources to gain funds these include grants, crowdfunding and investors. By the end of a project a feature could have used all these sources or only one. For this post I will be focusing on start-up funding and disregarding distributions funding which is often gained once a film has been created.

Investors:

For the majority of independent film projects, investors will only invest if they see a financial gain in the project and therefore the film has generally already been made and has completed/completing the festival circuit (Reiss 2011). However if a company feels the project has a strong cast, crew or story they may invest early on although in today’s financial climate this has become increasingly rare.

In a forbes article written by Emma Dunkley (2015), she discusses the risks of film investing with Marin Sherwood, highlighting that the risk doesn’t just lie with the filmmakers but also those investing the money. “Film has a reputation of being highly risky and only a very small number become blockbusters, so the stats are against the investor,” says Martin Sherwood, a partner at Enterprise Investment Partners. “A lot of UK movies do not make much, if any, money. Only occasionally one or two do.”  Some investors in tax-efficient funds face a loss of 40% when unlisted media companies performed poorly.

Tax relief schemes also encourage investors to put there money into films (Mannan 2013). However it is still important to make sure the film scheme is under the Enterprise Investment Scheme to although for the tax relief to pass on.

Sponsors:

A simple and easy way of getting funding is through sponsorship (Brindle 2013). In most Hollywood blockbusters audience members will be able top spy key brands such as apple and coca-cola. In the film ‘Fight Club’ directed by David Fincher, it was claimed in an interview that a Starbucks coffee cup can be seen in every scene (O’Neill 2014). However sponsorship doesn’t need to come from large brands charities, individuals or companies will often sponsor documentaries which promote there services or products. Thurlow (2008) emphasis the use of small companies sponsoring so their logos can appear after the credits showing their support.

Grants and community organisations:

Clifford Thurlow (2008) in his book ‘Making short films’ explains the difficulties of gaining grants due to the limited sources available. “Funders face the unenviable task of shifting through a deluge of paperwork and, to help them select which projects are going to get backing, filmmakers with a track record tend to rise to the top of the pile.” Thurlow adds that the process isn’t a bad idea but preparation is key. It is more like a ‘lottery’ than skill but preparation can make your project stand out that little bit more.

The largest source of finance for films in the UK is the ‘Film Council‘ which often post online applications for film grants. Another source is Creative England which looks to promote English made work, promoting the history and culture as well as work ethic. The number of grants and investment available is a reflection on the financial suitability of the country. There are therefore less grants available today than there were before the 2009 financial crash.

Crowdfunding:

Thurlow (2008), Brindle (2013) and Reiss (2011) all recommend crowdfunding as a source of film fiance. It is a way to market your film and gain a following as well as receive the necessary funds needed to create the project. Howkins (2013) in his book ‘The creative Economy’, believe that the online platforms work best for films, games, performances and music albums due to its “scope outside of mainstream financial regulations.” It was also reported that 10% of films shown at Cannes and Sundance Film festivals were made due to crowd sourcing. Due to campaigns lasting anywhere between 1 week – 50 days, it allows filmmakers to promote the project directly to an invested audience and secure a small distribution opportunity immediately.

 

In conclusion film finance depends on each individual project and the strength of a director’s/producer’s preparation, contacts and opportunities available. It is also important not to focus on only one method but use as many revenues as possible to acquire the budget needed. For most films the majority of finance will open up after the festival circuit or during the distribution process such as ‘This is England’ (2006) directed by Shane Meadows or ‘Whiplash’ (2014) directed by Damien Chazelle.

References:
Brindle, M. (2013) The Digital Filmmaking Handbook. London: Quercus Editions Ltd. Pages 136-137.
Dunkley, E. (2015) Film funds offer a possible route for investors. Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/ebbbb892-6b88-11e5-8171-ba1968cf791a (Accessed: 12 December 2016).
Film, B.C. (2016) British council film. Available at: http://film.britishcouncil.org/ (Accessed: 12 December 2016).
Howkins, J. (2013) 2nd Edition. The creative economy: How people make money from ideas. London: Penguin Global. Pages 65 – 67.
O’Neill, O. (2014) Fight club: 19 things you didn’t know about the film. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/11130111/Fight-Club-20-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-film.html (Accessed: 12 December 2016).
Reiss, J. (2011) Think outside the box office: The ultimate guide to film distribution and marketing for the digital era. 2nd edn. Los Angeles: Hybrid Cinema Publishing. Pages 42 – 44.
Thurlow, C. (2008) Making short films: The complete guide from script to screen. Second edn. New York: Berg Publishers. Pages 81-83.
Trigonis, J.T. (2013) Crowdfunding for filmmakers: The way to a successful film campaign. New York, NY, United States: Michael Wiese Productions. Pages 3

High House Meeting 2 -Developing the marketing stratergy

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On the 6th December 2016 we held our second meeting together to evaluate progress so far and develop our marketing and crowdfunding campaign further.

So far we had each made progress on our social media sites and tried to update daily. I had joined Instagram and have been getting to grips with the new layout. Laura from Staffordshire University’s marketing team also attended the meeting and gave some valuable insight and advice for the platforms we were using.

It was decided that we need to centralize our information more rather than everyone posting individually. To do this with more ease we have each joined ‘Trello’ a site designed for planning. This has allowed us to know exactly what each other is doing and be in touch more easily without physically meeting up.

It has also been decided to conduct a photoshoot of the work and products along with props so we can use it for Pintrest boards and visualizing where the wallpaper could fit in a home. We can also confirm that the crowdfund campaign will run throughout March, ready for Spring decoration.

Due top my masters research I have been tasked with designing a video for our campaign with encompasses our passion and student involvement. To do this I will be enlisting other students to help.

The project is moving on smoothly and we now just need to calendar our plan.