September 26th, 2018
7 Ways to Craft a Kickass Crowdfunding Video
By Ian MacKenzie blog | Nov 15, 2012
I CANNOT understate the importance of your crowdfunding pitch video. In a media saturated world, where everyone from marketers, to politicians, and now your friends clamour for your attention, our focus has become a finite resource.
What’s more, the web has whittled our attention spans to barely more than goldfish. From the moment a stranger lands on your pitch page, they first thing they do is click ‘play’ in your video. That’s if you’re lucky. Many potential contributors to your fundraising campaign are likely watching your pitch directly from their Facebook walls or Youtube directly.
Your mission: make the case that your creative, social, or entrepreneurial endeavour is worth their dollars. If that feels challenging, you’re right. But there are specific strategies to convey your story in a compelling and convincing way – and it can mean the difference between failure or a million dollars (just ask Amanda Palmer).
I’ve spent the past 4 years studying and experimenting with crowdfunding – including raising over 80 thousand dollars between two campaigns for the feature documentary Occupy Love. I’ve also assisted a variety of other campaigns, from connecting geeks to the uncovering the meaning of life. Now I travel widely giving workshops on crowdfunding strategy and filmmaking. I firmly believe that crowdfunding represents one of the key pillars of the emerging economic paradigm, and that crowdfunding creativity is just the beginning.
In order to accelerate the paradigm shift, (and for those that can’t make it to my workshops) I’ve compiled 7 of my key tips for crafting an effective crowdfunding pitch video. Enjoy!
1. Make it short
First there was film. Then came television. Then came Youtube and the web video. Each of these formats have their own aesthetic, optimal length, and storytelling form. Pitch videos are a unique mutation. They are not quite an advertisement, not quite a viral video, but they do demand brevity. The optimal length is less than 3 minutes. This should allow you enough time make your case, and build an argument, but not enough to bore the viewer. No problem, you say? Try condensing an hour of footage and get back to me, especially when trying to include all the elements listed below.
2. Make it clear
One of the most common issues I see with crowdfunding videos is they lack clarity. After the first 60 seconds, if the viewer still doesn’t know what your project is about, or what you’re asking for, go back to the editing room. Sometimes with complex ideas, we feel a tendency of over-explain, but it’s more effective to focus on the most compelling aspect. In Hollywood, when trying to pitch a film, this is known as the “it’s like _____ meets _____” factor. For example: “it’s like Blair Witch meets Superbad” to which you’ll likely get a nodding studio executive.
Here’s a crowdfunding example: Peace Geeks is organization that connects tech savvy “geeks” with free time and a desire to help with social organizations doing important work in other countries. While there’s much more to the logistics and how it actually works, that was the most important part to state up front. It worked.
3. Make it authentic
Amanda Palmer is a rock star. You can tell because she stands outside in a kimono flipping rockstar cards and wearing a keytar. Watch her video and pay attention to how you feel:
I’ll bet nearing the end, you felt a camaraderie with Amanda, in the same way many musicians endear themselves to the audience with their stage banter and presence. The pitch video above raised over 1 million dollars, making it the most successful campaign by a musician to date. Yes, she likely had an existing fan base that helped her out of the gate. But I believe she was successful also because she showed up on camera. She shared her story, her dreams, and her passion. And passion is contagious.
My recommendation: appear in your pitch video. Contributors don’t like funding a faceless organization. They fund people. People they can relate to and find commonality in their stories. Still don’t feel up to the task? Then find someone in your project that can speak with passion about the mission of your campaign.