Home Community In Crowdfunding, Making Waves Isn’t All About the Money

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In Crowdfunding, Making Waves Isn’t All About the Money: CrowdReign - John Trigonis blog

In Crowdfunding, Making Waves Isn’t All About the Money, lots of indie filmmakers looking to crowdfund their films place far too much emphasis on the amount raised instead of rack focusing on other key aspects that make for a successful campaign.

Sure, numbers like $150,000 and $3M are impressive, but success shouldn’t solely be measured by the amount of funds raised in a crowdfunding campaign, and especially not by whether or not that campaign hits its goal.

Why, you ask? Well, the key thing to keep in mind is that many campaigns don’t hit their targets simply because they set them way too high. (If you read my first post from last month, you’ll never set too high a goal again.) That said, your campaign could still make some major waves in the indie film and crowdfunding industries because successful crowdfunding is about so much more than just the money we raise.

Here’s a quick trio of other benefits of running a campaign on Indiegogo:

Proof of concept. If you’re an aspiring filmmaker, chances are you have three to five projects that you could work on, but you’re not sure which to focus your time on first. Crowdfund it on Indiegogo; then, after setting up your campaign and running it like a rock star, if the film hits its goal, then you know the audience wants to see you make this film. If for some reason it doesn’t hit its goal, you can then scratch that project off your list (or push it to the back) and try crowdfunding another. One of your projects should resonate with the crowd, and when it does, that’s the one you should focus your full attention on.

Industry validation. Let’s say you run an Indiegogo campaign and secure $20,000 out of your $50,000 goal. You all of a sudden have some additional clout to work with –– a bunch of folks who believe in you and the film and who went one step further than a Facebook “Like” for it. Armed with this newfound value, plus a sensible business plan and a well-balanced breakfast, you can approach traditional investors with confidence and pitch them on the film and the fact that it already has an audience of x number of contributors who voted with their dollars.

Engagement with your audience. I saved the most important one for last because at the end of the day crowdfunding must put the crowd first, funding second. Engage your crowd, and the funding you want will surely come. And this engagement starts long before your campaign starts and doesn’t end when you get your full or partial funding. Engagement means creating and sustaining a dialog with your fan base, and a crowdfunding campaign only seeks to strengthen that bond.

Here’s the low down: There’s no such thing as an unsuccessful crowdfunding campaign unless we fail to take any new knowledge away from the experience and apply it to our subsequent ones to make those campaigns stronger. If we make a splash with the crowd, then the waves they help us produce will carry our film projects to even greater distances than money alone.

Want to hear more from John T. Trigonis? Check out his tweets for some top tips for filmmakers!


A one-man consulting machine, John T. Trigonis has worked with numerous filmmakers worldwide to create compelling crowdfunding campaigns that not only reach, but also exceed their goals. An independent filmmaker and successful crowdfunder himself, Trigonis has literally written the book on Crowdfunding for Filmmakers, and now puts his skills to greater use with Indiegogo as the funding platform's specialist for film and video campaigns.


  1. I don’t mean to be disrespectful but, although some of this is useful information, some of it is obvious propaganda. Raising $20,000 out of a $50,000 goal would not be impressive to investors. It’d look like you overestimated your crowd outreach and support system, and caused the project to appear as a failure in the eyes of the public before it even gets off the ground. Raising all $20,000 of your $20,000 goal would look a lot better. Flexible funding is not the answer. Indiegogo allows people to reach for more than they can truly attain & still call a failure a silver lining just so the site can almost double their fees. All or Nothing or Seed&Spark’s 80% to green light pushes you to realistically quantify what you need and what you can really get from your network and/or marketing push. Making your goal says success on legitimate sites with actual standards. I know the author will disagree because he works for Indiegogo; but this is common sense and, beyond that, the stats don’t lie.

    • Thanks for your comment, Christina, and I don’t think you are being disrespectful in the least. Not entirely sure what you mean by “propaganda,” but I’ll address what I can.

      Setting a realistic goal is important so that you can be more successful in the public eye, because the press (mainly) still measures crowdfunding success by whether or not one reaches his or her goal, while the public views it quite differently. Success, at Indiegogo, is measured by whether or not you have enough to get moving forward with your projects. As a filmmaker myself, I can make a movie for $80,000, but if I get $65,000, I can still move things forward substantially –– I wouldn’t want to be penalized for not hitting my goal. That said, though, I’d also know enough to set my goal based on the size and, more importantly, the engagement level of my inner circle and outer network, and I’d be sure not only to hit my goal, but surpass it.

      All or nothing, 80% rules, or flexible funding models are all based on preference and no one is “better” than the other.

      Thanks again for commenting!

      • I agree Trigonis. However I’d go so far as to say Christina is a self-righteous fool. Let me explain… She’s acting like there is some kind of nobility in all or nothing crowdfunding when THAT is the real propaganda! Fundraising for most films, businesses, organizations, events, etc. have ALWAYS come from multiple sources. So, let’s rewind just a little bit. If I were going the traditional route for funding a film, she’s saying that if I get my mom to give me $10k for the film and a stranger to give me another $10k and I still need another $20k, I’m supposed to give back the $20k I’ve already raised because I didn’t get all $40k at once? Stupid! So many people like her are really presenting the “all or nothing” propaganda as some kind of moral dilemma when that concept is in fact idiocy. This foolish attitude is especially detrimental to filmmakers. Crowdfunding is gifting. Those seeking funding need to be honest and trustworthy and those gifting need to be responsible and ask questions. Both sides have a responsibility. I’ve gifted to 4 projects within the last 2 months and I made the decision on my own. I don’t need someone to watch out for my own decisions. It feels like were getting into that “regulation” stage because something free to all is becoming too popular. Soon, we’ll have chains on us once again and raising money for a film will go back to being really hard for indies.

        • Well Virginia, I have to say I appreciate your passion for this topic, and as a “truly independent” filmmaker and writer myself, I must say I agree with you, especially on the last bit.

          However, I don’t agree that Christina here is a “self-righteous fool.” Her opinion is as valid as any, and it represents what I see as an “old world ideal” that’s quickly learning that it can’t quite compete in a “share economy” (for lack of a more human, less corporate term, since I’ve only ever learned this term for it) in its present state. The concept of putting the projects before the making of any money off those projects is very foreign for some folks, so that in the sense that the only thing that matters is to make a profit or at least recoup the money spent on making it, then those filmmakers need these fixed funding models; for the rest of us out there who just want to get our films out to our respective audiences, well, we opt for flexible fundraising; we get to keep what we earn in crowdfunding, and we get to make what we want, and that’s truly revolutionary.

          I really appreciate you replying to this thread, Virginia, and thanks again for reading!

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