Kickstarter webseries have become an increasingly popular form of startup for creatives today. The advent of the crowd funding platform has opened up a realm of funding possibilities where producers, directors, writers, etc., can circumvent the Hollywood process and take their projects right to the people.
Kickstarter webseries are short bits of video, often strung together to communicate a cohesive whole, and they have been widely embraced by a technological age where we’re learning how to do more with less and take in our news, sports, and entertainment in bite-sized portions. Thanks to platforms like this as well as YouTube and Vimeo, it’s now possible to tap a potential audience of millions with the right combination of creativity, production value, and coherency.
But if you’re going to go down this path, here are some things you need to know from the very beginning.
One: It’s Important To Dream Big.
You would be surprised at the level of support and the stories that creators can tell using the webseries platform and going through Kickstarter to do it. Many of the most successfully funded projects on Kickstarter over the last year have been quite ambitious.
The Lizzie Bennett Diaries project started as a series of individual video blogs that together sought to recreate the work of Jane Austen in modern times and with a humorous slant. The goal was to raise $60,000, and as the creators acknowledge, most people gave of themselves and worked on a shoestring to pull it off. However, the money came later when funding closed at $462,405 in April.
Likewise, Far From Home, LLC, sought to continue the 1960s version of Star Trek: The Original Series with the same production values and a cast of capable likenesses of Kirk and Crew. They sought $100,000 in funding, and ultimately pushed through to $126,028 on November 6.
The Star Trek project was particularly compelling since the creators weren’t protected by public domain as in the case of Lizzie Bennett. Luckily, CBS allows the making of fan films, and the cast and crew were able to capitalize and obtain funding for three additional episodes as part of a larger goal to finish the original five-year mission of the show. Here’s episode one, “Pilgrim of Eternity.”
The Star Trek Continues crew were able to get the participation of Chris Doohan (Scotty’s son) in reprising his dad’s role. They were also able to coax Michael Forest on board to reprise his original series role as Apollo.
Both of these projects had some pretty lofty goals that paid off. Like we said, dream big.
Two: Your Campaign Page Is A Reflection Of Your Finished Product.
Using the Star Trek Continues crew as an example, they were able to attain funding for the next three episodes of their webseries because they already had a solid example — the “Pilgrim of Eternity” episode — that they could point to and say, “Here, look what we’re capable of.”
Contributors to Kickstarter webseries campaigns want to know that they’re not just giving money to people who are big ideas but poor on execution. Every pixel of real estate that you get on the website must be devoted to crafting a professional looking project. Your video is such an important tool for showing that you’re capable of doing what you’ve promised. Beyond that, your text should be free from grammatical errors and easy to read, and your incentives should try to have a wow factor that will make people want to sign on.
Three: Your Odds Are Actually Pretty Good.
Several years ago when researching where I should send my brilliant screenplay to get it produced — sarcasm — I realized the horrid odds I was up against, especially considering I didn’t live in Hollywood where I could schmooze my way into a production deal.
While the stats are hard to track down considering how many active filmmakers and production companies there are, one production house said that it received more than 10,000 submissions in a single year. Now compare that to the fact that only a few hundred films are given a serious shot at production each year — and that includes studios and indies — and you can see that you might as well buy a lottery ticket if you don’t plan on making the film yourself.
But over at Kickstarter, there have been a total of 3,118 webseries projects planned since the site launched. Out of that number, 1,008 projects have been successfully funded with many going well beyond their target goals. That’s a success rate of just over 32 percent. Not bad at all!
If you’ve got an idea for a Kickstarter webseries, there’s never been a better time to pursue it. But in order to be successful, you’ll need to treat it like a business that’s already operational. Have something of value that you can clearly communicate to potential donors. Treat your campaign page like a business plan. Show that you already have what it takes to make things happen. Do these things, and you could soon have the honor of the green bar and the all-caps FUNDED across your page. Best of luck!