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How to Make the Perfect Kickstarter Video, Step One: Tell Your Story

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It’s been two months since Kickstarter brought their crowdfunding service to Canada, and many enterprising Canucks are likely investigating using video as part of their campaign. While Kickstarter doesn’t require videos, Kickstarter says that campaigns with a video succeed at a much higher rate (50% vs. 30%) and make more money. A great video could be the difference between getting your idea funded and changing the world or filing it away with your half-finished novel and SNL audition tape.

But how do you make a great video with no experience, no equipment and likely no real budget? Don’t worry – we’ll show you how to do it step by step in this multipart blog series.

Step one: tell your story

In a previous post, I quoted Shopify CEO Tobias Lutke’s observation that Kickstarter’s success comes from forcing creators to tell the story of their product. I couldn’t agree more; if I’m going to financially back a project and pay for an idea before it has become a reality, I need more than a feature synopsis and a few photos. I want to know what I’m getting into and why I should care. I need to be moved.

Luckily, telling your personal story can be the best way to move people. Crowdfunders enjoy knowing about a project’s genesis almost as much as receiving the final product. Telling the story of where your idea came from, where you are now and where you want to go can get potential funders to not just support but root for your success. Kickstarter has a lot of helpful information in their Kickstarter School on making a video, but but their best piece of information is simply:

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“It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be you.”

How to Make the Perfect Kickstarter Video, Step One: Tell Your Story image Cards Against Humanity

Perfect or not, here’s three things to keep in mind when pulling together your Kickstarter story:

1. Keep it simple. (I say this a lot)

No one will know the story of your Kickstarter project better than you – you are the one living it. Getting that story resonate with others, however, it’s a matter of distilling it down to its essential components. Remember, you need your audience to buy your idea in three minutes or less. Focus on the core of what you are trying to do and use that as a loadstone when deciding if the information you are providing is necessary or a distracting (if amusing) anecdote.

2. Keep the emotion.

We’ve talked before about the power of emotion in commercial video, and I think it’s even more powerful in a Kickstarter video. To be a success on Kickstarter requires complete strangers to believe in you enough to back your project; it’s a position of vulnerability, need, and exciting opportunity. Don’t shy away or try to hide that reality – embrace it. There’s no need to be sappy, but as Simon Sinek says, your audience will connect more with why you are doing than what you are doing.

3. Tell a complete story.

A story has a beginning, middle, and end. A good story doesn’t have to be told in that order, but it will contain each constituent part. If you are feeling ambitious, position your story as the retelling of a popular movie plot: overcoming a villain (Rocky IV!) or fulfilling a quest (The Lord of the Rings!). If you are less ambitious, adopt the ‘where you came from, where you are, and where you want to go’ narrative mentioned above. You are trying to get money, not win an oscar.

Once you have the basics of your story, it’s time to start telling it! In our next post, we’ll look at some pre-production tips to ensure your video is finished on time and under budget.

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