Zach Braff recently secured the funding for his new movie, Wish I Was Here. But the thing is, he didn’t go down the traditional route of signing a financing deal with a big Hollywood investor. Instead, he turned to his fans. He put up a video on Kickstarter, and within days had raised over $2 million.
How to create the right Kickstarter video production
Braff isn’t the first celebrity to try Kickstarter as a way to fund his work, but he is certainly one of the most successful. Bjork once tried to use Kickstarter to fund an App – but she failed, and closed down her project after raising only 4% of the total needed in 10 days.
So what exactly did Braff do right?
He killed objections
Braff explained exactly why he was using Kickstarter to fund his project. The fact that a rich celebrity wanted to secure funding from his fans was probably the biggest objection he’d face – so he knocked it down. He explained that if he went the traditional route, the movie wouldn’t turn out the way he envisioned. The casting, locations and final cut would be all wrong, and it wouldn’t live up to the same standard as Garden State.
So Kickstarter made sense as the solution: by getting the funding from fans, rather than a Hollywood studio whose only concern is making money, Braff could ensure the film would be made into something fans of his work could enjoy. Which brings us to our next point…
He made it about his fans
“Please help me make another movie for you like Garden State.”
Talking about what’s in it for his fans, rather than himself, was the best possible way Braff could’ve positioned his project. In fact, it’s the best possible way anyone trying to make money can position themselves – because people want to know what’s in it for them, particularly when money is involved. People won’t spend money on something if they can’t see how it will directly benefit them.
He used humour in his video
Humour is something Braff’s known for, and by incorporating it into his video, he reminded his fans what he was all about. But it’s not just that: humour in general is a fantastic promotional tool, because it helps to form a personal connection, which is a powerful weapon for anyone trying to raise money. If people like you, they are far more likely to want to help you – and humour can help with that.
You may be thinking, “Sure, but he’s Zach Braff. There’s no way I could do that.”
Oh, but you could. Okay, so maybe you wouldn’t raise $2 million – but you probably wouldn’t need to raise that much to turn your dreams into reality. Countless people have used Kickstarter to fund their projects, to turn their worthwhile concept into a worthwhile business.
To prove it to you, here are a couple of incredibly successful Kickstarter videos that exceeded their funding:
GoldieBlox is an engineering game for girls. It features a book about Goldie and her friends, who go on adventures and solve problems by building simple machines – which are then replicated in a physical board game that allows girls to solve problems for themselves.
What did Debbie do right?
She explained why this product needs to exist
Using phrases like, “89% of engineers are men,” and, “If we want to live in a better world, we need girls solving these problems too,” Debbie made it clear that there needs to be a game for young girls to start developing the spacial skills needed to become an engineer, in order to overcome to the disproportionate ratio of men to women in the field.
She made it personal and told a story
Explaining why this product needed to exist was only the beginning. By including her own story in the video, she made it easy for people – women – to understand why this toy needed to exist. She gave people something to relate to.
Debbie’s parents wanted her to become an actress, but Debbie grew up to become an engineer instead, and she’s bothered by how few other women there are in her industry. So she wants to help little girls grow up to love engineering as much as she does. This is the toy she wishes she’d had growing up.
But the story goes deeper, and shows how much this project means to her. Debbie spent her entire life savings and pulled in every favour she could to get her project to this level. But in order to take it any further, she needed to secure enough funding to build 5000 toys – which is where Kickstarter came in.
She summarised her story beautifully with this line: “Every girl you know is so much more than a princess. Help me build GoldieBlox, so our girls can help build the future.”
She demonstrated expertise
Aside from being an engineer herself, Debbie demonstrated her expertise in other ways – which is important, because if you can demonstrate your expertise, people are more likely to believe in you. Debbie told how she took her prototype and tested it with over 100 kids, gradually improving it as she went on. She learned that boys like building and girls like reading, and she wanted to combine those two elements to make a construction toy that would appeal to girls.
I’m Fine, Thanks
I’m Fine, Thanks is a documentary about complacency and people’s reluctance to do anything extraordinary with their lives. The team putting the documentary together spent two months touring the US, interviewing people, only to realise they couldn’t afford to do the rest of the work involved in getting the documentary out into the world. Enter: Kickstarter. The team needed to raise money for the editing, production and distribution of the documentary.
What did Adam and the team do right?
They asked for help and told people exactly what to do
Sometimes, outright asking for what you need is the best way to get it. At the very least, it can dramatically increase your chances. Adam opened with, “My team and I need your help,” going on to say, “we’ve really poured ourselves into this project, blood, sweat, tears and our own money – but we realised we needed double that to be able to edit, produce and get it out into the world.”
Amidst his call for help, Adam still managed to make it about the viewers, saying, “First, enjoy the trailer,” and, “second, if it resonates with you, please consider backing this project.” He then went on to explain exactly what people needed to do to both back the project and spread the word. Adam literally points to below the video, explaining where the Facebook Like button is, and talks about how word of mouth is the best tool they have to get the word out – as a result, over 16,000 people liked the video.
A solid call-to-action is one of the best techniques you can use to actually get people to do what you want, which, in the case of Kickstarter, is to fund the project – with the added bonus of spreading the word.
They showed people what they’d be getting
After the introduction, which featured Adam explaining why they needed help with funding, and what the project was all about, the Kickstarter video moved onto a trailer for the documentary, featuring heartwrenching clips of interviewees – a surefire way to convince people that this is something they should put money into.
Is Kickstarter right for you?
Kickstarter can be an excellent way to get your project or business off the ground, but there are a few fundamentals you need to get right in order to succeed. You need to focus on the benefits for the buyers, as well integrate a story (and possibly some humour) in order to give people something to relate to. Proving your expertise and showing people exactly what they’ll be getting can boost your chances too – so you’d better make sure you actually have something worthwhile to offer, and show why you are the one to deliver it. But the most important thing you need to do is this: make it about the viewer.
If you need help creating a video for funding your dreams then please get in touch as we would love to help you make something that communicates your vision well and motivates others to get behind you.