Indievelopment: Producing a Short Film – Crowdfunding Week 3 – Halfway!

What insights do I have to share as my crowdfund for Tesla vs Cthulhu hits the halfway point?

Well, I’m tired.

Did I mention crowdfunding is exhausting? It’s exhausting. But not “running ten miles” exhausting. More like,  “we’re moving in three weeks and have to pack the house” exhausting. You aren’t always doing it. But it always is there to be done, and you know that date is coming like a freight train, where you have to move out, where the crowdfunding shuts down, and so you live it 24/7, never quite relaxing, always having a few things you could do.

Image by Nepenthes

Image by Nepenthes

This morning, my cat woke me up at 4:30AM. And before I went back to sleep, I checked my phone to see if we had any new backers. (We did; two, for a total of $170. I slept easier.)

Healthy? Nope. But you will do it. This is YOUR FILM. And if you don’t care enough about it to check on it at 4;30AM, why is anyone going to pledge at 4:30AM? (Okay, so maybe they were in a different time zone.) So you care, and you check, and you strategize and FB share and tweet and thank and update and organize and check and tweet and strategize and check and… and it runs you down.

One of the cruelest parts of crowdfunding is that it comes at the end of the prep for the crowdfund, which is also draining. There should be a mandated two week vacation between. But there isn’t, so be prepared. Get your sleep, take breaks, try to shed the stress of it all. (As I was typing this sentence; another $25 backer joined up. You’ll learn to view mail alerts like a kid on Christmas Eve views hoofbeats on the rooftop. Even more so; you get to make a movie afterwards maybe, whereas the kid will be bored and playing with the toy’s box before the turkey’s half-done.)

Aside from tired, what can I share with you at the halfway point?

Expect the Unexpected

People blogged about our campaign. One in Turkish, another in Italian. Both through no prompting from us. It was very cool to find those, and I’m grateful those people did that to help spread the word.

I tell you, when you search for your campaign and you get results in multiple foreign languages, two things race through your head. The first is, “How the hell did THAT happen?” The second is, “With coverage like that, why aren’t we 150% funded already???” You might be able to figure out the first. No one will ever be able to tell you the second. Just go with it.

And another in the “unexpected” category? One of our backers, Karina @skullulele, not only backed the project but is also donating a one-of-a-kind handmade ukulele with a Cthulhu art design as a perk. Let that sink in. A handmade Cthulhu ukulele. Go ahead; travel back in time and tell me from three weeks ago that I’d offer that as a perk. Take a picture of my face; I’d love to see it. A Cthulhu ukulele, or Cthulhulele as Karina has dubbed it, is a completely weird concept to me, but it is vastly more awesome than it is weird. I mean, a Cthulhu ukulele. How cool is THAT?

So, your campaign won’t go the way you expect it. Be okay with that. It’ll be easier in the long run, because the future holds many twists and turns, and sometimes, ukuleles.

Report Card

If this was a script, we’d be smack in the middle of Act II. (You know how much fun THAT part can be!) We’re past all the easy set ups of Act I, and we’ve got a ways to go before we hit the downhill excitement of Act III. Here’s where craft and determination will win out. As I write this, we are, almost to the hour, at the halfway point of the campaign. 50% of the time is gone, and we’ve raised 62% of our goal. As you can guess, that’s very good news.

We’ve had GREAT days. (Raised over 20% of our budget in two consecutive days. They were fun days, let me tell you.) We’ve had days that were brutal with a side order of despair, served up hot on a misery bun, where we’re sobbing, tearing our hair and screaming in the wilderness and the pledge total moves as much as a paralyzed dead fly that’s been superglued to a bridge and just drank a curare chaser.

You gotta take it as it comes.

Overall, it’s good news. The combination of our engagement strategy, our concept, and our team seems (SEEMS!) to be winning the day. Will we make it? Well, if you read this on Friday, we’ve got two weeks to go. What do you think?

But wow, do I need a nap.

If you feel like checking out the campaign for Tesla vs Cthulhu, you can find it here. And if you felt like either joining us as a backer or telling your friends, we certainly would be grateful! 

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