“It is such an inspiring time to be a storyteller and it would be crazy not to tap into the powerful tools that cross-platforms have in social media,” said Ingrid Kopp, speaking during “A Road Map for Financing and Getting Your Cross-Platform Documentary Made” panel discussion at the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival.
Kopp – Director of Digital Initiatives at the Tribeca Film Institute – is a frequent speaker on the intersection between storytelling, technology, design and social change.
“Get excited about the possibilities and what the tools can do.”
Filmmakers have an extensive list of platforms to use in order to help them build a community for their film and to obtain a greater understanding of their audience such as Indiegogo, Seed and Spark, Yekra, Kickstarter and Crowdfunder.
Liz Nord, a documentary filmmaker and multiplatform producer, recommends using cross-platform tools that already exist in order to create a fan base for your work.
“There are ways to make them look unique without wasting any money.”
If the project is a documentary that is due to begin shortly and you want to avoid wasting time and money then WordPress can come in handy and the use of templates can give personality to a project.
James Mullighan, CEO of Transmedia Next and COO of VODO, gave an insight into how a project can be successful by understanding the target market and knowing how much time to invest in each platform.
It is important to decipher which platforms a certain target market and age bracket use, Do they tweet? Do they use Vine? Do they blog?
“Once you start working on your audience, make sure they’ll engage with your work through the platforms.” – Says Jordan McGarry, Vimeo’s lead curator.
One of the most important messages for filmmakers demonstrated through the panel discussion was to be as bold as possible and to develop a financial plan, a plan that is honest to the needs of the project.
“Really sit down, break things down and be strategic about the financial budget you need, really be honest about it. Have you thought about the options?” stated Kopp.
“Don’t just come up with how much money your film is going to be. Do the right finance budget for your film and only ask for really what you need.” – Mullighan added.
Filmmakers should look for as many options as they can before drawing up a financial budget by exploring sponsorship and investment opportunities from organisations that could possibly take an interest in the project.
“You can find foundations for pretty much anything. That’s how most U.S documentaries get funded. It’s very interesting not only because of the money you raise but the audience you get.” Said Kopp.
It is important for the production team to know what their impact goal is by asking themselves whether they will make a meaningful impact on the community
It helps to know that the filmmaker not only has the passion for their project, but also has an understanding of the various funding streams available to them.
“People fund to outreach projects and its media rather than the documentary film itself.” said Liz Nord.
Kopp recommended Crowdfunding as a website tool that aids filmmakers in the funding process and is essential in the search for supporters, donors and sponsors.
“Crowdfunding websites, like Indiegogo and Kickstaters, are valuable tools to start testing your audience and to discover marketing options, but it is also important to look for other opportunities with regards to where to get the money.”
A wealth of opinion emerged from the discussion featuring some of the figureheads of film and a consensus was met on four key elements in the planning of a project.
Know your audience, be strict on finances, explore every funding avenue and use every platform you can, only then can you provide yourself with the greatest chance of success.
See Film Futures student Yossuana interview Ingrid Kopp at the “A Road Map for Financing” event. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtQuHGeslYY&feature=youtu.be
Words, Pictures and Video by Yossuana Aguilar