KICKSTARTER FUNDRAISING VIDEOS: Financing and Marketing Coming Attractions

Hollis Sherman-Pepe, an actor friend of mine recently told me about her plans to make a short film from a screenplay she’d written.  Then, I received the Kickstarter presentation about her project, VALEDICTION, where I read a logline and watched a short, hosted video about the contemplated film, including actor names and an excerpted scene.

As I filled out the form to donate a modest amount, it occurred to me that here was yet another kind of movie marketing tool, a new kind of pre-production trailer for the social media era.   At the risk of pointing out the obvious, allow me to count the ways.

First of all, it is a motion picture used to announce, arouse interest in and market another, related motion picture.    It is hosted by one of the actors who describes her participation and mentions some of the qualities of the story and its cast that may appeal to the select audience who receives this Kickstarter presentation, and those who may stumble across it as they surf the Kickstarter site.  

A specially shot scene indicates something about the genre and visual approach of the project, which, informed by our knowledge of the project budget, gives us some idea of the eventual production quality.   Thus, from this short, well-done presentation, an audience is solicited because of its connection to the principles of the project and provided with useful and potentially persuasive information about title, cast, genre, story and likely release window.

Hosted trailers exploit the personal and authenticating power of the “real” person addressing an audience.   The excerpted scene is literally a “preview of coming attractions.”  Kickstarter, as an template for presenting, soliciting and sharing, exploits social media networks for dissemination of “news” about the film and inviting interactive and personal engagement with it.  To restate the obvious, when potential customer has “worked” to learn more about or support a product, that is a highly valuable connection and earnest of future interest.

So, to all of you out there considering whether to use the Kickstarter (or one of its competitors) approach to raising money for your film project, don’t forget that your effort is also (and perhaps primarily?) a marketing one.

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movietrailers101 by Fred Greene is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

About Frederick Greene

Entertainment Copywriter & Visiting Assistant Professor, UCLA Dept. of Theater, Film & Television. I teach a graduate seminar in new movie marketing, which focuses on the history, contemporary practice and likely future of a/v advertising for motion picture entertainment.
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