My experience using Kickstarter

As I experience using Kickstarter for the first time, I would like to share some truths I discovered about myself throughout this process. Maybe you can relate? Or have words of wisdom?

Check out our "Volcano Girl" Kickstarter campaign by clicking here

Lesson 1 -- Fundraising = "I need a ride"

Asking someone to give me money brings back the terror I went through in high school when I asked the older kids for a ride home. I felt so bad and it was always awkward (probably because I made it awkward in my fear).

I was wrestling team manager, but I didn't have a car (or a driver's license). So instead of making my parents leave early from work (or come late if we had a match), I asked the wrestlers for a ride.

I was terrified. I didn't want them to go out of their way, or change their plans because they felt guilty. I always pictured them making plans with their awesome older friends and then this little Freshman walks up doe-eyed asking for a ride.

SIDEBAR -- I googled "Doe Eyed" and came up with these photos:

But I felt more like this...

The Scenario:

Our interaction usually went like this -

Me: "Hey, ummm Josh?" (Who was probably one of three people who lived out in the boonies of Raleigh -- where I lived)

Josh: "Oh yeah, Ashley, right?"

Me: "Yeah, my name's Ashley. Um, I was wondering..."

Josh: "Oh gotta get to practice, talk to you after?"

Me: "Yeahhhh"

He'd run off to practice while I finished up my management duties. Then I would go to practice to help run drills. The anxiety grew over that 2 hour practice of having to ask Josh again for a ride.

Sometimes I just chickened out and made my mom come get me. Gosh I was so scared. I'm literally feeling that anxiety again as I type this. Okay, taking a breath.

Back to Kickstarter

Lesson 2 -- Confidence

So that's how I feel. Well, that's how I felt when I first began asking for money. 

I learned over this 2 month process that I better get used to asking for money - that will be 50% of my job in this film industry, especially since I plan to be an independent filmmaker (a future where my budget will be raised by me and a fellow producer).

And I believe in the project, "Volcano Girl." I know it's good. And when you have that kind of confidence backing you, then you can bring others on board. Our talented crew worked incredibly hard and deserves to have their work seen by the world. I want to make that happen.

There you have it fellow Kickstarter friend. Have confidence in bringing people on board. You may have an amazing product or film or book, but no one will know it unless you tell them it's amazing.

Lesson 3 -- Call to Action

Give your colleagues a "call to action." This is why Kickstarter is an ideal fundraising site. The deadline makes you raise the money in a specific amount of time or you get nothing. This may seem a little scary, but it encourages your friends, family and Kickstarter members to support you NOW. Plus they get a pretty cool reward if they donate. (Make sure it's a cool reward!)

On the other hand, some people just want to support you. They don't need any fancy rewards. A lot of my family members and friends of the family just gave money. They were very clear that they just wanted to support my future in filmmaking. So my advice is to make a reward called "Just to Support" - or something more original - where your friends can donate to show they care about you.

Lesson 4 -- Be Humble

I am so incredibly overwhelmed by the support we have received in this process of raising money to make Volcano Girl DVDs and send the film to festivals. I know the process of simply finding your credit card is annoying, and then having to put in your information, click here & click there, and THEN punching in how much money you want to donate. It's amazing how others want to help.

I have interacted with a few Kickstarter fundraising teams who felt that it was owed to their project to raise the money - that they deserve the money. I think that's horrible.

Please be humble. None of us are rolling in the dough. Every dollar should be appreciated.

And, be mindful of other Kickstarter campaigns. Maybe you can support someone else? Yeah it may seem counterproductive to give money to another campaign, but it will make you feel good. 

Lesson 5 -- Stay true to your film, book, song, product, poems, etc.

The truth is our industry is being overwhelmed by remakes, re-do's, prequel/sequels. You have a product that is original to you, so stay true to that. Supporters on Kickstarter want new talent. They want new stories, original stories. They want to follow the young filmmakers, writers, singers. They want to be a part of your journey.

So stay true to your ideas. And find a way to keep your journey alive to these new supporters in your life!

Lesson 6 -- Keep the journey alive!

Even if I do not raise the money for "Volcano Girl" on Kickstarter, at least I caught the attention of about 20 people who didn't know me before. And maybe countless others who didn't feel that they wanted to donate, but they did visit our page.

Your Kickstarter campaign is a direct expression of your goals. I have expressed that I want a career in the film industry. So now people in my life who didn't know me very well - know me now. They know I have a passion for filmmaking. And if they want to keep up with my journey, then they can follow this blog.

So, create a blog. A Twitter. A Facebook page. And keep it updated. Believe me, amazing opportunities have come from this blog and my Twitter. Do not be afraid of social media!!

Kickstarter 101

Please share below any other lessons you have experienced while using Kickstarter. I know when I was first starting out, I did hours of research, and felt that everyone spoke very technically of their experience. I wanted to speak more on the emotional side while being mindful of the tech.

I hope you have enjoyed it!

2 Responses

  1. Saira Fazli

    Thanks for posting your Kickstarter! I didn’t know you had one. I became a “backer” today 🙂

  2. Yay! Thank you Saira!!