Making bank: Funding your great story idea

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You’ve got a story idea and partners to work on it with you: now how do you get the money to fund production? The creators of LARPs managed to run a successful crowdfunding campaign for their second season, which topped up funding from Geek and Sundry. Producer Benjamin Warner shares insights on how he made it work.

Build an audience

The first season was self-funded and kept to a tight budget of less than CAD $10,000, with the intent of capturing attention. It worked. “We were creating a little family, a little online community and we have people to this day who watch the rest of our content online,” he said.

When it came time to find a sponsoring producing house and launch a crowdfunding campaign for a second season, Benjamin said the team had a dedicated audience to turn to for support. They also hired social media management company The Social Smiths to help increase audience engagement leading into the campaign.

Be realistic

In launching a crowdfunding campaign for the first time, Benjamin said they set a realistic goal and didn’t expect it to be the main source of funding for the show. They set a target of $30,000 – which they ultimately surpassed.

Plan ahead

Benjamin said planning for the campaign started about four months in advance. They got fans excited about the show by responding to comments and encouraging dialogue. When the campaign finally launched, they realized developed a smaller group of “evangelists” or super fans who promoted the show and campaign.

Looking ahead

Benjamin is now focusing on other projects, including short films for YouTube, through his production company Beanduck. He’s also experimenting with a live twitch streaming element to his new series Heroic Portrait, that has a social media presence on Instagram and Facebook. He’s also looking for new funding sources for a third season of LARPs. “If there is someone out there who wants to watch your film, there will be someone to pay for it,” he said.

Learn more about funding your digital story idea at #VWF2018: We'll have a workshop on how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign and a meet-the-funders session with Storyhive, Bell Fund and other Canadian organizations.