Crowdfunding November starts with a guest post by director Pete Chatmon who is using new platform Seed and Spark to fund his feature documentary Click Here: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Making Movies

When picking a platform to bare your soul (aka crowdfund), it’s important to consider several factors. Sometimes the most popular platforms may not be the best for you. I remember when we ran the festival circuit for my debut feature Premium there was a lot of internal debate about where we’d premiere the film. Ultimately, I championed the Miami International Film Festival (MIFF) and we went on to secure a distribution deal, limited theatrical run, and Showtime Cable premiere. I chose MIFF because Nicole Guillemet (formerly of Sundance) was at the helm at the time and their team’s commitment to filmmakers was evident.

As we’ve taken to a platform to finish our documentary, the thing that I liked most about Seed & Spark was their team, their passion as filmmakers, and the fact that the site is geared toward the life of the film — not just the fundraising.

The film I’m crowdfunding is called Click Here: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Making Movies. We are chronicling the chaotic (r)evolution striking the entertainment industry and using the film to create a path for how more storytellers and audiences can connect. One of the first of 30 interviews I did in NYC was with Emily Best, founder and CEO of Seed & Spark, and over the course of our conversation this was what I learned:

– the site acts as a studio (for crowdfunding) and cinema (for distribution and viewing)

– filmmakers create a “registry” on their studio wishlist so contributors and supporters get a transparent view as to where the funds will go

– filmmakers can also use the site to find crew for their projects (many of the members are filmmakers so this can yield awesome results)

– members gain “currency” on the site in the form of “sparks”, allowing them to take advantage of discounted offers for filmmakers and to watch films in the cinema

– the Seed & Spark team partners in spreading the word via their social media platforms as well as finding press outlets

What was most attractive to me was the ability to engage supporters beyond the finite weeks of a crowdfunding campaign. I also like the level of engagement amongst the community on the site.

At this stage of the game, it’s not a free for all submission process. The team seems to be curating the content across both sides of the site (studio and cinema). It will be exciting to see how the platform grows over time, but I feel confident that the folks behind the site have the filmmakers interests in mind.

Now, as for crowdfunding, that’s been quite the learning experience and our journey will surely be documented in the final film. We raised $520,000 for Premium and now need $50,000 for Click Here. Our campaign ends November 15th. The fact that this film is even possible at this budget is a testament to the changes striking the industry and the opportunities that filmmakers now have.

Click Here pitch video

Which leads to my final point.

Compared to the all or nothing model of Kickstarter or flex funding on Indiegogo, projects in the Seed & Spark studio are given the greenlight at 80% of funding. The thinking here is that the film will be produced on the same level as the filmmakers intended, just with a little more bootstrapping required. The bootstrapping required of any indie filmmaker.

Take a peek and see what you like on the site. There’s a lot to get familiar with and it’s worth joining to get a sense of the community to see whether or not your project may find a good home.

Pete Chatmon
Director, “Click Here: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Making Movies”

November 6th, 2013

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