John Trigonis who is the Manager of Film and Video at Indiegogo is an expert in Crowdfunding, filmmaker, published poet, and the author of the book Crowdfunding for Filmmakers: The Way to a Successful Film Campaign. He wanted to help filmmakers who don’t consider themselves crowdfunders and don’t know what strategies to follow to have a successful film campaign. Crowdfunding for Filmmakers offers a wide variety of tips about utilizing today’s technological and social innovations, team building, audience outreach, and crowdfunder etiquette.
The main job of John Trigonis at Indiegogo is to help filmmakers and other artists raise money using Indiegogo to run successful campaigns. Indiegogo isn’t just limited to films other projects that can have a funding campaigns, but John handles film, web, video, and transmedia. John found his opportunity at Indiegogo later after he ran his own Indiegogo campaign in 2010 for a short film called Cerise. Later on he used Twitter to talk about his book and give his followers advice how to run funding campaigns. He didn’t like to charge people to share his knowledge or services. Co-founder of Indiegogo Danae Rigelmann and CEO Slava Rubin noticed his presence on Twitter and they started supporting him. One day Indiegogo retweeted him on Twitter saying “You are doing a really good job at this, but you are not charging. We think your stuff is worth it, so let’s get you do your stuff working for us, because we think you have the same fit as Indiegogo.”
I have been following John Trigonis since I met him at the Austin Film Festival in 2013. I decided to ask him a few questions about crowdfunding since my network of filmmakers are very interested in this topic.
1. There are different ways to market a crowdfunding campaign with the presence of a wide spectrum of social media. What's the most effective engine to raise money for a campaign in social media?
“I've often been quoted as saying that without social media, crowdfunding would not be possible, and I stick to that to this day. Twitter is probably the most important social media tool, since through Twitter, you have the ability to use crowdfunding for what it's best at –– reaching a wider audience, through the use of hashtags and by building your own handle into the fabric of the industries you want to be associated with most.”
2. What's the most successful way to raise money on Indiegogo or Kickstarter?
“Well, being that I wrote an entire book on the subject of Crowdfunding for Filmmakers, I'd simply suggest that everyone pick up a copy of it and read through it from first to last page before starting a campaign. But simply stated, I can say that the best way to raise funds through crowdfunding is to make the campaign more about the crowd and less about the funding. Pitch your project not like a salesperson, but as a person who has passion for their particular project. Offer perks that are more experiential and unique over ones that are merchandise-driven. And promote your campaign via email and social media, and tap into a larger community of people so that you can unlock the true purpose of crowdfunding for creative projects, which is extending your reach, strengthening your brand, and building more of an audience for your current and future projects.”
3. How important is the video during your campaign for crowdfunding? Can you share with us some tips to make the video more attractive?
“Your crowdfunding pitch video is the most important element of your campaign. First impressions matter; more so, they last. That said, you need to come across to your potential contributors as a genuine person with a good idea for which you'd like to bring onboard and make them an integral part of the process.”
4. There is a lot of confusion about perks-based "Donor Crowdfunding" which exists today, and the possibly forthcoming investment based "Equity Crowdfunding." Could the perks-based crowdfunding still be an effective way to raise funds for a project or do you think the film industry would be leaning towards the model of "Equity Crowdfunding for safety?
“First, the term "donor" is not the best word to use for it, as no one is donating any money; they're contributing (that's the proper word) in exchange for a perk, or reward, for doing so; it is not a donation. Now, I don't talk much about equity crowdfunding or the JOBS Act because there's still way too many questions about it for anyone to have any real solid opinion about it, but I will say that the perks-based crowdfunding model for film and creative projects, primarily, is revolutionary; once you add equity into the picture, crowdfunding simply reverts to "business as usual" and loses the participation factor that lures many to want to contribute to a campaign, since it's puts the "funding" before the "crowd," and that's not necessarily the best way to push crowdfunding forward. It may be its natural evolution, but nowhere close to a new revolution.”
The secret of success for filmmakers or any other profession besides luck or being in the right place at the right time makes a big difference which is why you should be willing to try over and over again, so you can make it easier for luck to find you. Stay in the game, prioritize, use the resources wisely, stay focus. You never know what’s expecting you tomorrow. John Trigonis is an example of success. Follow him on Twitter @Trigonis , Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon Crowdfunding for Filmmakers, Website
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Published on Feb 17, 2014