Posted on Monday September 16th 2013
Posted on Friday August 23rd 2013
For Dublin Fringe Festival projects, getting into the programme is not the final challenge. Funding means the show can go on! This year 16 fringe projects raised over €49,500 on Fund it, which is up from €48,300 raised by fringe projects in 2012. We spoke to three project creators to find out why they chose crowdfunding as a means of funding and to try and get an insight into their campaigns.
For Oisin McKenna of PETTYCASH, project creator for ‘GRINDR/ a love story’, crowdfunding just made sense. For small, up-and-coming or lower profile artists and organisations, crowdfunding can be the most accessible funding option. Digital marketing is a big part of the PETTYCASH ethos, so crowdfunding seemed a very compatible match. Another advantage, although not a deciding factor, was the publicity it brought in advance of the show, getting people talking about it and creating visibility.
Out of the crowdfunding platforms available, several people in the PETTYCASH network had run projects on Fund it before, so it was the platform with the most visibility and recognition within their peer group. Oisin felt it was also more likely to attract ‘browsers’ – people perusing Fund it would be more likely to be interested, than those browsing a huge international site.
Most important element of project: It was vital when submitting the project that the whole thing was high quality, nothing was just thrown together. The project represented a strong product indicator for the show. The video was really important. It had to be a fun, creative work in itself, while being representative of the piece it was describing. The rewards were important too.
What worked: Making sure social media posts were about activities, and not just asking people for support. When fatigue set in in the middle of the campaign they started being less creative with the posts and the decline in shares and retweets was noticeable. By talking about what they were up to, the pledges started rolling in again.
Would you do it the same again? The campaign was really successful, so Oisin reckons they would just tailor any future campaign to the project at hand, without changing tack. They would use crowdfunding again if it was appropriate for the project, but having run a campaign, would explore other options before returning to the crowd too soon.
Aonghus Óg McAnally, project creator for ‘The Games People Play‘, has always been a great advocate of supporting Irish theatre. Although Rise Productions are an award-winning company, they have been turned down for Arts Council funding a number of times. Due to the theatre podcasts they created in 2011, they have a very engaged network, which lends itself to crowdfunding.
Aonghus never went abroad to train, and believes that the Irish don’t have to go outside our own country to achieve what we want. Fund it, as a domestic site, was the obvious choice for him.
Most important element of project: As a regular funder on the site, Aonghus was fully aware of the importance of rewards. While the promise of a hug is great, he feels the more tangible rewards are really what a funder’s looking for. ‘The Games People Play’ offered a wide range or rewards, from a copy of Gavin Kostick’s script to a performance of the award winning show ‘Fight Night’ in your house (which someone did go for… in London!).
What worked: Utilising the ‘other half’ of his network. The members of the theatre community, while very engaged, are frequently bombarded with crowdfunding requests, and may even have a crowdfunding project of their own to concentrate on. So thinking about ‘other networks’ was key. Aonghus has a really strong connection to the GAA, many of whose members would come to his shows. The support from the GAA was enormous, and made all of the difference.
Would you do it the same again? This project received such generous support, that to do it again, it would have to be quite different. There are only so many times a person can tap the well, so future crowdfunded projects would be smaller, more suited to concentrating on ticket pre-sales.
Rosie O’Reilly from We Are Islanders is creating a unique art installation, ‘4/704’, as part of this year’s Dublin Fringe Festival. This is Rosie’s first large scale installation, so State or corporate funding would be difficult to get. We Are Islanders have always relied on funding from individuals and supporters so crowdfunding online is just a different platform for something they’re already used to.
Rosie was involved in the ‘Re-dress’ Better Fashion Week’ project, which was successful on Fund it in 2011. Given the connection between We Are Islanders and Re-dress, their network were already familiar with the Fund it site and the crowdfunding process.
Most important element of project: The story. The installation tells the story of a bigger issue which Rosie was well aware would be the most interesting thing for the We Are Islanders’ network, so getting that story across well was vital. The image by Des Moriarty was also important for their publicity campaign.
What Worked? Strategy; An initial e-mail was sent to 30 key people who Rosie knew would not only support the project, but would act as ambassadors for the campaign. Getting a GIF in LeCool on the day the project went live was key, as the readership is huge and very relevant. The name written in sand was a really popular reward and has generated great excitement as it is unique, special and makes funders feel like they’re a part of the project.
Would you do it the same again? The project was a great success so future strategies wouldn’t change. This project was presented in a different incarnation from the Re-dress project – even though they are related, Rosie thinks crowdfunding works best when presented as a one-off. She would use it again herself in another context, for a project that needed public support and involvement.
Thanks to you, twelve theatre pieces, two dance performances, an art installation and a series of events will take place as part of Dublin Fringe Festival this year. Here’s where you can catch them:
Decision Problem; Figure It Out; Kitschcock; The Games People Play; The Churching of Happy Cullen; 4/704; The Far Side; Fit/Misfit; Pondling; Exit Strategy; Grindr / A Love Story; The King’s Feet; The Secret Art of Murder; Cuomo; Animus; Rites of Passage Evolving Our Past; Rites of Passage State of The Nation; Rites of Passage Tour Guides to the Future.
PS – Its not just Dublin you know, there were another 5 projects successful on Fund it for Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year too!
Posted on Thursday August 1st 2013
Images and videos are two of the most useful and engaging tools you can use on the internet. Now that Fund it is on Pinterest, it’s more important than ever to make your image stand out. But, we know not everyone spends their time honing their skills by touching up photos for the perfect Facebook profile; so for the less tech-minded creator, we have put together this very basic tutorial to help you get the most out of your image on Fund it.
Like anything, first you have to have the right tools. Never use Microsoft Office Word for images. Although it can do some image editing, it is made for documents not images, and will be more difficult in the long run (the clue is in the name: Word). The Microsoft Office Suite comes with Picture Manager. This is a very basic image editing tool and is very easy to use. We will use this tool for our tutorial as most computers will have it.
Open your image in Picture Manager and click Edit Pictures in the toolbar. A selection of edit options will appear on the right-hand side.
All images on Fund it must be square. If your image is rectangular, it will show squashed, which looks really bad. But how to make it square?
Crop vs. Resize:
Take this image
To make this image square, we will need to cut away the edges, or crop it. If we were to resize it, the edge pixels from the image would not be removed, they would just be squashed in to make them fit.
Ideally your image should be 500 x 500 pixels to look its best on Fund it. Choose an image where the smallest side is at least 500 pixels. When you choose ‘Crop’ from the right-hand sidebar, the pixel size will be shown at the bottom of the sidebar. You can click and drag the ‘handles’ of the image, or you can use the number dials to get a more accurate crop.
Once your image is square, click OK and click ‘Back to Edit Pictures’.
Compressing an Image:
Compressing an image refers to the file size and not the physical or pixel size of your image. Files must be less than 1Mb to be shown on Fund it. Once your image is square, click ‘Compress Pictures’ in the sidebar. The original file size of your image will be shown at the bottom of the sidebar.
If your image is larger than 1 MB, click the Documents option. If the Compressed file size is shown as less than 1,000 KB, it will be small enough for Fund it. Click OK, then ‘Back to Edit Pictures’.
Making Your Square Image Smaller:
If your image is more than 500 x 500 pixels, you can make it smaller, but you should never try to make your image bigger as this will make the image look grainy. Choose ‘Resize’ from the edit sidebar. Type 500 into the ‘Custom width x height’ boxes.
Now that your image is the right size, it needs to by the right file type. Like most websites, Fund it can only accept .jpg or .JPEG files. To make sure your image is the correct file type, click ‘File’ on the top toolbar. Then choose ‘Export…’ from the dropdown menu. A sidebar will open on the right-hand side. In the dropdown menu labelled ‘Export with this file format’, choose the option ‘JPEG File Interchange Format (*.jpg)’ and click OK.
You now have the perfect image for your Fund it project. All of these functions are available on all basic image editors, including iPhoto.
Posted on Friday May 3rd 2013
Shimmy Marcus is the multi-award winning director behind the short film RHINOS which was nominated for the Irish Film and Television Academy awards earlier this year. Shimmy has taken time out of his very busy life to give us some insight into his experiences of running a Fund it campaign.
One of the most liberating experiences I have recently had as a filmmaker has been financing my new short film through crowd funding. Unfamiliar with the process at first, the only knowledge I had was anecdotal, but with some research I quickly realised that there was huge potential and rewards, and not just for the investors!
As anyone who has ever tried to make a film knows, quite often the biggest hurdle is the first. Where do we get the money to make it? The great advantage I quickly discovered through Fund it was that not only do they provide a platform to raise funding, but through this method they also inadvertently help create a strong platform from which to launch the finished film.
Before even a single frame has been shot, through Fund it a huge sense of awareness of the film is immediately created which not only helps to grow an enthusiastic family of investors eager to track your progress, but also to spread the word and promote the film. To help drive traffic towards our funding campaign for RHINOS we launched a Facebook page and through it and other forms of social networking we regularly promoted the Fund it page through updates, news bulletins, quirky videos, blogs, and constant reminders of our progress.
Caption: Promotional video released during the Fund it campaign
By the time we finally reached our funding target we had already built up a strong database of supports eager to track our progress and support the film in a variety of ways from helping out on the shoot to assisting in various other ways. Fund it not only became an avenue for financing, they helped create a following and audience. But first, we needed to win their trust.
Early on we realised the most important part of the Fund it process is the creation of a strong and attractive promo video that would entice people to invest in the film. I watched a great many promotional videos on Fund it and other crowd funding websites and realised that these videos were how I would inevitably judge the quality of the finished films who were seeking funding.
Bland, unimaginative, and poorly shot promo videos rang alarm bells. If they can’t even make a decent promo video, why would I think they could make a decent film? Your promo video is the main clue to what your potential end product will be like and a strong quality promo speaks volumes about the imagination, style, and professionalism of the team looking for funding. If you can’t be bothered to make a good promo video, why should I bother to invest in you? Just waffling into a camera telling me how great your film is going to be is just lazy and uninspiring. So with that in mind, my strongest piece of advice is to put as much time and effort into writing, developing, shooting and polishing your promo video. You only get one big chance to grab potential funders’ attention and impress them enough to part with their hard earned cash.
I said at the start that I found crowd funding incredibly liberating. The reason is that through this method I have 100% artistic control of my work. There are no funding applications to be judged by panels, no funding bodies who want power of final cut, or who insist on telling you who to choose as your cast and crew. Every creative choice and decision is yours alone to make. This has recently been cited by Hollywood actor and director Zach Braff (Scrubs, Garden State) as his primary reason for financing his latest feature film through crowd funding. The only responsibility you have is to your art, to producing the best possible work you can, and in doing so, rewarding the trust and faith the funders have put in you.
Caption: Zack Braff’s campaign video
It is also important to work out exactly how much money you need and what exactly you need it for. There’s no point spending all your money on the shoot if you have nothing left to finish it or even promote it afterwards. So think very carefully in advance what it is exactly you need the money for and target your pitch towards that. Be practical, not greedy. With this new indie spirit of financing, crowd funding need no longer be an afterthought, or a get out of jail Plan B. With sensible and prudent budgeting, there’s no reason why Fund it can’t be your first and last port of call to finance your film.
Posted on Wednesday April 17th 2013
While Chris Judge was creating the gorgeous illustration for our 2nd birthday, we had a chat with him about the success of his app.
Chris Judge, author of ‘The Lonely Beast’ children’s book, teamed up with IT developer and friend James Kelleher, and brother Simon Judge, to create ‘The Lonely Beast ABC’ app. The app, which was funded right here, is a bright, fun and interactive way for children to learn the alphabet.
The Beast takes the user through the alphabet with activities and sounds that can be tapped or moved, including a drum set and a xylophone that can be fully played. The gorgeous hand-drawn illustrations are simple and witty and entertaining for kids and adults alike. It’s no wonder this app has been getting so much media coverage, probably the most exciting of which has been its feature in the Apple TV ad.
The guys got a phone call out of the blue from an ad agency in LA to ask if they could use the app in Apple’s official ad campaign. There was a little bit of to-ing and fro-ing regarding the language of the app (they wanted the app to be developed in more languages so that it could be used in ads in more countries)… and then silence for 6 months.
Then just as suddenly as the first call, they were told that one page would feature in their TV ad and another in print advertising in English speaking countries. Chris tells me that they have seen an increase in sales in the States since the ad, but the kudos of being one of only 8 apps – out of more than 800,000 – chosen for the ad is the real reward.
Although the app was funded on Fund it, Chris was eager to point out the non-financial benefits of their Fund it campaign. The campaign presented them with a willing and engaged audience to test the app and also got advice from a wide range of parents and designers alike. He says the campaign had a ‘huge influence’ on the development of the app, and the finished product that you see today. In return for all of this invaluable advice and exposure, they ‘wanted to make the rewards really special’, to truly make it an exciting and inclusive experience for everyone.
This is certainly a success story to talk about! See Chris’s website for some fun, free Beastly make-and-do.
Posted on Tuesday April 9th 2013
Thanks to everyone for continuing to support great ideas. Two years on we’ve now seen 381 projects successfully funded by almost 27,000 pledges. We challenged one of our favourite illustrators, Chris Judge, (himself a veteran of Fund it) to help us visualise all these great stories which couldn’t have made their way into the world without YOU! From everyone here in Fund it towers, we’d like to say ‘THANK YOU’
Posted on Tuesday February 26th 2013
Storymap is the app that takes you on a tour around Dublin’s city centre through the insight and delight of local people. Listen to the stories or watch them being recounted on HD video as you get a new perspective of the streets, places and inhabitants.
Tom Rowley, one of the Storymap team, talked to us about the importance of telling a great story through your Fund it project.
As surely one of the experts on the matter, Tom told us the key to the perfect campaign video is to make an emotional connection with the viewer within a short period of time. You have to ‘foreground the human element’, by showcasing the people behind the project. ‘Put yourself in it and be yourself’. Don’t be afraid of it being unpolished, this just proves that you’re only human. People support people, so they don’t want a press release – think of the last time you told all your friends about an ad you saw on Youtube; now think of the last time you told all your friends about a great story you heard from a mate. Which happens most often?! The same goes for your video. The internet loves videos, and take it from Tom, people love to share a great story.
But of course, preparing your project to go live is only the beginning. Throughout the campaign you need to keep people engaged. Having an event in the middle of your campaign is a great way for people who’ve already funded your project to come and meet you in person, and of course, bring their friends. During their campaign, Storymap teamed up with the 10 Days in Dublin Festival to hold an evening of poetry, music and comedy, with all proceeds going to the Fund it campaign. Although he says the funding from the event wasn’t huge, it was a great way to promote the campaign and it gave them something fresh and exciting to talk about and share photos and videos from. Another trick to keeping things fresh is to make more videos throughout your campaign that you can share.
Once the campaign is finished, and you’ve successfully gathered all that loving generosity, the story doesn’t have to end there. Although crowdfunding was successful in generating their whole budget, Storymap got further funding from Enterprise Ireland and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature on the back of their success. They were able prove they had the backing of the public, the resilience to run a fundraising campaign and a clear strategy for their project. But the best thing to come from the campaign was that before, they had a fan base, but by the end of their campaign they had a group of fully engaged and willing participants in their project. They knew that when they launched their product, they had a great resource: people interested and happy to give valuable feedback.
Storymap have just launched their new app, and are already developing and expanding. Tom is certain that they will use crowdfunding again to fund future developments, not only because it’s a great way to raise funds, but because it’s a great way to raise profile. Having learned from his experiences, a key technique he will be using in future is to talk to anyone he’s sure will support the project, and ask them to make their pledge early. Getting that bar moving at the start of the campaign makes all the difference.
We can’t wait for the next chapter of Storymap. To learn more, check out these links:
Posted on Sunday January 27th 2013
The last of our January series of great projects from 2012 tells the story of the ‘Poetry Bus’ magazine, which has (so far) had three issues funded on Fund it. Peadar O’Donoghue shares some insight into his crowdfunding successes.
With each issue the magazine has evolved and so too have the Fund it campaigns. Peadar certainly keeps things exciting, fun and sometimes a bit ‘hairy’. His nerves of steel are evident from the progression of the campaigns. Starting with a target of €900 in 4 weeks, Peadar kept it brief from the beginning. The second project surpassed the target of €1,050 in a nail biting campaign of just 7 days. He upped the ante again for the third project, with a target of €1,950 in only 14 days. He enjoys the excitement and has found that with short campaigns the sense of urgency encourages people to fund it the first time they see it. But it’s not done by magic. Peadar maintains a continuous stream of contact throughout the campaigns to keep the pressure on. Humour and a bit of fun are key in keeping people interested and excited.
As the ambitions of the Fund it campaigns grow, so too does the readership and the quality of the magazine. Peadar assures us the upcoming issue will be a massive leap forward. He is confident that this issue will make ‘Poetry Bus’ the finest poetry journal in Ireland. Many of the reasons that Peadar chooses to fund the magazine through Fund it are also its strengths as a publication. It allows the magazine to be more fluid, forcing him to think on his toes. The challenges make the magazine dynamic and allow for very current content as Peadar can respond to a submission usually within 2 weeks. One of the main attractions is that he feels the Fund it team are very approachable, it feels like a collaboration and community, rather than a ‘Gladiator battle for funding’. That’s not to say it’s all fun and games. Peadar works hard at building and maintaining a network, particularly through Facebook. Although there is an obvious fan base, as it is largely the same people funding each project, this also shows the difficulty of maintaining growth in his network and potential future limitations.
The surprising pledges are always ‘brilliant’ and it’s impossible to know what a Fund it campaign can unearth. On hearing about the ‘Poetry Bus’ campaign, well-known Scottish poet Kona Mac Phee donated a prize she had won, of a Ballymaloe cookery class, to be auctioned by Peadar. Furthermore, another well-known writer (who wishes to remain anonymous) won the auction. The global reach of any online platform allows for international exchanges such as this, which is appropriate as ‘Poetry Bus’ has a strong international element, despite being grounded in Ireland. ‘Poetry Bus’ has contributors, readers and funders from right across the world, including Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and even North Korea. As Peadar says, ‘without the internet none of this would happen’.
The latest edition, ‘Poetry Bus’ Issue 4, will be available in January 2013.
Posted on Sunday January 20th 2013
Continuing our January series of stories from last year, we caught up the team behind the short romantic comedy ‘Encounter. They explained that their project is not just a film, it is a community project which has given members of the Sligo community an opportunity to meet new people and have new experiences. It is also a project of integration and the film hopes to raise awareness of issues facing asylum seekers in Ireland. Now in the editing stages, the community group hopes to screen the film at the end of March 2013.
So how did the film project come about?
The New Sligo Film and Drama Group worked with Sinéad Dolan through the Artist in the Community Scheme, funded by Create and The Arts Council and supported by RAPID. During this project they wrote their first film script, ‘exploring themes of love, relationships, stereotypes and cultural clashes’. After writing the script, they looked to Fund it to secure funds to help with the filming costs. They were successful in exceeding their €3,000 target in just four weeks. Shooting of the film is now complete and Sinéad told us one of the highlights was the involvement of the wider community of Sligo in the making of the film and the Fund it campaign, who offered support, equipment, and of course pledges.
Although some members have moved away or gone back to college, the majority of the group are still in contact with each other. There are various levels of involvement in the editing stages of the film and there is still plenty of activity surrounding the project. The group changed its name to ‘Sabona Community Group’ (Sabona means Hello in Zulu) and were invited to join the Urban Peace Collective in Sligo, an umbrella organisation of community groups with an interest in promoting diversity, ending sectarianism and raising awareness of marginalised and minority groups.
Although Sinéad found it a little ‘stressful’ having to ask for money, she says the result was ‘brilliant’. Sabona were able to hire a professional Producer and Director of Photography who helped make it a bigger film than it would have been otherwise, and drive the group’s ambitions. Sadly the Director of Photography, Tony Kenny, passed away suddenly last May, which had a huge impact on the group and he is sorely missed by all. The film will be screened at a multi-cultural event which the group are organising and the film will be dedicated to Tony.
Posted on Monday January 14th 2013
Continuing our January series of inspiring Fund it stories from 2012, we caught up with dance historian, writer and documentary filmmaker Deirdre Mulrooney who raised over €4,000 on the site in October 2012.
Her documentary project was inspired by a 1943 film ‘Dance School’ by Liam O’Laoghaire of Erina Brady, a modern dance pioneer in Ireland, dancing and teaching a class of small children. The upcoming film, ‘Dance School Tardis’ (working title) will showcase clips from O’Laoghaire’s film and interviews with the children from Brady’s class almost 70 years on. This unique story shows how these women were creatively inspired by their early exposure to modern dance and Erina Brady’s unique philosophy.
Deirdre told us how her Fund it campaign not only helped the film financially, but has a special place in the story of this film and these women.
Before the making of this film was possible, Deirdre first had to locate the children from the 1943 film. She began by writing a letter to the Irish Times, which was successful in capturing the attention of one of the dance pupils. Later in the year, O’Laoghaire’s film was screened in European Union House on Molesworth Street, in commemoration of the death of Ireland’s first modern dancer June Kuhn, and coinciding with the Dublin Dance Festival 2012. Deirdre met some of the dance pupils who came to see the screening. The most fortuitous discovery of one of the original pupils, however, was made with the help of social media and Fund it.
On the very last day of ‘Dance School Tardis’ campaign, Deirdre decided to unwind from the tense campaign and see an old friend at the yoga class she teaches. While chatting about the Fund it campaign, her friend asked for the link so that she could pledge and spread the word. Although it was the last day of the project, this turned out to be the most important contact yet. When Deirdre’s friend spread the link through her social media network, a woman in Berlin, unknown to Deirdre, recognised her mother as one of the children from the promotional video! The former dance pupil, now living in Leeds, was extremely emotional about seeing herself on screen after almost 70 years. She had in fact attempted to find out details of Erina Brady’s later career some years previously and was only too happy to hop on a plane to Ireland to be a part of Deirdre’s film; some of the money raised through Fund it paid for her trip.
63 people helped Deirdre raise 116% of her target… So how does she feel about her crowdfunding success?
Describing it as ‘hard’ to ask for money, she believes it was ‘worth it’, and not just for the money. The connections she made during the Fund it campaign were invaluable to her research. Deirdre was contacted by several people who were researching parallel works or are interested in the area, and whom she believes wouldn’t have contacted her otherwise. For her, connecting with people, from as far away as the US and Canada, building an audience, and bringing the funders with her through the project development, were all what made it a great experience.
Deirdre hopes to screen ‘Dance School Tardis’ (working title) on International Women’s day, March 8th, 2013. You can keep up with the project’s progess on Deirdre’s blog deirdremulrooney.blogspot.ie.