To coincide with the Darklight Festival 2011, we are bringing you up to date with Still Films & Garry O’Neill who came together as project creators for Where Were You? – a book and documentary film project which is a celebration of Dublin street style covering 50 years of youth culture. It was one of the first set of projects that went live on Fund it back in March 2011. The target for the project was set at €6,500 and the duration was 35 days. 182 funders pledged a total of €7,168 – 10% above their target.
We asked the team why they decided to use crowdfunding for Where Were You?
They told us that they were interested and inspired by the idea of crowdfunding from the start. The concept matches the Still Films company identity perfectly; combining a ‘Do It Yourself’ ethos with alternative methods of funding, presenting, publicizing and distributing projects. In particular, crowdfunding felt like the perfect match for Where Were You? – a project that not only reflects the interests of the wider community but documents those interests via personal archive and memories.
The project had a built-in following because Garry sourced the images and ephemera which make up the book by a public call for materials. Still Films knew that crowdfunding would increase that following and widen their communication networks for sourcing materials for the film. They hoped that as well as raising funds that they could also discover material for the film from personal archives such as homemade Super 8/cine/VHS footage, old fliers, posters, ticket-stubs and photos. They felt that they might even find potential interview subjects among their supporters on Fund it.
Crowdfunding generally has a special appeal for film projects because it offers a rare independence at pre-funding stage. Still Films and Garry O’Neill felt that with a project like Where Were You? this independence is important and hugely beneficial to both the concept and content of the finished product.
For their campaign they offered 8 different reward levels on the website ranging from €5 to €5,000. 68% of their funders pledged €40 or lower, 29% pledged between €50 – €100 and 3% pledged €150 or more. The most popular reward level was €20 with 78 people pledging this amount.
The project finished successfully on 26th April 2011. 6 months on, the rewards will soon be delivered to their eager funders (the book will be available to buy in shops on the 25 November). All good things come to those who wait!
How did they come up with their rewards?
It was important to the Where Were You? team that the rewards they designed were achievable and would not cripple the production of the film and the book in terms of manpower or financial output. As a small company whose time is always stretched, there was a balance to be achieved between wanting to give their funders a real sense of involvement in the project and promising more than they could deliver. They built up their rewards based around the production calendar both for the book and the development of the film. They were reluctant to promise too much in terms of time on set or involvement in the filming as this could have a negative effect on the dynamics and logistics of a shoot. The team is now looking forward to the launch of the book and for the main rewards to start kicking into action for their funders.
What issues did they encounter with fulfilling their rewards?
The team did say that they received some comments from people asking for more production updates on the project. They told us that they had difficulty in providing the manpower to keep updates on the project flowing as well as doing the research for the project itself and would keep this in mind for a future campaign.
They also offered a paperback copy of the book as one reward and are initially publishing in hardback, so the €20 funders have a wait before they receive their paperback edition next year.
Tell us about the marketing plan?
There were regular updates posted on the Where Were You? Facebook page throughout the campaign. Several bloggers also wrote about the project and these articles were re-posted to the Facebook page too. There was a mixture of newspaper coverage for both Fund it generally, and the Where Were You! project specifically, during March and April. The busiest day for pledges for this project was 19th April – the day after the fantastic Una Mulally wrote a small piece in The Irish Times on Where Were You!
…and what was their plan for email, twitter & facebook?
The team devised a combined email, Twitter and Facebook campaign for the course of their Fund it campaign. It was very important to them not to make the campaign invisible to the audience through over-saturation. They made sure that all new updates contained some new piece of information to avoid repetition. They also tried to keep posts and updates as short and simple as possible so that reading them would not seem daunting and time-consuming.
They devised a calendar which laid out when each of them would email, tweet or post about the project. They were careful that there were intervals between their communications. They all tapped into as wide a personal network as possible, as well as using extensive company mailing lists and professional networks. With Facebook, they chose the optimum times and days to post and made sure that each person on the team commented on every post so as to ensure it featured high on people’s news feeds.
Did they get any feedback from people on their Fund it campaign?
There is ongoing Facebook interest in the project and excitement as they get close to the book launch. They also got content contributions for the book and film as a result of the campaign, which was a great bonus.
This year’s Darklight Festival will take place Thursday 20 – Saturday 22 October in The Factory, 35A Barrow St. Grand Canal Dock. Where Were You? (the book) can also be pre-ordered on www.wherewereyou.ie