Filmmaker Shows How to Make a Killer Crowdfunding Pitch Video

January 3, 2014 By  Leave a Comment

Which one would you donate to?

Which one would you donate to?

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

The key to launching a successful crowdfunding campaign is a killer pitch video.  The video is designed to get potential investors excited about your project and is really the first step in story telling that filmmakers embark on when raising the money for their film.  If you can’t sell the investor on giving up a few bucks for your magnum opus, how can you get someone to buy a ticket to the movie you’re releasing?  That’s why filmmakers need to put as much heart into crafting a killer pitch video as they do in making the film itself.  And one filmmaker thinks he’s stumbled on the formula to do just that.


I DON’T KNOW if it will work or not. Succeed or fail, I will still come away from it with: a great experience, more Facebook likes for my project than I had before, and great satisfaction from knowing that other people know that I took a risk in trying to make it happen… But no campaign is worth doing unless you have a great video (we are filmmakers after all!) What does a good video encompass? This is what I learned from making mine … – Oliver Purches

Filmmaker Oliver Purches is conducting a Kickstarter campaign for his film “I am the Prize,” which tells the story of a shy guy who wants to impress a girl, and enlists the help of a pickup artist to overcome his shyness.  But he ends up going too far and turning her away.  It’s a charming romantic comedy pitch, and in many ways, serves as a kind of allegory on how to convince potential backers to come along for the ride.

Oliver does a good job in his crowdfunding pitch video telling the story he wants to film.  But he also incorporates clips of previous films to show some of his background, so I know he’s got experience.  But what I found more interesting is the treatise he wrote about the lessons he’s learned crafting his pitch video.  According to Purches, an effective Kickstarter pitch video is brief but communicates the story and why a filmmaker is passionate about telling it.  It tells backers what the project is about, why it has to be made, what the money will be used for, and gives a sense of urgency in why backers should back the film.

“If your video went viral, you could get extra eyes on your project which means that the project will promote itself,” writes Purches. “The videos that end up going viral usually have a very well-honed pitch within them, even if it’s hidden behind some ingeniously entertaining filmmaking device.”

Purches also says that if the pitch is clever enough, entertaining enough, it could go viral, and then it takes on a life all of it’s own that drives eyeballs to the campaign.  But nobody can really know when a video will go viral and why, and it’s certainly not something that can be forced.  But what it can be is visually interesting.  It catches people’s attention.  Toss in artwork. Storyboards. Previous clips from films you’ve done.  Videos are a visual medium, after all, and just taping yourself talking isn’t going to be very compelling.  The advantage of artwork is also that it shows that the film’s development is deep and moving forward.  That creates a kinetic momentum that a backer would want to further.

Purches also says that good audio will make or break your pitch video.  “As with all filmmaking, sound is 50% of the quality of your video,” Purches adds. “Its a lot easier to record good sound at the time of filming than to do ADR later. Bad sound is a rookie error and makes you look incompetent.”  And bad audio means a lack of interest in the details.

I shot the video several times, got lots of feedback from filmmaker friends along the way – asking if it was clear, asking what else they wanted to know or see.

And practice.  Purches advises users don’t just record once and put the video up.  Practice before the mirror.  This develops an honest, clear and confident style.  Record it several times and play it back, noting your hesitations, your “ums and errs.” Then record it until you have your best version.  Then share that with friends for feedback, “…preferably with people that don’t need to be nice to you,” he suggests.  In a way,  Purches says that the pitch video is like a job interview, and you want to put forth your best foot foward.   Above all, you want to communicate your passion for the project.”

Have the lessons he learned served him well?  The jury is still out on that.  To date, Purches is half way to his $25,000 goal with a week to go.  And since Kickstarter is all or nothing, it’s going to be interesting to see if he makes it.


About montyedits

San Francisco based film and video editor.
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