What Filmmakers, Musicians and Authors need right now is to find one person - a champion in every city, who is prepared to buy the rights to your project for their town and then have them start pre-selling your project for you in return for a portion of the revenue.
Ted Hope, a prolific producer, one of the strongest voices for independent film and the new Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Society put this quote on his facebook wall this morning as I started to pen this post -
“We live in a tiny fishbowl; it’s easy to forget people don’t know movies, or really even care about them - after all there is more to life..”
As a content producer if I accept Ted’s comments as a reality then what you can do is begin the assembling of a team of people to help you with your project’s financial and creative objectives. Knowing that it takes an army to build a popular entertainment brand, and also knowing that these people also have lives and need to make a living or run their own businesses and/or social enterprises will help you determine what you need to give up to get it made and still maintain a fair but balanced approach.
You want strategic investment not passive investment. The people buying into you should also be the people who know their market and know how to reach people around them. This will increase the chance of your project being seen by people that are trusted not by you, but by the people who are influential within their social circles.
If a studio, publisher or label decides to advance you money in return for marketing rights they do this by first assessing risks within the market. They do this by figuring out what they can pay for it in advance knowing that with some outreach they will make more than they paid for it, and hopefully provide you with portion of that return.
Part of the growing problem stems from these large media companies now being too top heavy to be able to reach all the nooks and crannies of the small towns for projects of a modest budget. The cost of acquiring a marketer at the hyper local level is just too expensive, and if they do manage to get one on board, the artist usually suffers financially as a result of the marketing outlay needing to be recovered, prior to the artist being paid a portion of the net revenue that is ‘possibly’ left over.
How do you find all these people and get them interested in your project?
You could start by talking to us if you like.
We connect artists and their projects with fans and communities, allowing everyone to benefit financially and creatively.
Community groups need easy-to-market products to help them fundraise.
Artists have products to sell that need an audience.
Consumers need quality entertainment at a reasonable price.
So I was asked to write a short piece about what http://sokap.com does for artists and as I was thinking of a clever way to write something I was coming up a bit short so I did what lots of people do in this situation - I went to my local coffee shop to be inspired.
This is what happened. Allow me to set it up for you first so you can picture the scenario.
I take my seat at the bench and it’s busy in the coffee shop so I need to share a long table with a student who is sitting beside me and has one of those large coffee drinks, a macbook and one of those boxes of chocolate covered almonds that she’s snacking on while she works with her headphones on doing research for a university paper.
I decide that maybe the best way to be inspired is to open up Songza and listen to some tunes as well as you can never hear enough Prog Rock right? As I do this she looks over and this is what transpired:
GIRL - I love songza what are you listening to?
ME - The Best of Prog Rock. How about you?
GIRL - I’m listening to Wintersleep on my itunes - have you heard of them?
ME - Yeah I actually bought 2 of their albums on Itunes.
GIRL - You buy music?
ME - All the time. How else am I going to support the artists I like? I live in the suburbs, I have kids and it’s not like I can head into a show at the drop of a hat, and besides most bands that I like never even come to this city.
GIRL - I think all bands should tour more. People would go and see them and then they could just give their music away to people like me.
ME - would you go to their shows?
GIRL - No…I really don’t have time.
ME - Have you gone to a show this year at all?
GIRL - I went to one show this summer.
ME- How many people were there?
GIRL - Maybe 50?
ME - How many bands were there?
GIRL - 3
ME - Do you remember what you paid to get in?
GIRL - It was totally stupid. It was like 10 bucks?
ME - Did you buy their music at the door too?
GIRL - No way man they already got my 10 bucks!
ME - Where was the band from?
GIRL - Toronto I think.
ME - How do you think they got out here to the West Coast?
GIRL - I have no idea but I really like them and share their music with all my friends.
ME - Do you pay for music?
GIRL - No way man. The media companies are way too fat and they take all the money and I’m not supporting Apple or some media giant. I already pay for their devices and pay for internet access.
ME - So you think the best way to combat the media giants and device makers is to NOT buy an artists work but to download it for free, not go see them play and tell your friends to listen as well?
GIRL - Yeah.
ME - Do any of your friends buy music?
GIRL - No way man.
ME - That’s an interesting perspective. Where did you get those chocolate covered almonds by the way?
GIRL - They’re so delicious. You can buy them here at the counter.
ME - How much are they?
GIRL - 5 bucks….so awesome!
ME - I forgot my wallet today so I’m gonna take your word for it and go and swipe me some of those chocolate covered almonds.
GIRL - you mean steal them?
ME - Who cares? The company that makes them is some huge company, and this retailer probably sells them on consignment so its no skin off their ass.
GIRL - Yeah but 2 bucks from every box goes to the local elementary school hot lunch program.
ME - So if I took the almonds would you be mad because I’m taking the almonds in general, or cuz I’m taking money from the kids?
GIRL - I could care less about the almond company. I would never buy them if there wasn’t a social benefit attached.
ME - Interesting. Would you buy the Wintersleep album if you knew that buying the record would pay a portion of the proceeds to a local community group?
GIRL - Now that would be cool. But it would need to be transparent and I would need to know what group was getting the money.
ME - So what you’re saying is that as long as musicians and community groups receive the majority of the purchase price and that you knew there was no major media company or device maker in the middle gobbling up your hard earned money you would support artists this way?
GIRL - I think it’s a great idea. Someone should do that for sure.
ME - I’m not really gonna steal those almonds by the way.
GIRL - I know…cuz you can have some of mine. What do you do anyway?
ME - I build tools to fund artists and community groups.
GIRL - That’s so cool.
We connect artists and their projects with fans and communities, allowing everyone to benefit financially and creatively.
Community groups need easy-to-market products to help them fundraise. Artists have products to sell that need an audience. Consumers need quality entertainment at a reasonable price. Win. Win. Win.
Here’s a simple diagram explaining the old model of raising money and ownership structure for project owners, and the new method….can you see the disruption?
And that’s it!
An online project page is no different than a storefront.
Getting your project page up and running is a moment to be proud of. Think of it as having a storefront on Main Street, except your store has a window that looks out onto every town in the world.
A brand new store requires a lot of time, work and dedication to prepare a space. You want to showcase the best of what you have to offer. You hand out flyers: you inform your neighbors, tell them who you are and what kind of business you’re opening. You even have a little party and invite the public to come see your new store. Just like switching on a lightbulb, your are turning your project on, and sharing it with the world.
A storefront business requires you to show up early, clean the windows, greet your customers, check your sales and watch what stock is running low. Your project page requires the same kind of TLC. Instead of wiping down the window sill, mopping the floors and putting on your best smile, you need to update your project’s status, add new photos, update your Facebook page and actively interact the backers that have already pledged.
Just like a storefront, upkeep is key.
What does upkeep mean in the context of a project page?
Set up is important. Do not rush the time it takes for you to set your page. The excitement to launch can make you giddy, so this is precisely why have to ensure you have dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s so to speak. Spend your time inputting correct information, pictures and product specifications. Don’t rush, do it right. Going back and changing things on your project page is ok but imagine walking into a store where all the products are mislabeled. Would this engender your trust? More importantly, would you ever go back? Take your time and make it count.
Listen to all feedback. This means positive and negative alike. Get some close friends and supporters of your project to look at your project page pre-launch. They may be able to spot details that may have escaped you. Adjust and change what you can.
After your project has been turned on, you may be contacted by your backers. Feedback and comments are a way for your backer’s to let you know what they like and don’t like, what they would like to see more of and less of. Who better than your audience to tell you what they want?
Service. The internet is a competitive place. Lots of people are producing and providing similar products and services, so one of the main differentiation factors is customer service. Delivering excellent customer service is the key to distinguishing your project page from others out there. Let’s be frank: you’ve put all your time and effort into your project; don’t you want backers to see this? So, provide service with a smile. Respond to feedback from your backers and be gracious. Reach out to your fanbase with creative updates; don’t spam them. No one likes a spammer. Your project page is the gateway for backers and you are the gatekeeper. On the web, bad behaviour spreads quickly so provide the kind of customer service you would like to receive!
In essence, your project page is more than just a store on Main Street it is a flagship store in the best district in town and that makes you both proprietor and brand ambassador. A flagship store is where growth begins.You may not want to build a brand as much as you want to run a business. Sokap allows you to do this. It allows for interested people to market your business and project page and let’s you focus on what is important, the day to day upkeep of your business and project page.
Take your time to do things right.
The Difference Between Spam and Project Updates
1 ( Spam ) a trademarked canned meat product made mainly from ham.
2 irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of recipients.
Ok, let’s make one thing clear: here, I’m talking about project updates, not canned meat!
It’s important to build an audience for your project through consistent and creative contact. However, some people’s approach to updating their backers, friends and family on their progress comes off like having a can of Spam thrown at you. In other words, it’s heavy, unappetizing, and most of all, alienating. This is the last thing you want as a project owner. So, here are some simple guidelines for keeping it real and preventing you from switching over to the Spam/Dark side.
5 tips for successful project updates.
1- Start a timeline. Before you start promoting your project, set up a timeline. Think chronologically and create this timeline with words and/or images. Using a timeline is great because you can organize when and how you will update your backers. If you prefer, use a calendar to write down dates and times of when you will send updates. Writing this down will not only remind you of when to reach out but more importantly, it will also log when you last did so. (Insert pic of timeline example.)
2- Personalization. Send personalized creative messages instead of sending cold emails and tweets to anyone and everyone. Share things that are related to your project or product, interesting articles, or links that are not merely about you. You want your backers to like you. It’s that simple. Show them who you are, not what you want.
3- Creativity trumps all. Creativity is your best friend. If you are having fun in the process others will likely enjoy what you are doing too. The possibilities are almost endless: send backers an animated gif related to your project or product; film a video of yourself promoting your project. People’s time is limited these days but everyone has time to enjoy, share or tweet something that is creative and well thought out. Taking the time to be creative with your updates will make it easy for backers to take some extra time in their day to read your updates.
4- Spontaneity. Send an informal update. I’ve often heard social media savvy people say “just post about cats and people are more likely to pay attention.” In other words, share things that are common to all and not just self serving. Spontaneity is important because it proves you are human and have feelings. This sounds obvious but not everyone can do it. Go ahead and be human - send the occasional quirky update.
5- Report milestones or significant progress. You want to capitalize on the progress you made, share the moments that excite you and naturally, make you want to spread the good news. You’re trying to create buzz and interest around your project, not just self promotion. As a project owner, updating your backers about your project requires effort and time. You are not a spam bot! You are a project owner. Make each update count. Reporting milestones and progress make this natural. Share your success.
So remember, think of project updates as sharing your achievements with others instead of carpet-bombing them. Even amazing, cool, and interesting people are guilty of this. You actually can get too much of a good thing, so use a targeted approach, the extra time you spend here will pay off later.
If you are the kind of person that loves to update everyone with the ins and outs of your everyday life, just remember that every project page on Sokap allow you to update your backers without ever having to spam them! Pretty cool huh.
Have more questions?
Shoot us an email!