Last weekend at BEYOND: The Cary Film Festival, we talked about the types of funding filmmakers use to develop their projects and pay people fairly throughout the process. I’ve been obsessed with film funding for so long, and it’s such a joy to talk with my fellow filmmakers about it.

Seed&Spark recently posted six ways to finance your film: debt financing, private equity, pre-sales, tax incentives, grants, and crowdfunding. They are a crowdfunding platform, and they’re one of my favorites.

Here are some things that I love about crowdfunding.

You build an audience

One of the things I love about crowdfunding is that it provides the opportunity to start building your audience before your film is ready for distribution. This is really important, so that you have people eager and ready to watch your film when it’s finished. We are, after all, making movies so that people will watch them.

You can make it a litmus test

It’s also a great litmus test for your project. How do people respond to it? Are they interested? Do they feel passionate about it? Do they have lots of unanswered questions? You can test out lots of things with a crowdfunding campaign. It’s a really great way to engage with people about the project, so you can hone in on how you should communicate details about it.

You build your independence

It can be really difficult to break into the film industry, even today. We’ve had the democratization of a lot of things in the industry: gear is more affordable, social media and email campaigns mean you can connect directly with your audience, and we have ways to stream / publish our finished films. But you’ll need funding to keep elevating your craft, and that can be tricky. That’s why I love crowdfunding to build your independence. You don’t have to wait for an industry insider to say yes, you can tap into other resources to make big things happen if you’re willing to put in the work.

You’ve got skin in the game

When you wrap a successful crowdfunding campaign, you have skin in the game. Crowdfunding is a lot of work. It takes time, energy, and resources. And because it takes work, a successful campaign gives you leverage to make things happen in your career. You’re building a relationship with people who want you to make more movies and that’s really powerful.

Try crowdfunding

Are you thinking of crowdfunding for your film? What platform are you using? What questions do you have about it? Use the comments and I’ll help you as best as I can.