By Steven Pressfield | Published: July 17, 2014
The big question for any creative project, whether it’s a novel, a film, whatever: How do you get the word out?
Today Jeff explains to me how Indiegogo works as a marketing platform as well as a crowdfunding platform, and how he and his team use YouTube to draw further attention. And Jeff starts to talk about scouting (he was a Boy Scout for sixteen years, an Eagle Scout) and how the experience helped shape his character—and planted the seed for the web series he’s now developing, Camp Abercorn.
(The transcript for today’s video is below.)
Steve: Where does the Indiegogo campaign stand right now?
Jeffrey: We’re filming right now, so we haven’t launched it yet, but by the time these videos air, hopefully it will be going well!
S: How does that work? How do you get people to write a check?
J: They have a homepage for your project that starts with a video, so we filmed a trailer, which you saw earlier, and we actually filmed a whole bunch of other videos as well that we’re going to use as a viral video campaign. So usually when you are pitching a show, or in the studio system you’d make a pilot, you’d take that pilot around and say, “we want to make this into a real show.” But there were, I dunno…120 pilots made last year and very few of them were made into real shows. We knew we weren’t going to make a pilot. That doesn’t make sense for us. We want to film the whole show, but we also need to get our ideas across, so we thought, “we’ve got all of these characters that we’ve written that have this backstory that doesn’t even necessarily come across in every episode, so why don’t we make little short videos about each of the characters as sort of a viral video advertisement.”
S: And this will be on Indiegogo?
J: This will be happening simultaneously to Indiegogo. So Indiegogo has our main video, our trailer, and we’ll explain what we’re using the money for and how we plan on doing it. The videos are going to run on YouTube simultaneously and point people to Indiegogo. Indiegogo by itself doesn’t have that much of an audience. You can’t just put something up there and pray and hope that $500,000 will just magically come. So we have twenty-one 2-3 minute videos that we’re releasing every day during a month long campaign.
S: How do you let people know that it’s out there?
J: The honest answer is, you don’t know. It’s different for every project. Indiegogo is interesting because not only is it a fundraising platform, it’s also a marketing platform. So even if somebody was like, “here’s $500,000. Go make the show right now,” I would rather have an Indiegogo campaign and raise money from people individually because you build your audience. So if we had, ya know, 10,000 people each give $50 or whatever it would work out to be, then we know that all 10,000 of those people are invested in a little way in the project and love the project before we’ve actually filmed it.
S: And they’ll be telling their friends. What does somebody get when they contribute to Indiegogo?
J: We have fun things! We have patches, of course. It’s a camp show so neckerchiefs and T-shirts, that sort of thing, but most of the money goes into the filming.
S: Well, that’s good. That’s where it should be- up on the screen. Let’s get back to the subject for a second, Jeff, of getting the word out. So you’ve got 21, 22, short videos, right? So we can show a few of them here in this video infact.
J: Yes. So this first one is Willy. He has 4 little videos that he made called, Willy’s Wild Wednesdays. They’re him filming himself as if he were a do-it-yourself Compass Guide teaching skills.
EXCERPT from Willy’s Wild Wednesdays: Songs of the Birds
Willy: Watch out, ladies! Especially if you’re a lady mouse or rodent! It’s the Great Horned Owl. He has a heart-shaped face and loves the night life. When he takes the stage and toots his horn, it sounds a little something like this: HOOOT. HOOOOT. HOOOOOT. HOOT. HOOT.
J: I was a Boy Scout for 16 years, and then the big, life changing event for me was working at camp. I was away from my parents.
S: Sort of a coming of age process?
J: Yeah. It was a place where I got to figure out who I was.