How to Pitch Your Film's Crowdfunding Campaign to Bloggers the Right Way

How to Pitch Your Film’s Crowdfunding Campaign to Bloggers the Right Way

if you're launching a crowdfunding campaign, it's likely you're going to try your hardest to get people like me to write, tweet, share, link, and donate to your film. Well, it's not as easy as it seems. I'm going to help you get publicity for your film the right way.

“As you probably already know, Kickstarter campaigns are all-or-nothing, so it’s going to take every bit of extra effort (and a lot of lost sleep) to get to the finish line.” — Ryan Koo,

I’ve never launched a Kickstarter campaign. I’ve never stressed over setting a financial goal. And I’ve definitely never even thought it would be possible for me to raise $125,000 like Ryan Koo did.

So, I know nothing about the emotional toll and exhilarating excitement that arises from running a crowdfunding campaign.

But I do know something about running a website.

And if you’re launching a crowdfunding campaign, it’s likely you’re going to try your hardest to get people like me to write, tweet, share, link, and donate to your film.

Well, it’s not as easy as it seems — you can’t just copy and paste a form email, send it off to some bloggers, and consider your work done. You’ll be lucky if you even get one response using that method.

Instead, I’m going to help you get publicity for your film the right way.

At least once a week I get an email from a filmmaker asking me to help publicize their Kickstarter or IndieGoGo campaign. While I’d love to help each and every one of those filmmakers reach their goals, most of the time these emails get quickly moved out of my inbox and into the digital ether for a variety of reasons:

  • The email was obviously cut and pasted from a template
  • Their pitch is unreadable because it’s full of grammatical errors
  • The email doesn’t specify how they expect me to help
  • The film simply doesn’t look interesting
  • And, most importantly, it’s irrelevant to the readers of this site (you!)

But let’s not limit it to email because social media is also an attention battleground for campaign donations. There’s also forums, website comment sections, and dozens more places online you can connect with other people.

No matter the digital platform you use, however, your message will remain the same: “pretty please help me raise enough money to make my film!”

So while a lot of what I talk about below will take its cue from email, don’t forget that many of these tips extend to wherever you’re broadcasting your message.

Polishing Your Email Pitch Into a Fine Diamond

Polish Your Email Pitch Into a Fine Diamond

Photo credit: Roger Barker

What’s in a Name? Everything

Rule #1 is really simple: learn the name of whoever you’re contacting.

You’d be amazed at the number of people who email me through this site with salutations like, “Hey Even,” “Dear The Black and Blue Team,” or, more commonly, no name at all.

This immediately sends up red-flags for me. Why?

Because it’s an obvious indication that you don’t read my site if you don’t get my name right! My name is plastered everywhere — on the footer of every page, in the byline and at the bottom of every post, and prominently in the about page — so it’s very easy to find out I run this site and do so by myself.

It’s not that I’m an egomaniac and need people to know my name, it just lets me know who actually reads my site (or at least took the time to find out who writes it).

So, that should be the first thing you do: find out who’s in charge.

Having the first name of this person is extremely valuable, especially if it’s hard to find. The harder it is to find, the greater the effect of using it will have. Using a name in an email has two positive impacts:

1. It personalizes the email

You will establish a small connection immediately in your first contact with the person. Think about it: when you hear your name in public, what’s the first thing you do? You look around, react, and maybe even respond. Names will attach the person you’re writing to to your message. And, at the very least, it gets their attention.

2. It tells them you’ve done your research

Like I mentioned above, using my name in an email lets me know you’ve taken a moment to scope out my site, if not read a few articles. If the name of the person you’re pitching to is hard to find, this effect increases because they will be caught off-guard that you know their name. They may think you already have a connection with them somehow.

There is, of course, one caveat to using a name — you better make sure you’re right.

Nothing will turn someone off from an email more than it being addressed to the wrong person, even if it is relevant and interesting to them. It makes a terrible first impression (I bet you still remember grade-school teachers who butchered your name) and you can’t afford to lose that ground.

If you can’t find any name, do your best to personalize the message in some way. Has the blogger ever revealed a nickname? What do their social media accounts say? How do they refer to their own site (or readers refer to it)?

The point is to establish a rapport from the very beginning of your email as if to say, “I know who you are and I’m not going to waste your time.”

Don’t Be a Stranger Either — Make an Impression with Who You Are

Anonymity has no place in your campaign. Who you are and what you have done will be crucial for those deciding to donate, but also for those who are considering publicly supporting your film.

Basically, bloggers want to know why you deserve to be featured on their website. By supporting your project on their blog, they will be putting a slice of their reputation alongside yours and want to make sure their status remains untainted.

So one of the first things you should do in your message is provide a brief introduction to yourself. Make mention of your name, what you do, and any history you have that is relevant to getting your film financed — accolades and awards are great to include.

Here’s an example:

My name is [Your Name] and I’m a [filmmaker, producer, director]. I’ve made over X short films and I’m working to shoot my first feature film.

Do your best to prove you’re a professional or an authority when it comes to filmmaking. Make your introduction ease any skepticism the blogger might have that you don’t know what you’re doing. If you have no authority or are new to filmmaking, use the introduction to provide an example of your passion for film or state what makes you notable as a newcomer.

Lastly, be brief. The message is about the film and its campaign, not you.

Become BFF’s and Go on Digital Dates

OK, so maybe the idea of a “digital date” is a little too much, but the premise of becoming BFF’s with the blogger (best friends forever, for those of you who grew up without text messaging) isn’t very farfetched.

And the idea of it shouldn’t be very new to you as a filmmaker — it’s nothing more than online networking.

Whether you direct, produce, crew below the line, or star in front of the camera, you will have been through this rodeo before. Networking is an essential part of being successful in the film industry and that mantra doesn’t get thrown out the window in the digital realm.

I’ve said it before, but it still holds true: networking is simply becoming good friends with people who can help your career.

So the BFF thing isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds, is it?

But how do you become BFF’s with a blogger?

You interact with them, you talk to them, you send them emails, you basically do anything you would do with someone in real life and translate that to the digital world.

Sometimes bloggers — especially the big ones — will seem inaccessible because of the mass of their audience, but I promise they take more notice than you perhaps realize. For instance, over the years I’ve run The Black and Blue, I’ve come to know many of my readers through their comments and our interactions online. I’ve even learned their tendencies and passions (like FB who will probably be the last person on Earth to give up film).

My point is that if you comment on posts, retweet their articles, and send them emails, bloggers are going to much more receptive to your requests. Maybe they won’t immediately take notice or even mention it to you, but when you email them, there is a strong possibility they will recognize your name.

And if you get to a friendly level with them before your crowdfunding campaign, it’s even easier to get them on your side because they’ll know you aren’t just using them.

It’s akin to the guy who wins the lottery and suddenly has to deal with forgotten friends who want loans — he’s much more likely to give money to the people who were friends with him before he struck gold. Blogs may not be the lottery (far from it judging by my bank account), but they do lend a certain type of notoriety and this minor celebrity status can make bloggers skeptical towards all those who approach them.

If you can’t capitalize on the friendship this time around or you haven’t quite gotten there yet, there’s always later on in your career. Even if you never run another crowdfunding campaign, networking with people who have a voice and the support of a community is smart.

Finally, it’s important to note this tactic takes time — you can’t rush a relationship with somebody in a week and then pitch them a project. You can try, but your ability to successfully network will be directly tied to the amount of time you’ve already invested.

Let Your Film Carry the Pitch

In a guest post I did on NoFilmSchool, I wrote about the importance of having a strong film when it comes to getting a crew to work for free:

That’s why it’s silly to see a crew call that advertises “will be submitting to Sundance” and a chance to “be part of something big.” Everybody submits to Sundance and everybody thinks they’re part of something big, but the odds of getting in Sundance are small and the odds of being something big are even smaller.

So what makes you different? Claims like that only increase skepticism and, worse, these listings rarely describe what the film is about.

If you really want a crew to work for free, pitch them the project and not the results. If you really do have the next big thing, it should be an easy sell.

The idea behind this — to pitch the project, not the results — holds true here as well.

Don’t focus so much on how your film is great, what you’re going to do with it, and the fame and riches that are guaranteed to come. Focus solely on the film itself, why the film is great, and why it needs to be made.

In this sense, your pitch will be a soft sell. That’s OK. Subtlety goes a long way. You aren’t trying to sell the blogger a new car insurance policy.

Ultimately, the soft sell works because it requires thought — the blogger, if they’re intrigued, will have the idea of your movie on their mind for awhile. With sleazy “HEY LOOK AT THIS” tactics, they’ll quickly turn you down as soon as they can.

Don’t give them that chance.

Be reasonable and tell them about the story — that’s why people love movies, not because of awards.

Don’t Expect Free Publicity — How Can You Help?

One of the top rules when pitching anybody anything is to answer this very, very important question:

“What’s in it for them?”

Oblidge them with an answer before they even ask.

On the surface it may sound selfish, but bloggers want to know what benefit they have to post your film. It’s a question I’m constantly wondering when I get an email about a Kickstarter campaign.

It doesn’t matter if your reason is weak or obvious (i.e. it’s a great cause to support!) just answer the damn question!

But before you think about answering that question, perhaps it’s more prudent to answer this variation:

“What’s in it for their readers?”

To a successful blogger, readers and their eyeballs mean everything. This encompasses their entire audience from site readers to email subscribers to social media followers and anyone else under their online umbrella. Their audience is what gives them their platform, their voice, and ultimately, pays them a bit of cash. Their goal is to provide their readers with content that they enjoy — in various ways — so their website can continue to grow.

This question is often overlooked because you stumble on a site, it seems related to filmmaking, and you blast off an email.

But knowing who the audience of a site is helps immensely because if the blogger has a loyal community, they’re going to be protective of it. When you tell them why they should care about your project, the blogger is going to ask themselves why their audience would care. Sometimes, they don’t find an answer.

So your job is to provide an answer for them. Tell them exactly why your campaign would be interesting to their readers. If you read the site you’re emailing, this should be easy: ask yourself, “what article would I like to read on this site about my film?”

Take it a step further and give them a hook or a unique selling point they can present to their audience.

Ask yourself: what can you offer the readers of the site?

Think long and hard about what you can offer. Now think again for twice as long.

Eventually you’ll come up with some way to collaborate with the site in return for publicizing your campaign.

For instance, a DSLR centric blog would love to hear if your film’s exclusive use of DSLR cameras and what models they are. A site that teaches people how to light could pitch your campaign if one of your backer gifts is lighting diagrams from every scene. Or a blog about film school might be interested if all the major department heads on your production went to film school and talk about how it helped them.

You should cater this unique selling point to every single blogger and website you get in touch with.

This technique will pay off in spades because an approach that benefits both you and the website is much more likely to be received and acted upon. It saves the blogger from generating content, gives them a viable reason to essentially market to their audience, and it drives further interest in your film.

Everybody wins, especially you.

Leverage Your Social Proof and Start the Snowball Effect

Do you ever wonder why top brands are so adamant about their social media pages? Or comments on their site? Or the number of users?

It’s because of a marketing tactic known as “social proof” — when people see others are involved, they are more likely to become involved themselves. It’s a more sophisticated version of checking out what the crowd on the street is watching. We all have an intense urge to be included and not miss out on anything.

Social proof also works with bloggers. Have you ever noticed how one big blog will run a story and hundreds of smaller blogs will run a similar story? Everyone jumps on the bandwagon because they don’t want to be left out.

Perhaps more than most, bloggers are susceptible to social proof — they don’t want to appear outdated to their readers. They like to be on the forefront of trends, even if that includes supporting a movie.

Use whatever social proof you have to leverage your campaign to other bloggers. A few ways you can do this are…

  • Mention any other sites that have featured your campaign
  • Point towards your Facebook page or Twitter account (if it has a substantial following)
  • Provide figures on money you’ve already raised
  • Name drop notable backers
  • And talk about any other “buzz” building around your film

As a blogger, I am much more likely to pay attention to a campaign if it’s already raised half its goal by the time it gets to me or if I see another website that I respect has run a story on it.

In the very beginning of your publicity efforts, you may not be able to use this strategy, but as the snowball starts rolling it becomes a very powerful tool. Don’t let it go to waste.

Proofread Youre Your Writing for Spelling and Grammar

In the thick of a Kickstarter campaign, it’s easy to get caught in the hustle and fire off tons of tweets, check your stats, shoot off an email, check your stats again, and then send a few more messages.

But it’s also easy to neglect basic proofreading in this whirlwind.

Even though texting and the web has changed language in dramatic ways, people still prefer to read full sentences written with correct punctuation, grammar, and spelling.

Here’s an example of what not to write (this is an actual email I received):

We are Rasing Funds to help finance the project. I am Contacting you not nessessarly for a donation from you, but if you would help promote it thru your twitter page and any other mediums you can. To give you some back story on the project, it is short Political Horror film that is set in the 1960s. We Follow A Journalist Named Jackson Mailer who is famous for destroying reputations and just got a call to Follow a new rising presidential Candidate named Bill Jones. After following him Shortly on the road, Baker Finds out that Pierce harbors a terrifying secret about Pierce.

The email continues with more random capitlizations, run-on sentences, and grammatical errors. It was a tough read, but I felt the guy writing it was sincere so I sent him back a response:

I do not mean for this to hurt you or insult you, but I think it’s important for you to hear/know: if you want people to promote your films, you should consider proofreading your e-mails a bit more.

I apologize if it is a situation in which english is not your first language, but I am trying to be frank. In your e-mail to me, you capitalized random words, misplaced punctuation, and misspelled some crucial phrases. I’m not a stickler for grammar, but a well-formatted, well-spoken e-mail comes across as more professional.

It doesn’t take long to proofread your emails. And when you consider the rewards it could reap for your project, you should make no excuses. If you’re bad at editing or English isn’t your first language, forward it on to somebody you trust who can make those changes or use to hire someone to do it for you.

A poorly constructed email will only dilute your message and distract from your film — don’t let silly errors get in the way of your pitch.

The Best Way to Write an Email for Maximum Response

Best Way to Write an Email for Maximum Response

Photo credit: striatic

When I write an important email nowadays, I try to write it like a blog post. I do my best to hit these four pillars:

  1. Get their attention
  2. Keep them interested
  3. Avoid fluff
  4. Get them to take action

The most successful emails will be pitch-perfect on each of those levels. This isn’t an email to your mother-in-law about her visit over the weekend, so don’t write it like that.

You need to be on point when it comes to your message.

Part of keeping your message on point is having it organized in a logical way. Now that we’ve covered some of the essentials, I’m going to show you an outline for an effective email. I will be pitching to a website focused on DSLR films and filmmaking and using a fake movie I made up called Dinosaur Sorority.

1. Introduction and brief description of why you’re writing

My name is Evan Luzi and I’m a film director. I’ve made over 12 short films and won several awards. I’m getting in touch with you today to talk about my newest feature film.

2. Add a link early on

It’s called Dinosaur Sorority and you can check it out here:

*It’s very important to include the “http://” part of the web address so that email clients like Gmail will automatically turn it into a link.

3. Further description of why you’re writing

The film is about a group of dinosaurs that were preserved in a tar pit, are reanimated in the future, go to college, and join a sorority. It’s a fun little action-horror-comedy piece. Right now, we’re working on securing funding via the Kickstarter platform.

4. Explain how you want the blogger to help

It’d be great if you could consider writing a post about the film, sharing it with your followers, or even donating. I noticed you write often about these types of quirky films shooting on DSLR’s for low to no budget. That’s exactly what we’re doing — we have 2 Canon 5D’s we’re using and a homemade Steadicam rig that works amazingly. I can send you pics if you’d like. I am open to doing an interview about how we built those rigs and plan to use them.

5. Provide a little bit more info on the project

We’ve already been featured on sites like,, and As of right now, we’ve raised over $10,000 of our $48,000 goal and have been astonished at the support of over 3,000 Facebook fans. Our campaign ends in 18 days, but we’re confident we can make it all the way!

*If you’re going to name drop websites, consider adding in the links to the email if it doesn’t clutter it.

6. End strong with a final link and generous thanks

Once again, any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I know you are a busy person, so thank you in advance for checking out the film ( and please let me know if there’s any questions you have.

Using this roadmap as a general rule will definitely help you get a better response. Tweak it if necessary, but don’t ever change the first two points. You want to immediately tell them who you are and give them a link to click because it’s very likely they will only read the first few lines of an email before deciding whether it’s worth taking action. Give them a link to take action on, otherwise they may trash that sucker.

But here’s the really hard part: use as few words as possible. Shorter = better.

A lot of people read emails on their phones or while in a hurry. If they see a long email, they may “save it for later” which could be in a few hours, in a few days, or several months long after your campaign has ended.

Persuasive writing (which is what your email is) is more powerful when brief.

And, as a final tip on formatting, don’t waste your email signature! Use it to provide links to your own website, IMDB page, or the film’s site itself. Just don’t go too crazy with a million links — one or two will suffice.

Push Them Over the Edge to Respond to You

Anytime you send an email to anyone you risk it getting lost in the fray. Even if you aren’t a blogger, you probably suffer from some variation of inbox clutter. And when you get desperate, you start trashing emails almost by instinct from people you don’t know.

That’s why sending a follow-up email is just as important as the initial email.

People who run websites get dozens of emails a day that are often automatically generated. When they aren’t interested or don’t care to read them, they don’t bother to respond. By sending a follow-up email, you’re letting the blogger know that you actually sent the email — not a robot — and that you were expecting a response.

You don’t have to send the entire message again, just a quick two line note like, “Just wanted to check in and see if you had time to read my email. Look forward to your thoughts.”

This is guaranteed to get you even more response because it triggers a guilt mechanism in the blogger who feels bad that they didn’t address the email — even if its to say no.

There have been plenty of times where I’ve disregarded emails that I thought were automagically generated only to receive a follow-up email from the same person who was genuinely interested in conecting with me. I like when people send me follow-up emails because it shows they are sincere.

Just make sure you don’t get on anyone’s case too soon — wait at least a week before you start touching base again.

Focus Your Efforts Where They Will Have an Impact

By now I’m sure you’ve realized that the right way — the effective way — of getting in touch with websites and bloggers is somewhat time consuming. It involves research, networking, and skills in persuasive writing.

You might think the form letter is a faster and more practical approach.

But instead of ditching this method and reverting back to copy-and-paste, you should redefine your efforts to focus on a few big blogs instead of lots and lots of smaller sites.

Targeting a few large websites using these techniques is better than a press-release blitzkrieg because you’re going to have a much better response from large websites that generate true content for their readers than a bunch of small websites who struggle to maintain an audience.

Getting featured on small sites will stroke your ego and give you something to tweet about, but a large site will help pad your campaign goals. Which would you rather have?

Better yet, you could implore a combination of the two approaches: type up a press release to send to smaller websites while personalizing and paying attention to emails to the larger bloggers in the space.

And before you think, “well, technically my email isn’t a press release…” then it probably is. If it is a standard message designed to publicize your film with some links for more info, it is essentially a press release.

Those have a tendency to end up in my trash pretty quickly.

Be Kind, Gracious, and Understanding

Something most people find surprising whenever they tackle any sort of Internet venture is how tough it is to get noticed. Though the Internet is an open platform and democratizes the ability to be heard, it’s like yelling in a crowd at a rock concert during a guitar solo.

The effect this notion of “anyone can make it” has is to make people think they are owed publicity and that it’s a natural step of the process. “If you build it, they will come,” is famously quoted, but rarely adhered on the Internet.

Simply posting your campaign on Kickstarter or IndieGoGo doesn’t earn you anything, really.

Keep this in mind when you are getting in touch with websites and bloggers. They have an extremely powerful platform to help you, but they have no obligation to do so. And if you act like it’s their duty to put your film on their site, it’s going to turn them off.

The gist of this is to be kind and gracious towards them — understand they are using their time and their efforts to help you.

And if they aren’t able to help you, at least be thankful they considered it.

And if they didn’t consider it, well, you’ve got bigger fish to fry — a nasty comment, email, or tweet won’t help your campaign. Just move on and stay focused on your goal.

Deliver on Your Promises and Have a Great Film

You could write the best email ever and have a blogger kissing your toes, but if you don’t get this right, you’ll throw it all away:

Your film, project, and campaign page needs to be engaging, interesting, and polished.

No matter how slick your pitch is, it means nothing if it’s empty on its promises. When you say your film will touch audiences, it needs to show that on your page. When you talk about how important the issues in your documentary are, it needs to be a real problem. When you implore the blogger to watch a trailer, it needs to be a trailer worth watching.

Because even if the blogger, for whatever reason, still posts about your film and its not a good one — the donations will be slim pickings. Getting the publicity for your campaign is only half the battle. The other half requires you to convert those eyeballs into money for your film.

So before you sit down to announce to the world how great your movie is, make sure it actually is great and that your campaign page is proving it.

Love Magical: An Email Pitch Case Study

Love Magical Movie Production Still

It’s funny to me that I receive any emails at all about Kickstarter campaigns since I’ve only ever featured one way down at the bottom of a post about working for the right people.

Still, they do end up in my inbox and largely into my trash. Except one.

It was written by a fellow named Niko Nikolaou who sent me this recently:

Hi Evan,

I wanted to reach out to you and to possibly explore any opportunities in working together; either by writing a guest post for your site or have someone from the film (director, cinematographer, writers or production team) interviewed on a topic you think would work well with your audience.  We could also discuss many other topics or avenues such as our experience in working with crowd-funding on the (somewhat film saturated) Kickstarter or other creative avenues we’re taking to gain exposure, market the film and helping to build an audience.

In either case we’d love to see if there was a way to work together to provide great content for your site, and at the same time help promote our film currently on Kickstarter. We’ve had our director do a guest post on which created some traction for both of us, as well as had some great conversations started in the comments.  We’ve had a few other mentions on blogs, so we’re looking for other opportunities that would be helpful in gaining more exposure for us while providing good, relevant content for the sites we work with. guest post link from our director:

Other Links:
Film Kickstarter link:

Film Facebook Page:

Media kit: [link removed by request]

Please let me know if this is something we can discuss further and any thoughts or ideas that may be of interest for coverage.

Thank you,

-Niko Nikolaou
Producer of Marketing and Distribution

Precise. Easy to read. Subtle.

Ultimately, Niko’s email is the reason I wrote this post because I wanted others to learn from his great communication. And so Niko ends up being the 2nd Kickstarter campaign I’ve featured on this blog (His film is called Love Magical and you can help it reach its modest campaign goal).

Here are some of the things Niko does effectively:

  • Offers to work with me to promote the film with ideas for how
  • Points to another site that successfully took this approach
  • Provides relevant links where I can find more information
  • Writes in a way that is friendly, but serious in tone
  • Strives not just for a blog post, but to have a conversation

The most important thing Niko did in his message was to focus on how we could collaborate — he didn’t shove the work of generating the post onto me. He had clear ideas on how promoting the film would benefit both of us.

Sure Niko didn’t introduce himself nor did he talk about his film at all, but he got me interested in working with him. He prompted me to respond. Once you get a conversation going, it’s a lot easier to turn that into press.

The end result of Niko’s email is what you’re reading right now.

The Ultimate Checklist for an Effective Pitch

I’ve covered an insane amount of info in this post and it may seem like a lot to digest, but once you put it all together it will seem natural. When all is said and done, the process is fairly straightforward as highlighted in the graphic below:

Email Flowchart for Crowdfunding Campaign

Remember, this isn’t limited to email. Many of these techniques and ideas will work in any medium where you’re attempting to connect with somebody who can publicize your film. That includes those of you who randomly tweet your campaigns to celebrities (is Snooki really interested in indie films, by the way?).

I highly recommend you bookmark this post to keep as a reference for when it’s time to launch your campaign.

And even if you never launch a crowdfunding campaign, many of the ideas talked about in this post can be applied to all sorts of communications — applying for gigs, reaching out to other filmmakers, trying to get permission for a location, whatever.

You’ll find that once you learn to write persuasively in any medium, you can apply it almost anywhere.

Expect Nothing, but Hope for Everything

My final piece of advice for you is to expect nothing, but hope for everything.

It sounds somber, but it’s a slap of necessary reality. The truth is, not every blogger will be receptive to you, want to help you, or be interested in your film. So when you are about to hit that “Send” button, don’t rest your entire campaign on that message.

You have to assume nothing will come of it and get to work on the next item on your campaign’s “to-do” list.

The minute you place your bets on one email, one website, or one person, you’ll stop hustling and marketing — two things you can’t afford to slack on in the midst of the chaos of a crowdfunding campaign.

So while being optimistic is useful, you have to be OK with it if nothing ever comes of your super-awesome email pitch, or even your campaign, for that matter.

You can hope for everything, but you can’t expect it to fall in your lap — it’s too dangerous.

Instead, put yourself in a position to get the response you want. While I make no promises that your next crowdfunding campaign will get oodles of press coverage using these techniques, I can promise it will get better coverage than if you don’t apply them.

I sincerely hope you’ve gotten value from this post and that it helps you see things from the blogger’s perspective. As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment!

  • Emmet

    Hi Evan. I just wanted to say thanks for all of the work you put into , it’s a great resource and source of inspiration. I downloaded the Reel Deal and though I’m striving to become a director, the basic ideas and principles still stand, so again, thank you. I certainly will bookmark this page for future reference.

    • Evan

      Hey Emmet — Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad the content on the site is able to help you. It’s good that, though you want to be a director, you care about learning below-the-line crew stuff as well. That will definitely help you in your career!

      • Deanna Rachelle

        Hey Evan, I didn’t see any advice on what to put in the “Subject line” sorry if I missed it.

        • Evan

          You did not miss it Deanna! That’s a good idea and something I’ll have to update the post with. I’d go with a descriptive subject line and nothing spammy. “Opportunity for Post” or “Idea for Post on [Website Title]” would get my attention more than “Check out this excellent film!” which comes across as spammy.

  • Michael Locke

    Hey Evan. First off, so agree with Emmet, but I’ll go a little farther. Of all the websites I’ve studied for two years trying to change careers into filmmaking, yours has had the most direct influence in my life. I recently moved to L.A. but hadn’t made many connections for production, most of my friends here are actors. Your guest blog on No Film School led me here, downloaded and read all of “Becoming the Reel Deal” and “100/more Resources for Filmmakers”.
     Now I’m on every morning, just finished my first shoot as a PA on an AFI thesis film (Panavision Genesis,JL Fisher dolly, 12K’s: for a short), and start soon as a grip for a nine-day USC thesis film. Priceless experience from your pointers, and I’m on my way to networking.
     And now, that feature my friends and I shot needs post production. We’re in exactly the spot you mention: crowdfunding to finish our film for further promotion and distribution. Just now building the facebook and website pages (so no links here), but this is so timely on how to get people aware/there.
     Indeed thanks, and just to let you know: your changing lives…

    • Evan

      Michael — At the risk of sounding patronizing, your comment is very well appreciated by me. It really means alot all the kind words you had to say. But most importantly, it makes me happy to know you’re finding success. That’s the reason I keep up with this site — is to make the industry more accessible and help others get a leg up in it. It sounds like you’re on a great track. Make sure to keep in touch!

  • Phillip Jackson

    Hefty report my friend, I don’t even want to call it a post it’s that in depth. A LOT of good info in here, I kept finding myself nodding as I went through it.

    • Evan

      Haha halfway through I stopped writing and considered breaking it into a series it was getting so long! But I figured people will pull what they need from it and consume it bit by bit. Glad to hear you found it agreeable, Phil and thanks for the comment!

  • awesometheo

    I wake up this morning to find out that a friend posted me this link, so I decide to check it out. What’s the harm, right? One hour later, I’ve downloaded your book, read this article, bookmarked your page, and wondered where my morning went! 

    This was a great read, I’m definitely going be coming by here a lot!

    • Evan

      Ah you got sucked into the rabbit hole! You were supposed to take the blue pill! :P

      In all seriousness, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed what you’ve found on the site in such a short amount of time. It makes me happy to know you couldn’t drag yourself away. 

      I look forward to seeing you around here more, man!

  • Anton

    Hey Evan. So just a month ago I successfully funded my documentary through Kickstarter. We didn’t do a whole lot of emails to bloggers and others we didn’t know, so we generally stuck with those we already knew. I called in a few favours of other filmmakers I had helped out before, and my producer get a friend of ours to post about it on the web based paper they write for.
    We’re a very small production, and we were lucky enough to have built our network to be a wide variety of great people looking to help.
    On the other end though, this post is great for those who are still working on that network. And even my group can always expand further for our future projects.

    • Evan

      Hey Anton — That’s another solid approach to take. You depended on a pre-existing network and used it to your advantage. I’m very happy you got your documentary funded. That puts you in a club that everyone hopes to join on Kickstarter.

      I agree that while not everyone will need bloggers or need to get online press, it seems to be the go-to route for most people who don’t have connections already. And this article is for those who think you can launch a campaign, send an email or two, and the ball starts rolling. It takes much more work than that!

  • Mac Smith

    Hi Evan,

    I came across this post this morning and found it very informative.  I wish I would have come across it three months ago, but it will still be helpful for us.  We had an IndieGoGo campaign for our documentary film that ended last month.  While we were able to raise about 13k in basically three weeks, it was far from our goal and it was mostly based on people we knew or were connected to.  We are in the process of establishing a new website where people can continue to contribute, and we will take your recommendations and put them to work. 

    Thanks so much,

    Mac Smith

    • Evan

      Hi Mac – Thanks for the kind words and sorry I didn’t get it written sooner! I’m sure that even though you didn’t raise your goal, you learned a lot in the process that will enable you to be more successful the next time around. Hopefully some of these techniques I talk about help as well. Best of luck!

  • Jakekilgore

    Wow. Didn’t expect such a long and detailed article. This is why I visit Theblackandblue and Nofilmschool daily.

    • Evan

      Good company to be within :) thanks Jake.

  • Crowdfunduk

    Hello Evan – this is a really useful and practical post. I am running workshops on crowdfunding in the UK. Your tips are valid for any approach for support to a campaign – any media, academic institution or just an interested but influential person. Thanks

    • Evan

      Thank you!

  • Luke Williams

    Thanks Evan! You have inspired me to become more pro-active in my digital networking… I have only been subcriber to your site for a month or so but, since then I have read all your back articles. I have found them to be quite helpful to me as a filmmaker. Thank you.

    • Evan

      Thanks for the kind words Luke! I’m glad you’re getting use out of the site and good luck expanding your network in the digital realm.

  • Dave Pimm

    This is fantastic, Evan! Thanks so much for posting this. I found the break down of logical steps particularly useful. Really helpful and fantastic timing for me. I’m curious though – was it just the emails you were getting from people crowd funding that motivated you to post, or are you in the process of making a film yourself and preparing for it as an option? It’s fantastic either way and a lot of people will find this really useful. A nice additional side effect will probably be that you get an increase in emails written with excellent grammar!

    • Evan

      Haha! Yes, Dave that was part of the motivation — to be able to send this post to people who pitch me their ideas poorly :P

      To answer your question, it was purely the emails I was getting. I have no plans to launch any sort of campaign now or in the near future. I just got increasingly frustrated at the emails I received and wanted to lend a unique perspective on a topic not many discuss.

      Hopefully this will help filmmakers realize that, like anything, if you want results you have to put work into it. You can’t just blast some emails and think your work is done.

  • Benjamin Kantor

    It continues to blow my mind that many Kickstarter campaigns don’t include differently priced versions of the film as rewards.  If you treat it as a pre-sale, and you convince people that they really need to see the (yet unmade) movie, it’s not that hard to dramatically increase the average contribution… (I *want* to spend $50 on your deluxe Blu-Ray with two hours of special features and bonus material, but if you don’t offer it, I’m probably going to go with the $10 digital download). 

    • Evan

      I agree Benjamin — treating it as a pre-sale is a good idea. I feel there is too much of a tendency on some Kickstarter projects to be stingy with the backer rewards. Which is silly because, if you’re stingy and you get no backers, you’ll never get any money to be cheap with in the first place!

  • Steven Daiber

    Thanks Evan, 

    As a book artist  having done a couple of funding campaigns and about to start a third I found your advise very helpful and informative. I’ve copied your article for my own reference and have sent it along to a couple of friends who are film and video professors.Thanks again! Steve 

    • Evan

      Awesome! Thanks for sending it on Steve and best of luck with your next campaign!

  • Timon Birkhofer

    Hey Evan!
    I have done a lot of research on crowdfunding in general, read books, blog posts, scientifical papers, essays, visited events, etc. 
    After all this I have to say: This blog post will (and definitely already did) help many people working in the creative industries (and not only filmmakers) to boost their efforts in getting their crowdfunding campaign off the ground. If I may suggest two other links, which, if used hand in hand with this blog post, will be the perfect base for any Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, etc. campaign, it would be these:

    Keep up the great work!

    Thanks again.


  • DF Acting

    Very glad to have found this post via twitter and to be able to pass the link on there and elsewhere online (blog, facebook, etc.). This is a highly useful resource for far more than film-makers and Kickstarter users. Many thanks, Evan!

    • Evan

      No problem! Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for sharing it. Happy you found me on Twitter too ;) we can be tweet friends now.

  • Evan

    Hey Timmy — Thanks for sharing those articles. I haven’t dove into them, but I scanned through and they look like great resources. I am more than pleased that you think my article deserves to be listed among theirs.

    When you say you’ve done a lot of research, have you found anything particularly revelatory? For instance, what’s one thing you came away with you didn’t know going in?

  • Project Coordinator

    Naturally, the reason I stumbled onto this article is because I am currently the Project Coordinator for an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign.  (Printing this article, btw, as I type this)…Evan, you single handily saved my ass in how to approach bloggers.   Thank you SO much for sharing your experience and wisdom.  I appreciate the time you took to educate us on the best use of your time and ours.  Warmly, Stephanie

    • Evan

      Hey Stephanie — no problem! Glad you’re finding it useful and I take the printing of the article as a ringing endorsement ;) Best of luck on your campaign!

  • Mark Stolaroff

    Terrific post, Evan. I’ve done my own Kickstarter campaign and blogged about my experience, and have been asked to speak on the subject a few times on panels and whatnot. I keep a collection of killer articles on the subject of how to conduct a successful Kickstarter campaign–which I send to friends and those I consult with–and I am now adding your post to the list! Thanks for imparting this great knowledge!

    • Evan

      Hey Mark — awesome! Thanks for putting me among the best of the best! Were your campaigns for filmmaking or something else?

      • Mark Stolaroff

        They were for filmmaking.

  • Mari Leis

    Hi Evan,
    I’m no media specialist, but I read your blog because of all the interesting
    and I believe valuable content it shares. Actually, one of my students–a
    cinematographer–recommended it to me. You see, I teach English (with a capital
    “E”) for the Media to members of a region-wide film commission in Spain and posts
    such as this one really help me with my lessons. So I’d like to say thank you
    for all the helpful insight you’re posting. I just hope I haven’t made any
    grammar or spelling mistakes. That would be so embarrassing!

    • Evan

      Hi Mari — your english was great, no need to be worried! Thank you for the kind words. It’s really amazing to me that even in Spain, my posts are enabling people to learn more about film and filmmaking. I do have a collection of some of my posts translated in Spanish by a film educator in South America — would you be interested in those? I realize you teach English, but perhaps having the posts available in both languages would be beneficial. Let me know!

  • Comedy Web Series Click here

    Even thanks so much that was very helpful. 

  • Amy Clarke

    Thanks Evan can’t help but find this helpful. I’m skeptical about crowd funding though, I’ve had many friends try it for funding there films over the past year. I can’t help but feel that once everyone is doing something like this it’s a good sign to stay away! I think I might try something a little different when it comes to raising film money. 

    I think film makers have a lot of film maker friends -so the majority of people who are going to help fund there films will be there film making friends. I’m sure film makers will get a little tired of constantly putting money to Kick Starter and IndyGoGo campaigns – I know I am. 

    • Mark Stolaroff

      Amy, I can certainly see your point, but as someone who has successfully crowdfunded myself and who is currently consulting on several Kickstarter campaigns, I have to respectfully disagree with the idea of staying away from this. Yes, if all I intend to reach out to are my small circle of friends, and they are all poor filmmakers like myself, then I am probably doomed to fail. (And frankly, many of the failed campaigns that I get invited to donate to are by filmmakers who just don’t put in the work, they just don’t seem to care, and how can I care if they don’t?). 

      But you’re also missing the point and the potential of crowdfunding:  it’s not about the money. The money is maybe the third reason to crowdfund. The first thing you’re doing is creating awareness for your film and building a community around it. You’re marketing. But you’re getting paid to market your film. Yes, certainly, the center of the circle of who you’re reaching out to is people who know you: family, friends, family’s friends, friends back home, friends of friends, etc. But you are also thinking about who the core audience is for your film and trying to reach them. You’re going to do this through social media and by connecting with influencers in those communities. Bloggers are a great way to reach a particular community that might like your film, so this article is particularly valuable with that in mind.  

      The second most important reason to crowdfund is to test your concept or the way you talk about your concept, (again, marketing). If you work hard trying to get people–friends, bloggers, etc.–excited about your film and you get no response, the world is trying to tell you something. Either your concept  isn’t compelling or you haven’t found a compelling way to talk about your concept. These are really important things to discover BEFORE you sink money into a project. I think if you think of crowdfunding in this context, it is more viable now than ever. 

    • Evan

      I know what you’re saying Amy — once everyone is on the crowdfunding bandwagon, it dilutes it for everyone else. As more and more people turn to Kickstarter, there will be less and less success stories and it may disillusion some people from investing in projects on the platform. It’s also going to be harder to garner attention for campaigns as the number of them increases.

      With that said, I think Mark raises some great points about the marketing potential of the campaign. To be honest, I had never thought of it that way (bravo Mark), but you can both raise money and raise awareness for a film at the same time.

      In the end, well-run campaigns will get the attention they deserver and a lot of lesser films will be left in their wake. You’ll start to see Kickstarter campaigns go big or go home — either lots of money raised because it goes viral or little money raised because of skepticism.

      Should be interesting to watch either way, though.

  • Starting Trends

    Wow Evan, that sure was a mouthful (notice I included your name *chuckle*), seriously though, FANTASTIC article! So much great advice and it’s obvious that you speak from experience, even though as you say you’ve never launched a Kickstarter campaign of your own, a lot of the strategies and advice you mention can be used in multiple different areas when it comes to marketing. Once again great  job and thanks for your professional insight, lots of value in this post!

    • Evan

      Thanks for the kind words! Glad the post is helpful to you and helpful to others. Also, thanks for getting my name right ;)

  • Mark Zhang

    Absolutely awesome post, thanks so much “Even”…haha just kidding.

    My first time running a KickStarter project as well ( It’s got nothing to do with film, and all about product design, but nonetheless, the advice from post is very valuable.

    I guess I got somewhat lucky and had TechnologyTell cover my story, but the ratio is pretty low (that’s 1 in 30). Time to try the approach you mentioned!

    • Evan

      I did aim this post towards filmmaking, but after it’s all said and done, I guess it contains a lot of generic advice for anyone pitching anything.

      Best of luck with your campaign Mark!

  • Kory Banning

    I’m going to follow your advice and keep this brief. This article was extremely helpful and I can see this helping me out tremendously in the future Thank you very much Evan.

    • Evan

      You’re welcome, Kory! Brevity has served you well ;)

  • Lesbian Cops


    This post was enormously helpful as I set up our game plan for our project’s Kickstarter campaign. I also just sent you an email and with a title like Lesbian Cops I am banking on the notion that “curiosity killed the cat” will come into play to get you to watch. :)
    Our Kickstarter campaign launched today, about an hour ago. We are teamed up with a professional production company and have a solid plan to execute our campaign over the next month which includes not just our initial pitch video but several entertaining stand alone videos to follow. 

    I hope you and your readers will take the time to check out what we are doing and offer any support you can. Every bit of support is crucial if we are going to succeed in reaching our goal. 

    Thanks again for the article. 
    Dane Reade – writer/actor/producer

  • James Henderson

    I just re-found this post from my bookmarks, and it plays well into the beginning of my crowdfunding campaign. Thanks for the huge advice and expect an email from me soon. ;)

    James Henderson

  • Tony Mendoza


    This was a great article with some real world, easy to apply applications. (Did you notice the proper placement of the comma?)

    It’s a great thing when someone shares their knowledge and experience. It’s even a greater thing when another person can receive and apply that advise.

    This was the first article I read from you. But surely will not be the last. I look forward to future insight you have to share. Keep up the good work and stay encouraged.

    Tony Mendoza
    Downright Digital Productions

  • Brett Snyder


    Thanks so much for this article. It has put me in a great direction to start campaigning my project. I will definitely be reading more articles on your blog. Thanks for the wealth of information.

  • Kit Hickey

    Thanks Evan. Love this article – so helpful and such great advice.

  • Jennifer Fischer

    Great article. As a filmmaker, who also blogs about my experiences/activities with my kids, I really appreciate this article. I also run a festival and so I’m always looking for useful articles to share with other filmmakers. This is one of them.

    • Evan

      Thanks Jennifer :) Happy that someone like you who can see both sides of the story (blogger and filmmaker) likes the article.

  • Matthew Wade

    Hey, Evan. It amazes me how much people try to sell themselves off of the “submitting to Sundance” or “This film is going to be huge” lines, as if no other indie guys have those plans up their sleeve.

    Overall, I really dig your push for polished proposals in how we smaller players in the game present ourselves. The idea that people who are not professional artists do not have to write and present their intentions like professionals is a loosing mindset from the get-go. Glad there is still respect for those who try and go the extra mile to get their work out into the world. Cheers!

    • Evan

      Hey Matthew — glad you’re on the same side of the fence as me! In a nutshell, nothing is given to you for free — at least nothing worthwhile.

      You’re spot on about professionals. Each pitch of your film should be as polished as the film itself will be.

  • Bj Minson

    Great article! Very helpful! Thanks Evan.

  • Anna Zuendel

    Thanks a lot Evan for this fantastic article! It contains a lot of helpful information which are explained in a very understandable way. Especially the checklist graphic is great! I myself am just planning a crowdfunding/crowdsourcing campaign and your article was the best and most precise I’ve read so far. It gave me some good inspiration and clarity for my own campaign. All the best from Germany, Anna (so I hope, I didn’t make too many spelling mistakes…;-))

  • Guest

    Hi Evan, this post was great. My kickstarter project is a design

  • Jonathan Lansey

    Hey Evan, this article was really helpful. My kickstarter project will be to put car horns on bicycles – so not film/photography related at all, but the advice transfers well.


    While your tips are solid, one thing I didn’t see covered was how to write an attention-grabbing email headline. I don’t know if “Hi Evan” is going to do it; do you have suggestions on that front? The pitch email template is great, but if he headline doesn’t draw people in, nothing will. What’s the line between spam and sincerity with purpose?

    Also, on the topic of getting things for free (including cast and crew), it’s important to consider the things about your project that will entice people to do it for nothing. Is it the subject matter? Location? The rest of the cast or crew?

    Likewise, with donors or supporters, the perks need to be both comparable to the size of donation (say, a sizable portion of the production budget for a producer credit) and intriguing enough to the donor. (a credit, maybe a trip to the premiere/VIP treatment, etc.)

  • Lena

    We’re still in our campaign and have so far raised $20K of our $55K goal. It’s going really well. I wrote a blog post on some of the tools/strategies we’re using that REALLY help. Hope they can be of use!

  • Raymond Charles

    I have to say, as I’m about to launch my second Kickstarter, that of the dozens of advice pieces I’ve read this is by far the best. Detailed but not redundant. A great resource.

  • Ashley Melsted

    Great article Evan! I am about to launch my first crowdfunding campaign next week and these tips are exactly what I needed! Thanks again :D

  • Mema Ojukwu

    Thanks a whole lot Evan. The information you provided is a huge resource to marketing independently produced film anywhere.

  • Jonathan Perkins

    Hey Evan I just had to chime in after reading this article or I would feel like I didn’t learn anything. I, like everyone else, loved the article and learned a lot. My team and I will be implementing this very kind of marketing technique for our upcoming web series campaign and needed the encouragement! I will be using this as a guide for my whole team. Do you have any advice for continuing the conversation with bloggers? Would you say that bloggers are open to long-term collaboration or relationships? One of the things I would add is that once you do the work to build relationships with bloggers you can go back to them for other projects as well. Thanks again and I’ll be checking out more of your blogs!


    • Evan

      Hey Jonathan,

      Thanks for the kind words!

      Yes bloggers are definitely open to long-term collaboration or relationships, but the key is collaboration. Most bloggers, like anybody, don’t want to feel like it’s a one-way street in the relationship. You both need to be benefiting to keep it going.

  • lumiwinewall

    Hi Evan,

    I’m not a media specialist by try to get creating short videos for our Kickstarter campaign. Love this article on raising funds and different approaches to achieving this. Look forward to more insights.

  • Eric Buist

    Awesome post Evan. I just realized I have been away from the site for a long time. Time to get back into reading your posts! Thanks!

    • Evan

      Good to see you round these parts again, Eric!

  • Jason

    Hey Evan, Just wanted to say I really enjoyed your post! I’m just an amateur youtuber but I can definitely relate to most of the content on this site. The content in this post makes perfect sense. I just wish I read this before I started my KickStarter project (The GoClamp for GoPro). You just earned another weekly reader here my friend. Keep up the great work!

  • Tony Clifford

    Thanks Evan for this. It was great. I’m interested in crowdfunding and this has given me a lot to chew on. I’ve discovered other articles you’ve done through this one and I have to say I love the blog. Keep it up.

  • Chase Daseler

    Evan, I just have to echo the comments of praise that everyone else has said. You really do cover everything (or if not, you fooled me), like explaining the difference between a straight-forward Subject line and the “spammy” approach, in one of the previous comments. This has been extremely helpful so thank you so much!

  • O_M

    Hi Evan,

    thank you for this article. What a great piece of advice for every campaign starter. I hope I will take a lesson from it, but as they say, “you learn from your own mistakes”, everyone makes one or two :)

  • Will

    Hi Evan,
    Thank you for this article, It has proved extremely helpful, I was just wondering what the subject of Niko’s email looked like/ what it was that made you open his email?

    • Evan

      I don’t remember what the subject was like, so it was probably something generic or unassuming. It doesn’t really matter, however, as I read all of the emails that are sent to me through this site, so it was more about the content of his email. The catchy marketing subject lines usually cause me to open an email already skeptical.

  • Kat Castro

    Hi Evan, I was thinking about doing a fundraiser campaign and a friend sent me your blog, for the right and wrong ways of pitching to bloggers. I just want to let you know, I enjoyed the read and definitely learned a few things. Also made sure I checked my spelling on this post. lol

  • Dom

    Hi Evan, I was recently involved with a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter and I just wanted to say how very helpful the advice contained in this article was for contacting bloggers. We were initially contacting the press from the perspective of ‘how can they help us?’ but after reading this article we began to approach it as a collaboration and had a much higher response rate. Had I not discovered this article then I doubt we would have garnered the level of interest from bloggers that we did. Great read!

  • Ashley Ludlow

    Woooo! I know I’m late to this post, (I ran across it today while searching for “best kickstarter rewards”) but this is some really juicy content. Thank you so much, Evan!

  • Tyrone Hazen

    Hi Evan,
    Just read your post on how to properly approach a blogger when seeking promotion for a kickstarter campaign. Thanks for putting such a comprehensive post together! I’m not in the film making biz, but will shortly be launching a campaign for a tech product I’ve created. Your info will work equally as well for my project, so I read it top to bottom.

    One quick question for you; To reduce the risk of deletion prior to reading, what do you recommend for a subject line for such emails? You mentioned that emails from those you don’t know are often deleted simply to clear your inbox. Is there some subject line that would reduce this likelihood?

    Any info you can pass along will be much appreciated!

    Thanks again for the great info.

    Tyrone Hazen

    • Evan

      Anything that personalizes it without making it too formal. You basically don’t want to come across as you’re spamming a bunch of people with a form subject/letter.

  • Austin Everett

    I remember reading this thinking I would come back to it when it became more relevant to me, and it finally has! Launching a Kickstarter for my first feature at the end of this month; it’s 3.5 years later and this is still amazing advice. Thanks Evan!

  • Brittany Nisco

    Hi Evan –

    Great article! So much information and definitely got my wheels spinning. Making your first feature is tough enough, but then add trying to raise money for it and it becomes that much more difficult. It’s all worth it though. Thanks for this – definitely bookmarked!