It’s actually not thoughts, but a feeling: it is hard.
But lets take things in order. On Tuesday, January 15th at 9:22 AM I hit the button “Launch” and “Rocks In My Pockets” Kickstarter campaign went live. A moment of exhilaration – the fruit of the fretful work of past 6 weeks getting the campaign ready is now in front of an audience. Even if they don’t like it is a relief to have that part done.
Then I sent an email out to my list of almost 3000 people. Most of those people are either my friends or have been in touch with me on professional basis. Some of those addresses I took from unsolicited newsletters sent to me over years (thinking: if you think your news are important to me, let me think my news will make you happy too). Some of those addresses I plain and simple stole from unsophisticated senders who’ve never heard of BCC feature (please, don’t try to put me in jail for stealing those emails before hearing my case!). Maybe 500 addresses from that list are not in use anymore (I have been collecting e-addresses since 2005, there are people who change their emails more often than their underwear).
Two minutes later, the first donation came in and “Rocks In My Pockets” got it’s first Associate Producer! A jolt of energy run through the studio, we danced the jig.
– It is a lucky sign for our campaign! – she shouted. And we danced some more.
When the first rush of thrill subsided, I started replying to emails coming back with questions, suggestions, advise and good wishes. Some people were pissed and wanted to get off my list (I immediately fulfilled their wishes – they were right and I was wrong). Wendy started editing our campaign update videos. Rashidah and Mike went back to work on “Rocks” – the film still has to move forward even if we are in full campaign mode.
One of the reasons to run this campaign is to connect the film with it’s potential audience, to rally supporters around it and expand the audience from there. In the current state of distribution it looks that the only option for an independent filmmaker is DIY model. But one cannot just throw a film into the market and see what happens. It would be like throwing a newborn puppy into a river to see if it can swim. You have to build a momentum, create a buzz and send out the whistles to people who are happy to whistle with you.
In the spirit of this connectedness I sit down a write each backer a personal note. I love them for loving the project, how could I not write a note? They are part of “Rocks” family now! Then I discover that Kickstarter actually likes you for writing the notes and pushes the project a little bit up on their feed.
A filmmaker from Nigeria pledges $1 to “Rocks”. I write him a note, we become Facebook friends. He asks me to look at his film’s IndieGoGo campaign. I do. His campaign has 14 days left and $0 pledges so far. I press a button to pledge $1 but something seems odd and I abort the action. The filmmakers messages me again, asks for my bank account info so that he can set up a Kickstarter campaign because his is discouraged with IndieGoGo. I don’t know to laugh or to cry.
You get all kinds of people when you go public with your efforts.
So, what is so hard? The hardness is in the stress of having a never ending stream of things that have to be done. A Kickstarter campaign has high stakes and sense of urgency – you either reach your goal and get the money or you don’t reach the goal and get nothing. It is very easy to get stressed out seeing how after the initial boost the amount of pledges go down till finally the line flattens and there is nothing new coming in for a VERY LONG time. I feel like a frog that has fallen into a sour cream jar – I have to keep moving my legs to make butter to have a solid ground to get out of the jar. It is a true frog-style leg moving – I sometimes send out random messages to random organizations and their response is laughter. I do more research, find new organization, get more laughter. I make random tweets. I don’t know how Twitter works so I just hit any button I find there – ‘favorite’, ‘reply’, ‘report’. Then a Twitter expert tells me that there are handles and I find out about hashtags, but handles for me are ‘love handles’ and hashtags are made of hushpuppies. On Twitter I feel like a blind dog – licking randomly anything that is nearby in hopes to find food. Facebook is more familiar to me, but it is also a dangerous dance – I post and promote my posts, but I know people hate promoted posts on Facebook and they hate to see the same thing over and over again, which is what I am about to do – for next 30 days there will be no other posts just our Kickstarter campaign on my wall. I know am getting lots of ‘hides’ now, but I can’t stop – if I stop moving my legs, I’ll drown in the sour cream!
I got a lot of great advise on how to run a good campaign and how to promote it on social media, I just wish there were 3 more people helping me. It’s just me and Wendy kicking the campaign, although Wendy, just like Rashidah and Mike, has to continue working on “Rocks in my Pockets” so that the production doesn’t stop.
Now I do have to stop the rant, to get back to campaign.
I just wanted you to see the Kickstarter campaign update – specially made video we posted yesterday, with Ljova’s music. Wendy edited it.
An unfinished project is like a beached whale – if you don’t push it back into the water at the right moment, it may be no more. Lend a hand, become a “Rocks In My Pockets” backer!