Time to make a crowdfunding video…
Musicians most often cite the video as their source of procrastination. Common challenges include technical issues like camera, lighting, and sound, as well as creative issues like what to say and how to say it.
But is it really worth all the worry?
This recent question from Chris R. presents the issue very well:
How important do you think the video really is, given that most contributors will already have a personal connection to the artist? After my last campaign, I got the feeling that I’d spent waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much time creating my video, and that the contributions would’ve been almost as high if I’d just spoke into my iPhone camera for a minute or two. –Chris R.
A SUCCESSFUL CROWDFUNDING VIDEO CONNECTS TO THE VIEWER
Chris’ intuition is correct. The #1 most important thing is a message that makes a connection to the viewer and maintains their attention through the video. (I prefer the 3-part pitch video framework in the Advanced Crowdfunding System.) The message is most important because 90-95% of your backers will already have a personal connection with you, just like Chris said.
A few best practices are:
- Keep the video moving! Do not let it drag or give the viewer a chance to divert their attention.
- Cover the basics including who you are, what your backstory is and what your campaign is for.
- Don’t forget to ask people to pledge! Most musicians don’t like this part but it is crucial. (Here are a few pointers on how to do this genuinely without being needy.)
The #1 biggest mistake people make with their crowdfunding video is getting too fancy. Turns out, the best-looking, most-artistic, and/or funniest video can actually hurt your efforts if the message is too diluted. When video creativity comes at the expense of communicating what the project means to you and why it is important, an opportunity is lost. Why? Because people don’t back music crowdfunding campaigns for fun, they back because they believe in you and what you are trying to do. Be absolutely certain you give them ample reason to do so.
WHAT QUALITY DO YOU NEED FOR AN EFFECTIVE CROWDFUNDING VIDEO?
Video quality should be consistent with your where you’re at in your career. It can be a little better or a little worse than your most recent few videos but should not be dramatically better or worse. You can certainly produce a compelling video using some b-roll, stills and music beds, just don’t go spend a bunch of money on highly orchestrated, high quality footage (unless that is something you already do).
Chris is right on another thing: you can pretty much just do it on your phone. A fair amount of people do so, especially campaigns for $10,000 or less. Campaigns from $10k to 20k are a bit of a toss up. Some musicians I’ve worked with go the iPhone route while others hit up a friend to shoot with a DSLR. Either way works as long as the message is right!
If you’re campaign is (reasonably) shooting for $20k+, you likely have some experience and a relationship with someone who can take good DSLR video, so you should put a little effort in. Don’t obsess or spend much (if any) money. Just make it look good: a low f-stop and good lighting pretty much do it, as well as clear audio that isn’t too roomy.
Finally, even for $20k+ campaigns, I have them shoot their campaign updates on their phone!
Bottom line: don’t be afraid to grab your phone and shoot a video. Then review to get a sense of how the message conveys. If you don’t like the flow, put some thought into the message and shoot again! Don’t get caught up in orchestrating perfection. The video isn’t what needs to be perfect, it just needs to do it’s job: share who you are, what your story is, what you are trying to do and how people can help.
And if you’re having a hard time getting the message right, think about the Advanced Crowdfunding System which will give you the exact framework to use for a successful crowdfunding video. Good luck shooting!