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Alternative Funding

Crowdfunding Tips from the Team Behind Comics are Everywhere!

neilandnataliaportrait

Writer/Director Neil Kendricks and Producer Natalia Quintana

Natalia Quintana, a NYC-based self-shooting producer with reality TV credits such as Hardcore Pawn, Say Yes to the Dress and What Not to Wear. She’s just embarked on her first feature-length documentary Comics Are Everywhere!

Tell us about your documentary – how did it come about?
This is my production partner’s baby.  Neil Kendricks, the writer/director and I met in university and have kept in touch over the years.  Neil is an avid comic fan and journalist and has been writing about comics since 1993.  I am a fan of comics and have my own little collection but Neil is def the buff on the subject.  A couple of years ago, he asked me to proof read a grant treatment for the doc and that’s how our producing relationship began.  The story was still new then and still evolving.  It wasn’t until the beginning of this year that the story took a big turn when one of our main characters got a really big break in the industry.  He got his own animated TV show, King Start King on Adult Swim. Ever since then, the doc has taken a life of its own.

How far are you into the production process?
We are right in the middle of production.  We plan to shoot the rest of the year up until early 2014.

You are running a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter – why did you decide to go down that route?
We have talked about running a Kickstarter campaign for a while.  It’s something that appealed to both of us and I think it has been a really exciting aspect of the production.  We are applying for grants and we have a fiscal sponsor, but crowdfunding was never out of the question.  We see it as an adventure, it’s a first time for the both of us so we wanted to give it a go.

How did you go about putting together the campaign?
Neil and I live in opposite coasts, he’s in San Diego and I’m in NY so it has been challenging.  We speak on the phone about once a week and everything else is done via email and text.  We discussed all aspects of the campaign up until I flew to San Diego about a month ago to shoot our Kickstarter video. It was a two day shoot, one of Neil’s friends let us shoot in his Comic shop and we then drove to LA the next day to shoot with the artists.
I hired a friend of mine who is a great editor to help us edit the video.  In the mean time, Neil and I split up and would write the campaign components.  More than one person can be in the campaign project at once so while he wrote about the project, I wrote the rewards and financial goals and then we would switch and edit each other’s work.  It was a true collaborative effort.

Crowdfunding videos typically feature the director – as does yours. How did Neil feel about that?
Neil is great on camera and he is truly passionate about this project.  He had no problem talking about it on camera so that was the easy part!

 

What was the hardest part about writing the pitch?I think the hardest part was making the story clear and appealing to the everyday Kickstarter contributor all the while really appealing to the comic fans who know their stuff.  You don’t want it to be too long but it can’t be too short either.

How long did it take to put the campaign together? Did you get any help from anyone?
Kickstarter talks began in September of 2012 but the real brainstorming started in April of 2013.  We started planning the shoot in May of 2013 and we shot the video in mid June.  Editing the video took about a week of edit prep and 3 days of editing and a friend of mine edited the video.  Neil and I started writing in the actual campaign account a little over a week before launching.  Next time I’d like to have everything done a month before the launch!

Any surprises about the process?
I was surprised at how easy it was to navigate.  I think it also helped that Neil and I had been working on a press release previous to the campaign so our collaborative working process really tuned itself right before we started to write the Kickstarter campaign.  One surprise was that you have to set your business account with Amazon in order to be able to launch and we had not done that until less than a week before launching.  It took some running around to get that squared away but we managed to go live on our deadline!

What are your top three tips for anyone else who is thinking about launching a crowdfunding campaign?
1. Give yourself a deadline to go live.  Having to launch alongside Comic Con 2013 really got us moving.
2. Research lots on Kickstarter.  Get familiar with the site and see what projects you would back and why.
3. If I did this again, I would give myself more time to polish my campaign and get more feedback from friends and colleagues before launching.

How would you sum up your experience so far?
Launching a crowdfunding campaign is nerve wracking and I find myself checking the site over and over hoping more backers will pop up!  I think it’s a great experience and it’s a production all on its own.  Make sure you do the math when it comes to reward production and shipping charges as well.  In the end, I’m taking this all as part of the documentary’s production process so it’s been a really great experience.

Check out how the campaign is going here:

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