This Week's Music 6/27/11
The Homegrown Hour 7/3/11

Funding Creative Projects 101

“I'm just grateful that there are still folks who want to support the arts.”

There are a lot of starving musicians out there who want to try and bring home the bacon. Sometimes funds can be an issue for these starving-artist types. Well, maybe they aren’t even starving, but they just don’t have the extra cash required to throw down for a music video or professionally mastered record. I’m not surprised. . . after all, to effectively promote yourself and start making money at your passion, you want worthy tracks, but to get worthy tracks you need to start making some extra money. Ah yes, it’s a vicious cycle.

I’ve stumbled across some of the fundraising sites where (seemingly lazy) people are asking for money for a personal cause. At first I thought, “How dare someone try to raise money for themselves when there are so many important causes out there!” But I never really put much thought into it, and I recently had a change of heart when I ran into long-time-ago high school peer and successful campaigner, Eliza Rickman.

I last talked to Eliza a few years ago when I did a quickie interview about her clever hat wearing style. This time around though, she’s offering her advice on how to effectively raise money for whatever your musical cause may be. In her case, she was hoping to raise six grand towards the making of an album, and lo and behold, in these last days before the July 1st deadline, she’s almost doubled her original goal.

Just a couple weeks ago you had about five grand. Now you have a few more days of your fundraiser, but you’ve already gone way beyond your goal. How did you do it?

“I do have a few more days. I am honestly shocked that the project has garnered so much support. But it's a relief, since it really is costing more than $14k total by the time it's all said & done.

“Two huge pledges came in around the time I was quite close to reaching my goal. I know one of the backers heard me on WFMU in New York. I'm not sure about the other. I'm just grateful that there are still folks who want to support the arts. And who has a thousand or more dollars lying around? I don't know- guys I should marry, probably.”

Single rich men, please contact Eliza. Now that that's out of the way. Give us a breakdown of useful tips!

“1. Be creative with your rewards. People like to be a part of something that is fun and unique. Make the incentives personal to you and your style. And your fans.

“2. Let people know what their money is (potentially) being used for. I included a break-down of why this record costs so much. People are more confident about supporting things when they feel well-informed.

“3. Be genuine. I sat down with the couple who made my music videos before I went out to Chicago to begin recording this record, and we made a really nice-looking, well-lit video of me sitting on their couch explaining why I needed financial support for the project. Then my mom gave me a little flip camera for Christmas. I had it in Chicago and recorded footage of the musicians in the studio. I decided to go outside in the 20 degree weather and film myself talking about the project while shivering in the cold while the wind was blowing around me. And I looked like hell. It's kind of hilarious, but I was sure it gave a much more natural depiction of what was going on, what my personality is like, and therefore it would be more effective to use for the campaign video. Just be yourself. Don't worry about lighting or making it glossy.

“4. Expose your campaign to as many people as possible. I waited a while to put my Kickstarter page up while on my nationwide tour, because I knew a lot of new people would be exposed to my work during that time, look me up online, and because I was fresh in their minds, they would already be excited enough to support me. If someone can't tour, but has a strong local following or a large circle of supportive family & friends, maybe they wouldn't need as much time. I posted my page at the very beginning of my tour and it will be over on the last day of tour- a two month period. I have noticed more backers from cities I played at while on tour.

“5. Don't set the goal too high or too low. This can be tricky. I wasn't comfortable asking for the enormous amount of money the record actually is costing me, so I set the goal a little lower. I think people are intimidated by campaigns that are asking for an insanely high amount of money. But they do get excited about projects that have garnered a lot of help already.

How much selling of this site do you have to do?

“I do think people can get tired of hearing about it, but I've been pretty shameless about it. I've posted things about it on my facebook page(s) on average every other day pretty much since it began, or at least once the project started to build some momentum so that people could get excited about it. Also, the way things pop up on fans' facebook feeds, you might think you're over-doing it, but some people don't hear about your project until later on. You fifth annoying post of the week just might reach a new pair of eyes. I've also been emailing the info to every single new person who joined my email list on this tour. I sent a mass email out to my mailing lists in cities I had a fan base in towards the beginning of the campaign. And now that it's almost over, I'm about to send a reminder that there are only a few days left of it.”

Eliza also recommends making sure you pick the right platform from the get go.

“If someone is really not sure their campaign will succeed, but they are willing to spread the word to everyone they know and don't want the embarrassment of an unsuccessful campaign, they can use Indiegogo, instead of Kickstarter. You can keep everything you make on that site, instead of the all-or-none model of Kickstarter.”

At first it sounds really scary and horrible- to think you might raise 95 percent of your goal and then lose it. But Kickstarter makes a good point. “a project must reach its funding goal before time runs out or no money changes hands. Why? It protects everyone involved. Creators aren’t expected to develop their project without necessary funds, and it allows anyone to test concepts without risk. “

It makes sense.

Hope you found some of these tips useful and check out her page before it’s gone! There is only 50 hours to go and she’s already made over 11,000 dollars! You can see examples of her rewards and watch her video, as well as see the breakdown of costs. Good luck on your money making ventures!

Click here to see the goods:

By Tracy Petrucci


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