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Crowdfunding: a viable option for funding your project

14/12/2012 - Sector News

The concept of crowdfunding has been around since the late 1990s, though only recently has it taken off thanks to social networking in all its different platforms. Filmmaker Matthew Walker is using crowdfunding to finance a film project called We Happy Few, a story arising from his work at the NIDA open program and his experience of the disability community through the life of his brother, who has an intellectual disability.

Matt is a NIDA graduate and Sydney based actor and filmmaker. He spoke to Accessible Arts about why he is using crowdfunding to raise money for his filmproject.

What is the We Happy Few project about?

My older brother Paul has an intellectual disability called Fragile X - so the disabled community has always been a huge part of my life. When I was working with a group of students with intellecutal disabilities at NIDA open program, who were given speeches from Shakespeare to learn and perform - the results were miraculous - and I knew I had to capture their achievements on film. I picked up a camera and so began an amazing journey bringing the story of these students and this incredible community to the screen.

Why are you using crowdfunding to finance the project?

First time filmmaker is a title I will only have once. But it has been a setback in securing upfront funding for this project. There are many amazing grants available to filmmakers - but most of those require (and rightly so) several professional credits first. Crowdfunding is an opportunity for anyone, of any level, to reach out to a huge online community and basically ask - this is where our project is right now - if you believe in this project would you mind contributing any amount to it's development - there is no contribution too large or too small.

Why is crowdfunding a good choice?

Rather than approaching one large organisation seeking one large funding grant - you put your project out to the world and hope that you can inspire 1000 people to contribute $25 - rather than one organisation to contribute the full amount. For those who do contribute - it is an amazing feeling that they are now coming along with us on the journey of creating this film. They are one of the Happy Few. The sense of goodwill and support is really uplifting.

What are the pros and cons?

The pros include world wide reach, amazing sense of community, open to anyone with an idea, you create fun 'perks' to encourage people to contribute (t-shirts, badges, signed posters - even associate producer credits!). The cons are that many sites now exist and require you to reach your target or you will not receive any of the funds, the website does take a cut and those fees are pretty high.

How did you set your target?

It was a fine balance of being realistic and looking at exactly what we will need to bring the film to completion. Post production costs are huge - and you get what you pay for. The indiegogo campaign will cover approximately 20% of the total budget of the film.

Find out more about We Happy Few. Visit the crowdfunding website Matt has chosen, the project has ten days left to reach its target.

Crowdfunding - also known as ‘crowd financing’ or ‘equity crowdfunding’ - allows people (organisation or individuals) to raise money to support an initiative or project. In short, you develop an idea, set an amount you need to raise, post it up on a crowdfunding online platform. You will also set a time limit to raise the funds, set rewards for those who invest in your idea and spread the word to as many potential investors as possible. If the target amount is not raised within the time limit then the project does not go ahead. (Wesa Chau Pro Bono Australia).