Seed&Spark, the subscription streaming and crowdfunding platform focused on making entertainment more diverse and inclusive, has announced a slate of crowdfunding rallies for 2018, aiming to bring hundreds of thousands of dollars in matching loans, grants and investments from prestige brands and production company partners to the filmmakers using their platform. The Duplass Brothers will host the second #HometownHeroes crowdfunding rally in 2018, and Bow and Arrow Entertainment (THE LITTLE HOURS, PERSON TO PERSON, AMERICAN ANARCHIST), 3311 Productions (IN A WORLD, BRIGSY BEAR), The Orchard and premiere file sharing platform WeTransfer will host new rallies.
“When we launched a rickety little platform in December of 2012, our goal was to leverage the tools of the internet age to put the power of independence in the hands of filmmakers everywhere,” shared Seed&Spark founder and CEO Emily Best. “Our goal was only a small part about raising money, and more about empowering creators to build a direct, lasting and sustainable connection with their audience — to gather the data they need to make efficient marketing and distribution decisions, and most importantly, to provide them the tools to grow their careers.”
The essential challenge, according to Best, was that crowdfunding was not the great democratizing force everyone promised.
“What we saw was that by and large, if you and your audience came from money, it was easy to raise money. If you came from an under-resourced community or one that doesn’t have a lot of experience with online giving, it was harder to raise money,” added Best. “Our goal was to build the educational tools that would make it possible for anyone to build a crowd from which they could raise money, to set reasonable goals, take it step by step, and succeed.”“For us, the crowdfunding rally is the perfect format: filmmakers have projects they’re planning to crowdfund anyway. We want to motivate them to get their work made and also to build the largest possible audiences while they’re crowdfunding. Bringing in an extra incentive is the perfect way to do that.”Click To Tweet
For these reasons, Seed&Spark launched the #StayIndieTour in 2014: a traveling workshop they provided for film festivals, schools and membership organizations to teach filmmakers how to leverage the tools for successful crowdfunding to build a sustainable career. Today, the Seed&Spark team teaches around 80 live events per year across the country. As a result, the platform has the highest crowdfunding campaign success rate in the world — more than 75% — and a pipeline of diverse creators from all over the country.
In 2016, Best saw the opportunity to leverage Seed&Spark’s crowdfunding platform for dual purposes: to deliver that diverse development pipeline to prestige production companies in Los Angeles, and to deliver what Best calls “Hollywood opportunities” to filmmakers across the country:
“For us, the crowdfunding rally is the perfect format: filmmakers have projects they’re planning to crowdfund anyway. We want to motivate them to get their work made and also to build the largest possible audiences while they’re crowdfunding. Bringing in an extra incentive is the perfect way to do that.”
So, what is a crowdfunding rally? It’s a large scale call for crowdfunding campaigns around a certain theme or format, where all the campaigns launch and run for the same time period. A prestige partner typically offers a prize. In the 2017 #HometownHeroes crowdfunding rally for narrative feature films, the Duplass Brothers put up a $25,000 no interest loan and joined two projects as executive producers.
“The best thing about a crowdfunding rally is that there are no losers. Just by participating, the filmmaking teams raise money and gather audience for their films, proving, in a sense, they don’t really need the prestige partners in the first place,” stated Best. “During the inaugural #HometownHeroes rally, 55 feature films raised more than $860,000 from more than 63,000 funders and followers in their local communities and around the world.”
Building from this, 2018 is Seed&Spark’s biggest rally offering to date.
In mid-January, the platform will launch the #100DaysOfOptimism crowdfunding rally in conjunction with WeTransfer, seeking stories in any format (feature, series, short, doc or narrative) about inspiration, redemption, connection and hope. Participating filmmakers will be eligible for up to $50,000 in grants and hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing support from WeTransfer. During the same time period, Bow and Arrow Entertainment will be distributing $25,000 for short and feature documentaries with a unique lens on their subjects.
In March, 3311 Productions and The Orchard will join forces to offer $25,000, executive producership and a first look distribution deal to a high concept horror film under the theme ‘Communal Nightmares.’
In late June, the call for submissions will open for the second #HometownHeroes rally with The Duplass Brothers, which expands this year to include both fiction and nonfiction feature films.
In order to participate, filmmakers must launch crowdfunding campaigns that fit within the parameters and guidelines for each rally during the rally period. More details are at seedandspark.com/rally, which will be updated regularly throughout 2018.
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