Ready Set Fund

Ready, Set, Fund: Tingle The Senses

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 "Evolution of a Criminal"

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent movie projects.

This month's Texas film crowdfunding projects tingle the senses. 

Sight: Watch the Evolution of a Criminal by supporting this award-winning documentary's Kickstarter campaign. The doc's subject, Houstonite Darius Clark Monroe, is raising $60,000 until Oct. 29 for a nationwide theatrical and DVD release, as well as speaking engagements at schools, prisons and various community institutions across the country. Evolution of a Criminal, which premiered at last year's SXSW and Dallas IFF, is the answer to Monroe's question about how his 16-year-old self became a bank robber. In the movie he interviews family members, friends and mentors who recount the stages of his transformation, going from a happy childhood to the moment when he realized the severity of his family's financial struggles. 

Ready, Set, Fund: Newcomers and Old Film Friends

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never goin back

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects. 

This month's look at the local crowdfunding scene offers a diverse group of films made up of both familiar names and newcomers to this column.

Let's start with who you may know: Never Goin' Back (a recent AFS Grant recipient), is written and directed by Augustine Frizzell and tells the story of two teenage girls who enjoy a crazy day of bad behavior after losing their jobs at a pancake house. Fun fact: Frizzell grew up in Garland, TX and calls the script for Never Goin' Back "almost completely autobiographical." Time is running out to help this one meet its Seed & Spark goal -- you have until Friday to give

Ready, Set, Fund: The Puzzle of Successful Crowdfunding

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Director and Stars of Mijo (My Son)

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.

I enjoy skimming over the last three years of our "Ready, Set, Fund" monthly column and seeing how many film funding campaigns have achieved success. A gratifying experiences of writing this feature is following projects from their infancy and on through their maturation to the big screen.

Sadly though, I see far too many campaigns that never get off the ground. There are a multitude of reasons for failure, but often I suspect it's due to too high of a goal in an "all or nothing" campaign, too short of a timeframe or simply not enough effort put into the creation and support of a fundraising campaign. Research and maintenance are critical components of any successful fundraising endeavor, and can require a substantial amount of time, money and resources.

Ready, Set, Fund: Be a Patron, Support the Apocalypse

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slate from I Am Jack's Apocalypse

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.

We all have the habit of saying "Kickstarter campaign" as a generic term for crowdfunding, but of course that's not the only site that hosts these types of project. I don't just mean Indiegogo either. In the past, this column has highlighted Austin projects from United States Artists (Computer Chess being the one I remember) and Seed&Spark. (I particularly like United States Artists because it's curated -- no one is raising money for potato salad there.)

This month, I found a new platform (via Bryan Poyser, thanks!) called Patreon. Patreon has a slightly different model, focusing on campaigns for projects with recurring needs, like web series, blogs and podcasts. The donors -- called "patrons" -- support these projects through recurring gifts that correspond with each episode in a series, for example. Instead of giving $25 (or $250 if you're flush), you might give $5 per podcast, or $1 per blog post.

Recurring gifts are a big staple of traditional nonprofit campaigns, so finding a way to do that with artistic crowdfunding is pretty smart. It keeps donors invested in the project, and I think it will strengthen projects in the long term with a steady source of income.

Ready, Set, Fund: Queens, Teens and Lazer Team

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Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.

With summer in full swing, we've happened upon several Indiegogo and Kickstarter campaigns of films gearing up to shoot over these next few months. Headlining these campaigns is the Lazer Team project, the first feature film to be made by Austin production group Rooster Teeth (Red vs. Blue). A bit elusive in the plot description, the story is described as a live-action sci-fi comedy that takes place in the aftermath of receiving an alien signal on Earth.

The Indiegogo campaign raised an impressive $650,000+ on its first launch day, and has now crossed the $1.5 million mark. I'm sure it's due to not only a large fan base, but the impressive incentives offered. Already sold out of the highest two, perks include 20-second voicemails from your favorite Rooster Teeth personality ($400 donation), a Virtual LAN Party with the RT team ($2,000 donation), and even a walk-on role in the film ($6,000 donation). You can watch the video below for more information. The campaign ends on July 6.

Ready, Set, Fund: Crunch Time

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'The Sauce' Movie Still

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.

A number of local movie projects are nearing the end of their fundraising campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The countdown begins with The Sauce, a feature about a ruthless, egomaniacal stock trader who decides to start his own firm. The only thing stopping him (besides those pesky executives) may be himself. This indie comedy will be set and shot in Austin and has reached its goal, but generous backers can give additional funds through its Kickstarter campaign until May 29.

Other Austin and Texas movie-related projects seeking funds:

  • On June 1, the clock stops on the Kickstarter campaign for The Lizzie Project. This documentary, directed and produced by Austinite Sara Bordo, follows Texas State University alumna Lizzie Velasquez on her journey to help inspire a more positive online world. Lizzie, who is one of three people in the world diagnosed with an unnamed syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, experienced cyber bullying as a teenager. She has since gone on to be a motivational speaker and author.

Ready, Set, Fund: Texas Women Making Movies

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carlyn hudson

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects. 

This column has long been well nurtured and championed by Debbie, but moving forward you'll see other Slackerwood contributors pitching in to highlight various crowdfunding activities going on in the local film community. It's my pleasure to present this month's slate, which includes a few excellent projects spearheaded by women. 

First up is a film-in-the-making called The Big Spoon. Currently seeking funds on Kickstarter, this "unromantic comedy" is planned to film in Austin this summer and will pull together several familiar names for its cast and crew. The project is also specifically dedicated to supporting the work of women in film and features a largely female production team.

The Big Spoon is co-written and (will be) directed by Carlyn Hudson (pictured above left), a University of Texas alum and short film director who co-produced Andrew Bujalski's Computer Chess as well as Richard Linklater's Hulu project Up to Speed. Hudson was also a segment director for Slacker 2011, and if you've ever attended Cinema East you'll recognize her as one of the series programmer/producers. 

Ready, Set, Fund: Pre-SXSW Film Crowdfunding Updates

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Rat Pack Rat Still

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.

Several local film projects that ran successful crowdfunding campaigns are making their regional premiere at this year's SXSW Film Festival including the experimental documentary Yakona from San Marcos-based filmmakers Anlo Sepulveda and Paul Collins, Thank You A Lot from Matt Muir and Chris Ohlson, Jeffrey Radice's No No: A Dockumentary, and Todd Rohal's Rat Pack Rat (pictured above). Yakona also received two Austin Film Society Grants (formerly known as the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund), as did local filmmaker Kat Candler for her feature-length version of Hellion, which also makes its Texas debut at SXSW.

The SXSW Film Conference will feature several sessions that should be of interest to filmmakers who want to learn more about achieving funding for their projects.

"Meet the Insiders: Funding and Special Organizations" will feature several speakers from the nonprofit film world and they'll speak about "what NOT to do in your proposals to grants, fiscal sponsors, film labs, and other programs." Independent Film Project Producer and Program Manager Rose Vincelli Gustine will moderate this panel, which includes industry experts such as Sundance Film Fund Director Rahdi Taylor, Independent Lens Senior Series Producer Lois Vossen and Chicken and Egg Pictures Operation and Programs Manager Iyabo Boyd.

Ready, Set, Fund: 'The Father,' 'Arvind' and More

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the father

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects. 

Debbie (that lucky gal) is busy covering Sundance and Slamdance this month, so in her place I'll be taking a look at some of the Austin-related crowdfunding projects currently reaching for their goals. 

First, speaking of Sundance and crowdfunding, this year 20 Kickstarter-funded features, shorts and documentaries will be featured at the festival. According to Kickstarter, this is the third year in a row that over 10 percent of the festival lineup has been made up of Kickstarted projects and several, including this year's Academy award-nominated The Square, have gone on to much success. And that doesn't count any projects that used other crowdfunding site, like Indiegogo.

Debbie will be discussing a few local crowdfunded Sundance players, including official 2014 selection No No: A Dockumentary, in the coming days.

Now, here's a look at a few Austin and Texas projects currently seeking funds for completion:

  • The Father -- This "throwback '80s sci-fi film" directed by Austinite Stephen Belyeu (Dig) tells the story of an extraterrestrial father and son who have crash-landed on Earth (pictured above). Filmmakers are seeking funding specifically to assist with creating the practical special effects for the movie, and hope to reach their goal in time to shoot during the short-lived Texas winter. (Kickstarter, ends Jan. 26)

Ready, Set, Fund: 'Crowd Speak' for Successful Crowdfunding

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Still Photo from Foreign Puzzle

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and related fundraising endeavors for Austin and Texas independent film projects.

Of all the contributions that I've made over the last 4.5 years to Slackerwood, I find this monthly feature, which can be quite rewarding for filmmakers through the promotion of their funding campaigns, to also be personally rewarding. I enjoy following the progress of many of our featured film projects from creation to production to screening at prestigious film festivals including Sundance, SXSW and Austin Film Festival.

Over the last two years, this column has expanded beyond just film projects with the inclusion of television and web media as well as tools to help filmmakers. For example, one of this month's featured fundraising campaigns is for WriterDuet collaborative screenwriting software. WriterDuet is currently available for free online, but this fundraising campaign, which is funding through Thursday, December 19 on Kickstarter, will fund the creation of a desktop version.

We also receive a considerable amount of feedback each month from filmmakers regarding their fundraising efforts. This month's column thus features two new sections: Projects that we've featured in a past column, and tips from the industry to help with fundraising efforts.

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