Getting Ready for the Emmys!

Well here I am on the eve of leaving town to head to Seattle for the NW Regional Emmy Awards. My wife and I will be dropping off our 20-month-old son with a trusted sitter before leaving, providing us with some much needed vacation time. I bought my first ever suit for this “Black Tie Strongly Encouraged” event (I got it at a thrift store), and have been anticipating this event for several months.

Despite this, all I can do is worry about what will happen with our kickstarter campaign while I’m gone! With the importance of a constant stream of activity and excitement surrounding the campaign in the forefront of my mind at all times, I feel like I can think of nothing else. It’s a feeling that is shared amongst many folks I know who have experience running crowdfunding campaigns – they are extremely stressful!

Of course there is a potential benefit to our kickstarter campaign that could come out of this Seattle trip. Winning an Emmy Award during a funding campaign seems like an ideal way to encourage new pledges. Maybe I should mention the new film in my acceptance speech if we win?

My wife told me last night that I need to prepare an acceptance speech. There must be a way to work this kickstarter campaign in there… I guess she’s right – I probably would forget to name someone important if I didn’t at least organize my thoughts beforehand. It looks like the event will be live-streaming, so if you really want to watch the ceremony as it happens and you’ve got nothing better to do with your Saturday evening, be sure to check it out! (Go to this website at around 7pm pacific time this Saturday the 6th.)

The burning question that permeates all these thoughts – how can I get these people to contribute to my kickstarter campaign? Of course, this type of obsession over a fundraising campaign is really nothing new. Many a fundraising campaign was run before kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites existed. The true difference that exists with a kickstarter campaign is the fact that if we fail to reach out goal, we don’t get any of the money. This component of the system that kickstarter has created is both stress-inducing and brilliant.

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The single greatest impact of this all-or-nothing approach is a dramatic heightening of the level of importance for the fundraiser(s) of reaching that funding goal. So if you’re a company that makes money when other people successfully raise money (like kickstarter) – you want a completely dedicated group of fundraisers out there. If you have a bunch of lazy people setting unrealistic goals, you’re not going to make very much money.

There is however a second important impact from kickstarter’s all-or-nothing model. It provides an incentive for backers to get involved in a project that they’ve pledged to. If you’re someone who’s made a pledge to our campaign, or any other kickstarter campaign, you’re not going to get that reward item that you signed up for if we don’t reach out funding goal! You’ll just get your money back. This provides an incentive for the backer to help the fundraiser continue to collect pledges and spread the word about the campaign.

So will I mention our new film project and associated kickstarter campaign during my acceptance speech (IF we win of course…)? To be honest, probably not. What I will be doing however is talking about this new film with everyone that I speak with at the event. The secret of any type of fundraising campaign is the importance of personal communication. People aren’t going to make a pledge or a donation unless they trust the person behind the project, and the best way to earn someone’s trust is to have a conversation with them. So my true mission this coming weekend will be to talk about this exciting new project with as many people as possible in the hopes that they will make a pledge (of course I’ll have to follow up with an email and a link to the campaign to really see an impact).

Now this is not to say that I won’t be enjoying myself – this mission to raise money must not detract from the central purpose of the trip. This event is really meant to be a celebration of what we have accomplished with our film Bluebird Man. This film was designed right from the beginning to be an experiment in self-distribution, and getting this story to the Emmy Awards is above and beyond all our initial goals and expectations. A large factor in this success is the story itself, but we’ve also been very calculating in our distribution strategy and it has paid off. In addition to this Emmy Award celebration, the many film festival screenings, and our initial Idaho Public Television broadcast, we are looking forward with great anticipation to this winter’s national television broadcast for Bluebird Man as a part of the Natural Heroes series.

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The combination of an Emmy Award nomination and a national TV broadcast really gives us a feeling of success and accomplishment with this project, and I must remember that it all started with a successful kickstarter campaign. Two short years ago we were in a very similar situation – doing anything we could to encourage folks to pledge money to our funding campaign for Bluebird Man. It was extremely stressful and a lot of work, but at the end of the month we had raised over $17,000 and were well on our way to putting together a powerful and inspiring documentary.

So if you haven’t yet made a pledge to our campaign for Souls of the Vermilion Sea, our new feature length documentary about the struggle to save the vaquita from extinction, now is the time! Remember, we will not get anything unless we reach our funding goal of $15,000 – we’re well on our way to reaching this goal, but we need your help to get there! Become a part of this campaign and join us in our mission to save the vaquita from extinction!

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Kickstarter Campaign for Souls of the Vermilion Sea – a new documentary about the struggle to save the world’s most endangered marine mammal, the vaquita.

Kickstarter Campaign for Bluebird Man – our successful campaign, run two years ago in support of this half hour documentary about one man’s mission to save Idaho’s bluebirds.

NW Regional Emmy Awards website – go here on Saturday at 7pm PT to live stream the award ceremony!

Souls of the Vermilion Sea website

Bluebird Man website

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