Why Indie Filmmakers Should Practice “Crowdfunding Etiquette”
As anyone who knows me personally or from my posts on Twitter, Facebook or this blog can tell you I’m a strong supporter of crowdfunding. For the past year and a half I have donated to as many projects as I could afford to and have happily spread the word about others I didn’t have the cash to donate to at the time. Having said this, I must admit that while I appreciate the amount of time and energy that has to be given in order to make a fundraising campaign successful, I am also becoming increasingly annoyed by some of the behavior overzealous artists are exhibiting. For example, an acquaintance of mine received several emails and Facebook messages persistently asking for her support of a young filmmaker’s short in spite of the fact she’d had a death in the family and was in mourning. Although she’d posted this information on both Twitter and Facebook, she still received funding requests stressing the filmmaker’s upcoming deadline for receiving donations.
In my opinion, this type of tenacity and insensitivity violates what I consider to be acceptable “crowdfunding etiquette”. Another film supporter I spoke with recently had just been laid of and was struggling to pay rent and other bills and yet was contacted by several people in both his personal and online social circles requesting his support for a local filmmaker’s project. He told me that he began withdrawing from his contacts in order to avoid letting on just how broke he was at that moment and also began experiencing guilt for not being able to donate as he had before.
As for my own experiences, I received birthday greetings from a few people that were in actuality not so veiled requests for my support of various projects. I would have preferred it if these individuals had sent their well wishes separately from their soliciting. It made their communications seem somehow insincere. I think that filmmakers and other artists have to realize that if supporters are aware of their projects and like the people involved, the subject matter or whatever else motivates them to part with their hard earned cash and after seeing the tweets and posts and reading emails from friends they still haven’t contributed then maybe they either aren’t interested in that particular project or they aren’t in a position to help and either way that should be okay. Not everybody will be able to give all of the time regardless of how much they may want to, so why make them feel uncomfortable about it or worse yet discourage them from doing so at a later date when their circumstances change. I believe that most donation seekers recognize their boundaries and respect the people who look forward to hearing about their work and just love independent film, but the rest should definitely reconsider pursuing supporters so aggressively and start practicing “crowdfunding etiquette”. In the long run I’m sure tempering their actions will lead to more donations and enjoyment for both fans and filmmakers alike.