Jan 28, 2013

Paul Craig on Crowdfunding

Category: Making Movies Crowdfunding

Paul Craig, CEO of Viewtorch Pictures, tells Julian Darley how and why he became a crowdfunder. Paul stresses the need to find a personal connection between funder and the people behind a movie crowdfunding project.
[see full transcript]

Transcription of Interview with Paul Craig [PC] and Julian Darley [JD]  (2013-01-26)

JD: Welcome to the Ruthless Guide. I’m Julian Darley and my guest today is Paul Craig, producer and owner of Viewtorch pictures, and the topic for ruthless dissection today is crowdfunding.

JD: Paul, what attracted you to crowdfunding? [0:15]

PC: Initially just through networking with a lot of independent filmmakers and looking at ways of building smaller projects, projects which may not have had any kind of commercial value or profitability, I got the sense that it's a way of building an audience [and] have people pay for something that they want to see - I think that's what attracted me. It's about looking around and finding alternative types of entertainment to see.
Obviously you've still got to pay for it in some way and with a lot of crowdfunding projects you don't have to put in a lot of money. A lot of them start out with very low amounts of money – £10 – which you'd spend on a Blu-ray anyway. If you want to see that project, it's a good way of helping them along and getting the ball rolling.
And I can imagine on an emotional level, just the feeling of wanting to make your film - I understand that feeling and I suppose there was an emotional connection there, so that's what attracted me me personally, to crowdfunding and crowdfunding projects.

JD: What kinds of project do you like? [1:25]

PC: I'm a bit of a trashy action, old school Hollywood person. That's the kind of film I was brought up on - late 70s and 80s kind of larger blockbuster movies, but I do have varied tastes. At first it was documentaries: a lot of documentaries caught my eye in the first instance. But crowdfunding became popular for other types of projects, you started to see more commercial projects [such as] short films that had a basic commercial framework, but obviously they're short films so they're not going to sell. And it's really good stories as well that you wanted to see, so I suppose in that sense the main thing was the story of the film itself and the story about the actual group putting the film together. Those are the two main key elements for me definitely

JD: What makes you contribute? [2:25]

PC: How they put together their crowdfunding project in a lot of ways; how it's marketed; was there a prior relationship with this group of people beforehand; had I seen may be a blog of theirs, had they offered information about themselves; or they had caught my eye on social media beforehand.
In a lot of cases there has been some form of prior relationship or I have been told about a particular project or a particular film and then I look into the story deeper, and that's what I mean by the story of the people putting the crowdfunding project together. When you see what they've done to put that together and how open they are, in their eyes, about the filmmaking process, if you've got some empathy for that, that is definitely key for me.

JD: Is there anything vital that you think many crowdfunding projects often miss? [3:19]

PC: It is definitely a case where if you have no connection with the personalities involved in the project or there is no emotional connection or you haven't seen anything from them before.
As far as being on the web or trying to connect with people – you've got so many tools now with social media that it is very easy to connect with large groups of people to try to explain your story. So it's definitely an emotional connection thing I would say, for me. I think a lot of crowd funding projects do tend to miss that point. They'll be very technical about what they want to achieve with their film – they may have technical ability in regards to filmmaking and they try to attract people in that way, but a lot of them do miss the actual emotional element of their own story - not just the story of the film itself but their own story. Being able to connect with people – that is definitely key with any crowd funding project. If you've got something that will connect with people, not just the film itself, but also the people involved in the film that is definitely key, and I think that's going to be the thing that a lot of crowd funding projects do miss from what I have seen as of late.

JD: Thank you Paul. That was Paul Craig producer and owner of Viewtorch pictures on the Ruthless Guide discussing crowdfunding with me julian darley. Please sign up to ruthlessguide.com to hear news of more discussions and dissections.