One of the biggest concerns as student filmmakers (among the many we face) is how we are going to finance our projects. A lot of people use their savings, apply for grants, or simply ask mommy and daddy for help. But recently, many people have been looking somewhere new for funds: the internet. There have been a number of websites that have been launched that support artists by creating an avenue that both gains awareness and funding for their projects. The two biggest sites out there right now are Kickstarter.com and IndieGoGo.com.
Kickstarter.com is a strictly free fund raising platform for creative projects. Anyone can sign up and anyone can pledge money to a project. No matter the size of the project, you can set up a project page and start advertising. However, in order to actually get the money you raise, you need to reach the quota you set initially for your project.
IndieGoGo.com works a little different, but serves the same general purpose. There are two small fees taken out of the money you raise that go to the website and the service they use to handle the money, but regardless of whether you meet your goal, you get the funds you raise.
Both sites allow you to create incentives for the funding backers. Instead of royalties or other monetary incentives, the production team can create personalized mementos that show their thanks. Popular incentives including things like a DVD of the project, a thank you video from the cast and crew, an associate producer's credit, and signed memorabilia from the production.
A specific example of how this new kind of funding is working is an Ithaca College student production called 'The Market.' They set up an IndiGoGo account and have raised over $4,000 to make their originally short film a feature length production.
These websites are perfect for us fledgling filmmakers, but it's also important for any other creative projects you may be involved with. Both sites provide avenues for funding for traditional art, comics, video games, theater, and more. If you can think it up, you can fund it. I would suggest these sites for anyone with a solid idea and a good marketing campaign to help get your good ideas off the ground.