Nuts, bolts, hot tips, and road-tested information from Holly Million for indie filmmakers raising money

Tag Archives: social-media

Outsider to Insider Tip #2: Collect Data Like a Crazed Squirrel

Collect data, you crazy squirrel!

Collect data, you crazy squirrel!

I’ve been writing a series of tips on how you can go from being an outsider to an insider. Because being one of the cool kids is a sure-fire way to increase your chances of getting funding. Being part of the “in” crowd means people are more likely to listen to you attentively — not yawn,  not slam doors in your face, not back away slowly while reaching for their can of mace. So you need to use every tactic available to build the biggest personal network you can. In other words, Collect data like a crazed squirrel.

Imagine that you are a rabid squirrel on an insane personal mission to collect every nut from every tree. You need to start squirreling away the contact information of as many people as you can, starting right now. Because you are going to ask them to support your film with a contribution.

How many people do you personally know? Take a wild guess. Chances are that you will be wrong, and that your answer will be too low, rather than too high. The average person knows about 1,500 other human beings — unless, of course, you’re Lois Weisberg, then people write books about you. Think about it. How many people did you go to school with from kindergarten through college? How many people have you met through clubs, parties, volunteering, family connections, work connections, social media, blah blah? And how old are you? How many years have you been alive on this planet to network with your fellow mortals? The longer you have been here, the more people you have met.

Now, do you keep in touch with all of these people? Do you even know where half of them live? Undoubtedly not. You probably don’t keep in touch with all the people who are your “friends” on Facebook, even if there are one or two obnoxious ones who post a bit too frequently (for that I apologize). That’s true of most people. But it’s not going to be true of you. You will invite every person you have ever met to be your Facebook friend, your Twitter follower, your buddy.

Do you have an email list? Oh, good. Because that is going to be so unbelievably helpful to you in the fundraising work ahead. Collect every goddamn email of every person you have met and put that into a database of some sort, whether it’s Filemaker Pro, Vertical Response, or just a plain vanilla Excel spreadsheet. Religiously add new emails to that list, along with the person’s name and any other useful information like phone numbers, each and every time you have a new contact crop up.

Put a widget on your film website’s home page where people can give you their emails so they can receive updates on your film. Yes, people still do that. You can set this up so the data automatically goes to Vertical Response or whatever email management site you are using and is entered into your database. Considering that Facebook changes its algorithms for displaying posts more frequently than Mark Zuckerberg changes his hoodie, you don’t want to rely on Facebook to get the word out about your film project. You want the ability to deliver “push notifications.” These are more direct and more cost-effective than Facebook ads. Oh, and don’t forget Twitter. Twitter still works. So build up your Twitter following. Only problem with Facebook and Twitter is they don’t give you emails for your followers. But LinkedIn does. Gold! Jackpot! I love you LinkedIn! Download the emails and add them to your film outreach list. Sure, you can take off anybody who might get bent out of shape if you start sending them film updates. But I personally err on the side of asking for forgiveness and not permission. I have over 14,000 people on my personal email list. How about you? Not quite? Keep going.

All right? Ready to hit the ground running, you crazed squirrel, you? That foam collecting around your mouth tells me yes! Just start collecting contacts. Trust me. It will make you a superior human being — when it comes to fundraising.

In fundraising solidarity,

Holly Million

Next on The Money Couch: Social-Media Tools for Film Fundraising

Next on my Internet radio show, The Money Couch, I am featuring an interview with filmmaker and marketing and PR expert Maureen Futtner who will talk about How Social Media Can Support Your Film Fundraising. The interview takes place Monday, August 3, at 7 PM PDT. Find us on or click the widget on the top right of this blog.

We’ll talk about what social-media sites and tools are must-haves and what social-media changes about film fundraising and what it does not.

With 20 years of experience in media and communications, Maureen Futtner is hard-wired to promote good causes and good people.

Maureen has successfully pitched stories to the San Francisco Chronicle, KALW radio, the Examiner, San Francisco Magazine and the Business Times, among other publications. Her work has been reviewed by the Village Voice, New York Newsday and the Boston Phoenix. Maureen has appeared on NBC-Bay Area and ABC7News, and her documentary films have been screened at festivals throughout the country.

Maureen founded the nonprofit theatre company Sleeveless Theatre and was its co-artistic director for 10 years. After receiving her Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Arts from San Francisco State University, Maureen worked as DVD author and project manager at Video Arts, a professional digital film studio. She has served on the boards of the Central Market Community Benefit District and the Jon Sims Center for the Arts. While development and communications director at Urban Solutions, Maureen produced the organization’s signature event, the San Francisco Neighborhood Business Awards.

Maureen is a member of Media Alliance, Bay Area Women in Film and Media, the San Francisco Film Society, SPUR, City CarShare, and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. When not seeking out the world’s fine stories, Maureen loves to run up the hills of San Francisco, play the guitar and banjo, and spy on California’s beautiful birds.

Please join Maureen and me on The Money Couch for an enlightening conversation about social media and film fundraising.