WHY MUST IT COST SO MUCH TO BRING YOUR PROJECT TO LIFE?
By Vanessa Rae Garcia
Funding a production is the biggest struggle for independent artists because you can't do much without money. Sure, you can find places for free and have talent act for free, but you might be sacrificing the quality of your production if you don't pay for some essentials. Don't get me wrong, there are TONS of things you can get and do for free-I do it quite often for experience or to help people I know. But, there are some things that you MUST pay for when producing projects. The biggest thing to remember is that your reputation is on the line and people will only want to work with you again if you handle things professionally.
Nobody likes asking for money, but sometimes, that's your only option. I have contacted many businesses and individuals to get items donated to a project. Most of the time they will say no because you're an independent production, but you will find some generous people along the way who will say YES.
Local businesses are your best option for indie projects- NOT major corporations (they tend to only help out non-profits, schools, or churches). I like to reach out to local businesses for rentals, monetary donations, food, or alcohol. You have to take care of your creative team, so feed them and make them feel loved! Be sure to also thank the business for their donation and keep them posted on your project. Send them a thank you card, a poster, free tickets, etc. They want to know that they are appreciated, too!
GET CREATIVE ON FUNDRAISING
You could always set up an online campaign with Kickstarter or Indiegogo, but they are so common now that they aren't as successful as they used to be. I've used both online crowdfunding sites and have had success, but some people get tired of you constantly asking for money online. If you are going to use this outlet, MARKET your project with pride, use a real camera, don't ramble (have a script), look professional, and make sure that your video is professionally shot and edited together. Find some talented friends to help you with this. People will only donate to projects that looks like it's going to be worth their money.
You could also find other ways of raising money. Have an event where you can make money by selling donated items. This is a great way to make money without asking for it directly. Have an auction of some sort, a tournament, a relay, a bake sale, ANYTHING!
ASK THE PEOPLE YOU KNOW!
Sometimes your biggest resources are those people closest to you. If they believe in you, they will find a way to make your production come to life. The people in your life are those who will have resources to hook you up with amazing people they know. My mother always donates to projects I am involved in, even though she likes to be an anonymous donor, so I AM OUTING HER TODAY! Thanks, MOM! When I Co-Produced Squeezebox , a short film by Sam Lerma, my mother fed the entire cast and crew breakfast and even donated other items for craft services for the duration of the shoot. Other friends/family members of the Producing team helped out by lending us equipment, locations, and donated money to help bring this project to life. Squeezebox ended up totaling about $20,000 to produce. Ralph Lopez, producer, Sam Lerma, and I had to ensure that people were paid, fed, and that quality equipment and people were utilized to make a top-notch film. This took about a year to produce financially- it was NOT easy- but they money was raised through various events throughout that time period.
The job of an indie artist/producer is tough, but we all continue to do it because we are passionate about bringing new pieces of art to life and to share it with others. I just came back from a meeting with two awesome girls to start a new theatre company in San Antonio... the struggle is definitely real, but SO worth it.
Also... I miss Smash.