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Filmmaker Alex Luprete Crowdfunds an Education in Storytelling

Posted in Success Stories by Drew

Crowdfunding Film School — The Tally

In 2013 screenwriter, director, and producer Alex Luprete raised $3,300 in seven weeks to pay for part of his tuition to UCLA’s Professional Program in Screenwriting, surpassing his goal by 10%.

The Takeaways

  • Get personal. Nobody wants to receive a spammy-sounding mass message asking for money. Customize your emails and letters for a better outcome.
  • Find ways to truly connect with people because then they’ll be more likely to support you.
  • Be completely transparent about how you’ll spend the money you’re raising.
  • Get your pitch down pat.
  • Have a “Plan B,” just in case you don’t raise your entire goal amount.

The Path To Crowdfunding Success

Alex began spreading the word with a snail mail letter campaign.

“I literally made a list of everyone in my network: family, friends, colleagues, etc. People I KNEW would donate. I made an effort to find mailing addresses and wrote personalized letters to these people.”

Consider how unusual it is to receive a physical letter these days. The rarity of paper letters and the work that goes into sending one is precisely why it’s such a compelling way to show your sincerity and commitment to your project.

And it paid off for Alex:

“That effort resulted in the HIGHEST return. Of the letters, I would say about 60% of those people gave something, even if it was their best wishes. More than half the money I got came from these people.”

Instead of spending a lot of time worrying about minor things like font color, Alex knew that when push came to shove, unessential details would not make or break his crowdfunding campaign. Instead, he chose to focus on people, since they play the primary role in the end.

What Inspired People To Donate

The decision to support Alex leads back to one thing: a connection with him or his work.

“When it comes down to it, people give money to projects and causes they like. Either they’ve shared personal experiences with this person or they’ve found another way to connect.”

Alex Luprete's DIY spirit allowed him to build his own website, and when it came time to crowdfund his film school tuition, he used IgnitionDeck shortcodes to do so right from his own pre-existing site

Alex Luprete’s DIY spirit allowed him to build his own website, and when it came time to crowdfund his film school tuition, he used IgnitionDeck shortcodes to do so right from his own pre-existing WordPress site

Showing you care for your audience is a common theme woven into every successful crowdfunding campaign. Accomplished teams understand that the campaign’s outcome is directly tied to the relationships they build and nurture, which involves transparency, integrity, and authenticity – all things Alex addressed in his pitches and on his website.

Why IgnitionDeck? It’s All About Control

Staying in the driver’s seat was important to Alex when he was assessing which crowdfunding platform would be the best fit.

“With other platforms you have very little control over the outcome, and the percentage that these platforms take seemed a bit excessive. I stumbled upon IgnitionDeck early on, when it was only a plugin in the beta stages. It was risk, but in the end, having the control that [IgnitionDeck offers] was extremely beneficial.”

Other IgnitionDeck pros on Alex’s list:

  • He had the ability to extend the length of campaign.
  • Once a donation is made, the money was his.
  • No fees, which meant he kept 100% of the contributions.
  • IgnitionDeck afforded him more options than a traditional platform because he could use it on a site he’d already created.

Alex’s Advice For You

“Be 100% transparent. People do NOT want to feel cheated. That’s the absolute WORST thing you can do.”

Alex has several other bits of advice for other crowdfunders:

  • Before your campaign starts, make a list of people you know will donate and ask them how much you can expect from them. “These people are NOT the people you’re trying to get support from; this is your support network. These are the people that would give you money regardless. You’re trying to reach everyone else [with your promotion efforts].”
  • Have money to fill the gap if you fall short, so you can still use the contributed funds toward your goal. If you won’t be able to use your own money, then have a plan for the worst-case scenario before you start.
  • Refine your pitch until it’s clear what you want to do and how you’ll use the funds. “Be 100% transparent. People do NOT want to feel cheated. That’s the absolute WORST thing you can do.”
  • Have confidence in yourself. “Don’t stress out. You’ll find the money.”

Read more IgnitionDeck Crowdfunding Case Studies heresign up to our newsletter to get updates, and check out this preview from Alex Luprete’s upcoming film, ENTANGLEMENT starring Nick Gomez (Dexter, Walking Dead, Looper, The Red Road). ENTANGLEMENT is awaiting release later this year.