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How to make a fundraising pitch video

It’s possible to make a movie without much cash. If you’ve got an  original idea, basic filmmaking skills, and friends willing to work for free, you can produce a good–even a memorable–result. Famously, “Paranormal Activity” was shot for $15,000. It earned $193,000,000.Compared to typical Hollywood budgets of $50,000,000, $15,000 is less than a drop in the bucket. But even that amount is more than most indie moviemakers have lying around. That’s why an increasing number seek  to raise cash through crowdfunding appeals, built around a fundraising pitch video.

Usually running around two minutes, a pitch video has the goal of turning viewers into backers, whose contributions typically are between $10 and $100. A successful pitch needs to be entertaining while exhibiting good production values. Seeking specific advice on how to do it, we asked two experienced mobile moviemakers Renee Faia and Iggi Ogard. This pair of talented filmmakers recently produced a pitch video for their short  dramedy, “Beautiful Dead Things.”

MMM: How did you think up the concept for this pitch video?

Renee and Iggi: We knew we wanted to incorporate plenty of visuals that represented the film itself.  We also wanted to keep it short but have it flow at a pace that hopefully kept it interesting.  We did look at various pitch videos but ultimately what we came up with was something we hadn’t quite seen yet.

MMM: Can you describe your approach to the production?

Renee and Iggi: We actually started shooting a test on Iggi’s iphone 6 one day and the footage looked really cool so we used that as a jumping off point.  The film is going to be multi-media, including various types of video and also still photography.  We did write our ideas down just to get clear on what we wanted to convey and then we just set up the camera and started shooting. We had a lot of fun with it!

MMM: How long did it take to go from concept to finished pitch video?

Renee and Iggi: We incorporated iphone footage that I had been shooting and collecting over the past year and then I sent the clips I felt made sense to Iggi and she started editing.  We then knew we wanted to shoot the interview portion ourselves and began shooting that as well.  We thought it would be interesting to show clips of the actors involved so went through their demo reels and included portions of them.  It probably took a week or so.

MMM: Why did you decide to shoot some elements of the pitch video with the iPhone rather than a conventional camera?

Renee and Iggi: We love the iPhone!  Especially the iphone 6 slo-mo feature—it is fantastic!  The reason we chose to use it is that is simply looked really cool.  We had lenses for my iphone 5 and used the macro lens for various shots. All the driving footage was so easy and quick to shoot with the iPhone as well.  We used a Canon 5D to shoot the talking portion.

MMM:  Regarding the “talking heads” segment, was there a reason for using the black background?

Renee and Iggi: We had tried shooting it once outdoors, but we were not happy with the way it looked.  We wanted a simple set up with good lighting.  We knew we were going to have a lot of other visuals in the video, so we felt it made sense to keep the part where we explained the project clean and simple.

MMM: What software did you use to edit the production once you had the elements?

Renee and Iggi: It was edited on Final Cut Pro 7. Everything had to be converted into pro res, but after that was done, no problems at all.

MMM: What advice would you give to someone who’d like to make a pitch video to help fund a movie?

Renee and Iggi:  Keep it short and make it as interesting as you can.  Have it reflect the overall feeling of the film you plan to shoot.  Incorporate imagery and music that represent the story you want to tell.  And have fun!

MMM: You’re serious about the fun part?

Renee and Iggi: Absolutely. It’s crucial for us that we enjoy this entire process.  There is a lot to get done that can be tedious, but we try to approach it all in a creative way and we feel fortunate to have the opportunity to be doing what we are doing.  The point of the video is to make it clear that we need support and then generate support. If people know you are passionate about what you are doing and that you want them to be part of telling the story with you, why not let them know in an honest and joyful way?  That’s how we see it anyhow!

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You can learn more about “Beautiful Dead Things” here.

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