Seed&Spark holds filmmaker crowdfunding class


Remember that awkward feeling of asking your parents for a loan? Even worse, asking to bum five or ten bucks from your friends? What could be worse? Try being a filmmaker and asking for money that your friends or family will never see again.

All to make a movie. Not a film. To the layperson, a movie.

Seed&Spark’s Director of Media and Communications Julie Keck, understands. That’s why the crowdfunding platform, run by filmmakers for filmmakers, is teaming up with 40-year-old not-for-profit, Chicago Filmmakers, to host the free “Crowdfunding to Build Independence Workshop” at Chicago Filmmakers’ Headquarters Saturday March 18.

“Some filmmakers can be introverted at times, wanting to focus on their craft,” says Keck an 18-year filmmaker herself. “I would much rather write away and throw my genius out the window and let someone else make it! But in a social digital age, it’s hard to get someone to read 90 pages. Crowdfunding is the way for a writer or director to get from page to screen. All the things we teach can be applied to their campaign.”

But in no way, is the process easy. According to Keck, who will lead the workshop, Seed&Spark is here to take the pain out of crowdfunding and help filmmakers understand what they need to do in order to reach their goals.

“Seed&Spark, overall, has a 75-79% success rate. People who attend this workshop have 100% success,” boasts Keck. “All the things we teach can be applied to each filmmaker’s campaign because Seed&Spark is a crowdfunding platform run by filmmakers for filmmakers.”

In this 2-hour class, Keck, who has spoken on the subject at SXSW, Notre Dame and The Chicago International Film Festival, will discuss how to find and engage fans, run an effective crowdfunding campaign, and then distribute your film — all while preparing to make your next film. To Keck, this class isn’t about crowdfunding – it’s about career building.

Launched in 2012 by filmmakers Emily Best and Erica Anderson, the platform was originally conceived as a “wedding registry” according to Keck. “Emily was making a film in Maine and wanted to crowdfund. But she would run into, ‘I don’t have any money, but I can cook for you or I can loan you a camera.’” It’s this “loan” concept that sets it apart from well-known platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

This is the first of several free workshops and seminars sponsored by The Chicago Digital Media Production Fund, which awards cash grants of up to $20,000 to local filmmakers and media artists whose web-based projects seek to advance social change.

The seminar will take place this Saturday from 2PM to 4PM at 5243 North Clark Street. You can register for the workshop here. You can follow Julie on Twitter here.

LA-Based Colin Costello writes for film, TV, advertising and of course, Reel Chicago. Follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.