Using Crowdfunding to Build a Sustainable Career as a Filmmaker

Head of Crowdfunding, Gerry Maravilla, gives us the run down on Seed&Spark – a film-centric crowdfunding and subscription video on demand platform. Check out his successful Seed&Spark campaign here!

The pitch of a film has always had its own story. Until now, these stories have remained under wraps within the oh-so-exclusive world of Hollywood – how a script got pitched, who it got pitched to, who ultimately bought it, you get the idea. With platforms like Seed&Spark, not only can anyone have their film idea heard, but they can instigate interest without giving up creative control.

Offering a highly personalized approach to the entire production campaign, Seed&Spark encourages filmmakers to start backwards: with the audience.

Ultimately, this opens up a world of opportunities for the filmmaker.

By imagining the world they’re building as a part of a greater cohesive project, filmmakers create more than just a film. Gerry points out that Seed&Spark encourages creators to collaborate with the audience, allowing them to develop a connection earlier on.

Gerry Maravilla

Head of Crowdfunding, Seed&Spark

“Crowdfunding makes you think of the creative arc of your project in ways you would not otherwise have to think about. For example, who this project is for – who it’s resonating with – so you can build this connection earlier on and find those people, especially the ones who are passionate about the stuff that you’re creating.”

Audiences, too, benefit from this added element of transparency. By allowing the story to intertwine with its real-world coming into existence, the audience not only receives a tangible investment in the film, but an emotional one as well.

They feel included – like they have a say in what stories are being told. And they sincerely do.

This built-in transparency seems to have come about pretty organically. According to Gerry, Seed&Spark CEO Emily Best, fosters what she calls a “culture of plenty,” pointing out that there is always room for more art. A quick look at Seed&Spark’s diverse offering of genres and carefully curated watch lists, and the team’s mission is clear: to facilitate production for socially-minded artists who offer unique viewpoints that audiences are not getting anywhere else.

And it’s really freaking working. Seed&Spark is the most successful film crowdfunding platform in the world.

Which comes as no surprise considering their streamlined approach. Gerry explained that his team starts by asking creators what their goals are, and gives feedback to ultimately put them in the strongest position possible. When asked what the ingredients are to getting the Green Light (their term for reaching your fundraising goal) Gerry reiterated the notion of world-building, “Filmmakers that look at their campaign as an extension of their storytelling skills are the ones that succeed the most.”

Gerry’s belief in Seed&Spark stems from experience. He used the platform to raise $15,000 for his short film “CROSS,” a film about a young, Mexican-American-Filipino man who is lured into the world of backyard boxing in order to save his mother’s life.

By sharing content relavant to the film’s subject alongside the campaign – for example, photos and quotes from Muhammad Ali – Gerry learned firsthand that he could build an audience who the film would, without a doubt, resonate with. 

He now pays forward this passion, sharing his insight with filmmakers in a way that truly epitomizes the human touch that is built into a Seed&Spark campaign. 

This personal nudge, we think, is oftentimes the push creatives need to put their work out there. But in case that wasn’t enough, Seed&Spark also offers a crowdfunding class and education materials based on their hundreds of successful and unsuccessful campaigns.

Reflecting on the conversation, we’re confident that Seed&Spark is one of the friendliest platforms to filmmakers who are looking to create engaging, challenging – and most importantly – quality projects. We don’t know about you, but we’re itching to take advantage of the accessibility and knowledge that the company offers (but for now we’ll stick to casting!)

We look forward to hearing your passion project got the Green Light – and when it does, remember to cast your talent free on UpCast!