A physical crowdfunding reward is an item you must ship or deliver to your backer. In this movie, author Kelley Slagle discusses the usual physical rewards filmmaker's offer, including DVDs and T-shirts, and what other physical rewards you can consider granting your film's backers, including one of a kind and film inspired items.
- A physical crowdfunding reward is an item you ship or deliver to your backer. Prepare for paper cuts and spending a lot of time at your local post office or UPS. The biggest cost of these rewards is their production and shipping. Backers often enjoy having a physical item from or about your film though, they can be a lot of fun, but this is changing and depends on your audience. You must consider an item's actual production and shipping cost when you select the items to begin with, and keep a spreadsheet. Double and triple check your costs, but don't go for the lowest bidder necessarily, there might be hidden costs.
There are three usual physical reward suspects for film crowdfunding. DVDs or Blue-ray, or digital file on hard media. People get to hold your film in their hand. These can only be sent, obviously, after you complete your film and have minimum quantity production costs. I've found an even split with backers for physical copies versus digital copies. Now, in addition to traditional DVDs, you might want to consider using custom drives like this one that we made for The Broken Continent. T-shirt or other logoed apparel.
They're a walking billboard for your film, and it's fun to see people wearing them. But again, they have minimum production costs and lots of tracking of sizes, colors, et cetera. Judging what stock to have is really hard. You could end up with a lot of unawarded merchandise on your hands. Film poster, use your amazing visuals. People enjoy having things on their walls and you can get your cast and crew to sign them. They're really hard to mail because you'll need a poster tube to send them, adding on to your costs.
They can also get easily messed up. You want to go beyond the usual with your physical rewards, but be careful. Film-inspired items. Our web series, The Broken Continent, was a medieval fantasy about the five shards of Elyrian, a content divided into five countries. We thought it would be neat to get custom wooden dice made featuring the logo of each country emblazoned on each side along with the film logo. We found a great price at an overseas company. Over half of the hundreds of dice were printed wrong and calls to the company went unanswered.
The logo for Of Dice And Men is a dog tag with roll playing dice super imposed. I had real dog tags made with the film logo imprinted on one side and a 20-sided die on the other, and due to their low cost in bulk we offered it at our lowest levels, assuming they could be mailed pretty cheaply in regular envelops since they were flat. We were wrong. Due to the way the post office machines work, our envelopes were often ripped open and either never arrived at our backers addresses or were empty. We had to resend ever dog tag at a significantly higher package price in order for them to be handled properly.
One of a kind personalized items. Of Dice And Men featured pewter fantasy character miniatures as props during many scenes. The miniatures were mass manufactured but came unpainted. At one of our higher reward levels we ordered more of the same miniatures and hand painted them to our backers specifications. A friend of the director of The Broken Continent creates amazing paper action figures, usually based on pop-culture characters. We commissioned him to make custom paper dolls of our characters as rewards, like my character Arabelle here, complete with her spider mask.
Completely awesome, but completely fragile and risky to ship. Props, giving screen used props at higher levels, like this leather bag, are wonderful if unique or custom items were used in your film. Some of our bad guys in The Broken Continent wore custom-made spider masks, and our good guys wore handmade cloaks, and these were both popular prop perks during our campaign. Physical rewards might sometimes be difficult to make or customize, but are still great incentives for your backers.
- Why crowdfund?
- Recommended crowdfunding platforms
- Finding and researching your audience
- Planning your campaign
- Breaking down your film budget
- Creating a campaign video
- Offering rewards and perks
- Running your campaign
- Following through and keeping contributors happy