So, I think it'd be a good thing to occasionally talk about fundraising in this blog. That's the most common question I'm asked -- "Where do you get money?" I guess if I had a better answer to that I wouldn't be writing a blog about no-budget filmmaking. I'll occasionally write about creative ways to raise money that I've heard about or tried myself.
At SXSW this year a friend mentioned that he had purchased a limited edition of the poster of Joe Swanberg's movie Silver Bullets and that Joe was using the proceeds to finish the film. I recently shot Joe a quick email about it and he responded just as quickly to tell me more.
Joe has willed himself into legend status by being prolific. For the past six or seven years he's come out with at least a movie a year (Including such hits as Hannah Takes the Stairs, LOL, Kissing on the Mouth and Hannah Takes the Stairs). This year he got special awesome-points for premiering one movie at Sundance (Uncle Kent) then premiering another at Berlinale a month later (Silver Bullets).
Joe's poster is designed by über designer Yann Legendre whose illustrations and designs adorn book covers, magazines, posters, and museums. Joe points out that he's designed the latest Louis Malle Criterion Collection releases. Joe ran a limited run of 100 signed screen prints and is offering them for $100 each. He used the money collected to finish shooting and for post production. The poster won the annual poster contest at SXSW.
This is a perfect strategy that might not work for anyone other than Joe who has both the cult following needed to generate interest as well as the ability to make movies for cheap enough to fund them through poster pre-sales. But it's also a great example of fundraising outside of the box. I funded a good portion of the very first movie I ever made, which was based on a Russian short story, by making presales at the annual Russian Language and Literature academic conference. Now that I think about it, that was pretty brilliant. I should do it again. What connections does your film have that might make a similar strategy work for you?
Joe mentions he still has a few posters left. If interested in purchasing one, simply email him: Joe@joeswanberg.com.