How to pitch for crowd funding

If you want to make a successful pitch video for a crowd funding campaign, ensure it has a sizzling start, exudes happiness and empathy and avoids melodramatic or overly emotional language.

Among the other prerequisites: Keep it simple, use an on-camera presenter who is passionate and demonstrates trustworthiness, and try to ensure the viewer can relate to the central themes of the video.

Those are among the conclusions from a study conducted by Jessica Milne for her thesis for the Master of Screen Arts and Business program at AFTRS. Milne presented her paper From the Heart to the Hip-Pocket at a function at AFTRS on Thursday evening.

She tested 10 pitch videos for international documentaries that each sought $US50,000 for completion funding, five from successful campaigns and five from unsuccessful campaigns.

Testing was carried out with focus groups and via a survey of 199 respondents. The study incorporated an applied neuroscience test called MindSight developed by Forbes Consulting Group, which allows emotional engagement to be captured.

“What these results show is that to be successful at raising money, the pitch video needs to evoke the right emotions in the audience,” she said.

“The presenter plays an important role in the willingness of a person to contribute to a project. In the case of successful videos, respondents found presenters far more convincing, passionate and trustworthy compared to presenters in unsuccessful videos.

“Video and audio quality also factor into the success of a pitch video. Poor editing, sound or over-dramatic music can give a bad impression for creators looking for money to make a film. Another deciding factor is the frequency with which people post updates about the project.

“In an Australian study, the researchers found that almost no one pledges money to an artistic project if they do not know the founder directly, through friends or by way of previous work. The size of the founder’s social network therefore plays a key role in the project’s success.

The successful projects were Chelsea's Light A Brother's Journey, War for the Web, Let Your Light Shine, The Happy Film and Zeno Documentary.

The unsuccessful were Cannabis vs Climate Change An Inconvenient Priority, Flightlife teaser, Locked Out A Documentary Film on the looming NFL Lockout, The Elk River From Tennessee To The Tennessee and Unattended The Cost of Neglect.

At the Thursday night function the 2015 Wake in Fright prize for outstanding MSAB thesis went to Chantal Abouchar. She presented a paper based on her thesis Inventing the Future: Accelerator Programs and the Screen Industry.

Chantal set out four models for an Australian media and entertainment accelerator using venture capital; corporates such as Time Warner’s Media Camp; a network of business/tech founders and entrepreneurs; and university funding such as Sydney University’s Incubate.

One of the start-ups supported by Media Camp is the UK-based Portal Entertainment,  a hybrid content creation company with its own technology platform. It has developed facial recognition technology for mobile devices, which, for example, changes light and sound while watching a horror movie. Australian writer Mike Jones is a key member of the Portal team.

Australian entrepreneur David McKeague’s Incoming Media has developed software that predicts what video users will want to watch next and turns an iPhone into a personal remote control.