Next week I start filming a documentary to potentially create recurring income and am looking for advice on how to raise money to fund expenses during shooting for the next 30 days.
I have access to video cameras, audio equipment and editors via my local public access channel, and have access to GoPro cameras and aerial drones via other avenues, so I don't need to raise a huge sum, but cash is very tight for me right now and $1000 or $2000 to cover expenses like gas, food for volunteers, extra usb drive/hard disk, lighting and backdrop, an occasional hotel room, and missed work would be a big help.
The subject of the documentary is a popular tourist beach lifeguard training academy, following recruits from right off the street to experienced surf rescuer in a few weeks. I know this is not Permies related, but hope it is ok to discuss non-Permies recurring income opportunities here too, so I can one day own my own little plot somewhere.
I have produced, directed, edited and/or written a half dozen shows for public access TV, but have no established track record for the type documentary I am producing now. After completion, I was thinking about pitching it to PBS (I am familiar with PBS standards) and some local broadcast stations to raise some money for the next project, but I can't approach them now because I don't have an established track record and they won't take me seriously. Likewise for advertisers/sponsors.
I have heard about kickstart.com and gofundme.com and heard there was one for filmmakers as well, but don't have any experience with any of these. I have no problem shipping a finished one hour documentary (actually about 45 min) on DVD to funders.
How much time is reasonable between fundraising and shipping the DVD? I anticipate 3 or 4 months. Is that too long?
What is the incentive for someone to fund me now, rather than just wait until the documentary is completed? I suppose I could list them in the credits for donations over, say, $100?
Which would be better for me, gofundme, kickstart, or a filmmaker fundraiser web site? I have heard it is impossible to raise money for documentaries because there is so much competition. Or can I list on multiple sites?
Is there any downside to using these web sites? Lessons learned?