How a First-Time Filmmaker Raised Over $100k on Kickstarter for an Unconventional Film

  • June 20, 2012 by Corbett Barr
  • 19 Comments

So many incredible things are possible now that weren’t possible just a few years ago. Technology and online social platforms are changing lives giving life to interesting new creative projects that gatekeepers of the old guard would have denied.

How exactly does a first-time filmmaker raise over $100,000 from thousands of individual new fans for an unconventional and touching documentary about complacency and the choices we make in life?

That’s exactly what Adam Baker and Grant Peelle and team have done over the past few weeks. Their new documentary I’m Fine Thanks has attracted over 4,000 individual backers and has raised more than their goal of $100k on Kickstarter.

Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter are making it possible for anyone with a compelling story and drive to create something interesting to get their dream projects funded by true fans and generous strangers.

In this interview I shot with Adam Baker, you’ll find out: how they put this project together, why they decided to shoot a documentary (and travel the country making it), and exactly how they crafted the campaign that raised over $100,000.

(click here to see the interview if you’re reading this over email)

Now watch the trailer for the film. It’s incredibly moving. See if you can understand why this has generated so much buzz (and tell us why in the comments below):

(click here to see the trailer if you’re reading this over email)

Over to you

If you like what you saw above in the interview and the trailer, consider backing Adam’s project on Kickstarter. You can get a full copy of the film when it’s released for just $5.

(you can also help Baker and his team break the record for the most individual backers for a documentary on Kickstarter ever – they need just 250 more people to pledge)

We’d also love for you to subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified whenever we post a new interview like this or any other video at Think Traffic.

Finally, I’d love to know your answers in the comments below to a few questions:

  1. Do you think crowdsourcing platforms like Kickstarter are long-term game-changers or more of a short-term fad?
  2. What do you think are the most important aspects of getting a project funded on Kickstarter right now?
  3. What did you think of Adam’s story and experience as a first-time filmmaker and the trailer for the film?

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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David Fowler June 20, 2012 at 9:38 am

Hi Corbett, that’s an amazing project and a great way to raise the finances.

I’ve seen a few authors using Kickstarter to get books published – books that might not otherwise have been published.

Adam’s enthusiasm is very motivating! And I’m only ten minutes into the interview!

Austin June 20, 2012 at 10:25 am

It’s amazing what can be done there days on the internet. Kickstarter is an amazing platform to get a project funded and it’s nice to see people successfully meeting their funding goals and launching new businesses and lifestyle changes.

Congrats to Baker and his crew!

I did notice that Seth Godin is launching a book on there as well as has already raised over $200,000. I’ve seen more and more already well backed and funded projects reach out to the kickstarter community to reach their ultimate funding goal. I hope it can remain a place where “little guys” can raise much needed capital for their projects.

I love what you’re doing here at Think Traffic by the way… keep it up!

Here’s to your $uccess!

~Austin

Sean Mysel June 20, 2012 at 11:16 am

Corbett thanks for having Adam on to talk about this.

I think Kickstarter is a long term deal, it just proves once again how the internet is making business a slightly more level playing field.

In terms of having a project funded, it’s all about relaying a message that people believe and see value in. Clearly Adam and his crew demonstrated that.

What inspires me is how someone like Adam tries to do something that’s way out of his comfort zone. I can only speak for myself, but doing “hi tech” golf lessons is way out of my comfort zone but has been greatly received by my customers.

Rock on!

Cheryl June 20, 2012 at 11:27 am

Well, it never hurts to have a large and faithful tribe – that is my big lesson of the month/week. Seth Godin has an awesome campaign right now as well and it is no surprise that it was fully funded in about 3 hours. Sometimes it is still about who you know – sorry if this sounds harsh and I don’t remember the numbers, but I think only about 50% of campaigns are successful…

JC June 20, 2012 at 11:35 am

Being one of the folks fortunate enough to meet and spend time with the I’m Fine crew during filming, my opinion may be skewed BUT….

The vision, process, and energy behind this entire project has been truly something to behold. By the time they interviewed our family, we were right towards the end, the entire crew was extremely professional and none of us even once thought they were “first-time” filmmakers…a fact I just learned in your interview. Thanks ;)

Kickstarter (and other crowd-sourcing) will do nothing but grow as we continue to develop a true world without borders or boardrooms.

Take Care,
JC
Wyoming USA

jared akers June 20, 2012 at 11:43 am

Great insights into the logic behind their business model and approach to donations on Kickstarter. Good luck to this project!

Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon June 20, 2012 at 12:59 pm

I am really excited about this movie! Really impressed how well it did on Kickstarter. I think Kickstarter has a lot of potential for people doing similar things and am definitely going to try it out myself sometime!

Thomas

Mike DD June 20, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Hi Corbett. There is no option to download the interview so I could listen to it later? Is it on purpose? I have no time to watch it right now. I would very much prefer to listen to it on my phone.

Caleb Wojcik June 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Hey Mike,

We use YouTube to host our interviews. There are ways to download videos from there or you could always just stream in on your phone.

Craig Grella June 20, 2012 at 8:52 pm

It’s amazing what was accomplished on kickstarter, and I think alot of people can learn a lesson from this type of project funding, especially nonprofits. It’s time to break the mold and take your ideas to the people. I think there are enough like minded, tech savvy, philanthropic people out there willing to open their pocketbooks to help real people achieve their goals – especially when they’re able to tell a good story. Great Article.

Lonnie June 21, 2012 at 8:24 am

It had to have helped that he had some popular bloggers behind to help promote his Kickstarter campaign (Pat Flynn, JD Roth) – bloggers that are most likely not accessible to “Joe Creative” off the street.

Corbett Barr June 21, 2012 at 9:22 am

Of course it did Lonnie, but how do you think Baker got those bloggers to promote the film? Three years ago Baker was just “joe creative” off the street too, with no audience and no connections. He worked hard to build a reputation long before he needed it for this project. Kickstarter isn’t magic, but it will amplify the message and reach you come to it with.

http://thinktraffic.net/stake-your-claim

Craig Grella June 21, 2012 at 8:59 am

For those budding developers who want to make their own “Kickstarter-like” websites and receive funding for their own projects – i just wrote an article for WPMU.org about a plugin that gives your wordpress site that functionality. Thought the readers of this post might be interested in it.

http://wpmu.org/fundraising-with-wordpress-a-guide-for-nonprofits/

Tahlee June 21, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Cannot wait to see Adam’s film! So full of inspiring people and messages. :)

Kickstarter has completely changed the game of arts funding for good. And thank the multiverse is all I can say. As an arts worker years ago, you had to fight for scraps from limited funding sources (usually from the government). I saw so many talented artists (including myself) fall by the wayside because they just couldn’t make ends meet.

Now, if you have a compelling message or an inspiring idea and work hard to spread your mission, Kickstarter can help make it happen. It’s not the be and end all, but it sure does help. You still need to create “epic shit” or no-one will give a damn.

As others have pointed out, Adam has an amazing network of people that helped shape his film and leverage his message. But he and all other pre-bloggers work damn hard over many years to form these networks. Overnight success in any arena is a myth.

Sheyi | Ivblogger.com June 22, 2012 at 3:31 am

Its relatively easy tactic here. Builda loyal fan base – help them as much as you could and tell them what you need in return. Adam started 3 years ago adn did the best he could do to build a good fan base and today he is reaping the profit.

Sheyi

Kevin H. Boyd June 22, 2012 at 5:03 am

When I first read about Adam Baker’s film and saw the inspiring trailer I contacted Adam to say his film backed up what I had been doing for the last 6 years over here in the UK.

Encouraged by friend I wrote down my experience in a book called The Job Delusion. I self published it on Amazon Kindle but without a marketing plan or a blog with thousands of subscribers it is hard to get it found.

Inspired by Adam’s approach I have set up a crowd funding pitch on the UK site http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk

I would love you all to help get my book The Job Delusion out to a larger audience to help people to wake up to the delusion that a Good Job will provide everything they need in life.

I’ve also produced a video trailer for the book which you can view at http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/investment/the-job-delusion-book-1006

Tal Gur July 4, 2012 at 9:40 am

Absolutely loved this interview. Very inspiring and can’t wait to watch the movie in Portland in a few days.

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