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Crowdfunding 101: “Linsanity”

As the STREAM conference kicks off today (June 3) in Santa Monica, realscreen continues its crowdfunding focus by looking at the campaign for Linsanity (pictured), which raised more than US$160,000.
June 3, 2013

As the STREAM conference kicks off today (June 3) in Santa Monica, realscreen continues its crowdfunding focus by looking at the campaign for Linsanity (pictured), which raised more than US$160,000.

Project: Linsanity
Funding goal: US$117,000
Amount raised: $167,916
Kickstarter backers: 2,102
Key takeaway: Have a plan and identify potential “super fans”

“Plan, plan, plan” is the main piece of advice coming from Linsanity producer Allen Lu, who oversaw the Kickstarter campaign for the Sundance documentary selection which tracked Asian-American basketball star Jeremy Lin from his humble basketball beginnings at Harvard to his spectacular and noisy rise through the NBA.

Launched on January 15, the campaign for Linsanity, established to raise both awareness of and finishing funds for the project, exceeded its goal by US$50,000 by the time it closed a month later.

“Our primary goal with the Kickstarter campaign was to identify our ‘super fans’ – those fans that were extremely excited and ready to support the film,” says Lu. “Secondarily we wanted to raise funds for the growing budget of our project.”

Offering a selection of DVDs, posters, stickers and a button collection, the campaign’s rewards looked to engage the film’s potential audience as much as possible.

“We used the standard [rewards] but added buttons as a fun collectible,” says Lu, “[something] our fans would enjoy and would feel was unique for our project.”

The buttons signified each stage of Lin’s basketball career, with his jersey number and year played, ranging from a Harvard button to one depicting the 2011-2012 New York Knicks.

Lu says that the production crew and filmmakers used their own social networks to spread the word and also asked Lin to tweet a few times from his personal Twitter page. As well, the team pushed the story of the film and its campaign to as many media outlets as possible and planned several campaign updates to keep the word spreading.

Evan Jackson Leong, Linsanity‘s director, says Lin’s popularity – branded by the media as “Linsanity,” hence the project’s title – obviously helped in getting the word out about the film even further, and adds that the Sundance announcement also boosted interest.

“We were lucky that with Jeremy it wasn’t an obscure market, we just had to tap into the market that was already there,” he says.

  • The STREAM conference takes place in Santa Monica on June 3-4, with a crowdfunding session taking place today (June 3) at 3 p.m. PST. For more information, click here.
  • This interview originally appeared in the May/June 2013 edition of realscreen magazine. Not a subscriber? Click here for more information.
Realscreen magazine May/June 2013

 

 

 

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.

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