Hey everyone, I have been asked to share our preliminary budget from the House of Monsters Kickstarter campaign from a few years ago. This was our early plan for how the funds would be spent. One of these days I would like to update this to reflect what we ended up spending. I can tell you, the Kickstarter rewards ended up costing 3x what we planned. International shipping killed us. We did not end up renting a stage, and rolled those funds to the rewards and materials and supplies. Also - we brought on a famous actor for the voice over when we were well into the project, and he was not budgeted here. We went over budget considerably, but I hope this serves as a good starting point for anyone considering a crowdfunding project. Thanks.

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Thanks for sharing this Dawn. I think it is a great tool as we all have to make some kind of budget and this is a great starting point as it was created by somebody with experience. Glad to see it dug up.

I'm curious as to what you would do differently in hindsight. Presumably make a bigger allowance for postage costs and/or offer more virtual stuff? Any tips in that direction?
Wasn't there a famous case involving Neil Gaiman's partner, where they raised about a million dollars but spent almost all of it on merchandise and postage?

Thanks Steve! Happy to help.

Steve Copeland said:

Thanks for sharing this Dawn. I think it is a great tool as we all have to make some kind of budget and this is a great starting point as it was created by somebody with experience. Glad to see it dug up.

I don't know anything about the Neil Gaiman case, so I can't speak to that. But I do believe it is easy to get swept up in the rewards part of crowdfunding. Of course we checked shipping costs before we began production, but as if by magic, the international prices doubled by the time we made it to the post office. If your package is even one ounce off your estimated weight, it can throw the costs off significantly. If I were ever do this again, I think I would ease up on shipping physical things. At the time, I was under the impression people wanted a tangible thing, a t-shirt, etc. to feel they were getting something for their money. But at the end of the day, it is important to remember all that stuff takes time, energy and funding away from the film, which is what people want in the first place.

Simon Tytherleigh said:

I'm curious as to what you would do differently in hindsight. Presumably make a bigger allowance for postage costs and/or offer more virtual stuff? Any tips in that direction?
Wasn't there a famous case involving Neil Gaiman's partner, where they raised about a million dollars but spent almost all of it on merchandise and postage?

Thanks for sharing, Dawn.  This is some really good information.  I am interested in what you did to market and distribute the series after you had it funded and created.  Can you share some of your experience on that end with us?

Thanks, Dawn. This is all really interesting.  You say you thought people wanted something tangible... I liked one Kickstarter reward which was to do a happy dance for a small donation. 

Definitely a tip to check postage rates, and perhaps to add a contingency amount in case they put up the rates.

One filmmaker raised quite a bit of money by offering a week's work experience on set (this was a live action shoot), and was surprised how many people took it up. Also did not cost him money for a significant reward.

Hi Adam, We put out a press release. That was a waste of $. We hit the film festival circuit. We paid for Google Advertising when it hit YouTube. Google helped us get a lot of YouTube views, and in that respect, it was worth it. I think the most effective thing I did actually didn't cost anything - I knocked on a ton of digital doors to get reviews, do interviews, etc. There are lots of websites that cover animation and monster things, and I reached out to as many as I could for media coverage. I believe that was really helpful. We ended up licensing both House of Monsters episodes to El Rey Network for distribution and even made a few bucks!

Adam Taylor said:

Thanks for sharing, Dawn.  This is some really good information.  I am interested in what you did to market and distribute the series after you had it funded and created.  Can you share some of your experience on that end with us?

Happy Dance!!! I like that! HA! Yeah, I really appreciate people's creative solutions to crowdfunding. It's harder than it looks, for sure. 

Simon Tytherleigh said:

Thanks, Dawn. This is all really interesting.  You say you thought people wanted something tangible... I liked one Kickstarter reward which was to do a happy dance for a small donation. 

Definitely a tip to check postage rates, and perhaps to add a contingency amount in case they put up the rates.

One filmmaker raised quite a bit of money by offering a week's work experience on set (this was a live action shoot), and was surprised how many people took it up. Also did not cost him money for a significant reward.

I know it was your behind the scenes videos that got me excited about the series. So much detail went into that village townsquare. I would have to say that those kind of videos would be part of a marketing budget since it takes time to make, edit and produce them.

Thanks Steve. Making those videos was one of my favorite parts of the process, and it did not cost anything other than time.

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