Got any examples of tricks filmmakers are using for Kickstarter or IndieGoGo?

Actually yes, and if you read to the bottom I also uncovered what had been a mystery to me for a couple years!

I met Alex Orr a couple years ago at the Atlanta Film Festival. I remember being jealous because he could draw such a large audience in the ATL. He and his wife Katie did the circuit the first year I was really jurying and paneling, and I ran into them in different states, and finally in Park City where I stood next to them as we watched Slash perform with Anvil, and the lead singer jumped off stage. As Alex and Katie and I surrounded him he jammed in the middle of the floor.

I saw a post of his pass by the other day, and followed the links, and then started texting him. This is that conversation:

HEIDI: Hey Alex! So I saw you were doing something kinda cool on Facebook and thought I’d ask you about it here! So do you want to explain what it is you guys are up to and who all the players are?
ALEX: Hey Heidi! We are gearing up to make another feature called Congratulations! Mike Brune, who starred in our first feature Blood Car and wrote and directed a short called The Adventure wrote the script and is directing.

We have cast John Curran (The Adventure) and Robert Longstreet (Septien, Take Shelter, The Catechism Cataclysm) I am producing with Alex Motlagh (The Signal) and our Fake Wood Wallpaper films gang. Adam Pinney, Tony Holley, Katie Rowlett, Chris Campbell

We have been doing a video a day to raise money and awareness and on twitter @congratsmovie Mike Brune does this silly mock news report. It’s fun and something that’s there to entertain everyday. We’re trying to be relentless, like NPR

The movie is a mix of this existential comedy that Brune did in the The Adventure (which you can see for free on and a police procedural. Like Antonioni meets Airplane! Or Tati directing The Wire.

It’s fun to try to explain because it doesn’t exist. Like trying to tell someone ‘like a funny Michael Haneke film’ they give a puzzled look.

Ha, k, let me catch up. Reminder: This is a blog, so we only have about 1000 words to hold people’s attention.
Short version: we are making silly videos everyday to raise some money for our next feature.
(sorry, I’m wordy)

Ha, thanks! I think the part that really caught my eye was the amount you were asking for. Do you want to talk about that and why you chose that strategy and how much are you trying to get people to donate?
We have donations as low as $1! Any little bit helps. Watch our short, give us a buck. That’s a fair trade for me. Then maybe people will let us charm another $1 out of them.

The asking for just a buck per person is awesome. I mean who doesn’t have a buck? Did you have a Corp set up or an llc or something? How is the money funneled back to you?
It’s a good way to get things moving. Like a little kid saving change for a bike. We go through Fractured Atlas – they are a non profit- so your $1 is a write off! Haha and they are the fiscal sponsor of our LLC.

How much have you raised so far? And how many days left?
We have raised over $6,000 through Fractured Atlas and our videos and we start shooting in 40 days. We will raise money till day 1 of shooting

Is there anything you have learned since you started this process that you would do differently next time?
I would do more. More videos, more time, more blogging but I wouldn’t push for more money. A buck is a good opener if you don’t know me

What sort of plan do you have for distribution when the film is complete? Didn’t you release Blood Car in some unusual way? Or am I just remembering a runaway blimp at the Atlanta FF having something to do with your film?
For blood car we self distributed and booked theatrical screenings ourselves too. For this film we will just adjust as we need to, so special plan. If it comes down to it, well give the movie away to get it seen.

Hm, did you totally just ignore my question about out the blimp?
Oh. Haha. We stole a blimp. Part of out marketing campaign is being a rowdy bunch.

Wait, that was a shot in the dark, you did actually steal it?
Yeah we did.

Nice. So that’s part of your marketing strategy for this film too? Blatant disregard for the law?
We like to say no press is bad press

Ha. Does that also mean though that no jail time is bad jail time?
That’s a good point

Ha. Anything else you want to add about kickstarter or your next crime wave before we go?
It was IndieGoGo for us. As for crime, we are on the straight and narrow for now.

Oh s**t! You’re on indiegogo? What made you choose that over kickstarter – I hear there can be good reasons to… Actually I’ve heard there are benefits to both but curious about your specific reasons.
They are connected to Fractured Atlas. So we save on the percentage we pay and our contributors still get a charitable deduction tax write off.

Ahhhh, gotcha! Thanks so much, Alex! Will check in later!

If you google “Atlanta Film Festival blimp stolen,” several pieces come up. Gabe Wardell has video footage of it actually being stolen.

Don’t forget to get your tix to the Dances with Film Festival, they have amazing panels and some great screenings!

Heidi Van Lier is a filmmaker living in Los Angeles. She has directed 3 feature films, with another one on the way. Her first film, Chi Girl, won the Slamdance Film Festival in 1999. She has written a film school textbook called The Indie Film Rule Book, available on She has been a programmer for the Slamdance Film Festival, and on juries and panels at countless festivals around the country. She has an expensive 8-year-old daughter, send help.

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