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Interview: Gilles Guerraz, LAPSE (Short / Funded)

  • Pioneer
  • Writer

LAPSE is a film noir project by director Gilles Guerraz. Uniting the emblematic figures of the genre: hitmen, incriminating witnesses, bodyguards, corrupt politicans, LAPSE was successfully launched on Ulule. In two months, the project collected €8125, that's 162% of the requested sum!

So let's go back with Gilles to the beginning of their project, to the way he promoted it and the reasons for such a success.

Gilles, how did the idea of your project come to you?

I have been directing shorts for a few years. They are usually shorts produced in 48 hours, as part of the "48 hour Film Project" competition. For once, I wanted to take my time, to direct something a little more sucessfully completed.

Why did you choose crowdfunding to fund your project?

I discovered this method of funding by following an american music group's crowdfunding campaign. It was Brad Standley and the Foxflies, for whom I directed a video clip during their Parisian Tour. They funded their Tour on an american site (Indiegogo), so that's where I got the idea from.

I could have tried to find funds via more traditional platforms, but this process often takes a lot more time. I didn't want to wait 'till the second half of 2012 to film my short.

Do you have any tips on how to promote a crowdfunding project?

I chose 3 bases of communication

1 - news on the Ulule project page

2 - a blog dedicated to the film

3 - a page dedicated to the film on Facebook

I only used Twitter every now and again, as it seemed less "introduced" in France than the US. Facebook remains the most essential tool to communicate a project.

-Do you think your rewards were key factors in attracting support for your project, or did you mostly rely on the generosity of friends and family?


I believe that when you launch a crowdfunding campaign, it's necessary to appeal to different spheres: friends and family, your close network, your extended network and complete strangers (through social media for example).

Have you kept in touch with your supporters?

Yes, I have received quite a few messages on Ulule, and I have been delighted to be able to respond to everyone.I have also kept in touch through Facebook, with comments and publications.

Would you use crowdfunding to fund another film?

To be honest, I hope that this short will enable me to access more conventional funding methods for my next projects. It's great to work in "normal" production conditions adapted to the conditions of the project and where the patricipants are correctly paid for their work. From the point of view of filmmaking, I see crowdfunding as an alternative to the traditional path.

lorsqu'on ne peut pas ou que l'on ne souhaite pas y a voir accès.

What tips would you give to other directors hoping to crowdfund a project?

I see quite a few projects where the project owner seems to have finished working once his profile page is online on a crowdfunding site. I believe it's important to keep the spirit that crowdfunding is a campaign. It's a marathon which requires constant effort throughout. You've got to regularly provide news, try to interest people; show that the project is full of life, dynamic. In the same order of ideas, I believe it is important that news of the project is updated more regularly than explicit requests for support.

It is also interesting to target the date your project goes online. Putting your project online 48 hours after a very similar project could prove to be counter-productive for example.

You've got to show pragmatism, and increase your efforts at the end of the month, when payday is approaching...

don't hesitate to refer to resources on crowdfunding, which are all over the web.

How did you think up your rewards?

I was inspired by several successful pages that I spotted on American sites. And I asked myself what I would like to receive if I should support a film project.

What tips would you give to other project owners with regards to potential rewards?

Check out crowdfunding sites, discover good ideas and recycle them. Be careful about copy and pasting things, which is often a little too obvious...

And show originality. I remember this one American project owner who, among the numerous rewards available on his page, offered a 10 minute telephone conversation with his supporters .An original and friendly way of developing the link created by his campaign.

Which aspect of your campaign do you think played the biggest part in the success of your project?

As the old saying goes, "you only have one chance to make a good impression"; I think I made the maximum effort possible to present my project. I wrote my text with care, trying to attract people as much as possible. I filmed myself presenting my project. I made a short clip of some of my previous films. I approached a friend who's a graphic designer for the visual creation, I organised photos to provide the material for the graphist...all creating as much news about the project as possible.

I sent emails, Facebook messages, regularly updated the film blog...

There is no miracle recipe for success. You've just got to promote your project with energy, and do it in an "intelligent way", trying to interest people in the project rather than just simply asking them for money.

Have you had media coverage, and how did you sollicit it? How have they helped your campaign?

Certain medias have approached me to talk about my project, I was delighted.I have approached others who have never come back to me. I'm also lucky to have a friend who's PR Officer - he wrote me a press release which he passed on to several journalists. It's difficult to know the impact of the media coverage. When someone I don't know supports my project, I don't know if he/ she has discovered the project via Facebook, whilst browsing through Ulule, or by another means.

I should really ask them ;-)

Thank you Gilles !

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