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WIFTI Summit 2012 and ScriptDC
University of California Washington Center in Washington, DC
December 1, 2012 4:15-5:45

Writer: Faith DeVeaux, Writer/Producer/Director, WIFV DC Member

Using social media as a way to raise money for your project was presented by Rachell Shapiro, Director of Development and Senior Producer at Rock Creek Productions and Laurie Scheer, Associate Faculty and Associate Writer Mentor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ms. Shapiro presented information on the most common social media sites, and presented a case study based on her own production of From Hell to
Here.

Rachell Shapiro is an award winning producer and director who has been producing top quality media content for ten years. She is currently the Director of Development and Senior Producer at Rock Creek Productions, Inc.

Rachell Shapiro is an award winning producer and director who has been producing top quality media content for ten years. She is currently the Director of Development and Senior Producer at Rock Creek Productions, Inc.

The most vital piece of information was to visualize the back end from the beginning of production. The benefits of using social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Linked-In include that they are free, you can build an audience and reach people that you can’t by normal networking, engage readers, learn from others, and raise funds. It is recommended to begin engagement prior to finishing your film. Rachell recommends to post two to three times a day on Facebook, but at least 5 times a day on Twitter, and to ask your followers questions. She also provided a comparison of Indiegogo versus Kickstarter.Tips are: set a fundraising goal, tell people about your project, set up contribution levels, create perks, and make a pitch video of about 2-3 minutes long. Be prepared to put in a lot of effort into the online campaign, let people know it’s a passion project, make as many connections as possible before starting your campaign, and keep in mind that campaigns 30 days or less are more successful than other lengths of time.

Laurie Scheer is a former vice president of programming for WE: Women's Entertainment. She has worked as an assistant, d-girl, and producer for ABC, Viacom, Showtime, and AMC-Cablevision.
Laurie Scheer is a former vice president of programming for WE: Women’s Entertainment. She has worked as an assistant, d-girl, and producer for ABC, Viacom, Showtime, and AMC-Cablevision.

Laurie Scheer added to Rachell’s comments by stating that you do not have to be on all of the social media sites that are on the Web.  Development people are looking at campaigns for possible material. She then continued the discussion by listing and  showcasing sites where one can pitch projects virtually. She particularly recommends tvtracker.com to get started researching studios and their needs. On virtualpitch.com, you can post a short video of yourself pitching your idea. Other pitch sites listed include inktip.com, querytracker.com, and triggerstreet.com.  Event and conference sites include pitchcon.org, nytvf.com, moviepitch.com, fadeinonline.com, and pitchfest.com. For all of these sites, Laurie reminds us to have your work registered with the WGA and/or have the copyright before posting your project, and there is no guarantee that your work won’t be stolen.  In addition, make sure your script is ready to go if someone should contact you, and have some pre-production planning complete. Resource sites include donedealpro.com, cynopsis.com, adweek.com, ypulse.com, deadline.com, gawker.com, and mediabistro.com.

Lastly, both speakers noted that both online and traditional fundraising options can be held at the same time. A new site, seed & spark.com, which incorporates both crowd funding and distribution, was introduced.

About the Writer: Faith DeVeaux, Writer/Producer/Director, WIFV DC Member

Faith DeVeaux is the author of When Duty Calls, and the Writer/Producer/Director of the short films The Visit and Life and Time. She is currently in post-production with her WWII documentary Double Victory: Two Warriors in the Fight for Civil Rights During WWII.