Creating an Effective Pitch Video

There is a lot of information out there about how to create an effective pitch video for a crowdfunding campaign, so much so that when I was doing my first campaign on Indiegogo I was totally overwhelmed (and I majored in filmmaking!) I think I was overwhelmed because so much of the information I was getting seemed contradictory – be funny/be sincere, keep it short/explain your project thouroughly. In short, be everything to everyone. From my experience in the arts and in my own personal life I can tell you that trying to be everything to everyone is a surefire way to not mean anything to anyone. That being said, none of that advice is inherently wrong, just don’t try and take it all at once. The most important thing you can do in a pitch video is be true to who you are and what your project/product is. If you are a natural jokester, be funny; if you’re earnest, be honest and speak from the heart.

Here are some basic tips to get you started on planning your pitch video:

Catch their eye: Realistically, you have about 10 seconds to convince someone watching your pitch video that it is in their best interest to continue watching and learning about your project.

Sounds Great!: Good quality audio is VERY IMPORTANT. If it is difficult to hear or understand you, no one will continue listening. I can’t stress to you enough that the built in microphone on your camera is not enough.

Keep it short – 2 minutes is ideal: The purpose of a pitch video is to attract attention – you don’t need to explain every detail of your budget and workflow in your video (that’s what your write up is for.)

Be Clear: Without taking too long, make sure we understand the basic details of your project: What are you doing? When are you doing it? Why are you doing it? and How will you do it? Don’t assume that people visiting your fundraising campaign page will already know what you are trying to accomplish – if your campaign is successful people who have never met you will be contributing. Design your pitch with someone who has never heard of you in mind.

Show us what you got: Remember, video is a visual medium – no one finds a talking head interesting. Introduce yourself to the audience, let them know why YOU should be the one to make this particular project and then get on with showing off the project you are asking them to support

Why should I care?: No matter how cool your project might be, you need to give your audience a reason to put some skin in the game. You need people who watch your pitch video to feel personally invested in your project’s success.

Be Sincere: In the end, the most important thing to remember is that pitch videos need to come from the heart; your audience is smart, they will be able to tell if you are being disingenuous and may actively discourage other people from supporting your campaign. The old adage of any publicity is good publicity doesn’t always ring true in fundraising.

Have Fun: Making a pitch video can be really stressful, so when you’re feeling overwhelmed remember why the project you are pitching is important and deserves to be made.

Case Study:
Recently, we consulted with a group of filmmakers who are in the process of raising funds to make a documentary about the pilgrimage Camino De Santiago.  They made a number of videos that I think are effective for different reasons.

The following video was released a couple of weeks before they began fundraising. It was used to raise the profile of their project and upcoming fundraiser within their own social and professional networks. The video is short (~3 minutes), reflects their personalities, and gives you a taste of what the project is about without getting bogged down in details or taking themselves too seriously.

This next video is what the guys posted to their Indiegogo Campaign Page throughout their campaign. It is shorter (2:15), more informative, while still staying true to their particular style. Notice how the video doesn’t explain every detail of the project, or exactly where every dollar raised will go – That is what the rest of your campaign page is for.