THE BLUE CAGE - Interview



The choice of crowdfunding over other types of funding:

Back in 2014 it was really challenging to me as an independent filmmaker with ambition to make a documentary to present my project to the audience before it was launched. I wanted to see the amount of people we can engage around the project as well as show how serious I was about making it happen, which we sealed with a fixed funding option.

Crowdfunding was not so mainstream in Croatia as it seems to be now, so I read about it in filmmaking mail I subscribed to. As I decided to make The Blue Cage on my own, without any producer, I found it interesting to show my work through social media and make a hype about it, so we can potentially gather the audience who will anticipate the documentary and also become more visible and interesting to potential sponsorships.

Crowdfunding wasn’t the only source of the film funding, but it was definitely a huge and important step.

What contributed the crowdfunding campaign beyond financing:
  • I became more familiar with my project and the film crew although in the beginning I didn't even know about those gaps that were filled by the effort we have put in the process of building the campaign.
  • We got closer as a team, because crowdfunding needs a leader, but as all in life it also needed synergy.
  • We gathered new social media attention and became more visible and interesting.
  • I learned a lot about organizing something that will be exposed and should be easy to navigate through and get to know the content.
  • Lots of media attention, interviews, promotion through newspapers, radio stations and so on, which was really important in making crowdfund and the project more visible and lovable.
  • We gathered the money and broke many obstacles on the way there, including general ignorance regarding crowdfunding concepts (at least in this region).
The challenge of communication in its crowdfunding campaign:

Good organization is half of the way to success in a sense of being able to put yourself in a position of a person who still:

a)     Doesn't care about the project and its needs;

b)     Doesn't know anything about it.

Present yourself, team you're working with, show there is a group of people behind it, but still that there is a leader, a certain backbone of the project; that was my initial goal.

So after you have things ready, it's all about the press release. If you have a good relationship with the media, use all that’s available, those who can make you visible and exposed. Include social intelligence and make people aware you appreciate every action they take. It is a huge area and it is important to be creative and forget about the patterns.

We used all the sources and tricks  possible. Countdown element was emphasized, proper press release with charming content instead of predictable ones was written and forwarded, mailing lists from shipping company owners were also something we used to reach more targeted audience, sailors that were on board were asked to be messengers.

The campaign was like snowboarding, pure passion, adrenaline, decision making but most of all thinking outside the box. Although it sounds simple to do it, to think outside of the how to lists it is of huge importance, since every project is different and has different audience, goal and priorities.

And as remarkable conclusions about the value of the experience of doing a crowdfunding campaign they point out:

After reaching a goal it was set, it was so easy to see even more clear how passionate I was to make things grow and evolve. It gave me self esteem and people believed in my work and ideas even more so it made some closed doors open almost on their own. It takes lots of energy, but if your project is something you are dedicated too, pleasure will be larger than the energy invested or at least proportional. The Blue Cage documentary was made successfully, adored by the audience and loved by the critics and had so many more branches beside the main tree that was planted. Audience kept growing, cinemas took the film for 2 weeks with all tickets sold out, two books (adult and children music book) followed the film and the idea for the sequel was also conceived. It was a real blessing to become part of the crowdfund community and go through that unique experience.