Miranda Fleming, head of film UK at Indiegogo, explains why she’s embracing new independent film funding models
Film producer Miranda Fleming, who worked for five years as head of production at Screen South, was recently appointed UK head of film at US-based crowd-funding platform Indiegogo. Last week she helped director Nick Ryan (The Summit) launch a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for his latest film, Six Days of the Rising, about the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland.
Here Fleming talks about how she came to embrace new models for funding independent film - and why she thinks others should follow suit.
I have worked as a traditional film producer for years, and also supported and funded creative UK film talent for the last five years as head of production at Screen South.
But I was becoming despondent by the increasing devaluation of independent film, the reliance on subsidised funding for filmmakers and the fees producers were being told to command in their budgets.
What I did know was that new distribution models, particularly being tested and consistently getting proof of concept in the US indie film industry, were starting to offer filmmakers a real chance of IP ownership and a chance of taking home net profit.
I joined the National Film and Television School’s Creative Business for Entrepreneurs & Executives (CBEE) diploma course to learn about new models being used by entrepreneurs in the Creative Industries. Over the course of 8 months I was taught new and disruptive business models being applied by some of the most forward thinking entrepreneurs working in the UK.
In parallel to this, the NFTS delivered an excellent ‘mini MBA’ helping me learn essential business practice and thinking for today’s marketplace.
The open access to entrepreneurs who came in to speak with us in closed NDA sessions gave me the kind of insights into these businesses that I could only have dreamed of. It equipped me with the current information and tools to go out and become part of the real conversation in the online and digital space - and I have no doubt that this led me to being offered the role by San Francisco based crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.
Having written an R&D paper at the beginning of the year for Creative Skillset about hybrid distribution being offered to filmmakers, I became increasingly interested in the new ecosystem being created around the 360 degrees thinking of new film businesses - from funding through to distribution.
Crowdfunding is a major part of that ecosystem. It helps to fund and empower a filmmaker without giving any rights away, and crowdfunding is the way for a filmmaker to build and engage their film’s audience.
Indiegogo works with platforms such as VHX who offer filmmakers website build, crowdfunding data gathering, keeping the filmmakers crowd engaged through the prep, production and distribution of the film. VHX offers the filmmaker their own page and they can play streams of their film, which are offered as perks in the crowd funding process.
I have worked on two films, which have crowdfunded successfully on Indiegogo. I think Crowdfunding also sits well with traditional finance and distribution too - it sets out to test a film in the marketplace, gather audience data, which is extremely valuable to everyone.
Indiegogo is the only major crowdfunding platform to offer a flexible fee, which means that your hard work does not go to waste - even if you don’t reach your whole goal - and you can take the funding you have raised and contribute it to your film’s budget.
Two of the short films that we are funding this month are award-winning sirector Elaine Wickham’s brave short film Gaslighting (starring Stephen Graham) and A Horse Called Oz by upcoming film company Milky Films.
It would be great to see film lovers enjoy funding and giving small amounts to these films, it empowers the filmmakers and will end up helping their own careers as they will become less reliant on one stop shop sources of finance.
Every filmmaker I have met (literally without exception) has a project they want to crowdfund in their back pocket. I am here to support them do that - Please contact me! (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To find out more about the NFTS CBEE course visit http://bit.ly/1mMYxEU. Apply by November 24.