Updated: Jan 7, 2019
I am not here to tell you to put $5 bills in a jar every time you find yourself with one. Although it could be an effective method, let me show you how to get your music video financed without waiting a million years.
Bands and musicians need good quality video. Not only will it say A LOT about their career and image, it can be a portal to getting a huge return. They can generate ad revenue, merch purchases, get awards like those from film festivals, get sponsored, and even go viral. Unfortunately, Many bands struggle to figure out how to fund their videos. Especially if they just barely had enough to fund the making of their albums.
But it is not impossible, and you will be thankful you won't settle for shooting your video on a phone.
Let me help you get thousands of dollars worth of funds for your video.
STEP 1. PREPARATION - Writing a Proposal
1. Take a look your music. You make music because you are passionate about singing, or playing instruments, or telling stories through lyrics. Now look at your audience. They follow you around because they love that you are passionate about all those things, AND they can sit back, enjoy, and relate to what ever you are playing about.
What music are you making, for who and why. Answer those three questions right now. Write them down.
2. Now, you probably have a song in mind, but if not, choose a song that you feel tells a great story about either you as a band, or about your audience. You will need to listen to this song over and over until you come up with a great theme. If you are struggling with coming up with a concept or idea for this video, don't hesitate to talk to a creative and get their input. Even a business person can help you come up with effective concepts.
Get the best of both worlds and talk to a music video producer. They will help you put together a creative concept, and a marketing concept for greater success.
3. Don't be afraid to dream big in the beginning. Write down a short synopsis of what happens in the video, or what it looks like. Make mood boards, or tear sheets. If this music video is a historical piece or will have a cultural impact, make note of this because furthur on we will discuss it.
4. Write down all the people you will need to make this happen, as well as a list of all the equipment needed to make this happen. Again, consulting with a music video producer or even a cinematographer will help you make an accurate list. Most will not charge you for helping you out. At least, I just like to enjoy a good conversation over coffee while the band shows me everything they want to do.
5. The big number. Come up with an estimated cost. Don't sell your video short. It is okay to aim high, because while you search for financing, that number will be your motivation. Add up the cost of the labor, cost of equipment, cost of talent, and cost of locations.
6. Put the document together. Start off by writing a bried history of your band. About who you are, what you play for, and your goals. Then add in the synopsis and purpose of the video. List all the people, equipment, and places you plan to use. At the end, write down your estimated cost, and then a detailed look at where the numbers are coming from.
I am always willing to help you write a proposal so give me a call and let's have some coffee!
You got your proposal! Now on to the money!
Step 2: FIND THE FUNDS- Fundraisers and Sponsors
1. Source an Investor or Sponsor
Start off with excitement. Announce your plans for a music video and how you really want it to be great and special. Post it all over social media. Let everyone know what you plan to make and why it's going to cost so much. Show that you are passionate about this video too. Have a day you want to start filming, to increase the amount of interest.
Asking friends and family is always a great start, but don't be afraid to go beyond that. Many music videos are funded by local shops or small business. Approach a local business that has a similar audience as you. Ask them to lunch, get to know them and let them know about your project. Send them your proposal, as well as how this music video will also benefit them. Don't be afraid of rejection. If they say no, go on to the next.
Ask your fan base for help. Start a Go Fund Me, and excite them with all the plans you have ready for this music video. There are other sites like Help for Bands, and Fan Funded. One local band, 7000apart, actually got their first album completely funded by fans after a very ambitious campaign. They posted daily videos, and had a great response. Look to other band campaigns as inspiration.
Promote some of your live shows as fundraisers for your next video! People love to help, especially when it's about someone they feel is passionate about their work.
2. Get Sponsored by a Brand
I know a lot of bands are thinking that it is impossible to get sponsored by a brand at the level they are. Just because you only have 200 followers on instagram, and your video will only get about 1000 views on youtube, doesn't mean a brand won't still find you worth a sponsor. Every bit of exposure is good to them.
List brands that match your target audience and demographics. Are you a classy perfume band, or a energy drink band? Google search every brand you can think of and list them in an excel document along with their email.
Start sending the jab and the hook emails one by one. First, send them a brief email explaning who you are and what you wish to accomplish. Be sure to stress that you have the same audience and that they would be a perfect sponsor. If they express interest, prepare a PDF that really tells them what your plans are, what the video is about, what the costs are, and how this video will be beneficiary to them.
If it doesn't work out with this brand, go on to the next. Don't give it up. This also works with corporate companies in your area.
3. Apply to Grants
Believe it or not, many states still have art grants and your band has a chance at them. There is this very great story about an indie band in Maine that got a grant of $1.5k after sending the proposal to the Maine Arts Commission.
Research grants in your state, city or community. If your video has a historical or cultural impact, your band has a huge chance at getting a grant. You must send them a detailed proposal about the story, the production of it and the impact it may have. Cities and states love funding projects that involve them and the community.
Make sure you are also running a campaign about the video so that these communities see the interest in having your video done.
Step 3: GO GUERILLA - Methods that Make a Difference
A few more methods to try and gather money for your next music video would be by using you talents. Give lessons about everything you are good at. Piano lessons, voice lessons, music production lesson -- Anything and everything. Rent out equipment you own to other bands and musicians. Sell equipment you don't need anymore. Make instrumentals and sell the royalties, or music licenses for others to use on their TV shows or company videos. The list can go on forever! Remember that you have a goal, and nothing will stop that.
Here are a few more things to note before you head off:
If you are in a band with multiple members, make a new bank account and write an agreement. Nothing would suck more than, working really hard to fund this project and one of the band members leaves with all the money.
Give each member a fundraising tactic, responsibility and goal. Make sure each one is passionate about this project, and everyone agrees with the proposal that was written.
Alright, that is all the information I can give at the moment. I am always excited to talk with and help musicians figure out their next video. Coming up with concepts as well as budgeting for them is always fun. I am always available to talk and get to know new people, so send me a message if you have any questions!
Good Luck on all your future projects, and remember, don't be afraid to seek input from a professional!
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