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How to Fund and Promote Your Horror Project

The Zombie Thinker

The Zombie Thinker

I’ve seen that there are a lot of creative people in the horror community but not all know how to get organized, how to focus on their projects, how to get the needed funds to turn a good idea into a good project and how to promote the project they worked so hard on. I’m not talking about big companies or people with fat accounts that could easily go to an advertising agency, I’m talking about people like you and me, like most of us. This is the time when I share the things I know with you. I’ve built this guide in such a way that it can be easy to read, it gets you from the beginning (how to organize and grow your ideas) to the end (what to do when the project is over). There are some of you that need to read only a few of the chapters bellow, there are others that need to read all. If you think you can manage a subject that I cover in one of the chapters just skip it. You’ll find the following chapters here:

  1. How to organize your horror project – the start
  2. Funding your horror project – the first steps
  3. Funding your horror project – advanced
  4. Before promoting your horror project
  5. The first steps in promoting your horror project
  6. Promoting your horror project – advanced
  7. What to do next – the end?


1. How to organize your horror project – the start #

kanban-board The way you organize your project from the start might be the key to your success or your failure. The need for getting organized starts in the moment you get your idea for the project. A good idea needs exploring before you can turn into a project plan. I believe that each individual has his own system of exploring ideas. Some people like to get separated from the rest of the world so they can explore their minds in peace, some people like to talk about the idea they had. Talking about your idea with other people around you is a very good exercise: it helps you verbalize your ideas, thus, validating it for yourself; also, it’s a very good way to get feedback and do your initial research.

Tools for exploring your idea.
You’ll soon find out that you have a new enemy, your memory (except for the case where you posses an elephant memory). You’ll have to have at your disposal, at any moment, a way to write down you notes as you explore your ideas. Writing down, nowadays, has a very wide meaning. It can be the classical notepad or a bookmark plugin on your browser. This is a tool you need no matter what your project is about.

Organize your activities.
Soon after you start exploring and developing your idea you’ll find out that your second enemy is time (the lack of it) and there’s only one way to fight it – get organized. I’ll tell you a few ways to get organized without changing too much of your habits:kanbanize-sample

  • Make a daily / weekly list of what you have to do: there are a lot of ways to do it, use a piece of paper or use an application for that, it doesn’t matter; what matters is that you take your time, when you wake up or before going to bed, and clear your head and put on the list the things you need to do the next day / week; use a system of your own to prioritize the tasks (put numbers, mark tasks with a start, whatever you like)
  • Send yourself a message: let’s say a thought crosses your mind and you realize that you have something to do but you are in the middle of something else, what do you do? text or email yourself and you’ll see it later; it’s important not to interrupt what you’re doing but it’s also important not to forget the thought that crossed your mind
  • Split your work in small pieces:  don’t start working on endless tasks, try to define from the start how much you will work on something and what’s the objective; in this way, at the end of the day, you will have the feeling that you finished a lot of things and you will feel accomplished
  • Try to Kanbanize your activities: this is something I do daily; have a look at Kanbanize, a free and easy to use tool for activities management; if you feel lost, drop me an email and I’ll help you 😉

Now let’s say you defined your idea, you know what you want to do and how to do it, let’s get to the next step – get funds.

2. Funding your horror project – the first steps #

No matter what your project is, one thing is clear: you need money. You are now an entrepreneur that needs to find resources to turn his idea into a project and you have to consider yourself one or nobody will. Where do you look, before anything else, when you need funds? Let’s make a list ordered by priorities:

  • Your own money: it would be perfect to have yourself all the money you need but that’s not always the case (but you must have some part of it)
  • You family: this would be the first time when you try to sell your project; they are your family, they will help you but you need to show them you believe in your project; this is a big test for you
  • Your friends and relatives: here things get a little harder but by now you must have a speech, a story to tell and a good way to sell your project
  • Your potential clients: this is your first real test; don’t get mad when you fail convincing the first or the second or the third potential client; try to refine your concept, work on your speech, on your story, try different variations until you find the perfect mix

3. Funding your horror project – advanced #

OK, we’re here. You have some money but not all you need. You have a clear image of what you want to do. If you need more money it’s time to get busy. crowdfunding Getting a partner Getting a partner is a very good idea but you have to think about the following things:

  • Are you compatible with the person you want to get as partner?
  • His skills and available time will help you get the project done?

When getting a partner, money is not everything. Take in consideration that you will share everything with him: your project, your time, your dream. You have to put in the balance all the aspects of the partnership and take a wise decision. Let’s take an example: let’s say you are a writer and you need some design work. You find a good artist that has some great ideas and shares your passions and your dream about your project. It would be a good decision to get him as your partner. He will help you on the creative side and also on execution. Now let’s say that you want to make a big event for the horror community and you need a website, a Facebook event page and run some ads. Would it be wise to get as partner a programmer that would do your website and setup your Facebook event? In most cases the answer is NO.

Getting a sponsor
Try to think about who else would benefit of your project and approach those people with a sponsorship request. If you want to make an event try to think about a place for the event, is there a place around a commercial area where the business owners would benefit from the presence of so many people? Approach those business owners. If you want to write a book or make a movie: is there any thing that you could include in your project and make a reference to a business? Prepare a smart presentation and approach those people.

Start a funding campaign This is simple, make a website, present your idea to the world, start spreading the word and setup a Paypal account to accept donations. It’s hard to do it but it could work.

Preselling  your work
The same with the funding campaign, showcase your product and offer to everybody the possibility to buy in advance.

Getting crowd-funded
This is actually a combination of previous ways of getting money. Crowd-funding is so popular today with all the platforms that emerged lately. There are two ways crowd-funding works:

  • donation based funding: people donate money, small amounts, for your project and get something in exchange
  • investment crowd-funding: you sell ownership stakes online in the form of equity or debt and individuals who fund become owners or shareholders and have a potential for financial return, unlike in the donation model

Kickstarter-Logo2 Let’s see a few examples:

  • Kickstarter is a site where creative projects raise donation-based funding. These projects can range from new creative products, like an art installation, to a cool watch, to pre-selling a music album. It’s not for businesses, causes, charities, or personal financing needs. Kickstarter is one of the earlier platforms, and has experienced strong growth and many break-out large campaigns in the last few years.
  • While Kickstarter maintains a tighter focus and curates the creative projects approved on its site, Indiegogo approves donation-based fundraising campaigns for most anything — music, hobbyists, personal finance needs, charities and whatever else you could think of (except investment). They have had international growth because of their flexibility, broad approach and their early start in the industry.
  • Rockethub powers donation-based funding for a wide variety of creative projects. What’s unique about RocketHub is their FuelPad and LaunchPad programs that help campaign owners and potential promotion and marketing partners connect and collaborate for the success of a campaign.
  • If you want to build the next new mobile app and are seeking donation-based funding to get things off the ground or growing, then check out appbackr and their niche community for mobile app development.
  • If you’re an inventor, maker, or tinkerer of some kind then Quirky is a place to collaborate and crowd-fund for donation-based funding with a community of other like-minded folks. Their site digs deeper into helping the process of bringing an invention or product to life, allowing community participation in the process.

Some important advice’s if you plan on doing a campaign on Kickstart or Indiegogo:

  • You must be prepared with more than your idea with lots of marketing materials
  • You have to show them something, at least a small part of your project
  • You have to plan on what you offer them in exchange of the donation
  • You have to keep the community around your project alive, communicate with the people who donated to your project, be active, respond to their needs

4. Before promoting your horror project #

Now you have the money and you must deliver. Remember the first step where I was talking about getting organized. That was nothing, now it’s time to really do things the right way. Before promoting your project you must take your time and plan smart, don’t dive into it right away. What you need to do:

  • Identify your target audience: define a profile for your client
  • Do a research and see where you can find those clients (online or offline)
  • Define the channels you want to use to get in touch with your clients
  • Make a clear list of suppliers (with backup) for each of your needs
  • Make a step-by-step plan for all your activities


5. The first steps in promoting your horror project #

First of all you must do two things:

  • Secure your presence
  • Present yourself

social-media Securing your presence  This has to happen both online and offline. Offline means that you secure deals with all the partners you need. If you wrote a book: talk to publishers or book shops. Talk to cafe shops where people use to read. Remember the research you did about reaching your clients. Online, things are, somehow, the same:

  • Secure your name: get a domain name with your project name and build a small website
  • Social media presence: be available on all major social media platforms, according to the profile of your client: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
  • Be active where your clients are: that means forums, blogs, Facebook groups or any other place where you can find potential partners
  • Start by being part of a community (if you are not already one) and end by creating a new community around your project
  • Don’t create false expectations
  • Get involved in what your clients do, understand how they think, don’t push, make them come to you

6. Promoting your horror project – advanced #

Get help reaching out to potential clients fiverr
It’s not always easy to be everywhere, some communities are hard to find or to get into. Sometimes you don’t have the time to do it all by yourself. There are a few services online that will help you get noticed fast. Have a look on Fiverr and see how many people are there to help you promote your product. There are people who can help you reach tens of thousands of horror fans on Facebook, other people who can write about your product, other people who can help you better promote your website. You find everything you need on Fiverr :).

Get endorsements from big names
I’m sure there are a few public figures that stand out of the crowd and their opinion matters to your potential clients. Ask them to review your product, to write about you, to talk about you. The first step in all this is to start talking with them and make the interested in your product 🙂

Get your own project evangelists 
Choose some of your fans and include them in your inner circle. Talk to them, give them attention and make them feel like they are part of your project. Empower them to become evangelists for your project. Some of them might even have blogs and they can write about you and your project.

Affiliate marketing
There are a lot of affiliate marketing solutions online, you just have to choose the best one that suits your needs. Affiliate marketing works in a very simple way: you pay a commission for every sale and affiliate generates. There are a lot of resources online about the subject so I’ll not insist on it.

Freemium (simplified)
Freemium is a business model by which a proprietary product or service is provided free of charge, but money (premium) is charged for advanced features, functionality, or virtual goods. This is something you should think about from the start, it’s a business model that makes wonders with a certain types of products, especially digital goods. Research it and give it a thought.

7. What to do next – the end? #

And now we’ve reached the end. Your project was a success, you had a great idea, you found money to make it a good product and you sold it. Is this the end? No, it’s just the beginning of a new project 🙂 What you should do now: take your time, analyse everything you did, the good and the bad, what worked and what didn’t, write it down and remember it while you work on your next project.

About Daniel Grey

Daniel Grey aka The Black Zombie is a tech oriented zombie wizard, looking for endless sources of energy for his magic. He uses his magic to bring you great entertainment every day.
The Grey Zombie project is the product of the greatest zombie wizards: The Black Zombie and The White Zombie.

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