Participants at Screenworks’ recent Crowdfunding event were inspired and motivated following the enthusiastic and highly informative presentation by Thomas Mai and the Flow Hive media team.

A video of this event is available on Gumroad

The old vs the new

Thomas started the day by highlighting how audiences are currently viewing content and how new viewing habits are driving changes to traditional media models and driving the price down on screen content.

The traditional model of releasing content with ‘windows’ of opportunity, starting with Theatrical, going to Pay TV, then DVD and then free to air is no longer viable. Audiences are now accessing quality screen content online as creators release quality content via Youtube, Vimeo, streaming, pay TV and video on demand (VOD). Creators are releasing content in the free spaces to attract and increase audience, viewership and advertisers.

Thomas explained that ‘whoever has access to audience has access to the funds.” The model of: filmmaker – investor – distributor – theatre – audience, is being superseded by filmmakers connecting directly with their audiences.

A filmmaker has always been co-dependent on their financiers and investors however, with the spread of social media and online opportunities, a filmmaker can now connect directly to audience for the funds they need – making them fan dependent in the new model rather than industry investor co-dependent.

Thomas pointed out that according to Darwin’s theory ‘it’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one most adaptable to change.’ Therefore those content creators that can work with new and adapt to changing models are the ones most likely to succeed.


Using Social Media

Thomas entertained the participants with videos, statistics and examples of the impact and use of social media referring to the social media revolution.

Social media is now the #1 activity on the web.

Thomas gave examples of social media activity effecting and translating to off screen activity and the ability of social media to attract extraordinarily high volumes of ‘traffic’.

Youtube is now the #2 search engine in the world.

93% of marketers using social media for business.

This is the environment that has brought about the success of online peer to peer funding model Crowdfunding.

Building your Audience

Crowdfunding is about pitching direct to an audience and it’s not just about raising funds, it’s about validating your project. It will help you decide early in your development process as to whether to invest your energy into a production.

But for crowdfunding, you must first build your crowd. Thomas worked through strategies for 2 local concepts on how to build a crowd or find your audience.

He walked through facebook advertising strategies, places to go to find your audience and interest groups including Youtube, twitter, instagram, pinterest, etc. How to quantify and analyse content and site popularity through resources such as,

We were entertained with the Dancing Leader video which took us through the steps of how to build followers – a must see!

In building a crowd (audience), Thomas stressed the importance of identifying their potential – the Yes, the Maybe and the No.

He explained the 3 circles of influence:

  1. Family and friends
  2. Friends of friends
  3. Strangers – the crowd that you need to attract to push your project across the line

The Pitch

Pitching your concept to a funding body to secure investment has traditionally been about the ‘what’. Pitching to an audience is about the ‘why’:

  • Why is this important?
  • Why are you doing this?
  • Why should I care?
  • Why should I give you money?

People are more inclined to support ‘why’ you are raising money for your film rather than just supporting the funding of the film.

40% of crowdfunding campaigns are successful.

Thomas’ advice for filmmakers in this current environment is to have:

  • Awareness
  • Curiosity

And to:

  • Engage
  • Participate

Flow Hive


The media team from the recent crowdfunding success Flow Hive came and spoke to us about the strategies that they used for their campaign.  The Flow Hive crowdfunding campaign is the most successful campaign in Australia and the 4th most successful campaign in the world.  They raised over $12million. Mirabai Nicholson-Mckellar created the video and Saadi Allen designed the social media campaign.

Mirabai’s tips for the video include:

  • Make it personal and problem solving, give examples of how your product works, include a call to action.
  • Nail the script, keep reviewing and assessing the script. Rewrite, reshoot and re edit until you have your message just right.
  • Show your personality
  • Use music and narrative to bring in speed and momentum
  • Engage and educate.

The Flow Hive team created a series of videos and used them at different stages throughout their campaign.

Saadi spoke about strategy and recommended:

  • Define your audience
  • Engage them on social media
  • Get support from your network to spread the word
  • Build an email list
  • Produce and share good quality content during the campaign
  • Find supportive influences with your audience – circles of influence
  • Share video content natively on social networks
  • Educate
  • Entertain
  • Tell stories

A video of this event is available on Gumroad

A big thank you to Screenworks member John Rado and his team for filming this event, and to Screenworks long time member Annie Benzie who is currently editing the footage.

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