Crowdfunding 18k with no experience part 3: Make a team and make them cry

This is the third part in a series by Justina Grayman PhD. If you missed the first two posts go back to the beginning for the full impact. The cover image for this post was taken by Teyvon Bussey and captures Justina and her partner on set for the dance film Black Man in America. 

1. I enlisted a partner to produce the project with me. Mine was my boyfriend. He is the songwriter for Black Man in America, and also I love him.

The film would clearly promote his song in some way and he is a Black man with experiences I had no idea about so I thought he would be a great collaborator. I think I would have gone crazy if I didn’t have a partner to work with on this project.

I presented a full storyboard to him, a full storyline, and a description of my vision, and from there he added some awesome elements that transformed the film and, importantly, as a Black man, he steered us in the direction of his own experience.

What I want to say about this step is: DO NOT SKIP IT. If you are the type of person, like me, who habitually likes to go it alone, it could be the exact challenge you need in order to learn what is possible through collaboration. It could be a great lesson to learn that others want to collaborate with you.

It is also critical to remember that I enlisted a collaborator for the entire project, not just to crowdfund. We want people to own the entire project, including the creative aspects (in whatever way you agree) and the financial aspects. This means for the project, NOT just for your crowdfunding campaign.

You will be tempted to disregard this step. You’ll say, but I can do it alone. You’ll say, but who would want to collaborate with me? You’ll say, but I don’t trust anyone. All of that is completely fine. What huge vision could you accomplish if you became someone who everyone wanted to collaborate with, someone who brought others together to create huge visions you couldn’t do alone, and someone who created a trusting environment?

So, enlist a partner or a team. Please. 


2. I made my potential partner cry. Don’t kick them in the kneecaps. By make them cry, I mean to think back to the first step of this entire process: find a vision that makes you cry. Remember that vision? What about it makes you cry?

Use these questions to craft what you will say:

  • What personal story or experience makes you cry about that vision?
  • How does your vision relate to that?

Using your answers to these questions, share with your potential partner(s) your personal story, what is on the line for you if you don’t take action in this area, the project that has come out of that, and ask them what the project means to them. Talk through what they could get out of participating, with them leading the conversation and ask them to create the project with you. Once you have a partner or team, pat yourself on the back. Only move forward to the next phase once you have a community-oriented vision that is underrepresented and a partner or team inspired by the project. For real. For real. For real. Okay.

No, for real!

Justina has packaged all of this information into an online course on Udemy which you can access here.

Stay tuned for the next installment in this series coming out the same time next week. 

This series first appeared on Justina's website. To stay in touch with all of Justina's work join her mailing list here.