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This indie filmmaker is raising $1000 a day for her feature


Filmmaker Sarah Arlen has raised over $13,000 dollars on Kickstarter after launching a campaign to fund the completion of her feature film ‘Twice’, a polyamorous love story.

Since the launch of her campaign, Arlen has been actively promoting her project and engaging with a large community to make her vision a reality. She hopes to attain the full funding goal of $25,000 and complete her feature film, which was shot in 4K definition around Paris.

Arlen’s film is a romantic dramedy that tells the story of a polyamorous couple from a male and female perspective, following their relationship as it goes from friendship to romance, breakup and then love. The filmmaker intends to raise awareness about polyamory, which means to be in love with more than one person at the same time whilst being honest with everyone.

With more than 160 backers so far, Sarah is just over halfway to her funding goal. Discover how she’s managed to get support for her project, the people who have inspired her, and her tips for filmmakers looking to try crowd-funding for their creative projects.

Interview with Sarah Arlen

Iain: Is there anyone who inspired you to run this crowdfunding campaign?

Sarah: I was very much inspired by Amanda Palmer to run this crowdfunding campaign. Right before launching the “Twice” Kickstarter, I read her new book, ‘The Art of Asking‘ which is an essential read for anyone making anything for an audience, I would say. I’d already watched her inspiring TED Talk, like, a bazillion times. I was also inspired to Kickstart something because I’ve backed 30 projects on Kickstarter, and I love the way the community works. Some of my best friends, including my co-producer Greg, have run campaigns.

Iain: What has the feedback from the Polyamory community been so far?

Sarah: The polyamorous community is the main backer base of this project so far, but it takes a lot of effort to really reach a community that’s actually made up of lots of small-scale communities. That’s what I devote the majority of my campaign time to, but that’s also because I want to be a true ally and friend to as many community members as possible, and that means building authentic, long-term relationships, which takes commitment.

I’ve been Skyping people every week, messaging them, getting to know them. I care about them. No matter what happens with Kickstarter, I will always be so grateful for the amazing people I’m connecting with through it, so many incredible friends. The feedback about my authentic desire to connect is met with outstanding support.

Iain: What have you learned so far by doing this campaign? 

Sarah: I have learned so much already during this campaign, and it’s only half over! Lots of mistakes have been made, and been made by me. For example, I thought that launching a polyamorous project on Valentine’s Day was a brilliant idea. Um, it was actually like shouting into a rioting crowd. I’ve learned that you have to try lots of stuff and be willing to fail at it, but always come up with new plans and keep trying them immediately because the clock is ticking. I’ve learned that people often think filmmakers are inaccessible, which is one of the main reasons I love crowdfunding, because that wall between audience and creator gets broken down and I can actually be buddies with and get feedback directly from my crowd while I’m making the movie. The most important thing I’ve learned that is invaluable: I’m learning who my audience actually is, the real individual people who will be watching my film. That’s priceless.

Iain: What do you want to achieve with the project?

Sarah: I want to achieve a lot with this project. The most essential thing is to create the best story with the highest artistic quality possible. That is something I know my team and I can do with these resources. Beyond that, I want to pay artists properly and give them interesting work to do. And far beyond that, I want to create a new audience culture. Before, the audience participated by either going to or not going to the film. Now, you can be a part of the projects you want to see made by helping to make them directly, bypassing a lot of power plays that still govern the entertainment industry. I feel like the audience hasn’t yet understood the empowerment that can provide both me and the filmmakers they decide to support. That’s a revolution. That’s a cause I will fight for so that other artists can find their audience like I’m finding mine.

Iain: Do you have any tips for filmmakers looking to give crowdfunding a go?

Sarah: My tips for crowdfunding for filmmakers are these: 

  • Be sincere. Don’t fake anything. Show up with the truth. I was petrified of asking for money. I wrote a blog about my fear and soon-to-be backers related to it. 
  • Be accessible. Write every single backer a thank you note yourself and personalize each one, even if you’re copying and pasting a little the rest of the time. Personally answer every single question they have. We have over 150 backer so far, and I have written to every single one. That’s your job when you’re crowdfunding.
  • Be clear. Constantly ask yourself, “Am I being clear?” Clarity is a steep learning curve in crowdfunding. Every day, I try to clarify my messages, my intention, my project more and more.
  • Be proud. Create a page that’s full-on awesome, that you feel pride for when you point people to it. If you’re raising money for a film, don’t you dare not have videos on your page! Have your main video be something that makes you believe in what you’re making. And be willing to tweak stuff that you’re proud of, to let some of it go, to change stuff completely sometimes. Be proud that you are adapting throughout the campaign, cuz that’s what you are going to have to do to keep it moving forward, evolving, growing.
  • Be creative. You’re a project creator, make everything about your film have your artistic voice inside it. And create new stuff to share every single day. I’ve written blogs, guest blogged, made new videos, designed graphics, and I send an update directly through Kickstarter almost every single day. Create content to share with your audience all along the way.

Polyamorous ‘Twice’ Trailer

Check out Sarah’s Kickstarter project for more details.

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