More than 3,000 projects have used the IndieGoGo site to raise funds. One such project is the short film CERISE by John Trigonis. He resides in New Jersey and has been making award winning shorts for a while. CERISE tells the story of Josh Kermes, a former National Spelling Bee champion who, 24 years later, is still haunted by the word that took him down. “I came up with the idea while watching the Scripps National Spelling Bee last year, and the announcers were talking about the previous winners and what they're doing with their lives. But due to my natural tendency to always associate with the underdogs, I asked out loud, ‘well, what about the losers? Guess nobody cares about what happens to them once the gold is given to someone else!’ And thus, CERISE was born.”
The projected budget is between $15 - $20,000. “I was able to save up $10,000 myself, but knew I'd need an extra $5,000 to cover crew costs, food, and transportation stipends, as well as some additional equipment.” He wanted to try IndieGoGo because many of his filmmaker friends were having success with it. “I chose IndieGoGo mainly because it doesn't have a strict deadline for filmmakers to raise the total funds. I know that the omission of a deadline date is the main reason many filmmakers may not choose it, but for me, it's proven helpful; being that this is the first time I'm doing anything like this, I didn't want to take too much of a risk of not raising $5,000 on Kickstarter, for example, and not getting a penny of it after all that hard work. If we only make $4,000, IndieGoGo will still give it to us and we will still be able to use the money we raised for what it was intended,” said Trigonis.
“IndieGoGo is extremely easy to use. In terms of requirements, we just needed a pitch video and, of course, the perks. They’ve made campaigning a lot easier by adding new features such as the Dashboard and Export feature, which you can use to create an Excel file of all the contributors. I have enjoyed everything from making the pitch video to writing the perks to recording video blog updates and building a community which now we call TEAM CERISE. We've created a photo album for our backers; we've created the CERISE Spelling Vlog on Vimeo; and we have a lot more in store. We intend to keep this going even after the fund-raising is over; our vlog on Vimeo will keep our backers updated throughout all aspects of production, from casting all the way to festival screening. It's the least we can do to show our thanks. Another amazing thing about this experience is how people whom I've never met find CERISE and support it.”
The project now stands at 85% funded and Trigonis credits this success to a team effort. “This is, in every sense of the word, a team effort. I do constant tweeting and Facebook updates and Marinell Montales, our marketing consultant, and Alain Aguilar, our DP, have innovative ideas about how to attract more potential contributors. Twitter RTs and reposting on FB have had a lot to do with it, too. I'm constantly getting more friends on Facebook (I thought due to my constant posts about CERISE that I might lose friends!) and finding new followers on Twitter. Being an adjunct instructor at various universities, I have a lot of former students who have contributed and have helped spread the word about my fund-raising campaign. Because of being on the IndieGoGo platform with this project, I've made many new friends, and that is the best perk for me.” An interesting perk offered by TEAM CERISE is a customized poem composed of the donors first name. Trigonis is inclined to writing poetry and this perk makes a donation very personal indeed.