HIGH ON LOVE – A New Novel, Input Needed.

CHAPTER ONE – STONED-BAKED PIZZA

 

There wasn’t anything particularly special about Daniel Jones. He was just your average, twenty-something kid trying to find love and happiness in a world he was desperately trying to understand. He wasn’t good looking, there was nothing striking about him, and his personality matched his physical appearance. He had no real ambitions to speak of, and spent most of his time trying to work out what it was he was going to do with the rest of his life. If you met him – not that you’d probably even notice him – you’d probably say he was a geek. He’d agree with that statement, he was a geek. He liked StarWars, and SciFi in general, computer games, the Internet, and weed. Oh, yes, he really liked weed.

In fact, weed was a very big part of his life. He’d discovered weed when he was a teenager, and it just ‘fit’ his lifestyle. He loved everything about it: the smell, the buzz, the culture, the fact that all his problems melted away when he was stoned, everything. He was stoned most of the time, which wasn’t a problem, it helped him cope with life. Although they didn’t notice at first (it took a year for them to actually realise) his weed habit was of great concern to his parents at the time, as his weed-induced cloud of apathy meant his grades were slipping and he didn’t really engage with anyone or anything.

In stark contrast to their son, Daniel’s parents were over-achievers. His Dad had charm and wit, and had made a name (and an awful lot of money!) for himself in sales. He had ‘the gift of the gab’, as they say. Likewise his Mum was attractive and popular, which helped in her role as a medical consultant for a large pharmaceutical corporation. They both worked a lot, an awful lot, and growing up they weren’t really very active in his life. That was all immaterial now, as they had both died tragically a couple of years back in a hit-and-run car accident. To many people that would have been a hard event to overcome, but because he was stoned when his uncle told him the news, and the fact that he’d just inherited a ‘small fortune’, all he could say was, “Cool…”

The small fortune turned out to be a very large windfall: two life insurance policies, investment portfolios, the house and other assets almost amounted to 8-figures. As an only child, it was all his. His uncle, being a financial consultant, packaged everything in such a way that Daniel would never have to work a day in his life, if he didn’t want to. An allowance check was deposited into his account every month from the interest of the collective portfolio, a check larger than most people’s salaries. This was very handy for a geeky stoner like Daniel, as it meant he could indulge his passion for pot without distraction.

That is exactly what he was currently doing, and had been for a good few hours. He was lying outstretched upon his couch, staring up at the ceiling. The ashtray – or ‘hashtry’ as he liked to call it – balanced on his chest, where he occasionally tapped the ash from his joint. He blew smoke rings up to the ceiling as he watched a very large spider crawl along upside-down.

‘I wonder if the blood ever rushes to its head?’ he mused, wondering if the spider was as high as he was. As if sensing his thoughts, the spider stopped directly over him, and very slowly started to abseil towards him on a tiny spidey-thread.

“Cool…” he said, exhaling a plume of smoke.

The spider stopped about two feet from his face and just dangled there, as if doing some David Blane trick.

“Totally cool…”

Daniel toked the remains of the joint and stubbed it out, as the spider climbed all the way back up the thread and continued its upside-down walk upon the ceiling.

“So, what are you going to do today, Dan?” He often talked to himself when he was alone. A little more worrying was that he often answered himself.

“What time is it anyway?”

He moved the ashtray to the table as he slowly sat up and looked around the room. He’d sold the family house shortly after the funeral and bought a smaller property not far from the beach. It wasn’t grand, but it was large enough: a few bedrooms, a great deck to the back, an adequate kitchen, and a huge living room. The couch was in the middle of the room, a large plasma TV on one wall, a coffee table, beanbag seats scattered around the room, and his pride and joy: a classic pinball machine. He rummaged in his pocket and retrieved his phone: 16:02.

“Fuck! No wonder I’m hungry.”

He stood, felt totally stoned, and collapsed backwards onto the couch.

“Fuck!”

He burst into uncontrollable laughter.

“Let’s try that again, shall we…”

This time the head-rush wasn’t so intense and he maintained his balance. He shuffled towards the curtains and slowly pulled them open. A brilliance of Californian sunshine exploded in his face. Like a paranoid vampire, he immediately drew them shut again.

“Oh, fuck!”

“Not a good idea, Dan…”

He blinked and felt rather confused. Like an amnesiac searching for a memory, he wondered what the fuck he was doing standing in front of the curtains.

“Oh yeah, food…”

As he turned in the direction of the kitchen, he caught a glimpse of his weed paraphernalia upon the coffee table, but thought better of skinning up again, and shuffled towards the back of the room. Because he didn’t like shopping, and he certainly didn’t like cleaning – and he could afford it – he had a cleaning lady that came twice a week, and he had a part-time house keeper that stocked the kitchen with food, so there was always stuff to eat.

The refrigerator doors were wide open still from that morning – the last time he’d remembered he was hungry. It was packed full of food: meats, cheeses, milk, juice, yoghurts, and beer – a lot of beer.

“So, what do you fancy for…” he paused, thinking, “is it too late to say breakfast? Is there even a specific time for breakfast…?”

He caught sight of the beer bottles and decided he really should have a beer while he pondered the question. He popped the lid and took a refreshingly long drink.

“Breakfast of champions!”

He closed the refrigerator doors, and stared aimlessly out of the kitchen window at the deck and yard. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d actually gone outside. He was sure he’d had a deck party not long ago, but it could have been weeks past. That was the problem when you spent every day smoking weed and just chilling out: life just blurred into one long foggy memory. Most of his bills were paid automatically through the trust, and about the only thing he had to worry about was that he had enough weed to smoke.

“Oh, shit…!”

The thought of running out of weed terrified him for an instant, and he forgot about food, and rushed as fast as he could (which wasn’t that fast) back to the living room. In a paranoid daze he surveyed the coffee table and took inventory: there was his pipe, his papers, a number of lighters, half a pack of smokes, and – thankfully – half a bag of weed.

He flopped back down on to the couch and took another swig of beer. His heart was racing. Pulling out his phone, he checked the time again: 16:32. There were no messages, which was a little odd, as he usually got a call or a text from one of his stoner buddies asking if they could come round and hang. Finishing the beer, he realised the buzz from earlier was wearing off, and he probably should skin up again.

He took a long, hard drag on the joint, held it for as long as he could, then exhaled a huge plume of smoke, and watched it merge with the semi-darkness of the room. The more he smoked, the more he drifted into the ether. He leant back into the couch, and connected with the extreme relaxation that flowed through his body.

“Have you ever wondered… if we really are spiritual beings having a physical experience, how come we don’t have super powers…?”

When Daniel finally woke up and came back to Earth, his living room was filled with ambient music mixing with the aroma of weed and incense, and three of his stoner buddies had materialised.

Nick the Hippy, so called because he looked like Nick Nolte and was an aging hippy, was posing his usual questions about existence. None of them were sure how old he was, as he knew so much about life and the world, but didn’t look old enough to know what he knew. He was a cool dude, and always had some amazing shit to smoke.

“We do,” replied Paul, “well, I do… I’m Blow Boy… I become invincible when I’m high…”

Paul was the youngest of the group, and a polar opposite to Nick the Hippy. He still lived with his parents, worked at the local coffee shop, and knew a lot about nothing. He was always good for a laugh, because you could guarantee he’d say something so ridiculous at some point and have the room in stitches of laughter.

“Blow Boy?” said Mike, chuckling, “You sound like some character in a gay porno!”

The room filled with snickers and laughter as the rest of them joined in the joke. Mike was probably the most ambitious of the group. He’d been a young entrepreneur and had created some really cool app that made him a lot of money at the time, but had since become obsolete. He’d never quite regained his former glory, but still believed his next best idea was just around the corner.

As Daniel slowly came to, he glanced around the room. Cartoons played on the huge TV screen, with the sound off, casting strange shadows across the walls. The two lava lamps ‘glooped’ like alien jelly fish in their tanks. Two large pizza boxes lay on the floor.

“What time is it?” he asked foggily.

“Hey dude!” said Mike, offering his lit joint, “Hit…?”

“Sure.”

“Welcome back to Earth…” Nick the Hippy always said that when someone came back from a trip.

“I thought Blow Boy was a good name,” said Paul, trying to regain some credibility and rekindle the conversation. Instead it just brought more giggles, which Dan joined in with this time, as the weed took root.

“Is it a bird…? Is it a plane…? No, it’s Blow Boy!” Dan’s comment sent them all over the edge, and laughter echoed around the cavernous room once more.

“Faster than a speeding blowjob!” added Mike, which stirred up even more laughter.

“It’s not that funny!” said Paul, the only one not joining in the laughter. “I’m getting a beer… anyone want anything?”

As he left the room Dan reached over and grabbed a slice of pizza, remembering he’d not eaten all day. He checked the time: 21:12.

“Fuck! No wonder I’m so hungry.”

“That’s the munchies, dude,” said Nick the Hippy, packing some weed into his pipe. “Try this. It’s some new shit I’ve been cultivating…”

Dan took a good, long drag. “Wow! That’s really smooth…”

“Wait until it kicks in…” said Nick the Hippy, a new moon smile beaming across his rugged face.

Ripples of serenity washed over Dan’s body, and he closed his eyes, it was like floating, like being a warm wave, like being vibration, like nothing he’d felt before.

“Good, right?” said Nick the Hippy.

“Oh yeah…” sighed Dan, as he drifted deeper into bliss.

Paul appeared in the kitchen doorway, an unopened beer bottle in his hand. “Has anyone seen the bottle opener?”

“Why don’t you use your super powers Blow Boy!”

As Nick and Mike fell into laughter, Paul turned back to the kitchen, irritated, and continued his quest for the allusive bottle opener. Dan opened his eyes again and looked admiringly at Nick the Hippy.

“That’s some seriously good shit, man!”

“Right?”

“And you recon that’s gonna be even better in a couple of weeks?” Mike had tried some about an hour earlier, and was still buzzing.

Nick the Hippy had barely moved from his Buddha-like stance upon one of the beanbags, legs crossed, his distended belly exaggerating the colourful tie-die t-shirt he was wearing, a bead headband holding back his slightly-greying long mop of blonde hair.

“These are just some leaves I pulled off and dried, just to try it. In about two weeks I’ll try some again and probably harvest the whole plant…”

“Cool…” said Mike and Dan in unison.

Paul stormed back into the room still holding the unopened beer bottle.

“I give up!”

“Not much of a super hero Blow Boy if you can’t even open a beer.”

Finally joining the conversation, Dan said, “Oh, you need the beer opener…? I’ve got it here in my pocket…”

“Thanks!”

He took a long swig of beer and sat back down on his beanbag.

“Can we please stop with the Blow Boy shit now? It’s not that funny!”

Dan looked around the room again, and realised someone was missing, “Where’s Tram tonight?”

“Oh, didn’t you hear, he got a new job,” said Mike. “He’ll be by later with more pizza… that’s where the pizza came from… he’s delivering for Pronto Pizza now…”

“Cool…”

“What happened to his last job?” inquired Nick the Hippy, loading up his pipe again.

“He failed the whizz-quiz…”

“Bummer!”

“Yeah! Who knew you had to take a piss-test as a delivery boy, eh?”

“This world’s fucked up!”

“Amen to that, brother…”

Realising he was still very hungry, Dan asked, “Speaking of pizza… is there any left?”

“You took the last piece, dude.”

“Shall I order us some more…?”

“Your kitchen is full of food, mate…” said Paul, glad to finally get back into the conversation without the mention of Blow Boy.

“I went there this morning… and this afternoon… I didn’t fancy any of that…”

Taking a huge hit off his pipe, Nick the Hippy said, “Food, food everywhere, but not  a bite to eat…”

“I’ve got the latest StarTrek DVD! Anyone want to watch it?” Paul wasn’t sure why he’d changed the subject from food to StarTrek, but he brandished the DVD like he’d won an Olympic medal.

“This really is great shit…” exhaled Nick the Hippy.

“What time did Tram say he’d swing by?”

“After his shift…”

“What time’s that?”

“I don’t know, it’s his first day… Probably after eleven…?” Mike said, questioningly.

“What time is it now?”

“I’ve not watched it yet, but it got really good reviews…”

Everyone was ignoring Paul, the failing Olympian.

“Time is an illusion…” plumed Nick the Hippy.

“It’s almost eleven…”

“I’ll just pop it in, shall I…?”

“Time is as real as you and I… the ancients knew that…”

If the spider on the ceiling was still around, and had the ability to understand, it would have been completely disoriented by the disjointed conversations happening in that room. It might even have fallen off the ceiling in confusion, or it might have realised that it didn’t exist and disappear completely. But it wasn’t, so it didn’t. Instead, the door bell rang, bringing them all back to ‘reality’.

“Oh, fuck!”

“It’s the door,” said Paul, “shall I answer it?”

Before Dan had a chance to respond, Paul was on his feet, DVD in hand, and had opened the door wide to reveal their nocturnal visitor. In the darkness of the porch all that was visible were two overly large white eyeballs and an enormous toothy grin. The gunshot laughter immediately revealed who it was.

“Anybody order pizza?” said Tram, stepping into the room. “Oh, cool, the new StarTrek DVD, I’ve been meaning to get me a copy of that…”

Tram was a hybrid of Cedric the Entertainer and Chris Rock, all teeth and eyes, and an infectious laugh, very loud, until he got stoned, then he’d mellow out.

Strutting into the room, brandishing the insulated pizza case, he repeated, “I said, any of you niggas order pizza?”

“Perfect timing, Tram,” said Dan.

“Fer yo masser, I bringin yer favorit: Quatro Staggione…” he said, feigning a black slave, and handing one of the pizza boxes to him.

“Awesome!”

“An which one of you animal eating motherfuckers wants the meat lovers…? Fuck it, you’all can help yerself… I needs me some canna-bliss…”

He dumped the pizza case in the middle of the floor and started skinning up a massive joint. Toking strongly on the huge doob, he said, “Now that’s what I’m fucking talking about…” Flopping down on one of the beanbags, he added, “So, what you sad motherfuckers up to…?”

Tram was a new addition to the group. They’d met under very similar conditions as that night. He’d been delivering pizza for another company about a year ago, and rang on Dan’s door in much the same way as tonight. As Dan swung the front door open, Tram was hit with a cloud of weed smoke and an extremely high Dan.

“Damn motherfucker! No wonder you’all ordered so many pizzas! You must have the munchies of a motherfucker!”

Dan just smiled at him, holding the door for support. Tram stepped into the living room and looked at the motley group of stoners: Mike, Paul, and Nick the Hippy, who offered up his pipe.

“Would you care to join us…?”

“My kinda niggas!” he said, putting the pizza case down and sparking up the pipe. “Oh… now that’s some real smooth shit, man!”

The other four just nodded knowingly, and started tucking into the pizza.

“Yo having some kinda party or something…? Where the girls at…? Oh, this really is good shit…”

“It’s just us, it’s pizza night!” said Paul, which wasn’t particularly funny, but the rest were so stoned it set them into convulsions of laughter all the same. As soon as Tram started laughing with them, he had them rolling on the floor.

“You wanna hang?” inquired Dan, “Or do you have more deliveries to make?”

He didn’t, and the rest, as they say, is history. Tram became their delivery boy of choice, and a regular nocturnal visitor and toker.

“It’s pizza night!” said Paul.

Nobody laughed.

“Shall I put the DVD in?”

“I thought you’d done that ages ago, Blow Boy,” said Mike.

“Blow Boy…?” asked Tram, pulling the last remnants of the pipe.

“Yeah, it’s his super hero name…”

“Blow Boy? Sounds like some gay porno or something!”

“That’s what we said!”

Laughter filled the room once more.

Trying to ignore them, Paul put in the DVD, mumbling, “Alright, I’ll put it in now…”

“Nah! That’s the other guy’s line!” Tram snorted, sending them all into more fits of laughter.

The movie started, but nobody was really interested except Paul, who tried desperately to engross himself in the film and ignore the comments and laughter of the others.

The Blow Boy comments dried up, and finally Tram remembered, “Didn’t you say you were buying a gravity bong the last time I came round?”

“A gravity bong? Serious shit man…” said Mike, curiously.

“Yeah, I ordered it today… I would have ordered it sooner, but I got stoned and forgot.”

***

It’s just Chapter One… there’s more to come, but I’d really like to know:

  1. Did you enjoy it? Why? What?
  2. Would you read more? Likewise.
  3. Which character(s) do you like most? Why?
  4. Can you see this as a film?

I’d very much like to hear your comments below, and everyone that comments will get a signed copy of the final book.

I thank you all in advance for your help!

 

 

my_first_goalsettin_cover_for_kindle

Anthony James Donnelly is an author, motivational and business coach, and life guide. He has spent over 20 years working directly with individuals and corporations to adjust their perspectives on life. In his latest book, “My First Goal-Setting Book: How To Effectively Set & Achieve Your Life Goals”, he concisely explains how to get whatever you want out of life.

Rachel McAdams: Who Do You Love?

rachel-mcadams-gets-new-boyfriend (2)In such a PC world as this, do people still have ‘pin-up girls’? Can one even still use the word ‘pin-up girl’? I don’t know, and truthfully, I don’t care! I do, but I don’t. I think most people can relate to that, right?

I don’t actually know what a ‘pin-up girl’ really is! To me, a pin-up girl is someone that you admire, perhaps adore, look up to, aspire to be, or see something in them that you’d like to be like, have, or want.

We’ve been so confined, constricted, and constipated by being seen to ‘do and say the right thing’, but what is right and what is wrong?  Where are the true role models that can lead the way?

“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is looking.”

John Wooden

My confession, if you hadn’t already guessed, my ‘pin-up girl’ is Rachel McAdams (did the photo give it away?) I don’t know that much about her, but from what I’ve seen, and what I feel, is that she’s a very grounded, normal, smart, attractive, and committed person. All traits I aspire to have! I think and dream of meeting her – and I’m certain I will – I don’t know how, but that’s not up to me! But I know when we meet it will be such a normal meeting, like old friends that knew each other years ago, but we mis-recognised each other!

For me, Rachel McAdams is the essence of who I feel I am meant to be with. I can’t make her love me, and I can’t love her without feeling her energy, but I’d like to. How on Earth are celebrities allowed to date? Isn’t our talent enough! We are not gods! Leave us alone! But we don’t want to be alone!!!

Golly! That was a big confession…

A-hem!

So, back on track… Who do YOU love? Have you started with loving yourself? Aren’t you good enough? You are. Give yourself a hug, or better still, give someone close to you a hug – now! Didn’t work? Perhaps your dream or ‘pin-up’ is as extreme as mine. Maybe you have to ask yourself, “What kind of a person do you have to become to attract them to you?”

Don’t Put People On Pedestals

There is only ONE person you should compare yourself to: The Person You Were Yesterday. The wonderful thing about this world is that everyone is equal: we were all born, we will all die, we all have choice… Ah! Here’s where the ‘rub’ comes…! In a year that SHOULD be celebrating equality, it should be celebrating WORLD PEACE.

IMAGINE if all the people in the world, just for one minute, (one second!) stopped thinking what they were thinking, stopped doing what they were doing, and actually contemplated WORLD PEACE, thought about happiness, thought about YOU being happy, thought about, “How do I want to feel LOVE?”

What would the world look like? Brandson knows… Elon knows… Warren knows… Gates knows… Facebook-bloke knows… Amazon-bloke knows…

Anthony and Rachel’s World

In OUR world, we live in abundance… and we share it!

I have enough, and you can have food…

I have more than enough, and you can have a proper education…

I have water, and you can have clean water…

I have love, and I am the world.

 

Thoughts Behind the Making of “One”, a Short Film by Anthony James Donnelly

I AM truly amazed – and humbled – by the great, early response to my debut short film, “One”. Thank you all…! Since it has been so well received, I thought I’d share some of the concept and thinking behind the project, just in case any fellow actors and film makers are interested.

Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve wanted to make films: I’m fascinated by the whole process behind film making, and I feel very fortunate that I am able to act in the industry for a living. A little over a week ago, I invested in a video camera, and whilst playing around with it, I got the idea in my head to make a short film – how difficult can it possibly be, right?

The brief was quite simple: “With no budget and no other people involved, could I film and produce a short film that told a compelling story and hopefully evoke an emotional response, all in only one week?”

To stack things in my favour, I decided to shoot without dialogue to save the challenges of dubbing and syncing up the sound in the editing process – and I’d never edited anything before! The theme of ‘one’ became the focal point initially, then as I began shooting rough footage, the story of this lonely man emerged. I love playing with words, and I saw that in the word ‘lonely’ you have the words ‘one’ and ‘only’, so I started to evolve concepts of mundanity and how we overlook the ordinary, yet essential things we use in life – including people! Additionally, there is an interconnectedness between things: a toothbrush needs toothpaste, gloves come in pairs, etc.

I was fortunate enough to discover some royalty-free music by the talented composer, Kevin MacLeod, which gave the footage a very sombre feel, yet had a lot of diversity in the melody, which I hoped to utilize in the editing phase. Adding to the bleak feel of the film, it was a very early decision to shoot the whole thing in black and white.

Utilizing the ‘Bollywood’ shooting method (minimal number of takes, no complicated scenes, just shoot and move on) I was able to get an awful lot of footage in a very short period of time, often doing only one take. My biggest concern was shooting footage of myself – as I was also the cameraman! – I wondered, if I set up my camera on its tripod and then walked away to go acting, would somebody run off with my equipment? Thankfully, the opposite was true, almost as if passers-by couldn’t believe there could only be one person involved, they all steered well clear of the equipment!

All in all, it was an incredible experience, and I believe my little experiment has worked. It’s already inspired some fellow actors to follow suit and try to produce their own shorts. Hopefully you have found this inspiring as well, why not give it a go. I had a lot of fun shooting this in between working and daily life. It IS possible, if you have the will and the motivation. I’m looking forward to shooting my next short film soon.

In case you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t give too much of the plot away, but I’d love to hear any constructive comments and feedback, either on here or on the youtube page.

Many, many thanks, I hope you enjoy it…

How To Run A Successful Crowdfunding Campaign: Crowdfunding 101

It is important to remember that Crowdfunding sites are businesses, businesses that want to make money. It is equally important to realize that raising any amount of money via crowdfunding should be approached with a plan. The more money you are hoping to raise, the more important it is to have a solid plan, and a strong team to help you. Like anything you want in life, it takes a lot of hard work.

Money-Pile-psd74096I’ve helped many fundraisers reach their targets with the following tips and advice. It’s common sense when you read it, but you’d be amazed how many projects don’t use these simple tips, and that’s why they fail to reach even a fraction of their target. The following tips were offered recently to a group of film makers and they followed my adice to the letter. They surpassed their target by OVER THREE TIMES the original amount…!!! I’ll be using the advice I gave them in the post below, so if you’re not trying to fund a film, just change their project idea for your own.

So, if you want to give YOUR campaign the best chance of success, read on…

SPLIT YOUR CAMPAIGN UP

Realistically, you need to split your campaign into multiple sections: prelaunch, launch, mid-launch, and the final push. So many fundraisers simply post up their project and hope for the best. Unless you already have a very large, strong following, your project is almost destined to fail. The larger the amount of money you plan to raise, the earlier you should begin. In the tips below I’ll expand on these different phases of your campaign. The promotional work for your campaign can start up to six months or a year BEFORE you activate your crowdfunding program.

WHICH SITE TO CHOOSE?

There are many sites out their to use for your campaign. Personally I prefer this one: www.crowdfunder.co.uk They have what’s called a ‘stretch target’, which allows you to set a lower, more achievable target, then increase it to a bigger amount. Details on the site. Most people know of ‘Kickstarter’ and ‘Indigogo’, and there are many others now. Research the sites, look at their campaigns. Which site you end up using is entirely up to you, and if one doesn’t work, replan your campaign and launch it on one of the other sites.

USE SOCIAL MEDIA

If you have the budget and can create a really good one, invest in your own website for the project. This isn’t essential to success, but it will give you a slightly more professional edge. Especially if you are asking for a large amount of money, the more serious you can show people you are the better.

If not, at the very least, create a FB page and an event page (and preferably a blog also) about the film project and fundraiser. Promote the heck out of it and ask people what rewards they are most interested in (film posters, a chance to be on set, a chance to hold the clapper board, credits on IMdB, etc.) Get as many people as possible involved as early as possible BEFORE you launch your crowdfunding event.Far too many people just jump right in with no planning or preparation, once the campaign launches the clock is ticking down! Make every day count.

GET EARLY PLEDGES

Get some early pledges, then you can judge how much MORE work you’ll need to do to promote the campaign! Remember, you don’t have to have all the rewards printed and ready at this stage, you can do that (and pay for them) with the raised funds, you just need to give an idea of what you can offer (and know your costs, so you’re not losing money)

Nobody wants to back a loser. This is why it is VITALLY IMPORTANT to get some early promises from close friends, family, and people that follow you. Engage them early and let them be ‘insiders’ – they will be the ones to hear news first, they’ll be offered exclusives, etc. Ideally you want to have about 30% of your target pre-pledged. When you start your campaign, follow up with these people and have them activate their promises on the site.

Why is this so vital? Two main reasons: 1) A good early start to your fundraising will show others that people are actively interested in your project. As said, nobody wants to back a loser! 2) The more interest your campaign gets, the more the site will actively push you. As I said at the start, they are in the business of making money, if they think your project has a good chance of reaching its target (and hence THEM getting their fees!) they will promote it.

BLOG OFTEN – KEEP YOUR AUDIENCE ENGAGED

Write blog articles (they can be short) about the project, why are you doing it? What was the inspiration for the script? Who’s involved? Etc. It makes you all seem more REAL that way, and PASSIONATE about what you’re doing. Keep them short and regular, lots of pictures. Blogs allow you to use lots of tags, and the more articles and information you have about your project will not only make it more interesting, but easier to be seen online.

PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE

Don’t just focus online. The more people are becoming Internet dependent, the fewer people are utilizing traditional media. Approach the local papers and radio station with the fact you’re doing a fundraiser. Tell everybody and everyone about your project. Why is it important? Why is it important to you? Who are you? Why are you doing this? Who will it help? Does it have a human interest angle? The media is always after a good story, and if they pick it up, this is fantastic exposure for your project.

Remember: You have to be the most passionate person in the world about your project, if you’re not excited, nobody else is going to get excited about it either! Always be promoting your project, you never know who you are talking to or who they know.

DON’T JUST RELY ON ONLINE CROWDFUNDING

Approach local businesses and ask for a small donation.Although crowdfunding is an online platform, you cannot be shy about your financing goals. How badly do you want or need to raise this money? You have to be prepared to do the uncomfortable (do what others are unwilling to do) and you will succeed. What can you offer them in trade? Can you offer them some promotion on your sites, perhaps give them a credit in the film? In some cases you may find a business owner that would like a role and be prepared to pay for the honour!

BE ORIGINAL

People who do the unexpected get noticed. This next tip is another ESSENTIAL to success. It’s not easy to arrange, but much easier than you’d think. Hold a launch party… pick a popular location, a pub or café, and promote the fact you’re doing a DAY ONE campaign launch. Most premises have slow days during the week and an unusual, well-promoted event to bring in warm bodies that may spend money their are always welcome. Have laptops there so people can go straight to the site and pledge. Have the crew take it in shifts if need be, but really push hard on the first day. The more pledges you get as early as possible, the more exposure online it gets!

Be creative for this event. Maybe do a joint venture with the location and offer free or discounted drinks and food. Have some of the actors do a partial script read through – not only is this good promotion for the film, it’s something unique. If you’ve put in the correct amount of work in your prelaunch preparations, have contacted the press, have created a good buzz and got early pledge promises, by the end of your launch day event you may be surprised to find you have between 30 – 50% for your target already! Believe me, it’s happened on more than one occasion.

IT AIN’T OVER TILL IT’S OVER

Keep the pressure on throughout the campaign. If you raise your target, push for more. Keep your pledgers in the loop with progress, keep them engaged. Blog about progress. If you have their details, PERSONALLY thank those that have already made donations. I can’t stress this enough. The more personal and involved you make things, the better people will feel about their pledge. If you can’t do it in person or make it personal, record a short thank you video – let them see the emotion in your eyes!

So many people forget to keep pushing, yet it’s amazing the number of people that will INCREASE their pledge amount, if they know how much you care!

THE LAST MILE

The final push. If you still need to raise funds to hit the target, plan a LAST DAY push – you could even invite people to the event (like the launch) and invite the press along. If you’ve run most of the marathon, why fall at the final mile? Have a back-up plan for the possibility of not hitting your target by the final few days. Hold a final push party. Give people a reason to come and to donate. Again, make sure you have your team there and the laptops.

THE ALL-IMPORTANT FOLLOW-UP

Most importantly, at the end, thank everybody involved and fulfill your promise – send out the rewards. Following up doesn’t have to be left until the end. By making follow-up part of your routine, you won’t have a huge job at the end (which you may forget or overlook!) You may be very pleasantly surprised how many people actually want to be part of your project and want to help, if they are acknowledged and rewarded accordingly.

PLAN TO SUCCEED – A CLOSING COMMENT

I advise people to be ‘realistically optimistic’. What do I mean by this? Plan for success, but realize you are better to lower your target to a figure that’s achievable, rather than be unrealistic about your funding objective. Remember the goal is to reach the target you set (hence I like the sites with a stretch target) Whatever YOU think is achievable, if you don’t have the evidence to back it up (i.e., a huge support pool, early pledges, a previous success story, etc.) you are far better off reevaluating your target, sometimes this can be by 30% or more. Don’t be discouraged by this. Either delay your launch until you have more backing, or face facts, you’ll have to get the rest of the funding from somewhere else!

It’s also VERY WORTHWHILE letting potential backers know how much you have on the line. How much have YOU put in? If the answer is zero, then you might want to rethink. If you aren’t prepared to put YOUR money into YOUR project, don’t expect anybody else to either!

As said, all common sense WHEN YOU KNOW. If raising money was easy, everybody would just post up their campaign and sit back and wait (which is what the failing campaigns do!) But it isn’t easy, it takes work, it takes commitment, and most of all it takes planning. Like all overnight success stories, you don’t hear about all the hard work and effort that goes in BEFORE the success happens.

If you fail to hit your target, analyse what went wrong. Were your incentives off-target? Did you start too soon with not enough pre-pledges? Did you create enough awareness and early support? If you did all the things above, and still failed to reach your target, perhaps your figure was too ambitious, or your project just doesn’t have the right appeal to a crowdfunding audience – ask for feedback.

Good luck with your next funding campaign, and remember: The more effort you put in BEFORE your campaign launches, the more successful you will be! Get creative, get people involved, and have fun with it, it’s a long, hard process, so enjoy the journey!

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The Shepherd Cover ArtANTHONY DONNELLY blogs about all things writing, inspirational, and motivational. He has published a number of books for children and adults. His latest book, a short, inspirational parable THE SHEPHERD  is currently climbing up the Amazon charts, and is available in Kindle or paperback. When not sat at his keyboard writing, he can be found in Costa Rica, North America, or somewhere in Europe motivating and coaching individuals and groups in self-development techniques and life-balance. Most recently you can see him back on the sets of films and in front of the modelling camera again.