This Saturday, December 1, Seed&Spark will roll back the curtain on its platform, aiming to provide a whole new ecosystem for the funding, production, and distribution of independent films.

But what makes Seed&Spark different from the other crowdfunding platforms already out there?

Theirs will be a one-stop shop where filmmakers can crowdfund, distribute, and interact with their audience and the broader independent film community. Seed&Spark seeks to engage an audience through storytelling rather than simply by asking for money. Their platform aims to give funders a story to tell that’s different from the typical, “I donated $100 for this T-shirt which is pretty cool.”

Seed&Spark allows backers to see your production registry, which lists the services and equipment you need in order to finish your project. Backers can then donate money for specific services or even loan equipment as they watch your checklist slowly complete. By giving your backers a story to tell – “There’s a really cool film in production and I just donated some money so they could get a proper lighting kit” – audience engagement can jump from a purely surface level interest to an investment. Backers will feel they have the inside scoop on how the production is going. Instead of tweeting or Facebooking, “Film X needs $5000 more dollars to reach their goal!” – which might seems daunting to those who don’t recognize the names of the production crew – they can spread the word with, “Film X needs some people to chip in money for graphics” or “Do you know someone with a tripod? Film Z needs to borrow one as they start their production!”

If giving backers a story isn’t enough incentive for them to donate money or lend equipment to your production, maybe the added perks of streaming credits will. As mentioned previously, Seed&Spark also will allow filmmakers to distribute their films on the site as paid streaming rentals. Engaged backers on the site will receive “sparks,” which essentially are streaming credits. Once a person has earned enough “sparks” they can redeem them for free film rentals. Hopefully the “sparks” will encourage viewers to watch films they normally wouldn’t pay for, and thereby become engaged backers and audience members for a wider array of independent films.

Seed&Spark plans to be an indie film network focused on building and maintaining audiences, and with their robust platform, it just might be able to make that a reality.

As the site unfolds over the weekend, I will be keeping tabs on it – so check back next week for a rundown of how the platform could be useful specifically to the indie doc community!

Visit the Seed&Spark website »

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Sean started as an intern with POV in 2009, before coming on-board as a staff member starting in 2010 until 2013. At POV, he managed online video content, produced companion features for the POV film websites, and implemented social media strategies. Prior to joining POV in 2010, he freelanced as a film editor and writer, in addition to working as an assistant for an independent music artist. He has written and directed several short, experimental films, and holds a bachelor's degree from Brown University in Literary Arts.