Now Or Never

How four P.E.I. filmmakers raised more than $100,000 on Kickstarter

Jeremy Larter and his brother needed money to make a movie about drinking beer and avoiding work on Prince Edward Island.
Jeremy Larter (on right) films Pogey Beach, a feature film set in P.E.I. (Facebook / Jeremy Larter)

Aspiring filmmaker Jeremy Larter dreamed of making a movie about hosers on Prince Edward Island.

Specifically, he, his brother Jason, good friend Geoff Read and co-writer Robbie Moses wanted to make a film about a group of Islanders who like hanging out on the beach, drinking beer and avoiding work. 

Their film — Pogey Beach — is based on a fictional show that is beloved by the characters of the web series, Just Passing Through. (Both are raunchy comedies about Islanders, so click those links with caution.)

The web series became a cult hit, gaining a following among locals and young Islanders forced to move away to find work. But it turns out there isn't a lot of money in regional comedies about drinking on the beach and living on social assistance.

"We're kind of all doing it for the real love of it — with that hope that we can just keep doing it," said Larter. 

To fund their show and series, the filmmakers turned to crowdfunding website Kickstarter

Between their two successful campaigns, they've raised more than $100,000. 

So how did four P.E.I. guys persuade the internet to fund their passion projects? They shared six Kickstarter tips with CBC Radio's Now or Never:

  1. Offer good merch. "People love T-shirts — also stickers. A lot of guys who work out in the oil patch in Alberta love getting the stickers. They put them on their hard hats."   
  2. Include supporters in the final product. "We had people who travelled from B.C., Ottawa and Toronto who came down just to say their line in the show."
  3. Don't panic in the middle of the campaign. "Once it gets to be 80 per cent funded [is when] people really want to take the bull by the horns and make it happen themselves. They want to be a part of something that is successful." 
  4. Know that fulfilling the rewards is a lot of work. "My apartment turned into a T-shirt factory. We also did postcards. I individually wrote a message to each person. I was hell-bent on doing it, making it unique to the person. It took days!"
  5. Be realistic about who is going to give you money. "Set a realistic goal unless you have relatives who have very deep pockets who are gonna bail you out when the thing is struggling."
  6. Promote your project on social media — creatively. "You can't just launch the campaign and think that things are gonna happen on their own. You can't just tell people on Facebook to give you money because that gets old really fast. People start blocking you and you don't want that."