Story Behind One Of The Fastest Crowdfunded Campaigns - WADE
Posted on 14 October, 2016 by Team Wishberry
On 6th September 2016, a crowdfunding campaign for an animated short film WADE goes live on Wishberry and raises more than a lakh in the first 15 minutes. “On the first day, I was in a Mumbai local to catch my train back to Ahmedabad after leaving from Wishberry’s office. I was extremely happy and was overwhelmed after being notified through emails on the contributions” said Kalp Sanghvi, Director of WADE narrating those initial moments. WADE managed to reach its crowdfunding target of INR 4.5 lakhs in less than three days, post this electrifying start.
About the Film
The film is set in Calcutta 2040, flooded beyond recognition due a drastic sea level rise. This climate change results in the drowning of the Sundarbans, pushing the natives and the tigers of the region into the flooded city. The story revolves around these villagers’ fight for survival from the man-eater tigers.
Conception of the idea
Kalp Sanghvi, who hails from Calcutta, conceived this idea when he was visiting home in April this year after finishing his final year at NID in Ahmedabad. During his visit, he came across various articles in newspapers on the impact of climate change and sea level rise in the Sundarban Delta. He immediately discussed this with his NID batchmate Upamanyu Bhattacharyya, who was also incidentally visiting his home in Calcutta at the same time. Both thought of using their knowledge and talent as animators to create an animation film highlighting this climate change scenario.
Kalp added that “We can see glimpses of this climate change in some of the river islands in the Sundarbans. For instance, thousands of people living in the Ghoramara river island have been forced to rehabilitate due to the rising sea levels washing away the land of the island. This issue has been ignored for quite some years now and we plan to bring it in the limelight through WADE. In movies, climatic changes are generally showcased as science-fiction. However, we wanted to show a real-life situation in the foreground of this devastating phenomenon possibly awaiting us in the future.”
Getting Started with the Animation
The duo took the whole of April to brainstorm and put together a draft of the script. Once the script was ready, they discussed it with another animator and batchmate Nikunj Patel living in Mumbai. Fascinated by the idea and the story, Nikunj joined them in Calcutta sometime in late June along with a few more juniors from NID. Now a team of nine animators, they got themselves a work space in Calcutta and did one month of intense animation, finishing the rough draft of character animation for the entire film.
The entire plot of the movie is based in Park Street, one of the most known areas of Calcutta. The team used their time in the city to document the whole of Park Street, in order to help them build the backgrounds, the scenarios and the scenes in the film. At the end of July, the team shifted base to Ahmedabad close to NID, making it easier to stay in touch with the faculty for mentoring and guidance. Moving close to NID also enabled them to reach to more students, willing to join in and help them out with the animation.
Journey to Crowdfunding Success
The crowdfunding journey of the team began when Anshulika Dubey, Co-Founder & COO at Wishberry got in touch with them after coming across the initial animation drafts on WADE’s Facebook page. “Anshulika’s confidence in the project encouraged us to opt for crowdfunding. After completing some more work and having more concrete progress to show to the funders, we got in touch with her again to initiate the process of designing our campaign”, explained Kalp.
Facebook - Pre-crowdfunding promotions were the key to the money pouring in at sonic speed from the very time the campaign went live. Facebook was the primary medium used by the team for these promotions. Apart from regular posts going up on the film’s facebook page, the team members individually reached out to all their friends, family, acquaintances, whoever they ever knew, from their personal facebook profiles. A couple of weeks prior to the campaign, the WADE teaser was arranged to be screened at the NID auditorium. Kalp mentioned that “The students and faculty who viewed the teaser helped a great deal to spread the word.”
The Big Fish - In a crowdfunding campaign, there are always these big fish who help you cover major ground, when it comes to your crowdfunding target. For the WADE team, these people were the established international as well as Indian animators, who Kalp and Upamanyu had met at 2015 Chitrakatha animation film festival. This festival is held every two years within the NID campus, attracting one of the most known names in animation traveling from all across the world. The duo shared their work with these animators prior to the campaign and shared the crowdfunding campaign page link once it went live. Impressed by the work, animators from Italy, Switzerland and also, Mumbai pitched in with the major chunk of the target.
Anonymous Funders - However, their contribution would have never got the job done if it wasn’t for the 100+ other backers who came forward with the rest of the money. These backers not only included the people that the team knew personally but also, included a significant number of anonymous funders. Kalp elaborates, “Surprisingly, we had 20-30% of anonymous funders who contributed because they simply loved the idea. It was very overwhelming to have witnessed this kind of support.”
The film is scheduled to be ready by early 2017. With additional amount raised, Kalp plans to use the extra money to submit the film in as many international film festivals as possible. He is confident about the film being noticed and receiving great recognition at these film festivals.