According to Kickstarter, projects with videos succeed at a much higher rate than those without (50% vs. 30%).
So how do you create a good video, especially if you’ve never done it before?
In this article, we’ll go through the five steps to create a Kickstarter video, as well as dive deeper into the content that needs to be in one.
Here’s what we’ll cover today:
- Watch As Many Kickstarter Videos As You Can
- Write Down The Structure For Different Videos
- Apply Findings To Your Own Video
- Plan Your Budget
- Make Your Video (Yourself Or By Reaching Out To Others)
Watch As Many Kickstarter Videos As You Can
This step I think is just fun. Spend some time watching all the board game Kickstarter videos that you can.
Because success leaves clues!
No matter what you’re looking to do, I’m sure that there’s someone else who has done it successfully before you.
Want to launch a successful zombie-themed game? Someone else has done this before!
Want to launch a successful legacy game? Someone else has done this before!
Want to launch a successful party game? Someone else has done this before!
By watching a lot of videos, you’ll soon see patterns start to emerge. You’ll see what type of storytelling is common between videos, you’ll see how gameplay rules are explained, you’ll see how people include call-to-actions at the end of their video, you’ll see the quality of graphics, you’ll see what types of narration and voices people use… and more!
This is actually my super secret way of saying that market research is so important.
As a marketer, I’ve been trained to always do market research before embarking on any project. Knowing what has worked well and what has not worked well can help formulate a solid plan moving forward. I highly recommend that you do the same for this (videos) and all other aspects of your campaign too.
Write Down The Structure For Different Videos
I reached out to a video expert in the industry, Ori Kagan from Kagan Productions, for some insights on creating a Kickstarter video. Here’s what he has to say:
I always try to find the right balance between two main elements in board game videos – The flavor and the gameplay. I don’t believe there are any hard set rules – some videos should focus on the world and theme of the game because that’s one of the main appeals that make them unique, others might want to focus on cool gameplay elements that set them apart from other games. I think the important thing is not to try to “teach” rules, but rather give a general idea about what makes this game cool and FUN.
So what does this all mean?
For one, while you’re going through these videos, be sure to take copious notes.
Seriously, write it all down. Since there are no hard-and-fast rules for a video, knowing what has been done before will help shape your own video creation.
Some questions to think about while you’re watching these videos:
- What always happens in every video?
- What never happens in a video?
- What is the length of these videos?
- What types of animation is included?
- Are these videos 2D? 3D?
- Do these videos have the creators jumping in?
- Are the voiceovers male or female?
Apply Findings To Your Own Video
Once you’ve written down what you’ve seen from other videos, it’s important to set off to work writing down how it all applies to your project!
In this step, there are a few things to keep in mind as you’re formulating a plan.
Know Your Elevator Pitch
This is a concept taken from Management Consulting (yes, I know, very corporate but hear me out), but I believe applies very well to the process of marketing games. An elevator pitch is named that since it is the quick, concise description of what you’re creating that you can tell someone else in the short time of riding up and down an elevator.
A Kickstarter video is quick and concise, so you need to be able to describe your game in a short time. If you’re stuck on this step, head to any BoardGameGeek page and read the description of a game. The first one or two sentences is usually the elevator pitch.
Write Your Story
This is the most challenging part of the video, but by now you are well-equipped to give this a go.
You already have seen examples of what you like (and what should be included) and through playtesting and any preliminary marketing you’ve done, you know your potential backers best and best understand why they might want to pre-order your game on Kickstarter.
Once you get here, you probably already have an idea for the story you want to tell.
Here’s a tip from video expert David Diaz from Mesa Game Lab:
Make sure your video is focused on evoking the feeling gamers will have playing your game. Don’t get bogged down in explaining how to play it. Bring viewers into the world of your game and give them a few gameplay highlights that exhibit why your game stands out from the crowd.
To communicate your idea clearly for yourself (or your videographer) in the next step, try writing a rough script or drawing out a rough storyboard. You don’t need to be an artist or a writer to put this all down on paper.
When on this step, I find that it’s important to keep in mind the main purpose of a Kickstarter video that Ori has summed up quite well:
Some creators tend to forget – the sole purpose of the Kickstarter video is to encourage the viewer to SCROLL DOWN. It’s just the first hook to make them want to learn more.
Plan Your Budget
After working with videos in other crowdfunding categories for so long, I had to reframe my perspective on a budget for videos. I’ve gotten used to videos for campaigns requiring investments of ~$10,000+ (many locations, many actors/actresses, a full crew, etc.).
If you just balked at the $10,000 number, don’t worry, things are a little different in the tabletop world.
As you can see from your research (if you haven’t done any video research yet, please go back to Step 1 above), board game Kickstarter videos are animated.
There’s a long process that goes into the making of each video so you can expect to invest a minimum of $1,000 for each video. From there, prices increase depending on whether you’re looking for 2D or 3D animation, what visual effects you’re looking for, what motion graphic highlights you need, the type of sound editing… and a few other key highlights.
Plan to invest at least that minimum when working with a truly experienced professional. Remember that the video is one of the first things people will see on your Kickstarter page and needs to be beautiful, enticing and informative to encourage people to scroll down through your page.
At the end of the day, you get what you pay for.
Note: I am assuming here in this step that you reach out to a professional to create your video (more on this in the next step). If you have the expertise to make your own video, then throw this part out of the window. I do want to say, though, that I am a fan of bringing on experts and letting them do what they do best. Think about it this way: would you want a random person on the street to redo the knob-and-tube wiring in your house? No, you’ll probably call an electrician. Would you want any random person to work on year-end taxes for your business? No, you’ll probably hire a tax professional. Reach out to an expert and get help!
Make Your Video (Yourself Or By Reaching Out To Others)
This step sounds easy, but it’s actually the start of another new journey in your launch process.
Some people are well-versed in animation and video creation so they choose to work on their campaign video themselves. If you’re making your own video, then feel free to skip this step and be on your merry way.
More often than not though, people are not versed with the actual creation steps. That’s OK! We’re all equipped with different skill sets and if yours isn’t video creation, it’s time to find someone to help.
I firmly do not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach (the shirts I buy that say that on the tag DEFINITELY lied to me) so let’s see how to find a professional that can work for you and your game.
No matter which path you choose in this step, it’s very helpful to have your own ideas going into the creation process so that you always have a springboard to start in the discussion process and a North Star if you ever feel like you’re straying off topic.
Look Back To Your Favorites
Firstly, go back through those videos that you watched in Step 1. Do any of those really call out to you? Do any of those videos resonate with you on a very deep level?
Just like there are many types of peanut butter with their own flavors, textures, and prices (and everyone has their favorite brand; mine is JIF by the way) there are various video creators with their own styles, processes and pricing.
Go through those videos that you watched and mark down your favorites. Next, head to Kickstarter and get in touch with the creator.
Let them know that you’re launching your very own game soon, really like their video, and would like to also work with whoever created their video. More often than not, creators want to pass it forward and will take the time to respond with tips and make an introduction.
Make An Ask In The Community
Another great place to start if you’re not getting responses from the step above or if you feel more comfortable in a certain game community already is to just make an ask!
This is just one (of many) posts asking for recommendations for a video creator. Just this one alone already had 13 responses and recommendations.
Head to your favorite place to talk board games and Kickstarter launches and ask if anyone there can recommend a videographer for your new game. There’ll undoubtedly be people who have done it before and you’ll definitely get a lot of recommendations.
If you’re new here, be sure to check out the Kickstarter Board Game Marketing group, there’s many talented experts in there who have rocked numerous Kickstarter videos.
To wrap up, a Kickstarter video is just one of many factors to get people to know and love your game. Be sure to also understand how to generate traffic to your Kickstarter campaign page and effectively convert those visitors into backers.