Filming Trapped in Motion in San Francisco. I took this photo.

What I Learned From Crowdfunding A Film

Duncan Riach
15 min readNov 22, 2021

I started writing this article last week, and, as I wrote, it mutated into a heartfelt expression of our need to address the injustice in our society related to the insidious, often sexual, violence against women and particularly women of color. What I shared was also focused on my wife’s film project Trapped in Motion.

I’m returning now to share with you specific lessons I’ve learned in the process of raising money for this film project. It’s been surprisingly educational and growth-inducing for me.

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Apparently, I’m pretty good at getting shit done. That’s mostly because my personality is fixated on proving, and re-proving, my intrinsic worth by continually producing value. My work ethic might be viewed by the society I live in as an admirable quality, but it’s really just another expression of dysfunction.

Nevertheless, when I use my superpower/kryptonite to help others, it can be very satisfying for me, particularly when I help someone else to become more productive and effective.

After shooting the short film Trapped in Motion, the rest of my wife’s producing team had to step away to focus on other projects. So, Cindy was left alone with the daunting task of raising $15,000. And then, even once that was raised, she knew she would have to raise an additional $20,000 through other channels, such as grants.

Soon, the campaign was lagging significantly behind the pacing curve that the crowdfunding site had provided. Cindy was feeling increasingly despondent and hopeless in the face of what seemed like certain failure. But even to try to change the outcome required sending emails to people whom she was terrified of being rejected by. She was really struggling.

We realized that this particular film project has to break even, and ideally break through and be distributed, in order for Cindy’s company Freedom Pictures LLC to continue down this path of making increasingly complex films that change the media landscape for women of color. Knowing this, I jumped in to help.

Every day, I began spending at least an hour sending emails to people I knew, offering them the opportunity to be part of this movement. I was sending dozens of emails per day. It…



Duncan Riach

Top Writer. Self-Revealing. Mental Health. Success. Fulfillment. Flow. MS Engineering/Technology. PhD Psychology.