The Film Strategy 5 with Cindy Cowan.
Your November 2016 Calendar for Film Festivals, Screenplay Contests, Fellowships, Labs and Awards.
When To Say No To A Film Festival
The Full Costs and Income of an Indie Film
Documents, Templates and Resources for Every Phase of Production.
PRODUCTION JOURNAL: How Tarantino Got Reservoir Dogs Funded and Why It's Worth Knowing People Who Know Celebrities
The gift of overwhelming information to read on the internet burdens us to actually read it. One article that I came across that I found personally engaging was Peter Darling's Best Way to Run a Business. I think it is aimed at solo attorneys and budding entrepreneurs and small businesspeople. I think it is also useful for filmmakers. (To read the entire short article, click here.)
The part that stood out for me and which I find relevant for filmmakers is this one:
There are people all around you excelling at what you’re trying to learn. Start paying close attention to how they do it...Every day I am surprised when I ask clients and filmmakers if they know how "X director" or "Y producer" made "Z film" and the answer is "no." I am surprised because anyone who has been in the trenches long enough will tell you how hard it is to make a film.
The difficulty comes in 7 stages, each getting progressively harder:
- It's hard to come up with an idea worth writing.
- It's hard to write a script worth raising funds for.
- It's hard to raise funds for a film worth directing.
- It's hard to direct a film worth editing.
- It's hard to edit a film worth distributing.
- It's hard to distribute a film worth marketing.
- And it's hard to market a film against all other competing forms of art and entertainment. PERIOD.
* By "methods," I mean the way they developed, produced and funded their projects, I am not saying copy their directing methodology or their filmmaking style.
Quentin Tarantino had been working at Video Archives, a video store in Manhattan Beach, California, and originally planned to shoot the film with his friends on a budget of $30,000 in a 16 mm black-and-white format, with producer Lawrence Bender playing a police officer chasing Mr. Pink. Bender gave the script to his acting teacher, whose wife gave the script to Harvey Keitel. Keitel liked it enough to sign as a co-producer so Tarantino and Bender would have an easier job finding funding; with his assistance, they raised $1.5 million. Keitel also paid for Tarantino and Bender to host casting sessions in New York, where the duo found Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen, and Tim Roth.
- Keep honing your craft (in writing, acting or filmmaking) by taking courses.
- Develop good relationships with people who know people that can get your film funded.
- Most importantly, write a script with juicy lines and stories that gets people who know people to show your script to them.
PRODUCTION TIPS: Your February 2017 Calendar for Film Festivals, Screenplay Contests, Fellowships, Labs and Awards
The good people at Script Reader Pro have just made your life easier.
Why is that you say?
Because they've made your filmmaking life easier to manage this year with their calendar of all the major upcoming screenwriting contests , awards , festivals , fellowships and labsin 2017.
Like Yogi Berra says, “If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else.”
PRODUCTION TIPS: Best Practices from A Grant-Awarded Writer to Fund All Types of Programs (Guest Post)
Giovanna Aguilar is a multimedia content producer and a good friend. She recently wrote an article on LinkedIn with tips for people, like filmmakers, who are seeking and applying for grants. Her article is very informative, helpful and encouraging so I wanted to share it with you. Show that you like it by sharing it and liking her original LinkedIn post, as well.
January is not only for setting new year’s resolutions but also for planning your grant submission calendar. It is important for you to know that this is when most grantors restart their funding cycles.This represents an opportunity for you, but it must begin with a mix of preparation, patience and perseverance. Trust me, these three Ps are going to make all the difference in how you secure your first awarded grant — funds.
I got started writing grants by chance and out of utter necessity when one of my film projects, DreamTown, needed funding. The director had sent me a previously submitted grant application that I wound up spending a couple of days rewriting expeditiously to beat the deadline. By the time it was completed, I had a severe migraine. My first tip to you: Do not do that - throw yourself into a tight deadline, especially the first time. It will deter you from the already draining process. Yes. It helped that I had a template to work from, which is essentially what your first application will be, a reusable document with key sections that include the project’s objectives, impact and budget.
Here’s the deal. I’m going to be straight with you. Whether you are writing the grant proposal yourself or hiring a professional, it takes work, a lot of work. Your job is to write effectively based on a strategy for your program. Let me reiterate this point, you must write based on a strategy for your program. This is nonnegotiable. You must have a strategy, a plan, in place, or a spin doctor-grant writer who knows your industry inside and out. Yes. I won’t lie. Luck and spin happen too.
Ultimately, though, securing grant funds is about selling your story to the grantor. And I must admit that filmmakers are deftly suited for this, which is why I am happily sharing insight into grant writing best practices that have worked for me across all types of programs. While the grant writing process is quite an arduous one, these 10 are a good start.
G’s —Top 10 Best Practices for Writing Winning Grants
- Who Is your program or project going to benefit or target?
- What is your program going to do?
- Where will the program take place?
- Why is your program so important that the grantor must fund it?
- How will you ensure that you can do what you are proposing with the funding?