Because being one of the cool kids is a sure-fire way to increase your chances of getting funding. Being part of the “in” crowd means people are more likely to listen to you attentively — not yawn, not slam doors in your face, not back away slowly while reaching for their can of mace.
I’ve been gone from this blog too long, but I have a good excuse. I have been in the thrall of fundraising and producing three documentary films over the last few years. It’s been intense. But now I’m back and ready to share everything I learned and everything I already knew before that.
I’m pleased as punch to announce that I have begun work on a new fundraising book entitled A Helluva Guide to Indie Film Fundraising. In this book, I draw a detailed road map of film-fundraising Hell, noting the hazards and marking escape routes. Traditional fundraising tactics no longer cut it, especially in this hyper-competitive digital age where abundant, cheap technology has made it impossible to swing a dead cat without hitting another new filmmaker.
I recently signed up as the producer for a new indie feature called Nominated. Written and directed by Dan Pavlik, Nominated tells the story of washed-up former child star Mickey Monroe who’s been “on the outs” for one long, hard skid. Now Mickey finds himself nominated for an Oscar. It could be his shot at redemption. Or — more likely — another round of stupendous self-destruction.
If you’re a healthy, normal filmmaker, your plans surely include applying to foundations. After all, that’s what we’ve been taught. Filmmakers get grants, then they make films. Sucker. The unfortunate truth is that the number of foundations explicitly funding films is shrinking while the number of filmmakers applying for grants is expanding. Think giant mosh pit.
Most people think filmmaking is creative, but fundraising is a chore. In fact, the latter pursuit is full of opportunities to be innovative, as I’ve learned during my 17 years as a professional fundraiser. I have raised money for narrative and documentary films for the majority of my career and for the last ten years have been a filmmaker myself. I have submitted hundreds of grant applications, made scores of face-to-face major donor requests, and have applied to most major government funding sources.
The world needs real information from a filmmaker/fundraiser who has raised money for her own films and for other people’s films. You won’t get this in film school. You won’t find much about it on the Internet or in books, either. The world is changing, the rules are changing. How do you get your chunk of change? This launches the blog that gives you the goods on raising money for your indie film.