Increase Your Film’s Market through Game Mechanics

by Carole Dean

What is Game Mechanics? 

Author Jonah Burger explains in his book “Contagious” that they are the elements of a game, application or program including rules and feedback loops that make them fun. 

Good game mechanics keep people engaged, motivated and wanting more.

Good game mechanics keep people engaged, motivated and wanting more.  They understand where they are compared to others in the same game.

You can use this to create a larger audience and increase donations to your film.

Game Mechanics Motivate on an Interpersonal Level by Encouraging Social Comparison.

People care about their performance in relation to others. 

You probably belong to an airline loyalty program.   Each time you fly on the airline you’ve selected, you accumulate points related to the miles you’ve traveled.    There are levels to reach where the reward gets greater. 

People care about hierarchy.   You try and reach the top level of your airline program to get that first class ticket to Katmandu.  This is game mechanics. 

Using Game Mechanics to Fund Your Film 

Game mechanics helps us generate social currency.  Social Currency is the info we share that others find cool and want to share as well.   You brag about that first class ticket to your friends.  Post it on social media.  It makes us and those that share it look and feel good.  That is social currency. 

Here’s some great ways to use Game Mechanics to increase donations to your film:

  • If you are crowdfunding, you can give an award at the half way point to the person who referred the most people to your campaign. This keeps everyone working for you to win that prize.    
  • Or, you might have something on your web site like an Icon for how much donors have contributed to your film. You could have platinum, gold and silver classifications on your site and list donor names. 
  • On your Facebook page, create a message board with names of whoever donates $100.00 and over. Make up different colored name tags for different amounts.  If you donate $100.00, you get a yellow tag, $300 is orange, and $500 is red tag.

Create a Simple System That People Understand and Create Social Currency

Example: Burberry let people send in photos of themselves in their coats and put them online.  Everyone who posted shared it with their friends who shared it with people they knew.  It drove their sales up 50%.

Word of mouth is generated through the voting process.  Putting films, actors, or locations up for people to vote for works to build interest.   For documentaries, try putting up questions about how people fell about your subject and letting them vote. Contestants spread the word about the site to get votes. 

This is social currency and game mechanics at work.

Think of ways you can you gamify your film funding watch your donations increase.  

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-profit that offers fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcast, The Art of Film Funding, interviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionShe is also the author of The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.

Using Social Currency to Market Your Film

How Sharing Something Remarkable and Unique About Your Film Can Bring Attention…And Money

By Carole Dean

What we talk about influences how others see us.  When we talk about cool things, others want to repeat what we’ve told them to their friends. 

That is called Social Currency and you can use it to get people to notice your film. 

Get People Talking About Your Film to Get it Attention and Funding

What is Social Currency?   

People want to share compelling, exclusive content that makes them look smart and in on a secret.   That type of content is social currency.   

Wharton professor Jonah Berger, author of the brilliant book “Contagious” explains how, by using social currency, you can get more people talking about your product or idea.

Here’s an Example

Crif Dogs, a NYC Hot Dog restaurant, has a vintage phone booth in the corner.  When you enter and dial the ancient rotary phone, a voice answers and asks if you have a reservation.  If you are lucky enough to have one, a hidden door opens and you find you are in a posh 45 seat exclusive restaurant no one knows about.

The name?  Please Don’t Tell.  It makes you feel like you found a great secret.  There is no sign on the street or ads for it.  It takes bookings only for each day and only at 3pm.  By 3:30, all spots are gone. 

The restaurant does not publish its number.   It’s all word of mouth; the most powerful way to market. 

Rules of Social Currency:

  1. People share things that make them look good to others.
  2. People share things that make them seem entertaining and clever.
  3. People use social currency to achieve desired positive impressions among friends & family.

How to Mint Social Currency for Your Film

Find your film’s inner remarkability.   Give me some astonishing facts or an incredible statement I can repeat.

The Key to finding inner remark ability is to think about what makes something interesting surprising or novel. What is interesting about your film or your cast?  What is remarkable about your characters?  What is remarkable about the subject of the film?  

How about is it fiscally sponsored? 

You want to create social currency so people talk about your film and your crowdfunding campaign.  You want them to say I donated to a film and I got a tax deduction.  Or I donated to a film that raises awareness of Veterans suicide. 

That may be what gets people to talk about your film.  Then, they donate too because it’s cool to support your film and it’s cool to get a tax deduction.

By finding your film’s inner remarkability, you can use it to go viral and create social currency.

Do it right and you will end up with a different currency to use to make your film!

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-profit that offers fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcast, The Art of Film Funding, interviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionShe is also the author of The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.

“The Coverup” Filmmakers Win Inaugural Redford Center Grant

Roy W. Dean Grant Winning Film Part of Select Group of 6 Chosen
 
All of us at From the Heart Productions are proud to have our Roy W. Dean Grant Winners, Malina Fagan and Lynn Pelletier, chosen along with their film The Coverup for the inaugural Redford Center Grant.  
 

The Redford Center

 
“We truly want to thank you both so much for all your feedback, encouragement and support.” Malina emailed From the Heart Production president Carole Dean and Carole Joyce upon receiving the Redford Center Grant.
 
“We’ve applied to many grants this past year and yours is the only one that provided feedback, which is what has helped us grow.”
 
282 filmmakers applied to the grant from over 28 countries.   6 indie documentaries were selected along with the 7 filmmakers who made them.  
 
The grant was created to provide support for six feature-length film projects in early development that are focused on driving awareness, education and tangible action on a variety of environmental topics.
 
“The Coverup” reveals that the average person is exposed to about 126 chemicals a day, just from their cosmetics and personal care products (soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, makeup, etc.).  Scientists have linked some of the chemicals to serious health effects including cancer, infertility, and birth defects. The documentary seeks to empower consumers and companies alike and challenge our government to protect the public.
 
What’s Next for Filmmakers
 
Malina and Lynn will be going to Utah this November to attend a story summit at the Sundance Resort.  They will also receive a $15,000 development grant to produce a written film treatment and short proof-of-concept film over a 3-month time frame, mentorship from issue experts and industry leaders to refine their project narratives and impact goals, a GoPro Hero 4 Black Camera, film distribution as part of Redford Center Grants’ series of shorts and consideration for co-production with The Redford Center.
 
They will also be making full use of all the donations in the Roy W. Dean Spring Grant which includes:
 

The Roy W. Dean Grant is awarded 3 times each year to a film that is unique and makes a contribution to society.   Applications for current grant are now being accepted.  

Fall 2016 Roy W. Dean Grant Won by “Do No Harm”

“Silent Epidemic” of Physician Suicide Exposed in Eye-Opening Documentary Feature

Oxnard, CA Jan 16th, 2016   Why are the doctors we rely on to keep us healthy, ending their own lives at an alarming rate?  Emmy winning former PBS Producer/Director Robyn Symon examines this critical problem in the documentary Do No Harm, the winner of the Fall 2016 Roy W. Dean Grant.   As the grant winner, Robyn will receive $30K in cash, film products, and services to help her finish her project. 

Still from Roy W. Dean Grant Winner “Do No Harm”

The Roy W. Dean Grant is awarded 3 times each year to a unique film that makes a contribution to society.   Founded in 1993 by the 501(c)3 non-profit From the Heart Productions, grants are open to all types of film projects including documentaries, short films, features, and web series in any stage of production

Following three people bonded by grief, “Do No Harm” delves into why young physicians in medical school have the highest suicide rate of any profession, almost twice the national average.  They are jumping from hospital roofs, hanging themselves in closets and overdosing on readily available drugs. “This documentary reveals a dark side of our medical system.” commented Carole Dean, president of From the Heart Productions. “We are proud to support Robyn and her work to shine a light through her film on this important underreported story.”

The film shows how what it calls this ‘dirty little secret” in the medical community is a symptom of a broken heath care system that’s not only putting the lives of doctors at risk…  but patients too.

“Medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the United States alone,”notes director Robyn Symone,”often caused by sleep-deprived and disillusioned doctors forced to practice assembly line medicine. And the crisis is getting worse.”

About the Filmmaker

Robyn Symon is a two-time Emmy winning Producer/Director and has produced programming for many national networks including PBS, The Travel Channel, CNBC and DISCOVERY HEALTH. Robyn began her career as a TV news reporter in Texas before joining the PBS station WPBT in Miami, where she produced documentaries, public affairs programs, the TV series Florida!, the docu-series Voices of Vision, and the medical series Health & Family airing on the Discovery Health network.

Her most recent film, Uncle Gloria: One Helluva Ride!, was selected for a prestigious Film Independent Documentary Lab Fellowship and will premiere at a Miami film festival in April 2016. In addition to two Emmys, Robyn has been honored with 3 national Telly awards; 2 national NABJ awards and honors by both the Associated Press and UPI.

The Fall 2016 Roy W. Dean Grant includes $3,000 cash given by From The Heart Productions.  The winners also receive a hard drive from G-Technology, $15,000 in theme and score music from composer David Raiklen,  $6,000 in animation services from Charlie Canfield,  one week DSLR camera package rental from Birns & Sawyer,  and much more from many heart-felt donors

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now in its 23rd year, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to films.  The grant has been an important lifeline for filmmakers needing help to continue working on their film and to get it completed.  Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made. 

Past winners of the grant that have been completed include the Emmy winning Mia: A Dancer’s Journey, the SXSW Best of Fest Music Film The Winding Stream: An Oral History of the Carter and Cash Family, and the now in release on video and on demand the very relevant The Brainwashing of My Dad.

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they are also a fiscal sponsor which allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has raised over $2.4 million for crowdfunding films as a partner with Indiegogo.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts

For More Information, please contact

Richard Kaufman

www.fromtheheartproductions.com

NetCaptioning Joins Donors to Roy W. Dean Grant

Winners of All 2017 Grants Will Receive Free Close Captioning Services for Their Film

From the Heart Productions, non-profit sponsor of the Roy W. Dean Grant for indie filmmakers, is proud to have new grant donor NetCaptioning for 2017.   The winners of the Spring, Summer, and Fall Grants will each receive will each receive free close captioning services for their winning film (a $600 value).  

Net-Captioning-logoIn addition, NetCaptioning owner Elliot Roberts is giving a 20% discount on all From the Heart Productions fiscally sponsored filmmakers and grant applicants.  The discount not only applies to close captioning, but to their other services as well.  These include subtitling and transcription services.

“We are thrilled to have NetCaptioning join our family of donors”, said Carole Dean, president of From the Heart Productions.  “Mr. Roberts has great compassion for indie filmmakers.  Especially those working to convey a message like the ones who come to us for us for help.  He is very excited to work with and support those filmmakers.”

Since 2006, NetCaptioning has offered their services to Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, Fox Sports, as well as some of the largest video distributors in the country.  They work with a broad network of highly-qualified translators to offer cinema-quality foreign language subtitling.  They’ve developed workflows that allow them to offer the industry’s lowest prices — while not compromising on quality.

“NetCaptioning handled closed captions for I Voted? and did so in a flawless fashion.” commented Jason Smith, winner of the Roy W. Dean Grant.  “They provided me with outstanding customer service and helped us pass quality control without any issues on our “video on demand” platforms.  And their prices are extremely reasonable with quick turnarounds.  As an added bonus, they seem to actually care about their work.”

NetCaptioning prides itself on not being simply an assembly line of close captioning and subtitling.   They offer personal service to every client. They offer simple pricing so that clients know what to expect and remain in budget.

For more information on NetCaptioning and their services, you can email them at or call them at 240-654-6235.

The Roy W. Dean Grant is now accepting applications for its Spring Grant.   Deadline is April 30th.   For more information about the grant, go to http://fromtheheartproductions.com/roy-w-dean-film-grants-and-awards/   For questions, please email or call 805-984-0098.

“The Need to Grow” Wins Summer Roy W. Dean Grant

Documentary Investigates Solutions to Localize Food and Regenerate our Planet’s Dying Soils

Can we feed the world without destroying the Earth?  That and other questions on the sustainability of life on our planet are explored in The Need to Grow which has been awarded the Summer Roy W. Dean Grant for 2016.   Co-Directors and producers, Rob Herring and Ryan Wirick, will receive $30K in cash, film products, and services to help them complete their film now in post-production. 

From The Heart Productions, the 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to help filmmakers get their films funded, founded the Roy W. Dean Grant in 1993.   Awarded 3 times each year, submitted projects must be unique and make a contribution to society.  The grants are open to all types of film projects including documentaries, short films, features, and web series in any stage of production. 

“There is not a more important topic then how we feed ourselves now and in the future” commented Carole Dean, president of From the Heart Productions on the Summer Roy W. Dean Grant winner. “The problems exposed in the film are frightening, but the brilliant and determined people shown working on them give us hope.”

The documentary follows innovators of low and high tech solutions to localize food and regenerate our planet’s dying soils. With more toxic chemicals being sprayed than ever before, food seed varieties going extinct, bees dying off, historic water shortages, epidemics of malnutrition, hunger and food waste coexisting, and an estimated 60 years of farmable soil left on the planet, the time to fix our broken food system is now.

Through the stories of underdog leaders facing unpredictable challenges—from activists to urban farmers, from permaculture designers to computer scientists, from ancient to cutting edge technologies, from Boston to Los Angeles—emerge solutions that conserve natural resources and create true food security.

The “Need To Grow”  reveals not only the potential of decentralized food production models that work with nature, but more importantly, reveals our potential as active participants in an interconnected biosphere to become a planetary force for ecosystem restoration.

Rob Herring is a graduate of the Tisch School of Arts at NYU where he received the Drama Award for Film and TV.   He Co-Produced/Directed his first feature, Nothing in Los Angeles, which received numerous best picture honors.   Rob also worked on the recent document GMO OMG.  He is a certified Holistic Health Coach and, as a musician, writes songs for health activism. 

Ryan Wirick is an award winning writer and journalist, as well as a cinematographer and film editor.  He’s been producing videos since he was 15, the same year he learned about the environmental havoc caused by our food system.   He is graduate of Chapman University and collaborated with Moms Across America to raise awareness of the systemic problems in our food system.  

The Summer Roy W. Dean Grant includes $3,500 cash given by From The Heart Productions.  The winners also receive a hard drive from G-Technology, 30% Discount for music post production services from AudioKut, discounts on original music and sound mix from Alan Audio Works,  and much more from many heart-felt donors who support independent filmmakers. 

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now in its 23rd year, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to films.   The grant has been an important lifeline for filmmakers needing help to continue working on their film and to get it completed.  Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made. 

Past winners of the grant that have been completed include the Emmy winning Mia: A Dancer’s Journey, the SXSW Best of Fest Music Film The Winding Stream: An Oral History of the Carter and Cash Family, and the now in release on video and on demand The Brainwashing of My Dad.

Submissions are being accepted for the Roy W. Dean Grant for Spring 2017

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they are also a fiscal sponsor which allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has raised over $2.4 million for crowdfunding films as a partner with Indiegogo.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts

For More Information, please contact

Richard Kaufman

www.fromtheheartproductions.com

September 2016 Newsletter

From the Heart Productions

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“The Coverup” Wins Roy W. Dean 2016 Spring Film Grant  
 
Documentary Uncovers Effects of Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products
The first Roy W. Dean Film Grant of 2016 goes to the feature documentary, The Coverup, and its mother and daughter filmmaking team of Lynn Pelletier and Malina Fagan.
“The Coverup” reveals that the average person is exposed to about 126 chemicals a day, just from their cosmetics and personal care products (soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, makeup, etc.).  Scientists have linked some of the chemicals to serious health effects including cancer, infertility,  and birth defects.   The documentary seeks to empower consumers and companies to challenge the government to protect the public.

 Sands of Silence: Waves of Courage US Premiere  
Roy W. Dean Grant Winner Now Screening Around Country 
Sands of Silence:Waves of Courage, the film that gives courage to speak out against sexual violence, is now available for viewing in select cities in U.S.
There will be two screenings Oct 5th at theChagrin Documentary Film Festival in Ohio and a showing October 16th at Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles.
The screenings will be accompanied by a Q&A with director Chelo Alvarez-Stehle 

Plan of Attack: Raising Money for Your Film
 
By Carole Dean
Ok, you’ve got a great idea for a film. You’ve created a fantastic proposal and you’ve perfected your pitch. You’re next move should be to create a captivating trailer.
Now, you need a plan of attack because now you need to start raising money.
As I mention in my book, The Art of Film Funding, 2nd edition: Alternative Financing Concepts, there are so many things to do when you start to make a film. You need to know the order of your priorities because they come at you from every direction.
When you just work with these immediate items you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The Hottest Web Fest in the Country
LAWEBFEST is Oldest, Largest Web Series Festival
The Los Angeles Web Series Festival (a.k.a.LAWEBFEST) was created to showcase, promote, and reward as many deserving web series as possible and provide a unique networking platform.   It was established in 2010 by Emmy-winning TV producer Michael Ajakwe Jr.
In the most recent Art of Film Funding Podcast, Michael explains what he looks for in entries, the different categories, and how to apply.
Other recent interviews include:
How to Create Award Winning Web Series with producer/director Dennis Curry
Making Successful Short Films with Kim Adelman, author of “Making it Big in Shorts”
Dissecting Docs -What’s Hot to Watch with Carole Dean and Don Schwartz.
In case you missed them, you can access any of the podcasts on our website at The Art of Film Funding Podcast.

Welcome Julie Janata as Grant Donor
Thanks for Supporting Independent Filmmakers
Julie Janata is an Emmy Award-winning Producer, an Emmy Award-nominated Editor and a Director, of character-driven dramas, comedies and music feature films that have won more than 25 awards around the world.
The winner of the Roy W. Dean Fall Grant receives 30% discount on Julie’s creative producing consultant services.
Sought after as a story builder, Janata imbues her stories with all the richness of character she learned while working on Oscar and Emmy winning productions on four continents for every major studio: Warner Brothers, Universal, Paramount, Fox, Disney, Sony, as well as ABC, CBS, PBS, TLC, ESPN, HBO and Showtime.

New Fiscally Sponsored Films
The Latest Projects Fundraising With Us  
The documentary License to Parent focuses on the lack of any training and requirements needed for parenting. The film will show that if we can raise the standard of parenting, we can make our world a better place in which to live.”
The feature 88 is drawn from Psalm 88 and combines the genres of Christian films and Horror films.  The webseries, DILF Diaries, is a feminist response to 50 Shades of Grey, placing the utmost importance on consent in any sexual relationship, and especially those involving kink.

This Month On Indiegogo with From The Heart  


In the mockumentary, Chase: Tony Takes on The World, struggling actor Tony has one day to make it to New York City, or the world will be destroyed.
The short film Cut Jasmine short film strives to show the true nature of the people involved in the building of the railroads, and how their triumphs and hardships made our country great.  American Yogi is a documentary film about Ram Dass’s guru and an adventurous journey into magical India where a young man mustchoose between the miracles he sees and life as he knew it
Click on book to buy on Amazon.com
The Art of Film Funding is the best selling fundraising book
for independent filmmakers.  With a daily to do list, it puts you on the fast track to financing your film.
What’s new in the 2nd Edition:
  • Secrets to successful crowdfunding
  • How to market your film online
  • Tips for creating a trailer to attract investors.
  • Peter Broderick on new ideas for marketing films
  • Norman Berns on Budgeting
  • Maureen Ryan on Music Rights
  • Michael Donaldson on Fair Use
  • Corky Kessler, Paige Gold and Mark Litwak on Legal
  • Creating your Trailer by Bill Woolery
  • Tom Malloy on Feature Film Funding

Plan of Attack: Starting to Raise Money for Your Film

by Carole Dean

Ok, you’ve got a great idea for a film.  You’ve created a fantastic proposal and you’ve perfected your pitch.  You’re next move should be to create a captivating trailer.

Now, you need a plan of attack because now you need to start raising money.

Your Mission to Get a Great Trailer Needs a Plan of Attack to Get Funding

As I mention in my book, The Art of Film Funding, 2nd edition: Alternative Financing Concepts, there are so many things to do when you start to make a film.  You need to know the order of your priorities because they come at you from every direction.  When you just work with these immediate items you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

You must have a fantastic trailer to make money.  So, how much is that going to cost you?  For a doc your budget should be around $10,000 and for a feature about $20,000.  This must be your first and foremost goal, especially for a documentary, after you get your proposal and pitch to a brilliant level.

Alright, Now How Do I Get The Money?

Fiscal sponsorship is a great foundation to build your fundraising.  I know because my non-profit, From the Heart Productions , specializes in fiscal sponsorship for filmmakers.  We’ve helped them raise millions for their films.

Under fiscal sponsorship, you will align your project with a non-profit that will give your donors a tax deduction for the money they donate to your film.  That means more and perhaps larger donations.

When filmmakers apply to From the Heart Productions for fiscal sponsorship, they’ve got a choice on how to get paid.   We tell them that if their checks are to be made to them personally we must issue a 1099 at the end of the year for miscellaneous income. Or, they can get an LLC.

The LLC filing at www.ehow.com is inexpensive.  You can get one online under $300.00.  You can also get a DBA (Doing Business As) from the city you live in.  It’s even less money. Both of these take about 4 to 6 weeks to complete.

You Mentioned Something About a Plan? Right?

1. Start by getting your bank account.  Where’s the money to open the account? Try your mother or grandmother and tell them you need this to become an entrepreneur.

2. Now, you’ve got a film bank account and/or an LLC or your DBA, so you are a real company.  Find a fiscal sponsor that you like, that supports filmmakers, will give you help, and be available to answer any questions you may have.

Did I mention that From the Heart is a great fiscal sponsor for filmmakers?  Ok, maybe I’m prejudiced.  But, it does fit perfectly the necessary criteria I just listed because From the Heart Productions was created specifically to help filmmakers get funded.  We’ve done a really good job of that too for the last 11 years.

We are constantly putting information on our web site to help you raise money. We also review your proposal and your trailer and tell you the honest truth about your chance for success and we give ideas to improve what you have.

You really need this. You are out there in a vacuum and you need people who see hundreds of proposals and know what grantors want. This is where a thick skin is required.

I know from talking to hundreds of sensitive artists that we’ve fiscally sponsored or who’ve applied for our Roy W. Dean Film Grant that when you start telling them that their favorite scene in the trailer doesn’t work; most of them just grin and bear it. They don’t have to take my advice, but many do.

In fact many people just apply for the grant to find out what we think of their materials. That’s a very good thing to do. I recommend you apply for lots of grants and get feedback, that’s how you learn to improve your work.

When looking for a fiscal sponsor, say to yourself, “What’s in it for me?” Make sure you feel you are getting something for your 5 to 7% fee.

3. Time to start building an audience and network of potential donors.  Facebook is a must to fund your film. Create a fan page for your film.  Use their landing page to advertise your film and collect fans.  Start a dialogue.  Try out artwork, ads, and even ask for advice.

Use Google to search for organizations, website, bloggers, and forums on your subject matter.  Post on these forums and reach out to the bloggers.  Get information out about your project and send people to your Facebook page and web site. Try to get as many people that are interested in your subject to join your page.

Read my blog, Mining Your Audience for Gold as another way to discover who your audience really is.

4. Create a budget for the trailer. See the chapter on film budgets by award winner Norman Berns that I’ve reprinted on our website.  Check out Norman’s site www.reelgrok.com and Maureen Ryan’s www.producertoproducer.com site for sample budgets for features and documentaries.  Stay focused to get that brilliant money-making trailer made.

5. Set up your email names on an email marketing site.  You want to stay in touch with your donors every other month by always giving them the latest and greatest news on your film.  I use www.constantcontact.com.  They are very helpful. (work with a fiscal sponsor that already uses Constant Contact and you’ll get a discount).

Don’t think its way above your level to create a fantastic newsletter, it’s actually easy.

6. Decide how best to use your time. Morrie Warshawski, author of “Shaking the Money Tree” draws a circle and says you usually get 60% of your money for docs from people. So, how much time do you want to put into people?

If you decide to put 50%, then cut the pie in half and write PEOPLE. Next how much time to you want to spend on grants? Is your film a good fit for a lot of grants? If so, put 20% GRANTS. How about Corporate donations? What amount of time do you want to give that? Put it on the chart.

Letter writing is a brilliant way to get money.  Funding parties can bring you people to support your film and money. Chart it out and tell yourself what you will do with your time. If you are making a feature then you know it’s 100% from people.  I don’t always recommend a trailer for features for many reasons.

7. “What’s in it for me?” Crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo have shown us how much people will give if they get something back. We always knew it was all about, “what’s in it for me” and they are using that gift to the donors to raise tons of money.  So, think about what you can give back to your donors and put it on your web site and your Facebook page.

Example; an Indian man I know was making a film called Bollywood to Hollywood.  In our brainstorming session, he revealed that his mother and brother are excellent cooks. So we set up a price for him to come to your house and cook an authentic Indian dinner for 6 people.  Use the idea of your film as much as possible and create gifts around it to make people want to gi ve you the larger checks.

8. Now you need to collect some sponsors and partners for your film. This means you look for nonprofits that are supporting your same issue. Kitty Farmer was making a film on the healthcare, or lack of, that the US Government promised the American Indians. She calls it her circle of partners. She focused on this for several weeks and each day got on the phone and pitched her film to like-minded organizations and she came up with 20 organizations who want to support her film.

How does this help you? Well, if each organization has 2000 members or more multiply that by 20 and now you have a large data base of people who care about your issue following you. Your job is to keep them informed with your newsletter or email blasts of the status of the film while you are making it.  Your real support will come when they can see some of the content of the film and fully support you.   Always list these names on your grant applications and on your web site as strategic partners.

Finding these people is easy. Start with some of these nonprofit web sites like www.guidestar.org and www.councilofnonprofits.org for the subject matter of your film. Each organization has instructions on site to help you. Then, get on the phone and pitch that brilliant money making pitch you created.

You want them to know you are making this film and usually the first contact is to introduce yourself and tell them about your film.

Remember, they don’t know you from Adam and this is your first contact.  They don’t need you, you need them.  At this point only ask if you can keep them informed about your film as you make it.  Once you have a trailer to show them then send that and keep your contact going until they learn more about you and trust you.  Then they will put you on their web site and mention you in the newsletters, etc

9. Now you need the money to make the trailer. Your platform is set, you have a bank account, a pitch and proposal, sponsors, web site, Facebook page, perhaps a blog and you have people connected to you and your film. That’s perfect.

Review your time table telling you how much time you want to put into each area of fund raising. You may want to focus on the PEOPLE section first. Decide if you want to call people to donate to a yard sale, create a funding party or a dinner funding party or do a letter campaign.   Make plans, set dates for these events and start your first funding adventure.

10. You may want to listen to my online information on Manifesting and creating your future at www.fromtheheartproductions.com it’s very important at this phase to be able to receive. You want to be sure that you are functioning at the highest level possible and as Dr. Chopra would say that you must know there are “infinite possibilities” waiting for you.

11. Before you shoot anything for your trailer, I recommend you have a consultation with a trailer editor and find out just what he/she advises you to do to get what you need before you go out to shoot. Read Bill Woolery’s information on preparing to shoot. www.billwoolery.com to see some great doc trailers.

12. When you shoot your trailer you will have an outline of just what you want before you shoot. After your trailer editor is finished, add this trailer to your web site and post daily about producing the trailer in your blog.

Consider creating a 90 second trailer for sponsors to put on their web site to send people to your site. Now you are really networking.  Remember the people reading your web site and blog don’t know that filmmaking is 90% hard work and 10% filmmaking. So dazzle them with production information so they keep coming back to your site or Facebook  page. Then tell them where you are now in the funding process and make another “ask” as you need more money.

13. Look for development money from places like www.sundance.org or http://www.thefledglingfund.org or  www.chickeneggpics.org and go to the back of the book for a list of funding organizations.

14. Celebrate you have just reached your first milestone. The rest can be a piece of cake.

Remember, it’s the journey not the destination. Enjoy every moment.

“The Coverup” Wins Roy W. Dean Spring Film Grant for 2016

Roy W. Dean Spring Film Grant Winning Documentary Uncovers Effects of Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products

Oxnard, CA  Oct 4, 2016  From The Heart Productions, the 501(c)3 non-profit with a mission to help filmmakers get their films funded, has awarded the Roy W. Dean Spring Film Grant of 2016 to the feature documentary, The Coverup, and its mother and daughter filmmaking team of Lynn Pelletier and Malina Fagan.  For winning the grant, they will receive $30k in cash, film products and services to complete their film.

Started in 1993, the Roy W. Dean Film Grant is awarded 3 times each year to films that are unique and make a contribution to society.  There is a Spring, Winter, and Fall Grant.  The grants are open to all types of film projects including documentaries, short films, features, and web series in any stage of production.  225 films were submitted for this year’s Roy W. Dean Spring Film Grant from the United States and around the world.

"The Coverup" - 2016 Roy W. Dean Spring Film Grant Winner

“The Coverup” – 2016 Roy W. Dean Spring Film Grant Winner

“The Coverup” reveals that the average person is exposed to about 126 chemicals a day, just from their cosmetics and personal care products (soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, makeup, etc.).  Scientists have linked some of the chemicals to serious health effects including cancer, infertility, and birth defects. The documentary seeks to empower consumers and companies alike and challenge our government to protect the public.

Filmmakers Lynn and Malina had previously applied several times to the Roy W. Dean Film Grant.  Like all other applicants, were given a free consultation to improve their application. They persisted and made the appropriate adjustments and eventually won the grant. 

“These two women are talented and determined.” admired Carole Dean, president and founder of From the Heart Productions. “Those are two traits that always equal success in film funding.  It’s especially nice for myself and Carole Joyce, my daughter who helps with grant outreach, to be able to give the grant to another mother and daughter team.”

“The Coverup” reveals that the average person is exposed to about 126 chemicals a day, just from their cosmetics and personal care products (soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, makeup, etc.).  Scientists have linked some of the chemicals to serious health effects including cancer, infertility, and birth defects.  The documentary seeks to empower consumers and companies to challenge the government to protect the public.

Filmmaker's Lynn and Malina Fagan

Malina Fagan and Lynn Pelletier

Lynn Pelletier and Malina Fagan are the dynamic mother-daughter duo behind “The Coverup”.  Lynn is a health practitioner of over 30 years who specializes in acupuncture and allergy treatments.  Malina is an award winning filmmaker who is passionate about health, the environment and human empowerment. Having lost several people in their family to cancer, they are committed to raising awareness of environmental toxins and disease prevention.

Malina’s films have premiered in IMAX at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, aired on Rocky Mountain PBS, and been selected at festivals across the country, winning awards for their cinematography and storytelling. 

For winning the Roy W. Dean Spring Film Grant, they will receive $3,500 cash donated by From The Heart Productions.  The grant also includes a hard drive from G-Technology, tape stock from Media Distributors, discount on color, editing and production services from Promedia, equipment rental from Alpha Cine NY,  and much more from many heart-felt donors

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now in its 23rd year, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to films.   The grant has been an important lifeline for filmmakers needing help to continue working on their film and to get it completed.  Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made. 

Past winners of the grant that have been completed include the Emmy winning Mia: A Dancer’s Journey, the SXSW Best of Fest Music Film The Winding Stream: An Oral History of the Carter and Cash Family, and the now in release on video and on demand The Brainwashing of My Dad

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they are also a fiscal sponsor which allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has raised over $2.3 million for crowdfunding films as a partner with Indiegogo.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts

For More Information, please contact

Richard Kaufman

www.fromtheheartproductions.com

Finalists Chosen for Roy W. Dean Spring Film Grant

6 Films in Running for 1st Roy W. Dean Film Grant of 2016

From The Heart Productions, the non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get funding, announced the 6 finalists for the Roy W. Dean Spring Film Grant.  Winner will receive $30,000 in a combination of cash and donated services from film industry professionals and companies.

Grant finalist "U Htein Lin – Mr. Bright and Shiny"

Grant finalist “U Htein Lin – Mr. Bright and Shiny”

The 6 finalists were selected out of an initial group of 22 finalists for grant.  Over 225 submissions were received for this year’s grant.  The projects included features, short films, documentary, and web series.

“Filmmakers with unique stories that contribute to society have the toughest road to get funding” said From the Heart President Carole Dean “That is why we founded the grant.  Without it’s help, these projects might otherwise never get made.”

The grant includes $3,500 in cash and donations of film services and products.  Some of which include a 1TB G-Drive ev ATC from G-Technology, a 30% discount in equipment rental from AbelCine Tech, Inc. NYC, 40% deduction on color, editing, and production services from ProMedia, and much more from those who care about helping independent filmmakers.

The films and their filmmakers chosen as Roy W. Dean Grant Finalists are:

Belly of the Beast – Erika Cohn – Documentary intimately chronicles the journey of women fighting reproductive injustice in their communities.

Holden On – Tamlin Hall – Based on a true story of dual diagnosis, the feature is a dynamic 17-year-old’s point of view journey to keep his mental illness a secret at all costs.

How the Cats Took Over the Internet – Laurin Lazin – Documentary feature film for all ages. It takes a provocative and entertaining look at the history, meaning, and impact of user-generated content… as seen through the lens of the cat video.

Stranger at Home – Luis Remesar – Documentary film about a Navy psychologist’s mission to hold military medicine accountable for solutions to the mental health epidemic decimating our warrior class.

The Coverup – Malina Fagan – The documentary reveals startling information previously hidden from consumers that links exposure to low dose chemicals used in soaps, lotions, baby shampoos, deodorants, etc. to devastating health effects such as cancer, infertility, birth defects and more. This solution oriented film teaches viewers how to protect themselves, their families and the environment, and challenges our government to protect the public.

U Htein Lin – Mr. Bright and Shiny – Vanessa Smith – Documentary on a Burmese artist who was sentenced to prison without a fair trial and who spent 6 and one half years in prison.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now in its 24th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant is awarded 3 times each year.   There is a Spring, Summer and Fall Grant.  The Fall Grant is now accepting entries and closes September 30th.  Films submitted to the grant can be short films, documentaries or features from early stages of pre-production to those needing help in post.

The grant has been integral in helping talented artists with great stories get their films produced.  Recent past winners of the grant include the award winning “Heist: Who Stole the American Dream” and “The Winding Stream: An Oral History of the Carter and Cash Family”, and Mia: A Dancer’s Journey which just won an Emmy award.

About From The Heart Productions

The 501(c)3 non-profit was founded by Carole Dean when she saw how many filmmakers with important, new, and often controversial stories were having trouble getting financing for their films.    From The Heart is a fiscal sponsor for films which allows donors to get a tax deduction for their donations.  Their Intentional Filmmaking Class that teaches filmmakers the tactics on how to get funded is now open for enrollment.  Classes start September 26th.