Carole Dean – The Art of Film Funding Blog
Carole Dean founded From the Heart Productions 24 years ago to help indie filmmakers get their films funded. In her blog, she shares her knowledge and advice on:
- Raising Money for Your Film
- Getting Distribution
- Manifesting Money and Success
- Fiscal Sponsorship
And more with the goal of giving filmmakers the tools to get their films produced.
She hosts the weekly podcast, The Art of Film Funding, interviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film production. She is also the author of The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts. See IMDB for producing credits.
February 22nd, 2012
When It Comes to Your Pitch, Moor Is Sometimes Better
After my son Rick died, as a way to communicate with him, and to pretend he was still here, I would ask him to help me find my glasses. What’s so funny is that eventually they would turn up in a place I could have sworn I looked.
In September of 2007, I traveled to New Zealand and I specifically remember packing my rhinestone reading glasses. I had flown to Auckland to give a $3,000 award to the best pitch in the DOC NZ film festival.
One of the filmmakers in my pitch class was Jeannette Howe who had the most heart and courage of any filmmaker I had seen recently. She wanted to film a group of teen-age actors doing Othello. Doesn’t sound very interesting, does it? That’s what I thought when she practiced her pitch in a pitch class with me the day before the major funding award session. I hoped she was a better filmmaker than pitch maker. My son Rick was an incredible actor who taught me that taking risks makes for interesting performances. Wasn’t a pitch a performance? I suggested she try bringing the actors on stage with her when she pitched her project in front of the judge the next day.
When Jeannette nervously walked on the stage the next day to give the judge her final pitch, a little voice said to me, “Give her the money.” I was shocked. I had just heard a fantastic pitch from a woman that I’m sure the judge wanted me to choose. I know he expected me to give her my money.
Before I could even find my checkbook, four entrance doors flew open and eight beautiful male Polynesian teens exploded into the room. They were singing romantic Island songs, spouting Shakespeare, and clowning around with a hand-held video camera. Some played hand-carved native drums and others danced to Maori war chants. They simply stole my heart. I knew I had to give them the award. This was a film that deserved to be made.
The only female on the crew, their fearless leader, said the purpose for recording the play was to get a DVD into schools to introduce teens to Shakespeare, to better their communication skills, and for them to learn to appreciate the Bard’s work. Who wouldn’t be impressed with this mission and the presentation? (Filmmaker’s take note: Judges want to know your film can make a difference.)
Since the judge for the best pitch was giving the DOC NZ award to another person, I had to write my speech carefully for them to understand why I made a different choice. I wrote my speech, printed it out and practiced it. Going out of the hotel room, I made sure I had my rhinestone glasses so I could read it, but I actually never used my notes or glasses. It seems that once I know what I want to say, when it’s time to speak, someone else takes over. This is exactly what happened on award night.
It was so much fun to see the Jeanette’s excitement at receiving my check. She had the most urgent need for the money. It was a great night ending in a wonderful joyous celebration. The young Polynesian actors, known as The Browns, went home feeling like the winners.
Early the next day, I flew to Blenheim in the south island of New Zealand then drove to my home, The Wye Cottage, which is in the Wairau Valley in the Marlborough district. This is the house we used for the writing grant.
Once settled in, I remember using my rhinestone glasses to read something and putting them down on the coffee table when I was done. Awaking from a nap a few hours later, however, they were gone. Being distracted with ideas for improving the house and busy attacking an over grown English garden before my flight home, I just used a spare pair knowing my favorite glasses would show up by the time to leave.
However, when packing my suitcase in a rush to return to Oxnard the next day, I realized too late that I was still wearing my spare glasses and my wonderful rhinestone glasses were nowhere to be found. As the airport taxi’s horn honked for me in the driveway, I knew it was too late to even ask for Rick’s help
Just before dashing out, Jeannette called to ask if she could spend her award money on a good camera. I wholeheartedly agreed. It meant she would save a lot of money on rentals and would have the camera handy to capture all the rehearsals, discussions on funding and how the actors would survive without jobs while making this film. I was elated with her decision and asked that she please name the camera Rick and never leave home without it!
Getting home to Oxnard Shores was a joy. After unpacking, I opened my office desk that contained all my New Zealand home information …. You will never guess what I found. My rhinestone glasses were sitting right in that drawer.
Was this a trick? Did they really bi-locate? Did I imagine using them in New Zealand? Or was Rick there with me the whole time showing me what I needed to see without my glasses? Was he there helping me to see that passion, purpose, and emotion can rescue the most mundane story idea? Or, did I just have really bad jet lag from not having slept for 28 hours?
I would rather think that it was a Hermes-like Rick Dean trick, simply to tell me “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreampt of in your philosophy.”
February 15th, 2012
Winters in Dallas, Texas were cold and icy. My favorite thing was to curl up with a Dr. Pepper, bag of Fritos and a good book. My father bought me a set of encyclopedias and I heard weekly how much they cost. So I started at “A” and had barely read past everything you could want to know about amebic dysentery when I jumped with joy. I found a Formicarium, an ant hill in captivity. This meant that I could watch the ants and learn their behavior.
How exciting. I couldn’t wait. I marched outside, found the biggest ant hill, dug it up, and put it in Mother’s large turkey pan. I put it next to my bed and was totally captivated watching them as I ate cheese and crackers. I fell asleep thinking of names for them.
The next morning the dirt was there but the ants were gone! I picked up the book and read some more. I found that once you create the formicarium you must surround it with a moat or a body of water to keep the ants in captivity. Wow!
I started dressing for school in the hopes I could get out of the house quickly before mother came in. I was dancing around the hardwood floor because I did not want to kill any of my subjects; they were having a marvelous time with the crumbs from my late night snack. But, I didn’t get out fast enough. Mother came in to say something and then went into shock.
“Where in the Sam Hill did all these ants come!?” she asked. Then she spied the turkey tray. “Don’t tell me; please don’t tell me you brought them in the house. NO!!!”
Yes, mom, it’s a formicarium and I can watch them work and I just forgot to build the moat but I can do that ….I don’t think I ever finished that sentence.
“You mean you dug them up and brought them in?” Now her hands were on her hips and that was the danger signal to me so I was moving out of that room at warp speed when she shouted after me, “Formicarium, my hind foot. You better get out of here before I build a moat around you. Wait till your father hears this story!”she shouted as I ran out the back door.
From that day on, the ant has been a major fascination for me. Recently, I saw a documentary on research done to discover how ants are able to find their way back to their hill. When they leave, they look back at the hill and they store a vision of the hill in their minds. Then, they go all over.
If you have seen ants running around, they just go in all directions. When they are ready to go home, they call up that vision and keep moving around 360 degrees until they lock in that original outline of the ant hill with the terrain.
That’s one of the most important discoveries for me. I think that’s what we need. A vision of where we are going in life. I want to see it, feel it and be part of it as well as having a vision to send up to the universal field. It’s important to let the universe know what you want so they can change things for you to bring you the people, money or whatever you need to make that vision come true.
People receiving Academy Awards often say this was their vision. Only recently someone said, “When I was 9 years old I would sit in my bath tub and see myself receiving an Oscar and here I am!” It’s our vision that takes us to the next level and keeping that vision clear in our mind is how we reach that next “ant hill.”
No, my father did not scold me; he asked what I learned about the ants, outside of course, where mother could not hear him.
February 15th, 2012
The Field is an excellent book by Lynn McTaggart. She has stories of physics where many have come to the same conclusion. They believe that our brain is more than a storage mechanism; it’s a sending and receiving mechanism. Yes, they say that knowledge is stored in “the field” or the zero point field, or as Chopra has said for 30 years, the field of infinite possibilities.
“Some scientists went as far as to suggest that all of our higher cognitive processes result from an interaction with the Zero Point Field.” This might explain how sometimes ideas come to us as a total concept or a “burst of insight” says Lynn.
So, if this is true then the difference between a normal person and a genius may simply be a better connection to the “field.” I think that we need to know that this field exists and learn how to tune in. Just as you have your favorite radio stations and you know the numbers, you need to know the field of infinite possibilities exists and learn how to tune into it for answers, information and guidance.
To me, this is the small voice that speaks to you through the chatter of the mind. It normally is not a rational thought, and it can be something you may not believe until it happens! Or you may experience ideas that come so quickly you have to stop the mind and write them down. Usually they are profound. You may need to find that quiet place that allows you to still the mind to receive.
Some people connect to this field while driving. I know I have overshot my freeway exit by miles once I get into the field. It’s as if I am really living a situation and it is actually happening. Some people go to the quiet of their bedroom in the day time, some connect while walking. Find a place where you can tune in for answers. We need to receive more. We seem to always be sending.
The question is do you want to manifest what you are sending? Do you want to have trouble finding a good job or paying your rent? Or do you imagine that you will be given the money you need?
You are much better off when you send positive images to the field so they can open doors and make things happen for you. I know this may be hard if you are looking at an empty check book, but it can happen. The secret is to pretend you are living your dream, that the money in the account has 2 more digits or that you are working at your new job and love every minute of it.
Once you send things up, expect doors to open where there were no doors before. People will tell you to go to a networking meeting, or suggest you call someone, so, please follow every lead. Your information is now in the field and things will change around you to create your vision.
Besides sending images to manifest, I ask for guidance. I believe when you send up questions, you get answers. Normally I will take situations I need to solve to a quiet place. I outline what the situation is, give several suggestions and ask for better ideas. Then, I let it go. Within hours the new option pops into my head. It is always better than my ideas and I thank them and use it. Am I talking to the field? I don’t know. The results pay off for me so I just keep sending thanks and keep on asking for guidance.
Believe me, it’s worth a try. Play a game with yourself and imagine that when you “think” you are sending requests to the field and to get answers, you only have to listen.
February 15th, 2012
Robert Jahn and Brenda Dunne created a Random Event generator (REG) under their Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research program (PEAR). Their intent was to continue Dr. J.P. Rhine’s work on extra sensory perception using the latest computers to increase the number of studies and manage the outcome through carefully conceived and monitored REG machines.
Jahn and Dunne set their machines to come up with a normal 50/50 average of binary 1’s and 0’s from their computer-driven base. The rational model held that any deviation from a 50/50 average would be abnormal. Then they put average people at the machines and told them to visualize and “intend” the machines to achieve more 1’s for 20 minutes then visualize more 0’s for 20 minutes and then nothing for 20 minutes from their computer-driven base. The researchers were stunned to find a 52/48 average as the result of the trails conducted over 12 years! This is incredible research proving that our mind is powerful.
And if you think the PEAR research was unusual, another scientist, Renee Peoc’h decided to conduct an experiment to see if this ability to control computer driven machines also applies to other living creatures. He set up a trial using baby chicks and a robot that he created and programmed to be the chicks’ mother. It was set to move randomly outside their cage. When the results were tallied, the chicks were actually able to attract the robotic mother toward them. In other words the robot was not moving randomly, it was moving towards the chicks more often than it was programmed! Their minds overrode the computer programming.
A similar experiment was created for the opposite result. Peoc’h put a movable REG with an obnoxiously bright light that aggravated his baby rabbits. It was programmed to move outside their cage. The rabbits were successful in overcoming the programming and made it move away from them more than it was programmed to.
Understanding the power of the mind is important for you to know that what we say about visualization and attracting is achievable. If chicks and rabbits can do it so can we!
If rabbit’s minds can control computers, you can surely attract whatever you want with your mind.
Just know you are a powerful being.
February 15th, 2012
While researching the current information on Rupert Sheldrake I found an online test he offers.
On this page: http://www.sheldrake.org/Onlineexp/portal is an audio anticipation test. They want
You to “feel” what you will hear next. You are to relax and choose from four choices.
It’s really a very simple test however, when I read they want you to intuit what you will hear next my stomach went into knots. But, I thought I have 8 chances, I will get over this silly fear. No one knows what the score is anyway and I am very intuitive, I will ace this test.
So, you get to choose which one you will hear next from this list:
President Bush – speech
The Beetles – Strawberry Fields
Of course I thought I don’t want to hear Bush and immediately and my mind said, it’s not what you want to hear it’s what’s coming up next!
The cat, I want to hear the cat purr….and the little voice said, no, that’s not it, try the Strawberry Fields. But I clicked on the cat and of course I heard the Beetles singing.
Ok, I have 7 choices left, what’s next I asked my guides? There was no answer so I said, it’s the cat purring that’s coming next, I am sure of it.
No, said the voice, that’s not next…..the Beetles are next.
What? I just heard them, what are the odds it would be two times in a row?
So I punched the Cat purring and you won’t believe it but the little voice was right, I heard the Beetles again.
Ok, I can do this. So what’s next?
Logically, the cat purring I thought.
No, said the voice it’s random, it can be anything…
Ok, then it has to be Bush.
Not waiting for any reply from the little voice, that’s what I chose and the next thing was….. a skylark singing.
I can do this; I know what’s coming next, now it has to be the cat purring.
But instead it was President Bush!
The little voice said, you’re the one that keeps telling people how naturally intuitive they are so show me something.
Just watch me, how many choices are left? I can do this.
I will hear the cat purring next.
Then I heard the skylark sing again.
Ok, that’s outrageous this must be rigged.
But honestly it has to be the cat purring now it’s the 8th time; I know it’s the cat!
That’s when the Beatles sang Strawberry Field’s for the third time.
So, I had 8 wrong out of 8. Great score for an intuitive.
I wonder if I am the only one who over rides the “little voice.” I find it especially difficult to listen to this voice when it’s not logical and when the answers are so important. It becomes easy to let my egotistical left brain run the show and totally override the intuitive right brain, which was the purpose of the test, to use your intuition over logic!
Is this what happens to us when we have to pitch a project to someone important? The times we choke our natural intuitive insights and rely on the left brain then leave thinking we never pitched the heart of the project.
I have read several places that the more you honor the little voice and do what it says, the stronger it gets and the easier life becomes.
If anyone else tries Sheldrake’s audio test, please tell me if you get to hear the cat purring.
February 15th, 2012
In the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher says and I paraphrase,
“Watch your thoughts as they become your words.
Watch your words as they become your actions.
Watch your actions as they become your character.
Watch your character as it becomes your reality.”
The nature of reality is so important that there are many books and conferences on it.
I think we understand that each of us has our own reality based on our own individual experiences. Because of this, Bruce Lipton, author of the Biology of Belief, says if you put two people in the same situation they will react differently because of their past.
Some will see opportunities and others won’t have the same “fields” to see opportunities. Since I am concerned with filmmakers funding films, I think he means someone raised around money vs. someone who was not. Those who never had to worry about money will see more opportunities in the same situation than those who were living on low incomes.
The way out of this Bruce explains is to find those “old tapes” playing in your psyche. Those tapes from childhood saying, “you’re not good enough” or “you don’t have the money.” He suggests we put ourselves into a quiet place, visualize our goal and ask what is blocking us. Then listen to the answers that our mind has stored. He thinks we should take them one by one and remove them. and he fully explains how to do this in his YouTube films.
For film financing of either a documentary or a feature film, the most important issue is you. Are you ready to receive; are you worthy of all this money? It’s looking inside to see what may be blocking you and removing it so money can flow in, especially if your background was not financially comfortable.
My favorite American Indian prayer says, “Give me strength Great Spirit; not that I will use it against my enemies, but that I may overcome my greatest enemy, myself.”
Funding films requires total belief in self and total faith in you and your film. This statement by Margaret Thatcher is important to all of us. We need to watch our thoughts and words so we are always supporting ourselves and our film.
Carole Dean is the author of The Art of Film Funding: Alternative Financing Concepts.
February 15th, 2012
My giant fish tank at the entrance to my house started a slow leak so I took on the job of draining the tank knowing that there were no live fish. I put in a tube and began draining and as I got down to the bottom I found one of those beautiful black-fish-that-eat-the-algae alive and well!
How did he live in the cold water? I had no heater for a week and he lived through that and I never saw him. Ok, I ran to the kitchen and found a large 3 gallon rice container and put him in there. This was Saturday afternoon.
Sunday at 10am when Petco opened, I was there with fish-in-hand asking to rent a room for him. You must have some empty tank or big fish bowl and I will pay you to watch over him. The manager said, “Just fix your tank; he can live for 7 days in this container.” Ok, 7 days is what it took to create the world. Surely, this was enough time.
Since I had him in the car, I started talking to him to allay his fears and mine too because I am not a “fix it” person. Each time I try to fix something I seem to cause more problems.
I called him Buddy. Day two the tank was dry enough to begin scrapping the mineral sediments and the old sealant off the fish tank. He was swimming nearby and I talked to him about all kinds of things. Like, how hard it is to ask people to read my 360 page second edition of the Art of Film Funding and give me a blurb. Who has time to do that? But, I need to get statements good enough to put on a book cover and this is how it is done. He seemed to understand all this and kept moving to let me know he was still alive or to agree, I am not sure which.
Day three I applied the silicone to the sides with my nervous fingers. I never saw the applicator top and the tank looked like someone with palsy had repaired it but all areas were amply covered. It would take 24 hours to dry. I filled the time with discussions with Buddy about the confidence I had when I wrote the book that now seems to have vanished. I explained how important it is to stay confident because marketing is the only way to get your information to your audience. He kept moving around the sides and seemed to be listening. Well, he was a captive audience, but there was more going on here. I just don’t know how to explain it.
Day four, the fish tank dried. The stress was on. Would it hold 50 gallons and not leak? Suddenly, when Brianne carried the fish tank downstairs, I realized that Buddy would not be nearby and I began to miss him. His fortitude gave me the confidence I needed to fix the tank and make a lot of “asks” from people in the industry for book comments. Somehow, these things are related.
Day five and good news; the fish tank is successfully repaired. Buddy is in his clean home and most importantly, I now realize that he is not a black-fish-that-eats-the-algae, he is a courageous plecostomus, a living, feeling creature and my friend, Buddy.
February 15th, 2012
Though free to think and to act – we are held together like the stars – in firmament with ties inseparable – these ties cannot be seen but we can feel them – each of us is only part of a whole – Nikola Tesla
What if Tesla was right and all the area around us that stretches to the stars is full of energy. He called it “the ethers or the wheelwork of nature.” I believe you can see these ethers when you see the northern lights, its energy we see when the light is just right. If these ethers are everywhere and they are energy, perhaps they carry our thoughts. Something surely does because each of us has experienced some kind of phenomena in our lives that is not explainable.
How many times have you “thought about someone” and quickly had contact with them? It happens all the time. In Bali they say, “I called you on-the-wind.” They think of a person and that person connects with them. How do we explain the communication of nomadic people like Africans on the Serengeti or Aboriginals when they know their people have food waiting for them? They know where to go. I find this fascinating and so does biologist, Rupert Sheldrake.
Sheldrake is now acclaimed as a brilliant thinker. Part of his work is about people who know when they are being stared at. His book, The Sense of Being Stared At, is about the “intricacies of the mind and discovers that our perceptive abilities are stronger than many of us could have imagined.”
Sheldrake argues reasonably in this book that our abilities of telepathy and premonitions are real.
If so, then can we enhance this ability to communicate with each other? Can we really send out invitations on-the-wind and hear from people across the globe? If we are all connected then think of how important it is to treat each other as we want to be treated. It becomes important to believe in each other and to be more concerned with our fellow man. What if and this is a big what if, we really came into the world to nurture and support our fellow man and we got so caught up in cars and houses that we forgot?
Sheldrake believes that morphic fields are the clockwork of nature and I believe that the ethers carry information and knowledge and Sheldrake thinks that morphic fields carry information for nature, what if it is all the same? What if that “morphic field” of Sheldrake’s is the “wheelwork of nature” of Tesla?
Ok, let’s come back to planet earth, where we just want to finance our films. So, what if we send our intentions out on-the-wind and contact that billionaire before he gets our package. We could explain why we are making this film and assure him of our ability to deliver an excellent product under budget.
We could talk from the privacy of our bedroom to that woman reading our grant and tell her the urgency behind our application and let her see our pure heart and understand our need to record this time in history. Stranger things have happened; I think it’s worth a try.