The key to getting your indie film funded is to master manifesting money and enhance your manifestations. In my Intentional Filmmaking Class and blogs, I teach that your mind is your greatest asset for filmmaking.
Faith funds films
Faith funds films. Yes, it’s your faith in you and your film that brings you the money. You are the key to funding, not anyone else, so know that to start with.
Knowing how to manifest and to enhance your manifestations will maximize your film funding potential by clearing a path for its success will help you get your film made.
3 Basics of Manifesting
You must have these covered before you can move on to enhance and magnify your manifesting.
# 1 You must have a clearly defined goal. That is one sentence with a clear, concise description of what you want.
#2 You have a deadline for manifesting, tied to a holiday like July 4th or thanksgiving.
# 3 You know you can do it.
Pay Attention to Your Thoughts
Now, that you’ve got the manifesting basics down, do you honestly think you can raise $200,000.000? How do you feel when you say that out loud? Do you feel sick in your stomach? Or do you feel confident?
I have to get you to the confident stage. That comes from recognizing any blocks you have with money! Pay attention to your thoughts. Once you see old stuff come up about money, recognize it and say “that’s resistance!” and let it go.
Watch for the mind chatter saying, “How will you ever do this?” Or you say to family, “I can’t work on my script today, I have to get the car washed”….that’s resistance.
Believe in Yourself…And Have a Good Plan
It’s the plan that makes you feel you can do it.
You want to be sure you have:
Your pitch perfect.
Your deck for a feature or your proposal for a documentary that is very well developed.
Your script now is a “Killer script,” not just good; it’s a knock-them-dead-script.
The budget must be flawless and believable and the lowest you can make the film for, not the kitchen sink budget.
R vs I
You need to remove any insanity from your package. Tom Malloy calls it R vs. I. Reality vs. Insanity. It’s ok to manifest something you’ve dreamed about. But, it’s not going to happen if it’s not based in the real world.
Example, this is your first film. Your budget is $20 million and you want to direct it.
That’s insanity. Start with a low budget film. Don’t expect to raise that much money on your first film and live, for now, with being an unknown director. Reality would be a $100K budget and you direct it with a killer script.
Once you have these elements in place you are ready to ask for money.
Loving yourself is highly important to let miracles come to you
In my previous blog, Receiving Miracles, I covered 3 things that are necessary for independent filmmakers to bring miracles into their life.
Give Gratitude Daily for the Things You Have
Don’t Let Your Unconscious Mind Sabotage You
Don’t Let Negative Thoughts Turn into Negative Words
Master those and you’ve got a good start. But, there are 3 more things, equally as important, to receiving miracles in your life.
The first one is very simple, but difficult for some to achieve.
Yes, you need to honor who you are and give gratitude for your many talents. I talk to filmmakers daily and they are writers/directors, some are writer/producer/editors/actors/director of photography and even craft service! This is an amazing amount of talent for one person.
Realize this, you are a major talent. Loving yourself is highly important to let miracles come to you. And sometimes miracles come in the form of money.
This is where a lot of people stop money and miracles from coming to them. They don’t feel worthy. I want you to brag about your achievements. Yes, be very proud of what you have done and don’t be afraid to tell us.
At the end of each day, you go over your to do list. Perhaps you had 10 items to do that day and you only completed 3. Say, “Good Job”, this is wonderful.
Compliment yourself and say tomorrow I will complete even more and it will be effortless. Never put yourself down. Always hold yourself in the highest esteem.
Muhammad Ali was asked to give a short poem about himself. He said “Me….Whee!” So take a lesson from him and tell yourself daily “I am the greatest.” It worked for Ali and it can work for you.
Don’t Worry About How it Will Happen
Another step that stops people from receiving miracles is the “HOW.” All of us want to know how will it happen. Where will it come from? This can be a block for many people. This “How will it happen,” will act as your resistance to receiving and believing.
Your job is not to think about the HOW, your job is to know it will happen and do all the things you know you should do to make it happen. By believing it will happen you are totally open to receive.
The next step to receive miracles is my favorite. It’s visualizing. It’s the ability to pretend like you did when you were a child when you wanted something. Often you got what you wanted and that was partially because you were visualizing it daily.
Remember when you would think about what you were getting and how excited you could get just by the visualization of receiving and using it?
You were sending joy and excitement and gratitude to the universe when you saw yourself receiving it. Emotions with visualizations are paramount to receiving. They are powerful.
Let me tell you a story of a filmmaker who is fiscally sponsored by From the Heart Productions. She is making a historical documentary film and needed to do her next shoot on location. She applied for several grants and then began prepping for the trip planning every minute of how the shoot would go just as if she had the money.
I called her just before Christmas and said what are you working on? She said her budget for the locations shoot. She was down to the penny for what to spend, where to stay, everything was ready.
I asked her, “How much do you need?” Her answer was $30,000. How wonderful, I said, you just received a grant for this exact amount! She was elated.
This is how it works, she did not ask how, she did the work, she knew she would be on locations soon and was perfectly ready to receive.
I want you to give daily gratitude for what you have now, be careful to never put yourself down and to watch your thoughts, you want positive successful thoughts. Be sure to compliment yourself daily for your many achievements and your talents, loving yourself is a priority. Next, visualize what you want and see yourself getting it and experience those great emotions of joy, success and confidence.
Miracles do happen daily and especially to filmmakers. What’s the secret to attracting miracles? What do I have to do to wake up every day expecting a miracle?
You may have seen the Secret, seen some other films on manifesting, or ready my book The Art of Manifesting, and thought about attracting things to you. Perhaps you tried some techniques and it didn’t work and that’s ok.
I want to share with you some missing steps to receiving miracles. Things that work and that will make you feel good and bring more joy to your life.
Realize how much you currently have and be grateful for it.
To Attract Miracles, Be Grateful
The first step to receiving miracles is to realize how much you currently have and be grateful for it. Because gratitude is a powerful emotion that opens you up for receiving even more from the universe.
We need to feel how lucky we are for what we have before we start looking for more.
Try this next month, stop looking at what you don’t have and focus on what you do have and say a thank you to the universe daily. Maybe it’s for your car or your job or your apartment.
Whatever possessions you have, you need to be thankful for them. I want you to feel that “emotion” of gratitude. It’s a lovely feeling that fills your body with joy.
Please make it a daily event to give gratitude for what you received that day. Believe me, this puts you into a new mind set where you will begin to be grateful for even small gifts that come your way.
Don’t Let Your Unconscious Mind Sabotage You From
Many people have tried the law of attraction and they think they can just send out their desires with their minds and things will come to them. Sometimes this can happen.
But, to be receiving miracles daily, you need to remember you have a conscious mind and an unconscious mind. Even if your conscious mind is focusing on what you want, your unconscious could be sabotaging you.
Your mind could be harboring the unconscious thoughts that have been said to you like, “you don’t deserve money” or “you can’t raise $200,000 to make a film!” These are samples of things that could be in your belief system that are not working for your highest good.
To find these hidden saboteurs, pay attention to your thoughts. When you are thinking negative thoughts or thoughts that say “this will not happen or no, they would never agree,” you need to stop yourself, change your thoughts to say yes, this is possible. All things are possible.
Don’t Let Negative Thoughts Become Words
Remember the film The Iron Lady?
In it, Margaret Thatcher said, “Watch your thoughts, for they will become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions because they become habits; watch your habits because they forge your character. And watch your character, for it will make your destiny.”
So, please, watch your thoughts as they become your words. Please start listening to your thoughts and when they are negative, change them to possibilities.
Please keep your words positive because once your words are positive you feel better. This leads to a more positive character and opens you up for the universe to bring you miracles.
That’s what I want. I want you to “Expect a Miracle.”
Author Jonah Berger 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.
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:
People share things that make them look good to others.
People share things that make them seem entertaining and clever.
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!
Don’t Let the Naysayers or Lack of Money Stop You From Pursuing Your Dream
The most important thing I can give you is a lesson I learned early.
Back in the 70’s, I created a multi-million-dollar a year sales company with an investment of $20.00 (from my grocery money) and a good idea.
If I had let money or the naysayers stop me, I would have never created a $70 million a year industry consisting of buying leftover, discarded, what everyone called waste “short ends” of film stock.
Those who insisted it would never work didn’t know that there were thousands of talented independent filmmakers, desperate to make their features and documentaries, that needed every penny available to get it on the screen. These budding producers and directors snapped up the “short ends” at a fraction of the cost of new Kodak stock, made their films, and started a revolution in filmmaking.
My greatest asset was the fact I knew I could do it.
I never doubted that I had a good idea. I found ways to make it work. I needed cash to buy film stock so I would find where film was available for sale. I’d buy it on a handshake, and then sell this same film using the money from the incoming sale to pay off the purchase. In the beginning, I can remember days when I had the seller in one room and the buyer waiting to pick it up in another room!
This idea developed into three productive sales offices in NYC Film Center Building, Hollywood and downtown Chicago. I managed all three of them. I ran this business for 33 years until I had almost 10 million dollars a year in sales.
Why only 10 million? Because I hired a VP from ABC Television News Division as an advisor and he said that “Getting over 10 million a year in sales was very hard.” I found that to be true. But, now I know that this information of hitting a wall at $10 million was his experience. Unfortunately, it became my belief and then the outcome.
Please be careful of what you hear and what you believe.
Remember, when listening to other people, that what they are telling you is not your experience, it is theirs. The universe could have something different in mind for you. You must know you can create a better outcome for yourself with your belief.
Discern what is fact and what is belief.
What do you believe you can do? Think about that. Can you make this film? If yes, then what’s the actual budget you need? Can you raise that much money?
Consider, are other films made with that budget? If the answer is “yes” then it’s a fact that this amount has been raised for other films, right? So, it must be your belief that says you can’t do it because it is a fact someone else has raised this money and made a film at this place in their career.
Work from this principal to separate belief from fact. Work from fact, not your own belief system. That’s something you created early in life probably from your parents or society. You may have unconscious programming to overcome and you can do this by separating fact from belief.
Your belief in yourself and your film are paramount to production and completion.
You must know that you can raise the money to make you film and then you will find a way. Turn your filmmaking creativity into funding creativity. All that talent you have you can use to find ways to fund your film.
That includes finding high net-worth Individuals or investors for features to using funding parties, grants and donations for docs. Have fun with it. Look for lateral ways to fund your film and your distribution.
You have the talent, it’s a matter of believing in yourself and the quality of your film.
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.
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.
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” 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.
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.
Use Your Knowledge and Intention to Get Films Funded
by Carole Dean
In the beginning was the word…..
I am lucky to be able to teach indie film funding in our Intentional Filmmaking Class with actor/writer/producer Tom Malloy. Tom is owner of Trick Candle Productions and has raised over $20 million for his films as well as having produced, Screamers, Hero of the Underworld, and Fair Haven.
We both believe that your mind is your greatest asset for filmmaking.
“Everything you can see was an idea at one time” he started,” that chair you are in, the computer you are using, everything in your room started as an idea.”
“When you get a compelling idea for a film he says you should feel the energy of the universe in it. That’s when it can be powerful. That’s when it’s worth the time to seriously consider it. You need to be completely sold on this idea and know that it can be made and you are the one to make it.”
Once you feel an idea this strongly you need to get it on paper. Moving that thought from your head onto paper will start the process of bringing your film into this third dimension where you can birth it. Pull out your notebook and start to write about it. Put down all the information you get.
Then start considering, is this something that I could really create, is this for me? Start visualizing yourself making the film and see how it feels. If that works then go to the next step start to develop it.
Most importantly, don’t tell anyone about this in the writing stage. Keep all of that energy inside you and use it to create. You are not ready for rejections. Just use this energy for creating.
I know from reading many applications to the Roy Dean Grant that this is where the rubber hits the road. Many people have ideas and only a few have really developed them.
Tom puts his full attention on the project when he gets that idea and feels the universe is behind it. Documentaries and features. He stays on the project while the energy is there and he knows that it will work.
This has helped him make many films. The secret seems to be, “is this project for me?” “Is it worth my full time and attention over everything else in my life?” It’s either dive in with 100% dedication or let it go. Only you know the answer.
In our Intentional Filmmaking class Tom and I take people by the hand and walk them through the funding and the attachment process. It’s amazing to watch how filmmakers develop themselves while developing their film.
When queried by an editor, agent, producer, novelist or exec, the experienced writer can usually summarize his/her project in just one or two sentences. Encapsulating the essence of your story is creating a logline, a fast, effective, attention-getting selling tool for your book, movie, tv or web series project.
The easiest and most successful method I’ve used with my clients to create a logline is by starting off with a short simple sentence, then having them building upon it.
Here is an example using the film AVATAR:
Marine gets new assignment.— We know the main character is a Marine
Paraplegic Marine is sent to foreign moon on assignment. — We now know the Marine is a paraplegic and that the story takes place on a foreign moon.
Paraplegic Marine in an Avatar body is sent to a foreign moon to infiltrate a colony of aliens. — We learn that he’ll be encountering alien life and to he will be using an Avatar body to accomplish his mission, but we need to know what that mission is.
Paraplegic Marine in an Avatar body is sent to a foreign moon to infiltrate a colony of aliens who pose a threat to Earth. — This version now tells us that the aliens could be a threat to Earth.
Paraplegic Marine in an Avatar body is sent to a foreign moon to infiltrate a colony of aliens who pose a threat to Earth, but eventually questions his mission. — The additional wording lets us know that our hero faces a moral challenge and that there is more to his assignment than initially realized. We just need to know why he questions his assignment and what will be at stake.
LOGLINE: Paraplegic Marine in an Avatar body is dispatched to a foreign moon to infiltrate a colony of aliens who pose a threat to Earth, only to question his mission when he realizes he is being used to extract a valuable energy source which will result in destroying the aliens and their peaceful world. — In this final version, we now have a compelling story as the hero realizes his initial assignment is bogus and that he will ultimately need to make a difficult decision as he faces a crucial crisis of consciousness by story’s end.
You will note that each successive version gains more importance and gives us:
* a better understanding of the character,
* knowledge about his goal
* what challenges he will face.
From a simple sentence, use colorful, descriptive adjectives, active verbs and creative restructuring of the logline to obtain more flow, intensity and interest which will hook and entice the person hearing or reading your project.
If your project is a TV or web series, here is an example of the “simple sentence” approach for the TV show, THE MENTALIST:
Former psychic gets job at investigative bureau.
Fraudulent psychic helps the California Investigative Bureau to solve crimes.
Fraudulent psychic helps the California Investigative Bureau to help solve crimes, but has a hidden agenda of his own.
LOGLINE: In this investigative drama series, an admittedly fraudulent psychic joins the California Investigative Bureau, using his keen observation skills and deep insights into human behavior to help the bureau solve crimes — hoping one day to ultimately solve the murders of his late wife and daughter, victims of a serial killer.
Here are three other popular film examples in different genres which started out with a simple sentence and became the following loglines:
MAMMA MIA Hotel owner prepares for daughter’s wedding
LOGLINE: In this musical-comedy, the owner of a small hotel on a Greek isle prepares for her daughter’s wedding, unaware that her daughter has invited three men from her mother’s past, hoping that one of them is her father and will walk her down the aisle.
THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL Retirees go to India
LOGLINE: A group of British retirees are lured to India to live in what they believe is a newly restored hotel, only to discover it is far less luxurious than they thought. But as they are forced to settle in, they slowly allow the Marigold Hotel, its staff and the culture of India to charm them in the most unexpected ways.
THE KING’S SPEECH Prince is forced to become king
LOGLINE: Following the death of his father and the scandalous abdication of his brother Edward, Prince George VI, who suffers from a debilitating speech impediment, is forced to overcome his handicap to become King with the help of his wife and an unorthodox speech therapist.
Kathie can be reached at: . Copies of THE SCRIPT-SELLING GAME can be purchased at a 25% discount at: mwp.com Kathie Fong Yoneda is a consultant specializing in development and marketing of live action and animated film, television, literary, and web projects. A former exec at Disney, Island Pictures, and Disney TV Animation, she has taught workshops worldwide. A partial list of clientele includes Singapore Media Academy, RAI-TV Roma, National Film School of Denmark, Women in Film/Television Atlanta, University of Hawaii, Romance Writers of America, Smithsonian Institute, Scriptfest, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Digital Media Academy Jakarta, and the Marseille, Melbourne, Roma and LA web festivals as well as several award-winning writers. Kathie is a popular jurist and panelist for many film festivals and screenwriting competitions and serves on the boards of Imago and the LAWEBFEST. She is the author of The Script-Selling Game and co-exec produced the series Beyond The Break.