Enhancing Your Manifestations

by Carole Dean

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:

  1. Your pitch perfect.
  2. Your deck for a feature or your proposal for a documentary that is very well developed.
  3. Your script now is a “Killer script,” not just good; it’s a knock-them-dead-script.
  4. 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.  

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 production. She is also the author of The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.

Receiving Miracles 2

by Carole Dean

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. 

Love Yourself

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. 

Visualize

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. 

Believe me; this will bring you a miracle.

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 production. She is also the author of The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.

Receiving Miracles

by Carole Dean

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.”

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 production. She 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.

SEPARATING THE WHEAT FROM THE CHAFF

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.

intentional class separating the wheat from the chaffIf 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.

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.

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.

Your Mind is Your Greatest Asset for Filmmaking

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.

RD IntentionIn a recent episode of my podcast The Art of Film Funding, Tom covered How to Devlop a Feature Film From Scratch.

“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.

Our next class starts in late September 2016.  I teach the Trailblazer Class for documentary filmmakers and Tom is my co-instructor for the Mastermind Class for Short and Feature filmmakers.  Full information is at http://fromtheheartproductions.com/intentional-filmmaking/

If you are passionate about your project this class will take you to the next level.

 

Don’t Myth Up Your Crowdfunding Campaign

Let Go of These 5 Myths to Raise Money for Your Film

by Carole Dean

The reward for crowdfunding your film comes not just in money, but knowing that others support you and your work.  At From the Heart Productions, we’re partners with Indiegogo and have helped filmmakers raise over $2 million for their films.

But, that support or money did not always come easy.  We provide lots of resources to create a successful campaign and fiscal sponsorship that allows tax free donations, but it took work and dedication from filmmakers.

And that only happened when we got them to let go of the myths they have about crowdfunding.

Myth 3 – I’ve got 45 days reach my goal so I can take my time.

Myth 3 – I’ve got 45 days reach my goal so I can take my time.

Myth 1 – You build it and they will come. 

Nonsense.  No matter how fantastic a campaign page you create, how important the cause, or how great the concept, you need to bring your crowd to the crowdfunding campaign.  You will probably get 98% of your funds from you own email list.  Not from Facebook, Twitter, or any of your social networks.  Just from people you know.   Focus on getting your list to send to their lists is the first trick of crowdfunding.

Myth 2 – My film’s budget is $85,000 so that is where I need to set my campaign goal. 

Your film’s budget has nothing to do with where you should set your campaign goal. Raising money is not easy so why set your goal for an amount you will have trouble getting.  Break it up into achievable segments.

How to know what you can raise?   Use the number of names in your data base and multiply by 5 for the number of donations you will get.  Example: Let’s say you’ve got 1,000 names.  1,000 x 5 = 50.  So, you can expect 50 people will give you money.

At From the Heart, we have an average of $100 per donation.  That means for 50 donors you can raise $5,000.00 (per those 1,000 names).  Don’t plan on getting much from your name on your social networks.  They do not donate much.  Focus on your data base where you can send emails every 5 days.  These are your prime donors.

Myth 3 – I’ve got 45 days reach my goal so I can take my time.

You may have a 45 day campaign, but it’s critical to hit 30% in first 72 hours.  If you hit that, your campaign has an 80% chance of succeeding.

What amount can you raise in 3 days?  $3,000.00?  You may want to work backwards and use this calculation to set your ultimate goal.  If you think you can raise $3,000 in first 3 days, then you ask for $9,000 and you can probably hit it.

Lots of work?  Yes, but the payoff is more in marketing than you would ever imagine.

Myth 4 – If I don’t hit goal, I still get money so that’s ok, right?

Hitting your goal is essential.  The record of how your campaign performed and how it was accepted by others will be out there forever.  While not necessarily an accurate judgement on how successful your project will ultimately be, it will be seen by some that way.

Distributors want to know you understand social networking.  They think crowdfunding is an example of how good you are at marketing so they judge you by your success.  Be prepared for this.

Myth 5 – T-Shirts make great perks.

I like gifts that are personal and I like you to be part of the gift.  Send me something personal.  John Trigonis, Film Campaign Strategist at Indiegogo, wrote a poem for those who donated to his campaign and he was very successful.

Make your gift something that sets your project apart and makes other take notice.  One crowdfunder asked his potential donors, “Where is your dream vacation?”  Then, he took a picture of you and put you in that location.  He did very well because people posted these items on Facebook.  That got him new leads who eventually donated because of the extraordinary gifts.

Whatever you do on your campaign, let go of the myths and you will be much more successful.

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 is also the author of The Art of Film Funding: Alternative Financing ConceptsHer Intentional Filmmaking Class teaches filmmakers on how to get their films funded.  New classes begin February 29th

Start Your Film Marketing Plan Before You Start Shooting

Creating a Marketing Plan Early Can Increase Donations and Help Target Audience

by Carole Dean

In the Intentional Filmmaking Class on film funding that I teach, I usually start with marketing.  It’s something filmmakers often overlook until the film is finished.

I know from working as a fiscal sponsor how marketing your film early brings you money for donations, major discounts, and in-kind donations.

Marketing Plan

“Filmmakers must realize they are not making a movie just for themselves”

 

But, I believe if I was on a stage and my class was sitting in front of me, they would be throwing things at me (well, it’s an online class so maybe they are throwing things at their computer screen!). Filmmakers don’t want to hear the fact you need to market your film while you make it.

On my Art of Film Funding Podcast we interviewed Sheri Candler, a film marketing genius, who shared her brilliant, clearly outlined concepts.

Sheri explains how and why you need to identify your film’s market during the early stages of production.

Why You Need to Start Focusing on Marketing in Development

I understand this seems like a business thing that they don’t really want to get involved in,” Sheri says referring to the block creative people put up when dealing with business matters.

“But what I normally say to them is, if you are planning on having a career beyond this project, you need to pay attention to marketing because part of show business is not just the show, it’s also the business.

“You want to get money to make your projects, you want people to see your projects and you want to be able to make other projects, so you have to face the marketing and distribution questions that go with your project.”

Why You Need a Marketing Plan to Create a Strong Budget

Sheri asks that filmmakers need to realize that they are not just making a movie for themselves. If that were the case, it would be a hobby or something to put on shelf to look at.

 If people are making it for people to see, you need to know who those people are. Who are you making your story for?

“Because you won’t be able to reach them if you don’t know who they are, and that is really the basis of what marketing plan is.

“It identifies the audience that you need to reach, and explains how will you reach them and what’s the budget you need to do that.  You want to connect your work with the audience that you hope will watch it and enjoy it, and spend money to see it and tell other people about it.”

How Working on Marketing Early Will Help Film Reach its Audience

As Sheri explains, “there is just so much competition these days for the audience of the film.”  Filmmaking has gotten cheaper, the equipment has gotten cheaper and the ability to edit and even to distribute your film is cheaper too.”

“But it also means so many more people are doing it, so we have this glut of content where there is just tons of it in the world and it’s very difficult to just release a film and hope it does something for you.”

“It isn’t enough to target men or women or even an age group like 18 to 35. You need to know exactly who your story is going to appeal to and describe these people.

“There’s got to be something at the heart of and at the emotional core of your film and you need to start from there.”

Marketing Questions You Need to Ask Yourself about Your Film

Sheri provided a list of essential questions filmmakers need to ask as they embark on marketing their film.

What is it about your film that is attractive, not just genre wise, but attractive to the kind of people who like this story?

Why are you attracted to this story?

What is about you that wants to tell it?  Start really identifying those things in yourself like:

Where do I like to hang out?

What do I like to read?

Where would I go on vacation?

What would I wear to the premier of the film if it wasn’t mine?

With these answers you can start to find those communities where you would go online and it would be much easier for you to join them because you are like them.

“It is very authentic and human rather than the advertising base model that we had for so many years which is: I make a film in secret, and then I throw it out into the world and try to advertise my way into an audience.

“Hollywood still does that, very much so, but a low budget independent film cannot do that, will not have the funds to do that, so they can’t even approach their filmmaking from that perspective.”

Carole Dean is the president and founder of From the Heart Productions and author of The Art of Film Funding, 2nd edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  Her unique, innovative Intentional Filmmaking Class teaches filmmakers how to get their films funded.  New classes begin September.  Discount for early enrollment. 

 

 

Lillies of the Valley

How do we see our future and then meditate it into being?

by Carole Dean

Back in the 70’s I was a big fan of Rajneesh, an Indian mystic who taught the importance of self-awareness, meditation, and creativity.  (That was before he moved to the US and became addicted to Rolls Royce’s.)

One of his saying that stayed with me the most is:

Sitting silently, Doing nothing

Spring comes and the grass grows by its self

Luke 12:27: “Consider the lilies of the valley, they toil not nor do they spin, yet even Solomon in all of his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Luke 12:27: “Consider the lilies of the valley, they toil not nor do they spin, yet even Solomon in all of his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Wait a minute!  What about working to till the soil, plant and water the seeds?  You mean that you can sit and think about the grass growing and it does?   Or, are you saying that your mind can control things?  Are you saying that we have the power to imagine something and actually cause it to happen?  Could this be true?

This is as good as a Koan.  (a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment)

Then, there is the great Bible saying,

Luke 12:27: “Consider the lilies of the valley, they toil not nor do they spin, yet even Solomon in all of his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

What does this mean?   That we can have what we want by just being?  Or is it because the plant knows who it is or what it is, it just becomes its self?  Is it possible that we are much more than we realize?  Do we have powers that we are not using?  Can we sit and meditate on something we want and bring that into our future?

Jack Canfield, author of the inspirational book “Chicken Soup for the Soul”, held a funding party at his home for a filmmaker we sponsor at From the Heart.  During a break at the event, I ended up in the kitchen alone with him and he told me that when he moved into this multi-million dollar home he had no furniture at all.

He and his wife took a leap of faith. They bought the house and knew they could furnish it properly with future income.  Now, they had so many works of art that they have to store half of them and rotate them in and out of the house.

He is also the same author who “decided” to sell a million copies of the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book.  The story goes that he began to meditate on selling a million copies.  He saw himself incredibly rich and successful from the sale of this book.   Fast forward to one day when he was speaking at a book signing and a saleswoman for the National Enquirer said, “Why not run an ad with us?”   That did it.  That took him to the sale of the million books.

So, how do we do this?  How do we see our future and then meditate it into being?   How can we use our minds to create our future?  We know the possibility is there because you hear it at every Academy Award ceremony,” I envisioned myself receiving this award when I was 5 years old and now, here I am.”

Is it an inner knowing that you can do this that makes it work?  What if all of us could do this?   What if we had the power to intend something and actually make it happen?  Then we could fund our art, have a great time with our family and make an excellent living.  Actually, there are a lot of people in the film industry who do just that.   So where do I sign up?  What’s the first thing I need to do?

Perhaps it’s as simple as believing that you can do it.  Perhaps the grass grew by its self because it knew it was grass and knew intuitively how to grow.  Perhaps the lilies knew what lay ahead for them; they saw themselves in their full glory and just became their full selves.

Jack Canfield owes his success to not just a great idea, but his belief in that idea and believing it would bring him success.

What is it that you can do to bring yourself to your full potential?

Think on this: what is the right action for you to take to become your true self, with all of your talents in full bloom.  Can you do less and think more and achieve even more success than you imagined?  Just who do you think you are?

Carole Dean is the president and founder of From the Heart Productions and author of The Art of Film Funding, 2nd edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  Her unique, innovative Intentional Filmmaking Class teaches filmmakers how to get their films funded.  New classes begin in September.  Discount for early enrollment.