Roy W. Dean Grant Spring 2017 Finalists Named

Roy W. Dean Grant Spring 2017 Finalists21 films that are unique and make a contribution to society were named as Roy W. Dean Grant Spring 2017 finalists.  The grant is offered by From The Heart Productions, the non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get funding.  The winner will receive $30,000 in a combination of cash and donated services from film industry professionals and companies which support independent filmmakers. 

“We are very fortunate to have so many filmmakers exploring stories and ideas that look to change how we view our world.” said Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “These finalists highlight the passion and dedication of the hundreds of applications we received.”

A record number of 345 films were submitted to this year’s Roy W. Dean Grant for Spring from across the US and around the world.  Entries were received from France, Mexico, Australia, Japan, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  The projects included features, short films, documentary, and web series. 

View overview of project summaries and filmmakers for the Roy W. Dean Grant Spring 2017 Finalists which include:

American Justice on Trial: People v. Newton (Documentary)      

Belly of the Beast (Documentary)

Bruce the Challenge (Feature)

Flight of the Dodo (Short)

Grace (Documentary)

Imagemakers (Documentary)

L (Feature)

Louder Than Thunder (Documentary)

Restoring Balance: Autism Recovery (Documentary)

Rising Up to Climate Change: Storytelling with Saris (Documentary)

Stoke (Feature)

Stranger At Home (Documentary)          

Stunt Life (Documentary)

The Creative High (Documentary)

The Last Amendment (Documentary)

The Real Thing (Short)

The Roar of a Lion Cub (Documentary)

What If (Short)

Yellow is Forbidden (Documentary)

Yoshi: Wake Up With Me (Documentary)

Now in its 25th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant seeks films that are unique and make a contribution to society that need help getting started or completed.   Out of this group of 21 Roy W. Dean Grant Spring 2017 finalists, a smaller group of 4 to 6 finalists will be selected by our judges.  From that group will come the winner of the Roy W. Dean Grant.  Winner is expected to be announced in late September.

This year’s grant winner will receive $3,500 in cash provided by From the Heart Productions and donations of film services and products from film industry professionals and companies.  Some of which include a 1TB G-Drive from G-Technology, a 30% discount in equipment rental from AbelCine Tech, Inc. NYC, 40% deduction on color, editing, and production services from ProMedia, and much more from heartfelt donors those who care about helping independent filmmakers. 

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Founded in 1992, there are 3 Roy W. Dean Grant every year.   There is a Spring, Summer and Fall Grant.  The Fall Grant is now accepting entries and closes September 30th.  Films submitted to the grant can be short films, documentaries or features from early stages of pre-production to those needing help in post. 

The grant is integral in helping talented artists with great stories get their films produced.  Recent past winners of the grant include the award winning “Heist: Who Stole the American Dream”, “The Brainwashing of My Dad”, and Emmy winner “Mia: A Dancer’s Journey” which just won an Emmy award.  

About From The Heart Productions

The 501(c)3 non-profit was founded by Carole Dean when she saw how many filmmakers with important, new, and often controversial stories were having trouble getting financing for their films.    From The Heart offers fiscal sponsorship for films which allows donors to get a tax deduction for their donations.  Their Intentional Filmmaking Classes which teaches filmmakers the tactics on how to get funded is now open for enrollment.  Classes start September 30th

Receiving Miracles 3 – Learning to Forgive

In Receiving Miracles 3, Carole Dean Covers The Final Step You Need to Take to Receive Miracles in Your Life and Your Filmmaking

Forgiveness can be one of the most powerful healing tools

In Receiving Miracles 1 and 2, we covered 6 things to improve your life and that will open you for receiving miracles. 

First, was about giving gratitude daily for the many things you have. 

Second, we learned how powerful your words are and to remember to watch your thoughts because they become words.

Third, was to hold yourself in the highest esteem at all times

Fourth, love yourself.  Praise yourself daily for the smallest thing you do.

Fifth, when you ask for a miracle don’t worry about the “HOW”! Focus on your to do list to achieve a miracle.

Six is visualizing.  It’s the ability to pretend like you did when you were a child. I want you to pretend you already have what you want….that is powerful.

Now, I want you to forgive.

Hoʻoponopono

There is an ancient Hawaiian ceremony called hoʻoponopono that is a powerful tool for transformation.   It can clear your DNA.  It can clear your lineage for 12 generations back. 

The word hoʻoponopono means “to set thing right.”  You do this by connecting to the source within you and accepting responsibility for choosing and creating this life.

Forgiveness can be one of the most powerful healing tools. Letting go of old hurts brings new energy and vitality to everyone.  Forgiveness-Hawaiian style teaches us to forgive not only in the moment but all the way back to our ancestors. The past is cleansed and our future is made free.

Hoʻoponopono is a practice of making things right and restoring the natural flow of life. We use it to release old hurts and painful memories, realigning one’s self with Spirit to strengthen our awareness of God within.

Four Short Sentences

I love you.  I am sorry.  Please forgive me.  Thank you. 

You want to repeat this dozens of times daily for the situation you want to mend or for things you want to achieve.  With them you can break down any barriers. 

I love you.  I am sorry. Please forgive me.  Thank you. 

These magic words will help you forgive anyone or heal altercations.  They will help you find answers to problems you face.  They can be used to help you heal your body. 

They can be used in emergency situations to resolve an issue.  They can be used to make your film.  To help you attract the right crew, to help you find the right scripts or to find the right subjects for your documentary film.  These words can be used to help you fund your film. 

I suggest you work on yourself first, keep forgiving yourself and visualize any problem solved.  Say these words with conviction and mean them.  Using this magic prayer can release hidden blocks in you, can help heal your body, heal your relationships and heal your film.

I love you, I am sorry. Please forgive me.  Thank you.

Please write these down and begin saying them daily.  Know that you can work on any part of your family or work on any resistance that keeps you from achieving your desires.  Your life will improve with forgiveness.  Please use this brilliant tool to improve your lives and create your film.

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 productionShe is also the author of The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits.

Don’t Panic: Art Neill of New Media Rights Explains Fair Use

Carole Dean Interviews Art Neill on His New Legal Guide Book For Small Businesses Creative Professionals 

 

I interviewed Art Neill on my Art of Film Funding podcast about his brilliant book, Don’t Panic : ) A Legal Guide (in plain English). Art works with New Media Rights which is a non-profit, independently funded program of California Western School of Law. They provide legal services, education, and public policy advocacy for creators, entrepreneurs, and internet users. They worked with Dianne Griffin and Erica Jordan who are fiscally sponsored by From the Heart for their successful film, Painted Nails.

New Media Rights is also offering From the Heart readers a special 20% off Don’t Panic for a limited time. Use the code “by using this code “EHCBPZHD” at this special link to get a discounted copy.

I recommend the NewMediaRights.org website for information and I especially recommend this information packed book.  Art and his team at New Media Rights are specialists in fair use and an excellent source for filmmakers.  They have an APP that you can use for free that will interact with you on what is fair use and what is not.  Plus, they take on fair use cases at a reasonable fee.

Art explained “transformation” of material saying that although it’s not defined in the copyright law, transformation typically means to use or alter an original work, to provide new meaning to your message. The more you transform the original work to have a new voice message or meaning the more likely it is to be transformative and the more likely it is to be fair use. So, what does a transformation look like?” Here are a few samples:

Art Neill explained the Buffy versus Edward Twilight remix video by Jonathan McIntosh. “This is a particularly great example of fair use because McIntosh takes a series of very small clips from the entire Buffy the vampire slayer TV series and mashes it to gather with tiny bits of the twilight movie to create a new original story, changing the message of the original clips from stories about vampires to a cultural critique of gender roles in vampire pop culture.”

“Pretty woman” by 2 live crew

“The rap group 2 Live Crew reused the guitar riff and some of the lyrics from Roy Orbison’s Oh Pretty Woman to create a parody of the song. This particular parity is an excellent example of fair use not only because, as the court put it, ‘juxtaposes the romantic musings of a man whose fantasy comes true, with degrading taunts, a bawdy demand for sex and a sigh of relief for parental responsibility,’ but also because of the socio-economic and racial juxtaposition between the two songs.

Reusing something in a transformative way is critical to a finding of fair use! If your reuse is not transformative it is unlikely that you will be considered fair use unless all of the other factors are in your favor.”

Information taken from Don’t Panic:) sold on Amazon $14.99 or Kindle $9.99 or NewMediaRight.org

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.  See IMDB for producing credits.

 

Who is Your Audience?

by Carole Dean

Who is your audience for your film? It’s a common question that we ask of independent filmmakers submitting their documentary, feature, or short film to the Roy W. Dean Film Grant. 

We find that 80% of our applications cannot correctly answer this important question. 

Who is your audience? Don’t say “everyone”!

What Do You Say When Asked to Describe Your Audience?

Some who submit to the grant say “my audience is ‘everyone’” (which I encourage you not to do).  Grant judges will drop your proposal like a hot potato!

Some say “men and women from 18 to 48.”  That’s too broad.  We want to know everything possible about this audience.  If you had a description for your typical audience member like a “soccer mom in Indiana”, we would love it.

Why should you get so up-close-and-personal and know who is your audience and know as much as you can about them?  Your money for your film is now in their hands.  You will need to get dollars from them for research, for production, and again for post.   Plus, they will pay to download your film and probably help you put people in seats for theatrical on demand.

Ok, Carole, How Do I Find My Audience for My Upcoming Project 

Start by getting to know your present audience.  That is people in your database from different walks of life, who are not filmmakers, and who love the subject of your upcoming film.  Be sure it’s not family or close friends, you want information from people you don’t know.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • What social media platforms do you hang-out on?
  • Where do you engage with people online?
  • What kind of news do you pay attention to?
  • What kind of music do you listen to?
  • What blogs do you follow?
  • What organizations do you belong to?

Knowing what organizations they belong to gives you an idea of what organizations you can join and you can begin to chat about your film online to expand your data base of names.

  • How do you spend your free time?
  • When you watch movies, how do you watch them? Do you go to the theatre?  Do you watch movies only on your laptop or your mobile phone?

How they watch movies may mean you don’t need that expensive camera and you can reduce your budget.

With the answers to these questions, you begin to understand where you can reach other people for your new audience.

Now you know where they hang-out online, how to speak to them based on what news they read, and what blogs they pay attention to.  You have a sense of how they pay attention to things.  A headline from New York Times for instance is very different than a headline from BuzzFeed.  Now, you have a better understanding of how to communicate with your potential audience.

Use this information to know where and how to find your audience.

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.

Creating a Logline

courtesy of Kathie Fong Yoneda

author of THE SCRIPT-SELLING GAME (2nd edition)

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-500pxKathie 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.

 

 

How Filmmakers Can Benefit From LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups are Great For Sharing Filmmaking Info, Getting Tips, and Finding Work

by Carole Dean

Independent filmmakers seeking for social networking opportunities should not overlook LinkedIn Groups.   (And no one should overlook LinkedIn now that Microsoft paid $26 billion to purchase it).

LinkedIn Group Members Can Get and Give Advice on Story Structure, Budgets, and Funding

LinkedIn Group Members Can Get and Give Advice on Story Structure, Budgets, and Funding

There are groups to join for documentary, feature, and short films as well as crowdfunding and financing.

On my weekly Art of Film Funding  Podcast , I was lucky to spend some time with a cherished friend, Norman Berns, an Emmy award winning producer who is head of the LinkedIn group for Film & Television Professionals.   They now have over 200,000 members.

Norman shared with me his insights and tips on how best to use LinkedIn Groups.

Why should filmmakers join online groups?

“Why do people go to the town square and hang out for the evening? You do it because that’s where the people are.” suggests Norman.

“If you want to find out from filmmakers, where do you find a whatever, anything from a prop to a location to a producer, those are the people you would ask.  And if you sell it well enough, if you present the information well enough, you’ll get a good answer.”

What should you do when you join a LinkedIn Group?

“Alright, we have this town square”, said Norman “If you rush into the town square and you say, ‘I’m here, I’m here, look at me,’ people will wander away.  You have given them nothing.”

The best way to start is to share something that you learned.  Share your experiences in filmmaking.   The easiest thing people can do in groups is to share knowledge and come off as the wisest person in the room.

How can you get people to give you advice on your film?

If you want people to look at your film, if you want to utilize the group, explain what you did.

“Say, ‘Look, we had to go to this location, we only had xxx dollars. We climbed a mountain. We used this camera and these lenses and we put the camera “here”.  You tell me how difficult it was to film in this location. Then I’m interested.”

But, just saying “Hey, look at my film!’” Norman warns, “Doesn’t work well.”

So, if you’re free with information, if you give, before you ask to get, you will get a good response.

How do you market yourself and actually make money for a professional4 service in a group?

Norman said his group has a lot of people in it who work closely with story structure, who teach writing, who talk about protagonists, antagonists, all the pieces that make up a good story.  They’re really incredibly generous and some have workshops.

But, if you want to get people into your workshop, you have to set out a lot of breadcrumbs of wisdom to attract them.  As they come in picking up all these bits of knowledge you’ve laid out, they will eventually come through your door.  It takes some effort.

This is the helpful and the respected way to promote yourself online in groups.  Then you can tell people when you have a seminar and you have a much better chance to get customers.

How do you promote your talents to get work?

Norman’s advice is to answer:  “Who are you? What are you talking about?”

“If you come to me and you say, ‘I made a film for $20,000. I had these people in the cast. We shot for these many days, and I used this special crane that I had my grips build.’

Well, all of a sudden I really am interested, I really want to know.”

The people who say, “hire me, hire me”, are missing the point.

“If I like what you’re telling me, if I like the product that you’re delivering, I’ll hire you. But, I’m not going to start the conversation by hiring you, and then figure out whether I like your stuff.”

Can you talk about funding for your film?

Norman said that he limits this discussion to technique rather than making an “ask” from the group.

What’s fair and acceptable is for someone to say, “If I were looking for money for my film, where would I go?”  That’s worthy of a discussion.

“But please do not say,” Norman chides “Go to my Indiegogo campaign and donate!”

You can check out the entire Art of Film Funding podcast with Norman Berns for insights on LinkedIn and producing.

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.

Three Top Tips for Indiegogo Success

How much planning should go into your film’s Indiegogo campaign?

Are the perks you picked going to attract donors?

Have you created a plan to share interesting, relevant content?

To get answers on these questions and how to create a successful crowdfunding campaign, Carole Dean interviewed Indiegogo’s New York-based Manager of Film, Kristen Konvitz.

About The Art of Film Funding Podcast               

From the Heart is a partner with Indiegogo and has raised over $1.7 million to date for filmmakers.  Hosted by the president of From The Heart and author of “The Art of Film Funding”, Carole Dean, the weekly podcast focusing on bringing to filmmakers the best advice, knowledge, and expertise on film funding and filmmaking.

You can check out all the podcasts at The Art of Film Funding on Blogtalk Radio.

In this latest podcast, she interviews Indiegogo’s Kristen Konvitz.  Her role at Indiegogo includes acquiring projects in varying stages and overseeing them through all stages of their campaigns.   She is instrumental in building relationships between both established and up and coming talent.

Kristen reveals the three top tips to a successful crowdfunding campaign as well as details on Indiegogo’s new partnership with Vimeo.

You can listen to the entire podcast here

Three Top Tips for Success on Indiegogo

Kristen draws on the success of the Indiegogo campaign for Iron Sky for her 3 tips.  Iron Sky has run two very successful campaigns on Indiegogo.  The first raised over $160,000 while the second raised over $480,000.

Iron Sky called their three tips the “trifecta” (although, maybe after realizing its importance to their success, they now call it “The Holy Trinity”).

Unique Perks

To stand out, you can’t just offer hats or t-shirts.  Those are standard items and won’t really generate any excitement or buzz about your project.  Offer perks that are very personal to the film, filmmaker, or story.   Think of what would tie in to the film that you could not get any were else.

Some perks that are experiential will create interest in your project.  Iron Sky offered a part in the film where you would be chased by a dinosaur.   Even if you did not choose that perk and donate, it was shared by many on the internet creating awareness for the project.

Constant Updating

Prepare yourself as much as possible for the campaign.  That includes mapping out a campaign strategy for the content you will share.   Plan out different photos, videos, interviews,  as well as new perks that you will release during the campaign.

Good Content

The content you plan and share for your project can’t be spam.  It can’t be “support my campaign” or “donate now” over and over.   It can include that every so often, but the content should be interesting and make people want to share it.   It can include stories about the cast and crew.  Photos of the project in pre-production.  Also, include articles about events or news related to your project (Doing a documentary on fashion?  Include related stories on fashion industry)

Iron Sky prepared videos in advance featuring a character for their film.  It was like a mini trailer, but each was unique and increased interest in the project which lead to increased donations.

vimeo indiegogo

Indiegogo’s Partnership with Vimeo

Announced in January, this partnership was created to give filmmakers who raise funds on Indiegogo a chance to be seen. Indiegogo realizes that most films will not get a traditional theatrical or VOD distribution.   This partnership allows eligible films to shown on Vimeo and get needed exposure.

Vimeo’s new Creator Fund will commit up to a million dollars in matching funds for select Indiegogo film campaigns in 2015.  Vimeo will contribute digital marketing spend and social promotion for campaigns in the matching funds program and other selected Indiegogo film campaigns.

For these funds, Vimeo will get a 60 day digital exclusive for that film.  It does not preclude the film later getting a theartrical release, for example, at a film festival.

The partnership is off go a great start.  It has received 166 submissions so date.  You can read more about the partnership at Indiegogo and Vimeo Partnership.

 

Rachel Seed Wins Roy W. Dean Film Grant

Winning documentary explores director’s search for the mother she never knew through their shared love of photography.

From The Heart Productions, the film funding non-profit that oversees the Roy W. Dean Film Grant, has awarded the 2014 Summer Film Grant to director Rachel Seed for her documentary “A Photographic Memory”.   Rachel will receive nearly $30,000 in film services and cash to help her complete her project.

Contact Sheet by Sheila Turner-Seed

Contact Sheet by Sheila Turner-Seed

Thirty years after the death of her mother, Sheila Turner-Seed, photographer Rachel Elizabeth Seed discovers her work—interviews with some of the greatest photographers of the 20th Century, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lisette Model and W. Eugene Smith—in her father’s garage.  When she threads the audio reels and presses play, she hears her mother’s voice for the first time since she was a baby. Rachel finds it familiar and comforting, and is transformed by the experience.

Wanting to know more about her mother and to revitalize and honor her work, Rachel revisits the photographers, as well as her mother’s friends and family, to learn who she was while also looking at how photography can help preserve memory and reconnect us with those we have lost.

Rachel Seed and Mother

Rachel Seed and Mother

Through this process, Rachel reconnects to her mother by discovering how much they have in common: their looks, ambition, career paths, and desire to settle down and have a family.  However, in order to move on with her own life, Rachel comes to realize she must set herself apart from Sheila, and to do that must find out if she has the same genetic predisposition to early death that took her mother’s life. Rachel’s ability to forge her own path hinges on these medical results.our country.

“In A Photographic Memory, I go on a journey to learn – through our shared profession – about the mother I never knew but whom I so desperately need to know.” Rachel explained on her Kickstarter campaign page for her film.

“I am blending my mother’s 1970s interviews with my own footage, creating a posthumous mother-daughter collaboration that connects me to my mother while re-examining the course of the careers of some of the most influential photographers in the history of the medium.”

In addition to $2,500 cash given by From The Heart Productions, the winner receives goods, services, and discounts including hard drives from G-Technology, tape stock from Comtel/Edgewise Media, marketing consultation and services from Smart Girls Productions,  audio post production from AudioKut, a full scholarship to The Writer’s Boot Camp,  lighting from Paskal Lighting, and much more from many heart-felt donors.

About the Filmmaker

Rachel Seed

Rachel Seed

Growing up surrounded by photography, Rachel Seed became a photographer nearly 20 years ago and has run a successful freelance business for the past few years, while also earning an MFA from Indiana University (in progress since 2009).  Since 2006, she has conducted 35 video interviews internationally of women and men whose mothers died when they were young, also photographing them.

This work has been supported by several grants including the Artist Enrichment Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Yarka Vendrinska Memorial Award at the Maine Media Workshops, and a World Affairs Council Association grant for international travel, and exhibited in Russia and the United States. She was also named a Top 25 Artist at 3rd Ward Brooklyn’s annual contest in 2010.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now in its 23rd year, the Roy W. Dean Grant funds unique films that make a contribution to society.  It gives filmmakers with great stories, told with passion, the funding to get their projects started or completed.  Films submitted to the grant can be short films, documentaries or features from early stages of pre-production to those needing help in post.

The grant has been integral in making sure that talented artists with great stories get their films produced.  Recent past winners of the grant that have been completed include the award winning “Heist: Who Stole the American Dream” and “The Winding Stream: An Oral History of the Carter and Cash Family” which is now showing in film festivals around North America.

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they are also a fiscal sponsor which allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has raised over $1.5 million for crowdfunding films as a partner with Indiegogo.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of “The Art of Film Funding” which is now in its second edition.

 

The 2015 Roy W. Dean Spring Grant is now accepting submissions.  Cash value has increased this year to $3,500.  If you’d like to submit your project, please go to the Roy W. Dean Grant Application Page and follow instructions.  The deadline for submissions is April 30th 2015. 

3 Nuggets of Gold: Indie Marketing and Distribution Expert Jon Reiss

Digital Media Strategist

Digital Media Strategist

by Elizabeth England

What’s a PMD?  Something every indie film budget needs, a Producer of Marketing and Distribution.  Carole Dean’s interview with Jon Reiss was astounding in its torrent of knowledge and ideas, giving us a glimpse of the raw curiosity that drives Jon’s filmmaking.  Daily Variety named him as a ‘digital director to watch.’ (Jon in Wikipedia.)

Check out his imdb.com!–fascinating films and subjects–Robotic Mayhem from Survival Research Laboratories; Bomb It featuring rave influencers Crystal Method and Moby; and Bomb It 2 exploring global graffiti leaders. His current project is producer and PMD (a dual role he doesn’t recommend) for a breast cancer awareness doc following the treatment choices, decision-making and post-treatment stories of several women.

This interview is so chockfull of smart info and brilliant ideas—I’ll share a few of the nuggets.  (Listen to the interview for so much more!)

Nugget 1 –  Every indie film budget needs a PMD, a Producer of Marketing and Distribution.  The PMD develops and implements a marketing and distribution strategy at the start of the project.  The PMD ensures early and ongoing engagement of the target audience through a storytelling platform, develops niche-influencer partnerships, and defines a festival, live event and digital strategy including merchandise and delivery.  The PMD starts with a low percentage of budget and high time investment and inversely ramps up over the life of the project.

At the project’s start the PMD’s focus will be audience and partnership strategy and development, a big investment of the PMD’s time.  As the project matures, the PMD’s budget will increase with live event, digital and merchandise strategy rollouts leading up to the ‘premiere’ event.  Once the film is released, 100% of the budget becomes marketing and distribution related expenses.

Basically, it’s a key job that needs to be baked into today’s indie film budget if you want to “dent the media landscape,” as Jon put it.  Makes sense, huh?

Nugget 2 – To engage, build and maintain your audience relationships, have a storytelling platform that lives alongside the film project.  The storytelling platform will build your audience community and create a win-win relationship, nurturing partnerships with like-minded influencers and organizations in your story niche.

Jon’s example: His current breast cancer project examines the controversial questions about over-screening and overtreatment, trends in lumpectomies and mastectomies, and issues of reconstructive surgery.  The breast cancer film’s storytelling platform is partnered with a like-minded charitable organization, sharing their audiences and publicity campaigns during the project.  His tip for filmmakers with controversial subjects—engage influencers early and hold off on social media promotion of your topic until there are strong strategic partners with buy-in to share in diffusing controversy. A win-win for both, the breast cancer charity will ‘inherit’ the film’s storytelling platform after the film reaches distribution–a real motivator for charity buy-in.

Nugget 3 – Think about ways to engage your audience both episodically and for your one off film premiere. There was so much good advice here I’ll just touch on it so make sure you listen to Jon’s interview for more info. Powerhouses like Netflix and HBO are tapped into consumer preferences for series, gaining the advantage of repeating promo and recurring royalties for replays—but they have the ad money for series promo.  Taking a cue from the series concept, Jon uses production and post-production to deliver a series of live events with film previews to elicit feedback, engage audience discussion and make adjustments for the desired impact.  His idea: release discreet film clips with fanfare as a series to build fan base and excitement for the final product. Using this model, the live events format could range from mini-screening parties with interactive discussions, to publicity events…whatever suits your topic…or a mix of both during post-production.  Post release, additional content not in the final cut makes great series content for ongoing audience engagement and film promotion on the storytelling platform. You can take any of this and run with it to suit your project. (This idea applies during the filmmaking and between projects, too, engaging your loyal fans until your next film is released.)

Audience development tips.

  • Make the media match the audience: know who your audience is and develop content that engages them directly as early as possible in the project.
  • Marshall geographic/regional support: If you can link your film subject to a community or region, you’ll interest local press and publicity for your project.
  • Strategic relationships: develop win-win relationships with both influencers and organizations in your niche subject.  Having the support of celebrities, bloggers, charities, civic groups or even government agencies to develop your audience should be a win-win. To develop these relationships, just introduce yourself and connect, and be prepared to answer should they ask what you have to offer and what you want from them, such as screening outreach, dvd promotion, profit sharing, co-publicity events, etc.  Jon’s breast cancer strategy started with the influencers and organizations in the breast cancer niche, then expanded to embrace influencers in women’s health.

Some last few tidbits to chew on:

  • One off films are easier to produce events around than a series because a filmmaker has more opportunity to dent the media landscape—but take advantage of series elements in your marketing.
  • Your final film doesn’t have to have a 90-minute format!  45 minutes more or less is an optimum length for a live event with publicity or a screening party with interactive discussion.
  • Check out the interesting events other indie filmmakers are doing like This American Life and HitRECord.

Jon wants to talk to you.  He made it clear in this interview that he is very curious about what you are up to – he just loves talking to filmmakers. Once again, thanks go to From the Heart’s Carole Dean for her extensive reach into the world of independent filmmaking to deliver this great interview.  Here’s more info from Jon, including how to get him on the phone for a chat:  www.jonreiss.com; Jon in Wikipedia; Think Outside the Box Office; and Jon’s Free Consultation.