Roy W. Dean Grant Finalists for Summer 2017 Selected

Roy W. Dean Grant Finalists for Summer 2017 Selected

Winner to Receive $30,000 Grant to Complete Their Project

 

Roy W. Dean Grant Finalists for Summer 2017From The Heart Productions, the non-profit dedicated to helping indie filmmakers get funding, has selected 21 Roy W. Dean Grant finalists for Summer 2017.  Now in its 25th year, the grant seeks films that are unique and make a contribution to society.  The winner will receive $30,000 in a combination of cash and donated services from film industry professionals and companies which support independent filmmakers. 

“It’s so wonderful to see that great indie filmmaking is alive around the world” said Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “Submissions included entries from a record 22 countries.”

The grant is open to documentaries, features, short films and web series.  Every filmmaker that applies to the grant gets a free consultation on their project. 

That along with the cash and production services awarded has made the Roy W. Dean Grant one of the top grants to apply to for new filmmakers.  Just some of the nations represented in the applications include Sierra Leone, Ireland, Great Britain, Israel, Thailand, Japan, and India. 

About the Roy W. Dean Grant Finalists for Summer 2017

View overview of project summaries and filmmakers with loglines for the 21 Roy W. Dean Grant Finalists for Summer grant.  These films (some of which do not have web or social media sites set up as yet) include:

419: How Nigeria Was Scammed Out Of Its Rightful Identity (Documentary)

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

An Act of Terror (Short)

Axe Cop: The Documentary (working title) (Documentary)

Daughters of the Revolution (Documentary)

Finding Kai (Documentary)

Free Spirit (Feature)

In the Executioner’s Shadow (Documentary)

Ken and Alex (Documentary)

MANRY AT SEA ~ In the Wake of a Dream (Documentary)

No Man’s Land (Documentary)

Parallel Chords (Feature)

Pick (Short)

Restoring Balance: Autism Recovery (Documentary)

Salt Water (Feature)

Stone | Fruit (Feature)

The Rukus (Documentary)

Troubled Water (Documentary)

Untitled Witchcraft Project (Short)

Women of the Holocaust (Other)

Ashes To Eden: an Immigrant’s story (Documentary)

From this group of Roy W. Dean Grant Finalists for Summer 2017, a smaller group of 4 to 6 finalists will be selected by our judges. The winner will be chosen from that group and will be announced in late October.

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,  $1295.00 Scholarship to Writers Boot Camp , 35% discount on lighting from Paskal Lighting,  Discount of rental of screening room from Raliegh Studios, 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 Grants awarded each year.   There is a Spring, Summer and Fall Grant.  The Fall Grant is now accepting entries and closes October 14th.  Films submitted to the grant can be short films, documentaries or features from early stages of pre-production to those needing help in post. 

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

About From The Heart Productions

Carole Dean founded the 501(c)3 non-profit 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

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.

Successful Self-Distribution: When You Do it With Others

By Carole Dean

In a recent episode of my Art of Film Funding Podcast, I interviewed Nick Gonda, President & Director of TUGG.com, an expert on self-distribution for independent films. He spoke of a filmmaker who had over 500 screenings set up by other people for him in cities across the US.

This is the new world of self-distribution for indie films and Tugg is one of the leaders in the field.

Here’s how it works.

Self-Distribution

Collaborate with Groups That Can Use Your Film To Motivate Their Members to Attend Your Screenings

Tugg encourages filmmakers to think about who in your community doesn’t just want to buy tickets, but who would like to share and evangelize around your event on your behalf.

That’s the mentality of a promoter. Tugg gives you the tools to collaborate with people or groups and to do so in a way that people are incentivized.

Touch the Wall was one of Tugg’s most successful films last year.  It’s about swimmer Missy Franklin and it documents her journey of becoming an Olympian. This incredible filmmaking team set the bar high in terms of entrepreneurial mind sets and other types of outreach.

They knew they had a certain amount of people through their direct community.  But then they thought, how could we collaborate with swim organizations and swim teams around the country?

They created a system and a campaign where swim coaches could promote the screening as an event.  They participated not just for their love of the film or love subject.  They were also able to use these events as fundraisers for their local issues and needs.

As a result of that campaign and being able to approach swim coaches with that value proposition, they’ve had about 500 events around the country.

After all of those events, the filmmakers were able to get every email address from every ticket buyer and every promoter.  That’s because Tugg provides that transparency to its filmmaking partners.

Now, when they do their home video and VOD release, they are not going with just the financial success generated from all of these events, but with an expanded community as well.

By using the social connections of other organziations, Touch the Wall was able to financially reward themselves, gain a massive data base of people interested in the subject of their film, and give back to the community by letting locals use their film as a funding event.

Tugg also helps migrate that community into other auxiliary buying experiences. At the point or purchase, Tugg has a screen for you to sell your merchandise items with your tickets.

Nick says that the Girl Scouts have raised over $5,000 in donations at one of these events.  So, your film is helping fund other important issues while you are getting paid for the screening from the box office and merchandise sales.

This is a wonderful way for you to reach your audience, make money, build a data base and give back to communities across America.

Please listen to the interview for more wonderful ideas on marketing your film via Cinema on Demand.

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.

Creating an Avatar With Frozen Yogurt

Creating Ideal Audience Profile is Essential in Marketing Your Film

 

Jason Brubaker 2Jason Brubaker is an expert in independent film distribution.  He has put together a new educational site, howtosellyourmovie.com, which offers a step by step distribution system for marketing your film.  He’s also a donor to the Roy Dean Film Grants.

In his interview with Carole Dean on The Art of Film Funding podcast, he showed a unique way of how to create an avatar to represent your film’s potential audience.  An avatar will represent the likes, characteristics, and demographics of the audience or donors you are trying to reach.  He explained how if, for example, your film involved frozen yogurt.

“Once you figured out that, hey, I am going to go after college age women who love frozen yogurt” Jason explained,” that’s even still pretty broad, but once you start to drill down a little bit more, then you start to find these communities, then you can create as you said a database of influencers.”

The next step would be getting out a spreadsheet and finding the top 50 blogs that are geared towards college age women who love frozen yogurt.  But, he points out, that it’s better to be as detailed and specific when creating an avatar.

“Ok, I want college age women who love frozen yogurt, who have a preference for chocolate yogurt, and then I would go down even more and say, okay, and they have a sister.  All of that kind of stuff factors into the thought process.”

“Once you create an avatar, the next step is to give it a name, okay, like Jo. I am marketing for Jo because Jo loves chocolate frozen yogurt, she is college age and she has a sister. So, how many Jo’s are in this world?  Well there is a lot of Jo’s. “

“So, how do I find the Jo’s, and those factors all feed into refining exactly who you are talking to.  Because this is what marketing really is.  It’s just a conversation where you are connecting with people who have similar interests.”

You can check out the entire podcast below.   Jason and Carole Dean also cover:

  • How to Build Buzz around Your Film
  • The Importance of Film Festivals in Marketing
  • Transactional On-Demand
  • Distributing Your Film to Schools, Cruises, and Oil Rigs

 

Check Out Film Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The Art of Film Funding on BlogTalkRadio

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.

 

8 Tips from Film Funding Masters Marc Hofstatter and Carole Dean

By Elizabeth England

Did you know that 89% of IndieGoGo campaigns that reach their goal will overfund by 30% or more?

Or that 1/3 of IndieGoGo’s donors are international contributors from 70 countries?

These are just a few of the juicy tidbits I picked up listening to Carole Dean’s interview of IndieGoGo’s Marc Hoffstatter, Head of Film (@theoriginalhoff) on The Art of Film Funding on Blogtalkradio.

From The Heart Productions has been a partner with Indiegogo since 1991

Partnered with Indiegogo, From The Heart Productions has helped independent filmmakers raise over $1 million for their films

From the Heart has a unique partnership with IndieGoGo.  As a 501(c)3 non-profit, From The Heart provides filmmakers with fiscal sponsorship which allows donors to get tax deductions.   Filmmakers also get flexible funding.  That means they get paid even if they don’t reach their goal.  As an Indiegogo partner, From The Heart has helped filmmakers raise over $1 million to date.

I was delighted to pick up these expert insights and master tips, and give you an overview of the road map they shared.

Build Your Film Contact Database:  90% of your crowd funding comes from your list and their friends.  During pre-launch, leverage your database to create excitement and get commitments for 20% of your campaign goal from funders.  Then have a plan to get your committed funders to donate in the first two days of your campaign.  Reaching 20% of your goal in the first 72 hours will get you noticed beyond your list by IndieGoGo fans and create momentum to fund to 100% of your goal ahead of schedule.

Aim Low – Fund High: Marc and Carole recommend being conservative in selecting your

Marc Hofstatter - Head of   Film at Indiegogo

Marc Hofstatter – Head of Film at Indiegogo

goal to fund faster and stronger.  Hitting that 20% in the first few days is crucial.   It shows you’ve got support and creates momentum which attracts more donors.   So, even if you want to fund your entire feature at once, it’s best to start by funding just part of it.  Besides, 89% of the campaigns that hit their goal overfund by 30%.

Plan to Go Beyond Your Goal.  Carole pointed out that many filmmakers reach their goal early and are at a loss as to what to do for the rest of the campaign.  Marc suggested creating pre-planning stretch goals to keep the momentum going.  For example, imagine telling your fans how stoked you are that you’ve reached 100% of your goal early and now you can do what you had only dreamed of…shoot that scene in 3D with another $2,000 (or whatever your first stretch goal is.) That early success is the juice keeping your fans engaged and your campaign exciting.

Don’t Forget The Pictures:  Marc recommends that you make your Indiegogo campaign page a strong visual representation of who you are, what you are doing and your unique style and talent.   It should not be a page filled with words.   Potential donors must be visually drawn in by your campaign page.  They want to see your style and get a taste of what your filmmaking will achieve with their help!

No Time for Trailers.  Carole and Marc agree that at the start of a campaign a Pitch Video is more important than a trailer.  You need to show donors why you are making the project and why it needs to get made.   Don’t forget to have an “ask” and a call to action to ask them to donate.  But even your pitch video MUST represent your filmmaking vision and style AND give them a reason to click ‘Donate NOW.’  Chances are, they aren’t coming back, so close them NOW.

My own two cents? Consider this – Make a pitch video with two endings:  One for pre-launch promotion and the second for the campaign ask and close.  Another key element on your campaign page is your team: who is on board with you and what are their roles?  Your team inspires confidence in your ability to get the job done with their money, so let your funders know you have quality business and creative talent on board to finish the project.

Pre-planning is Critical: Marc suggests to plan what you are going to do to maintain momentum and excitement at 5, 10, 17, even 22 days into your campaign.  Work out predefined benchmarks for stretch goals, pre-written social media content for both during and beyond your campaign, and new and exciting perks that stimulate new funders.

Out With the Old Perks. Plan to introduce exciting new perks during your campaign that stimulate funding.    Some funders may prefer a credit over a premiere ticket so changing up the perks will attract new funders.  Choosing smart perks like digital downloads and experiences are easier to fulfill and have less impact on your budget than a perk you have to pay for and ship.

Your Crew is Your Team.  Mark recommends having a team on your campaign of at least four.  1- outreach to those organizations and individuals aligned with your project to get their support; 2- provide regular updates, responses and new perks on your campaign page; 3- email campaign management and response; and 4- social media content and interaction.  Carole and Mark emphasize that you are marketing your film already at this early stage–building a fan base, and hopefully attracting the attention of sales agents, distributors and advocates so treat it that way.

Other key points covered:

  • Campaign sophistication will jump in the near future with the entry of major players into the crowdfunding arena as seen in the recent campaigns for Sharknado and Rooster Teeth—this is great for getting your project noticed now by serious film fans and funders.
  • Crowdfunding blogs and thought leaders are interested in your campaign and your project—so add PR outreach to your planning.
  • Your success at funding your campaign is directly proportionate to retaining creative control of your project.  Crowdfunding averages 10% to 35% of a film’s total budget funding, with the balance from grants, equity financing, foreign sales agreements.
  • Crowdfunding is still relatively unknown and is poised for tremendous growth as market awareness explodes and the impact of recent Title II and Title III rulings make room for crowdfunding equity financing with both accredited and unaccredited investors.

The bottom line is that crowdfunding is far from maturity and is the best tool available for filmmakers to simultaneously get exposure for their talents while marketing and funding their projects.

From the Heart’s unique partnership with IndieGoGo gives you a powerful advantage:  a flexible and continuous funding platform combined with decades of experience mentoring filmmakers. Take advantage of this priceless access to this winning combination now.

Here are some cool links I found researching this article that I’d like to share with you:

June 24th Google Hangout with Marc Hofstatter:  http://www.indiewire.com/article/attention-filmmakers-learn-how-to-crowdfund-successfully-in-upcoming-google-hangout-with-indiegogo-kickstarter-and-seed-spark-20140619#.U6SBOREN9Ec.twitter

IndieGoGo’s Essential Tips:  http://go.indiegogo.com/blog/2014/06/essential-tips-for-running-an-indiegogo-campaign-part-ii.html

Title II and IndieGoGo: https://go.indiegogo.com/blog/2013/09/update-on-the-jobs-act-title-ii-and-crowdfunding.html

Rick Dean Crowd 2Don’t get lost in the crowd

Stand out and get funded with From The Heart and Indiegogo.

No penalty if you don’t reach goal, tax deductions for donors, personal mentoring and support. 

Just apply at the From The Heart Indiegogo Partner Page