Unleashing the Power of the Film Crew

Why You Need to Create a Mastermind Group For Your Film

by Carole Dean

One of my favorite books is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.  It is a masterwork and best seller that focuses on how to use the power of your mind to achieve success.  This includes creating a mastermind group which will accelerate the growth of your business using the talents and knowledge of those with whom you work. This is perfect for filmmakers. 

Mastermind Group

Organized and Intelligently Directed Knowledge Equals Power

“Power is essential for success,” Napoleon writes, “in the accumulation of money. Plans are inert and useless without sufficient power to translate them into action. Power may be defined as ‘organized and intelligently directed knowledge.’

“Power, as the term is used here, refers to organized effort, sufficient to enable an individual to transmute desire into its monetary equivalent. Organized effort is produced through the coordination of effort of two or more people, who work towards a definite end, in a spirit of harmony.”

You could not identify a film production crew any better than that statement.

When the director, with the producers and cinematographer work together as a unit with a vision they are the power of the mastermind, a driving force. Even if there are only a two of you on the project right now, the two of you together create a mastermind, the driving force to riches.

Understanding the Power of the Mastermind

To better understand the potential power available to you through a properly chosen mastermind group, Napoleon says you need to understand the powers at work.  One of which is economic in nature and the other is psychic. 

The economic feature is obvious. Economic advantages may be created by any person who surrounds himself with the advice, counsel and personal cooperation of a group who are willing to lend him wholeheartedly aid in a spirit of perfect harmony.  This form of cooperative alliance has been the basis of nearly every great fortune. Your understanding of this great truth may determine your financial status.

The psychic phase of the mastermind principle is much more abstract, much more difficult to comprehend because it references spiritual forces.

The Billionaire Behind the Mastermind Principle

The mastermind principle, or rather the economic feature of it was first called to Napoleon’s attention by the industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Discovery of this principle was responsible for the choice of his life’s work.

“Mr. Carnegie’s mastermind group consisted of a staff of approximately 50 men, with whom he surrounded himself, for the definite purpose of manufacturing and marketing steel. He attributed his entire fortune to the power he accumulated through this ‘master mind.’

“Analyze the record of any man who has accumulated a great fortune, and many will show you that they have consciously or unconsciously employed the mastermind principle.”

How Hollywood Has Embraced the Mastermind Concept

This is how films were made in Hollywood in the twenties and the thirties. Studios had groups of writers in one room.  It was not just one writer but sometimes five or even eight men were sitting there coming up with ideas it was common to have these mastermind groups write scripts.

Look at the old films about filmmaking.  You’ll see that in watching the dailies or the rough cut there’s always a group of people in the screening room offering input. Not just one person, but a group of them giving ideas and using this mastermind power to improve the film.

Hollywood was built on the mastermind concept.  These traits were used by Carnegie as well as Ford and Du Pont. They were also used by the heads of the Hollywood studios.

The Warner Brothers knew about the mastermind concept.  They knew that when two or more people were gathered to use their power to focus on a successful outcome that this is when the third mind, this physic mind, the God mind, would appear with brilliant ideas.

They knew that two minds together, working towards one goal, held the secrets of the universe.

Nature’s Building Blocks

Napoleon Hill says, “Great power can be accumulated through no other principle!” 

Wow, that is quite a statement.

“I want to say energy is nature’s universal set of building blocks, out of which she constructs every material thing in the universe, including man and every form of animal and vegetable life through a process which only nature completely understands, she transforms energy into matter.

“Nature’s building blocks are available to man in the energy involved in thinking! Man’s brain may be compared to an electric battery. It is a well-known fact that a group of electric batteries will provide more energy than a single battery.

“The brain functions in a similar fashion. This accounts for the fact that some brains are more efficient than others and leads to this significant statement — a group of brain coordinated (or connected) in a spirit of harmony will provide more thought energy then a single brain, just as a group of electric batteries will provide more energy than a single battery.

“Through this metaphor it becomes immediately obvious that the mastermind principle holds the secret of power wielded by men and women who surround themselves with other men and women of brains.”

Presidents And the Mastermind Principle

Our presidents do this, they have boards of wealthy successful businessmen who give them basic ideas and guidance. A friend of mine, Sonny Fassoulis was on the president’s Advisory Board for his knowledge of the Far East. He walked across China getting back to his squadron when he was shot down over the Himalayas.

He became friends with Chiang Kai-shek and actually flew him around China.  Then at 23, he took over all the imports to China back in the 40’s. He knew China and the surrounding areas and was of much help to our presidents.  Sonny would fly at his own expense to Washington monthly and join an advisory board.  The board contained some of the top brains in the United states. 

So be aware that US presidents use this mastermind concept for guidance, advice, and direction. 

Functioning in Harmony to Reach Goal

When a group of individual brains are coordinated and function in harmony, the increased energy created through that alliance becomes available to every individual brain in the group.  

In the group, you will take on habits and the power of thought of those with whom you associate in a spirit of sympathy and harmony.

When two or more people coordinate in a spirit of harmony, and work towards a definite objective, they place themselves in position, through that alliance, to absorb power directly from the great universal storehouse of infinite intelligence.

This is the greatest of all sources of power. It is a source to which the genius turns. It is the source to which every great leader turns.

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers the Roy W. Dean Film Grants and fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing 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

Hot Films in the Making – Roy W. Dean Film Grant for Fall 2021

50 Films That Will Impress You with Their Creativity and Brilliant Filmmakers

What are Hot Films in the Making?  For each of our 4 Roy W. Dean Film Grants each year, there are many projects submitted, with excellent concepts and talented filmmakers, that just miss making our group of finalists.  We call them Hot Films in the Making.

The Roy W. Fall Grant was no exception with 50 film qualifying for that honor.  From the Heart Productions, the sponsor of the grant, feels they deserve a chance for people to take notice of them.  We expect these films should be in the finals in the future.

Hot Films in the Making

“The creativity and passion behind these projects can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.” said Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “We are honored to be exposed to all these works-in-progress and know we’ll be seeing great things from these filmmakers in the future.”

From the Heart Productions believes that by highlighting these films, that will not only expand the audience, but find those who will help them on their journey to completion. 

The films chosen for Hot Films in the Making include documentary, narrative features, short films and web series.  They represent projects from around the world including films from India, Jordan, Argentina, Lebanon, United Kingdom, and the U.S.  

The Hot Films in the Making for the Roy W. Dean Grant for Fall 2021 are:

Title Type Filmmaker
All the Things We Could Not Carry Fiction Feature Leah Welch
To Use a Mountain Documentary Feature Colleen Cassingham
Becoming Free – Ditta’s Story Documentary Short Fiona McDougall
Healed Fiction Feature Shantelle Yasmine
Alliance Documentary Feature Susan Donnelly
Cucuta Documentary Feature Braulio Jatar
Ramshackle Fiction Feature Mike Jacobson
Run Outs Fiction Short Dhillon Shukla
The Night Before Fiction Feature Ricardo Preve
Gimpel the Fool Returns to Poland Documentary Feature Howard Rypp
Ghost Money Documentary Feature Lawrence Johnson
The Nonagenarian Documentary Feature Stacey Stone
Fire Department Inc Documentary Feature Colin Hughes
The Man Who Desalinated the Sea Fiction Feature Zurab Dzhidzhilava
The End Web Series Nina McKissock
Qatar Stars Documentary Feature Danielle Beverly
The Rainbow is Black Fiction Feature Marie Delanote
Goodbye Horses: The Many Lives of Q Lazzarus Documentary Feature Eva Aridjis
Testament of Faith Documentary Feature Mona Hennein
Monument Documentary Feature Michael Turner
Mother of Color Fiction Feature Dawn Jones Redstone
Pants Role: A Coming into Queerness Tale Fiction Short Elizabeth Hayes
Soul of the Fraser Documentary Feature Christopher Jenkins
One Breath At a Time Documentary Feature Yelena Krivosheyeva
Sunny Hollow Fiction Short Riley Polanski
Overdoses on Trial Documentary Feature Michelle Leung
The Tower of Teulah, TX Fiction Feature Stephanie Walter
Circles Documentary Feature Eshika Fyzee
Searching for Aramsayesh Gah Documentary Short Jaydn Ray Gosselin
Children of Champions Documentary Feature Klaudia Kovacs
16 Week Documentary Feature Afton Harper
We Are Zarya Documentary Feature Dolya Gavanski
Out of the Picture Documentary Feature Mary Louise Schumacher
Date Me Web Series Kristin Beale
The Loom Documentary Feature Helene Kvale
Sack Chasers Documentary Feature Kai Crawford
The Missing Documentary Feature Fahrinisa Oswald
Unreined Documentary Short Erin Parks
Sanctuary Rising Documentary Feature Florenchia Krochik
#Likes4Lucas Web Series Dylan Kai Dempsey
The Story Won’t Die Documentary Feature David Henry Gerson
Beacon Documentary Feature Isara Krieger
Greener Pastures Documentary Feature Ian Kibbe
Heart, Eat, Home Documentary Feature Hsuan Yu Pan
Concrete Land Documentary Feature Asmahan Bkerat
TransMexico Documentary Feature Claudia Sanchez
The Exiles Documentary Feature Maria Chiu
Hell or High Water Documentary Short Maya Craig
Isthmus Documentary Feature Lina Sinjab
Surfing the Sky Documentary Feature Mariana Wenger

Each finalist is given the opportunity to post information on their contending film on the From the Heart Productions website.  Filmmakers can include an image from the film, filmmaker info, and loglines.  If they have available, filmmakers can include a link to their film’s website, Facebook page, or relevant social media connection.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now celebrating its 30th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to independent films. The grant is awarded to films budgeted under $500,000 that are unique and make a contribution to society.  It has been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers that help to get their projects started or finished.  Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made. 

Past winners of the grant include 2021 Emmy winners Belly of the Beast and The Love Bugs ,  as well as Sundance Film Festival selection Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, and acclaimed documentary Kusama-Infinity.

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they offer film fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers.  This allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has helped independent filmmakers raise over $30 million through their fiscal sponsorship program.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts and the new online class “How to Fund Your Film”.

“The Bridge Ministry” Captures Third Britt Penrod Award for 2021

Award Goes to Film Submitted to a Roy W. Dean Film Grant That is Unique and That Makes an Exceptional Contribution to Society

Top-rated non-profit From the Heart Productions has announced producer/director Christopher Farina has been named as winner of Britt Penrod Award for his documentary-in-progress “The Bridge Ministry”.  Submitted to the Roy W. Dean Film Grant for Summer, the $500 prize goes to a project applying for the grant that is unique and that makes an exceptional contribution to society.  The award will help support Chris continue move toward his goal in getting his film completed.

Britt Penrod Award

“A heart-felt decision.  Humanizing individuals otherwise painted with a broad brush, absent mercy, would seem especially poignant these days,” commented Britt Penrod on the winning film. “I would very much like to see the doc get made and widely distributed.” 

For over 20 years the Bridge Ministry has been transforming the lives of men dealing with life-threatening addiction issues by providing them with a residency in a camp where they are both taught productive job skills and are also provided with psychological and spiritual mentoring to alter their paths heading to incarceration. This film will present a portrait of this class to inspire and advocate for replicating this experience in communities across the country and beyond.

Interwoven throughout this film will be the inspiring story of the life of William Washington, founder of the Bridge Ministry. Having suffered serious trauma as a child, this led to him becoming a homeless teenager on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia as both a user and seller of deadly drugs. He was incarcerated more than once, and while eventually facing a long-term prison sentence, he was given a chance by Judge Jay Swett to enter a program which positively altered his life.

Uplifted by this experience, he dedicated his own life to helping others who faced the same troubled path that he had been on. This led to his creation of the Bridge Ministry along with the support of others including Judge Swett.

About the Filmmaker

Britt Penrod AwardChris Farina has produced various award-winning independent documentary films. One of his most successful films was World Peace and other 4th-Grade Achievements, which premiered at SXSW in 2010 and has played at film festivals around the world and received wide exposure on U.S. public television, as well as on international television through distribution by American Public Television (APT) between 2012-2014.

His most recently completed film, Seats at the Table, about a University of Virginia class which connects college students with residents of a juvenile prison through the study of Russian literature, has also been presented by APT for a two-year run which began on June 1, 2020. Both of those films were also finalists for NHK’s Educational Media Japan Prize.

About the Britt Penrod Award

The Britt Penrod Award was made possible by a donation from longtime friend of 501(c)3 non-profit From the Heart Productions and the Roy W. Dean Grants, Britt Penrod.  The $500 award will be presented to a finalist for the upcoming 2021 Roy W. Dean Grants whose film is unique and makes an exceptional contribution to society.  Results of the award have no bearing on the eventual winner of any of the Roy W. Dean Grants.

Winners this year have included the documentary 26 Seconds for the Roy W. Dean Film Grant for Spring and the short film The Fog Catcher which won for the Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant

Britt is president of Giant Entertainment & Management Inc. (G.E.M.) is a Los Angeles based Film & Television Studio design and development company with in depth experience in the United States, Europe and Asia.

G.E.M. delivers knowledgeable business foundations to Studio development projects that include; Market Analysis, Site Planning, Operating Financial Evaluation, Construction, MEP & Value Engineering, Start-up of Operations and ongoing Management Services for stage-based entertainment properties.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now in its 30th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to independent films. The grant is awarded to films budgeted under $500,000 that are unique and that make a contribution to society.  It has been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers that help to get their projects started or finished.  Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made. 

Past winners of the grant include new Emmy Winners Belly of the Beast and The Love Bugs,  2019 Sundance Film Festival selection Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, as well as acclaimed documentary Kusama-Infinity.

About From the Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they offer film fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers.  This allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has helped independent filmmakers raise over $30 million through it’s fiscal sponsorship program.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts and the new online class “How to Fund Your Film”.

For More Information and interview requests, please contact:

Richard Kaufman

richard@fromtheheartproductions.com

www.fromtheheartproductions.com

 

“Impossible Town” Captures Roy W. Dean Grant for Summer 2021

Documentary Receives Cash and Donated Production Services to Complete Project

From the Heart Productions, the top-rated non-profit dedicated to helping indie filmmakers get their films funded and completed, awards the 2nd Roy W. Dean Grant of 2021 to the feature-length documentary Impossible Town. Now in it’s 30th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant is awarded 4 times each year to a unique film that makes a contribution to society.   Co-Directed by Meg Griffiths and Scott Farris, the grant will provide the project with $3,500 cash and thousands more in donated production services.

Roy W. Dean Grant Winner for Summer 2021

“This film is inspiring.” commented Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “It has some wonderful characters and a brilliant story.”

When her father passes unexpectedly, Dr. Ayne Amjad is thrust to the helm of a decades-long struggle to aid a southern West Virginia town beset by cancer-causing chemicals. After formulating an audacious plan to relocate the town’s residents, Ayne must decide how much she is willing to sacrifice – and which of her allies she can count on – to fulfill her late father’s mandate to “help others” at all costs.

Impossible Town is the story of Ayne’s unexpected rise to state leadership and the stalwart citizen activists who subvert so many of the stereotypes that exist about places like West Virginia.

Rural Appalachia is a poorly understood region of the country with a long history of industrial exploitation and a political identity that continues to frustrate coastal pundits. Though the region’s coal industry and labor movements defined a crucial chapter in American history, modern Americans struggle to appreciate the intelligence, resilience, and diversity of Appalachian people.

Impossible Town shows us tireless social and environmental struggle through the eyes of a cast of characters that complicate common rural Appalachian stereotypes. Dr. Ayne Amjad alone is a study in interesting contradictions: a devout Republican with a strong activist bent, a daughter of immigrants who is a pillar of her largely white community, and a wealthy physician-turned-public-servant who spends her time advocating for her disenfranchised and low-income neighbors. With Ayne and the rest of the cast, nothing is as it seems.

In addition to adding to the breadth of stories about how environmental catastrophes disproportionately affect the poor, the documentary has much to say about our complex relationships with home – the connections we form with the places we’re from, and the difficulty we have in letting go of those places, even when they’re killing us. Through the ambitions of Ayne and other Minden activists, the film explores the persistent modern American fantasy that complex issues are best solved through miracle solutions rather than the decidedly grittier work of slow and patient social, political, and legal exercises.

Most poignantly, Impossible Town is an ode to the way we commune with our parents long after they’ve left this plane, their aspirations and legacies lighting our paths to unanticipated destinations, their absence leaving a painful void in our lives that never fully heals.

In addition to the  $3,500 in cash provided by From the Heart Productions the winner will also receive $1295.00 Scholarship to Writers Boot Camp, applicable to Online or live Professional Membership sessions, $429.00 OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dock hard drive from OWC , a major discount on sound mix from Jeff Alan of Alan Audio Works, and more from film industry companies and individuals

About the Filmmakers

Roy W. Dean Grant Winner for Summer 2021Meg Griffiths, Co-Founder, Universe Creative: Meg is Impossible Town’s co-director and producer. She is the co-founder of Universe Creative, a video production company focused on creating documentaries and short content for conscientious brands. Meg began her career as the Houston Chronicle’s first video journalist, and then she held a leadership role at Teach For America where she built the nonprofit’s first video studio. Later, Meg oversaw content development at Redbird, a Los Angeles-based creative agency, as their Vice President of Strategy. Meg’s work has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and she’s also been awarded EPPY, NPPA, CMA, and various film festival accolades. She holds a MA in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.

Roy W. Dean Grant Winner for Summer 2021Scott Faris, Co-Founder, Universe Creative: : Scott is Impossible Town’s co-director, director of photography, and editor, as well as the co-founder of Universe Creative. Scott has roots in film, education, and advertising. He grew up in West Virginia and graduated with a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. After teaching 5th grade on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, he joined Teach For America’s award-winning marketing team as a video producer. He continued to pursue the intersection of education and video storytelling at Redbird, a marketing firm in Los Angeles. Scott’s work has been recognized by the Webbys, EPPY, CMA, and film festivals across the country.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

From it’s inception in 1992, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to independent films. The grant is awarded to films budgeted under $500,000 that are unique and make a contribution to society.  It has been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers that help to get their projects started or finished.  Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made. 

Past winners of the grant include new Emmy Winners Belly of the Beast and The Love Bugs,  2019 Sundance Film Festival selection Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, as well as acclaimed documentary Kusama-Infinity.

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they offer film fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers.  This allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has helped independent filmmakers raise over $30 million through it’s fiscal sponsorship program.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts and the new online class “How to Fund Your Film”.

For More Information and interview requests, please contact:

Richard Kaufman

richard@fromtheheartproductions.com

www.fromtheheartproductions.com

 

Alexandra Hidalgo Wins Carole Joyce Award for Excellence in Documentary Storytelling

Filmmaker Will Receive $2,500 to Help Complete Work on Project

From the Heart Productions, a 29 year old top-rated non-profit dedicated to helping independent filmmakers fund their projects, is pleased to announce that Alexandra Hidalgo has won the inaugural Carole Joyce Award for her documentary A Family of Stories.  The prize is bestowed on a project submitted to the Roy W. Dean Film Grant that exhibits excellence in documentary storytelling.  She will receive $2,500 to help her continue work on this film.

Carole Joyce Award

A Family of Stories

“Alexandra’s film is incredible and very deserving of this first-time award,” commented Carole Dean, president of From the Heart Productions. “Told from the heart, it is touching and captivating.  We look forward to seeing it completed.”

A personal, true story, A Family of Stories celebrates family bonds even when they are at their most complicated.  It’s a story about facing our familial demons with love and emerging stronger from the experience.

In 1983, Miguel Hidalgo, a Venezuelan writer and inventor, disappeared in the Amazon, leaving behind his six-year-old daughter. Now a filmmaker, her life is transformed as she untangles the mystery of his absence and figures out why her MIT-educated father with a genius IQ ended up buying gold in the Amazon.

As she uncovers secrets about him, her family, and herself she must come to terms with the fact that she based her identity on a mirage created by her ancestors. Having completed her quest, she starts over, aware of how her past shaped her but ready to move beyond the wounds she has carried since childhood.

A Family of Stories is written and directed by Alexandra Hidalgo and produced by Hidalgo and Natalia Machado.  The film is co-produced by the US-based company Sabana Grande Productions and La Pandilla Producciones, a Venezuelan production company.  

They’ve completed the film’s fine cut and the filmmakers are seeking finishing funds and European co-productions.  You can learn more about A Family of Stories on its website: https://afamilyofstories.com/.

About the Filmmaker

Alexandra Hidalgo is an award-winning Venezuelan filmmaker, memoirist, film and TV critic, and editor whose documentaries have been official selections for film festivals in 15 countries and been screened at universities around the United States. A Family of Stories is her second feature as director and producer. Her short documentary Teta has been selected for 30 film festivals and won 8 awards, including best short documentary at three festivals.

Her videos and writing have been featured on The Hollywood Reporter, IndieWire, NPR, The Criterion Collection, and Women and Hollywood. She has a PhD in English from Purdue University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University and is associate professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures and co-director of the Doc Lab at Michigan State University.

Her video book Cámara Retórica: A Feminist Filmmaking Methodology for Rhetoric and Composition received the 2018 Computers and Composition Distinguished Book Award. Her academic video essays have been published in Enculturation, Kairos, Present Tense, and Peitho, among others. She is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the digital publication agnès films: supporting women and feminist filmmakers.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now celebrating its 30th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to independent films. The grant is awarded to films budgeted under $500,000 that are unique and make a contribution to society.  It has been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers that help to get their projects started or finished.  Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made. 

Past winners of the grant include the Emmy-winning Mia: A Dancer’s Journey,  2019 Sundance Film Festival selection Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, Emmy winner and Peabody Award nominee Belly of the Beast, as well as the acclaimed documentary Kusama-Infinity.

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they offer film fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers.  This allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has helped independent filmmakers raise over $30 million through its fiscal sponsorship program.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts and the new online class “How to Fund Your Film”.

Tom Malloy, a Current-Day Cassavetes

Talented actor, producer, shares how what he learned in those roles helped him with directing his first film

by Carole Dean

Tom Malloy has raised over $25 million in private equity for films.  He has produced 17Tom Malloy films.  Ask Me to Dance, his last film, was his directing debut. He’s written 30+ screenplays and optioned, sold, or made into movies 24 of those screenplays. 

Tom is also the President and co-owner of Glass House Distribution, a sales and distribution company, that now represents close to 100 films.  He Co-Owns FilmmakingStuff.com, one of the most popular film blogs online.  His book Bankroll, 2nd edition: A New Approach to Financing Feature Films was the gold standard book on film financing.

Guest host Heather Lenz interviewed Tom Malloy on From the Heart’s The Art of Film Funding Podcast asking for advice on filmmaking and financing. This is an excerpt of that interview.

Advice on Moving from Producer to Director

Tom Malloy believes that producing a few films before you direct will make you a stronger director. He directed his first film after being in the industry for twenty years.  The experience he’s had writing, producing, and acting gave him confidence to move to director.  He says his strength is working with actors, timing, and dialogue. He remembers Ron Howard as saying, when the script is great and the actors are great, then the film directs itself and he found this to be true.

It is good to know where your weakness is, Tom suggests.  Hire the best people to support you in this area.  For Tom, lighting and cinematography were two things he did not want to focus on.  So for his first feature, Ask Me to Dance, he made a point to hire a great DP, Pascal Combes-Knoke.

His actors enjoyed working with him. Tom said, “when the actors knew their lines and nailed their characters, it made his directing job so much easier. He said, “These actors were happy to be there because I let them play and I gave them the space to bring their A game.”

Is it a Challenge to Act in a Movie You are Directing?

“When I first wrote the film,” Tom said, “I thought of writing a role for myself. But that was before I decided to direct the film.  Once I made the decision to direct then I decided to start casting first. I began to look for a female lead. We found Briana Evigan, the star of the Step Up movies. She had a dance fan base and she’s a great dancer and a very funny actress.

“We had submissions for the role that I ended up playing, but there was a four-pronged need that we couldn’t match up. This actor had to be funny, and they had to be a good dancer.  That narrowed the field. Then you had to have some name value.

“So, now if we found these traits, then we had to have someone that would do it for our budget. At this point in the film, our budget was committed to the other stars. We had Mario Cantone, from Sex in the City, Joyce Dewitt, from Three’s Company, Catherine Mary Stewart, and Kurt Angle, plus many more great actor/dancers.

“We didn’t have much left in the budget for that role. I was the only one that filled all the boxes and would do it for this low budget. This was one of the specific challenges that we overcame.

“As far as acting and directing I filled that weakness with David Josh Lawrence, who works for my Glass House Distribution Company as head of acquisitions. He’s also an actor. He functioned as a second unit director and was my eyes and ears when I was on camera. He helped by whispering tips on how it looked.”

Tips for Indie Filmmakers

“I think that on a general note,” Tom advised, “partnering with people that are very experienced and good at what they do is smart.   It’s much better than partnering with friends. You should consider never working with a friend unless their talent exceeds the friendship or at least is equal to the friendship.”

“When you start a film, you have this idea in your head.  You write your screenplay and you get it to the point where you start adding people.  You find the perfect team, then you shoot. And when you’re shooting, there can be over 50 people on set.”  (During Ask me to Dance at one point he had 70 extras.)

“You put everything together and then it’s over. Now it’s back to just you plus the editor, plus the post supervisor.  You might have a colorist, you might have a composer, all these people, but you’re the main person, especially if you’re a director. You want to be one of those ‘roll up your sleeves and finish till the end directors.”

Tips on the Editing Process

“I would say try to find an editor who you trust. In this film, we have Frank Reynolds who is a long- time friend.  He edited one film that got nominated for best picture called In the Bedroom. He worked with me on my movie, The Alphabet Killer years ago. And he is also a kind of a ‘fireman editor’ for me that I bring in to touch up a movie for one week and fix it. You want to work with the best people in that regard.

“Another tip, I would say not to make decisions too quickly. Don’t just jump into something, take time to make the best decision on what’s going to be best for your movie.  When people are referred to you, say, ‘let me consider.’  Always be thinking of what’s best for the film.

“We had had some development financing, which I highly recommend people consider. I have a course that I teach on filmmakingstuffHQ.com called Funded Development (https://www.filmmakingstuffhq.com/development-financing-info/).

“It’s about raising a small portion of the money that you use to develop the movie, meaning, get a casting director on, get the legal paperwork done and push it forward to the next level. That’s what we did on this one.”

Any Tips on Financing Indie Films?

“The actual finance of this movie came from a new business partner of mine. Giving specific tips, I’ll just say that people who happened to be in the crypto (currency) space seem to be gamblers in a way. In my career, there’s always been different people that I went to for financing.

“I remember when online poker was hot, you could get these poker players that were worth millions to invest in movies. And I’ll just say that crypto is kind of the new poker because there’s so much money. People that just invested a thousand dollars in 2011 are now multimillionaires in crypto.

“With all investors, no matter what you’re raising, a hundred thousand dollars or $5 million, it takes a lot of work and time to get them attached to you and for them to trust you. Ultimately the best tip that I can ever give to anybody trying to get financing, no matter where you’re going, is stay focused on the project. This project was so smart, and we just kept adding more and more value, then it became irresistible.

“I’ve always said that development and prepping the project where you are adding more value is most important to financing. If you’re stuck and you can’t find any funding, keep adding more value, whether it’s cast, or locations or crew positions and always with people who are smart and talented. Just keep adding all of that to the project. Then sooner or later, it just becomes a financially viable project.”

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers the Roy W. Dean Film Grants and fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing 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

Roy. W. Dean Film Grant Names Finalists for 2021 Summer Grant

Twenty Films in Running for Second Roy W. Dean Film Grant for 2021

Twenty fantastic finalists were chosen for the 2021 Roy W. Dean Film Grant for Summer 2021.  Offered by the non-profit From The Heart Productions , the grant is awarded to a unique film and the makes a contribution to society.  The winner will receive $3,500 cash and thousands more in donated production services from film industry professionals and companies.

Roy W. Dean Film Grant Finalists Summer 2021

“These films are all excellent and deserve to be completed and shown to the public.” said Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “It is a great pleasure and honor to be able to be exposed to all this incredible work for very talented filmmakers.”

The Roy W. Dean Film Grant for Summer is the penultimate Roy W. Dean Film Grant for 2021.  Now in its 30th year, the grant seeks to help filmmakers get their films completed.  All applicants to the grant are offered a free consultation on their project. They can discuss their proposals, search for funding, distribution, or whatever they feel is needed to move their film forward.  

Winner of the grant is expected to be named at end of October.

The finalists are:

Title Type Submitting Filmmaker
Ellis Documentary Feature Sascha Just
The Bridge Ministry (wt) Documentary Feature Christopher Farina
I Was Born This Way Documentary Short Daniel Junge
An Extraordinary Woman Documentary Short Tara Price
Mujeres Gobernando Documentary Feature Timothy Moran
Discharge Short Fiction Ken Schwartz
Finding the Money Documentary Feature Maren Poitras
Broken Toy Short Fiction Oliver Woodward
The Legend of Princess Ronkonkoma Feature Fiction Maria Capp
Impossible Town Documentary Feature Meg Griffiths
Simulating Religious Violence Documentary Feature Jenn Lindsay
Hangtown Documentary Feature Stuart Harmon
On Board Documentary Feature Muriel Cravatte
The Missing Documentary Feature Fahrinisa Oswald
Stopping Traffic 2 Documentary Feature Siddhali Shree
Not Soft Short Fiction Robert Macfarlane
The Portrait Feature Fiction Vinicius de La Rocha
Prodigal Daughter Documentary Feature Mabel Valdiviezo
Afghan Dreamers Documentary Feature Beth Murphy
The Science of Ink Documentary Feature Cary Weldy
Watering the West Web Series Shari Due
Coming Home: Fight for a Legacy Documentary Feature Matia Karrell
A Family of Stories Documentary Feature Alexandra Hidalgo

Each finalist is given the opportunity to post information on their contending film on the From the Heart Productions website.  Filmmakers can include an image from the film, filmmaker info, and loglines.  If they have available, filmmakers can include a link to their film’s website, Facebook page, or relevant social media connection. 

In addition to the  $3,500 in cash provided by From the Heart Productions the winner will also receive $1295.00 Scholarship to Writers Boot Camp, applicable to Online or live Professional Membership sessions, $429.00 OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dock hard drive from OWC , a major discount on sound mix from Jeff Alan of Alan Audio Works, and more from film industry companies and individuals.

Roy W. Dean Grant for Fall 2021 Now Accepting Applications

The final Roy W. Dean Grant of the year is open for submissions until Oct 31st.  Winner will receive $3,000 and thousands more in donated services including a film score, animation, camera rental, and more to help them complete their film.

For more information and to apply, go to: https://fromtheheartproductions.com/roy-w-dean-film-grants-and-awards/

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now celebrating its 30th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to independent films. The grant is awarded to films budgeted under $500,000 that are unique and make a contribution to society.  It has been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers that help to get their projects started or finished.  Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made. 

Past winners of the grant include the Emmy winning Mia: A Dancer’s Journey,  2019 Sundance Film Festival selection Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, Peabody Award nominee Belly of the Beast, and acclaimed documentary Kusama-Infinity.

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they offer film fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers.  This allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has helped independent filmmakers raise over $30 million through its fiscal sponsorship program.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts and the new online class “How to Fund Your Film”.

Hot Films in the Making – Roy W. Dean Film Grant for Summer 2021

26 Films from Talented Filmmakers That You Will Be Hearing from in Future

With each of the four Roy W. Dean Film Grants offered by From the Heart Productions, there is a select group of films and filmmakers that, while not making the finals, deserve recognition.  These are the Hot Films in the Making.  These are films that chosen by the grant judges that have excellent concepts and brilliant filmmakers.  They should be in the finals for Roy W. Dean Grant in coming years.

“Separation” – Feature from Hasan Demirtas

“These films deserve to be noticed and be supported.” said Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “It is exciting to see, in the throes of creation, so many touching, heartfelt stories being tackled by exceptional filmmakers.”

The Roy W. Dean Grant seeks films that are unique and that make a contribution to society.  It is the hope of From the Heart Productions that, by shining a light on these films, it will not only expand their audience, but help them find those who will help the films on their journey to completion. 

The films chosen for Hot Films in the Making include documentary, narrative features, short films and web series.  Projects were submitted to the grant from filmmakers in Asia, Europe, the United States and Canada.

The Hot Films in the Making for the Roy W. Dean Grant for Summer 2021 are:

Title Type Filmmaker
Underdogs Documentary Feature Ashia Lance
The Door Short Fiction Pablo Lopez
Saving Amy Feature Fiction Jessie Kahnweiler
Fish House Documentary Feature Kristin Adair
Woman in the Mirror Documentary Feature Tatyana Bronstein
The Better Part Feature Fiction Mollie Mulvey
American Sons Documentary Feature Andrew Gonzales
The Haunting of Molly Pickett Feature Fiction Michael K. Johnson
Why Are You You? TV,Web or New Media Lindsay LaPointe
For a Daughter Feature Fiction Daniel Pouesi
My Piece Documentary Short Bervick J. Decullus II
The Gathering Society Documentary Feature Barb Benton
Broken Strings Series Catherine Dudley-Rose
I’m So OCD Documentary Feature Charles Frank
Separation Feature Fiction Hasan Demirtas
Motherland Short Fiction Grace Merriman
There is No Sushi Chef Documentary Feature Vinicius de La Rocha
Plant Moms Short Fiction Liv Amundsen
Oaklead Documentary Feature Alex Bledsoe
Rediscovering John Bergman Documentary Feature Kelly Lamphear-Dash
Saving Walden’s World Documentary Feature James Merkel
Caddisfly Documentary Short Liv Johnson
The New York Love Songs Documentary Feature Darah Golub
Just Bake Cookies Short Fiction Quinn Early
Unmuted Series Milena Warns
City of Heroes Documentary Feature Fiona Lloyd-Davis

Each finalist is given the opportunity to post information on their contending film on the From the Heart Productions website.  Filmmakers can include an image from the film, filmmaker info, and loglines.  If they have available, filmmakers can include a link to their film’s website, Facebook page, or relevant social media connection. 

Roy W. Dean Grant for Fall 2021 Now Accepting Applications

The final Roy W. Dean Grant of the year is open for submissions until Oct 31st.  Winner will receive $3,000 and thousands more in donated services including a film score, animation, camera rental, and more to help them complete their film.

For more information and to apply, go to: https://fromtheheartproductions.com/roy-w-dean-film-grants-and-awards/

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now celebrating its 30th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to independent films. The grant is awarded to films budgeted under $500,000 that are unique and make a contribution to society.  It has been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers that help to get their projects started or finished.  Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made. 

Past winners of the grant include the Emmy winning Mia: A Dancer’s Journey,  2019 Sundance Film Festival selection Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, Peabody Award nominee Belly of the Beast, and acclaimed documentary Kusama-Infinity.

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they offer film fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers.  This allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has helped independent filmmakers raise over $30 million through it’s fiscal sponsorship program.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts and the new online class “How to Fund Your Film”.

Going Global: Delivering Film “Content with a Purpose”

Liquid Media’s iINDIEFLIX takes films from the single classroom viewing to over 10,000 screenings world-wide

by Carole Dean

Ronald Thomson is not resting on a successful legacy of experience in growing companies and securing capital in the global media entertainment and technology sectors. As CEO of Liquid Media Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: YVR), Ron oversees a business solutions company for the entertainment industry, empowering independent creators of professional video content and their intellectual property (IP).

Liquid Media Group’s end to end solution enables independent, professional video, film, and TV packaging, financing, delivery, and monetization. It empowers indie IP creators to take their professional content from inception through the entire process to monetization.

IndieFlix

In developing its end-to-end solution, Liquid has made a number of recent partnership and acquisition moves and is building a platform for creators to reach an audience of approximately a billion households worldwide. Of note, Liquid has acquired iNDIEFLIX Group Inc., a business-to-consumer (B2C) global, streaming, and business-to-business (B2B) virtual community screening service that delivers content with a purpose to schools, government, institutions, and corporations.

Recently, I interviewed Ron as well as iNDIEFLIX co-founder and CEO Scilla Andreen on my “The Art of Film Funding Podcast “on their future plans. This was just days after Liquid completed the acquisition of iNDIEFLIX, as well as had its industry unveiling during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Passion and Need Created the Education Division

Scilla is an award-winning producer, director, author and co-founder of iNDIEFLIX. This subscription screening service delivers content to schools and corporations. iNDIEFLIX has been evolving into a global ‘edutainment’ streaming service that creates, promotes and supports social impact films to create positive change in the world.

To this end, Scilla continues to grow the library, which is currently at 4,000 plus titles to represent shorts, features, documentaries, and series from independent filmmakers from all over the world and include diverse voices, marginalized communities, and women.

What led Scilla to found “iNDIEFLIX Education,” an arm of iNDIEFLIX Group Inc. was her involvement with a documentary about bullying. She personally related to this issue.

Growing up and being the only child of color in an all-white community, she experienced a lot of bullying. She helped complete the film and, because of the content, decided to screen this film to her child’s sixth and seventh grade class. It had a transformative effect at that school in understanding how bullying impacts lives, leading to more meaningful discussion and resulting action taken to address it.

This was the beginning of her iNDIEFLIX education division. Screening for schools became a mission for Scilla to bring people together. And it grew. When school representatives began saying, “What else have you got?,” she did another film called, “The Empowerment Project” and learned how to create companion materials. Today, Scilla creates discussion guides, tip sheets, marketing materials, and activity guides for their films.

“I knew that there were children dying by suicide and schools in desperate need of a tool to communicate,” Scilla said about her growing involvement with supplying films for schools, “or some way to address mental health challenges and to help their students, educators and families.

“I took our first mental health film “Angst” abroad and that film has gone on to do over 10,000 screenings in 90 countries.”

Getting Your Films to the Right Audience

Now, Scilla wants movies that can do not hundreds, but thousands of screenings a year. What she loves about iNDIEFLIX’s acquisition by Liquid Media Group is that her company will have the resources to build and deliver hybrid products that are in-person and virtual, to meet the school’s needs.

IndieFlix

Ronald W. Thomson of Liquid Media Group and Scilla Andreen of iNDIEFLIX

Scilla said that their mental health films are also being screened by large corporations like Microsoft, Liberty Mutual, HP, Starbucks, and Goldman Sachs. She is working with Fortune 500 companies to provide more than just screenings. “We are creating corporate programming,” she says, “that they can give to their employees for two years to watch with their families.”

“Learning to be a good listener will enable you to get informed, and you learn what people in communities need,” she tells me is one of her key rules for identifying content to provide.

Scilla is working hard to put together some white papers in schools that have shown her films. With her help, they have evolved to creating clubs, groups, and parent forums to educate and address mental health and bullying from a host of different angles.

IndieFlix Group is Looking for Content with Global Topics!

Scilla is on the hunt to acquire more content.  She is seeking to satisfy the demand for her films from her list of schools and corporations who watch her films and participate in the activities. She likes to think globally and is looking for films that have globally universal topics. 

“We are looking for films that inform people so they can have more awareness and connection. Films that hold up a mirror and give you a picture of what’s happening in our world.

“I’m doing something that nobody quite understands because it’s not sexy. We can measure the eyeballs and the impact on people from our surveys. These surveys inform us how to create more products around an existing story to continue to give it that evergreen light.

“I want to teach other filmmakers to do that. You don’t want to risk everything on one movie and think you’ve only got one box office weekend to make your investment back.”

Scilla’s Office Nickname is “Fortune Cookie”

Around iNDIEFLIX, Scilla is called “Fortune Cookie.”  She says she tends to, “look at the world and find opportunities and gifts in every situation.  That’s where we want to put our energy.”

Scilla believes the distribution of a film is a marathon.

“You can make a living creating these products because you believe in an issue which has that conversation. People can engage with it. You don’t just have a baby and walk away; you help raise it.

“And your kids are still your kids, even when they’re 40 and 50 years old. So, I advocate getting out of the ‘flash-in-the-pan-disposable-art concept.’

“Let’s be more intentional with our films and savor it and monetize them.”

Full information on iNDIEFLIX is found at www.indieflix.com.  More about Liquid Media is available at www.LiquidMediaGroup.co.

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers the Roy W. Dean Film Grants and fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing 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.

Using the Mighty 990 to Fund Your Film

Before You Apply for a Grant, Take a Peek at Who Grantors Funded in Past

by Carole Dean

Where do you start? I read thousands of proposals a year for my Roy W. Dean film grants. I know what wins grants and what turns judges off quickly. Getting it right can be a piece of cake.

Documentary film funding starts with a well-written, organized proposal. It outlines your film’s story, background, and need. It also outlines the approach, structure and style in four to eight pages of dynamite passion.

It continues through finding the right grant for your film, by investigating a funding organization’s 990 as well as reaching out to the right person at that organization who can help you get funded. 

Getting started may be the hard part, when really, this is the best part

Just write page after page of your visions for the film. Don’t worry if you only need a 6 page proposal and you now have 25 pages, just keep putting down what you “see” happening in your film. Focus on your vision of the film.

I realize that you are not sure what your subjects may say in the interviews, but if you did your research thoroughly, you know the subject matter. So, tell it to us as a compelling story and any people you have secured for the film, tell us their story.

Your proposal needs to be a visual description of your film

It’s there somewhere in those 25 pages of written material so read them carefully and find the best visual sections to paste into your proposal. Now, read it over and create your first three dynamite paragraphs that tell me a compelling story.

Put time into this because it is my introduction to your film. You may have been working on it for over a year, but this is my first look. You need to condense the film to three paragraphs to engage me because the first paragraphs are the most important part of the application. It tells me you are a good writer and it shows me your vision of the film.

Don’t start by writing in your proposal how much this film is needed

With our Roy W Dean Grant, we fund stories about interesting characters and concepts. The biggest mistake is to tell us the history in the beginning or to tell us how much this film is needed or that you want to send a message.

Remember, Harry Warner said, “If you want to send a message, go to Western Union, if you want to make a picture, tell me a story!”

That’s just what we want, stories, keep telling us the story and let me see the film it as I read the story.

Who is your audience?

Now, take those 25 pages, cut and paste the information into the background, and keep that separate from the theme and separate from the approach, structure and style. We also want to know how you will market your film. Only 1 in 1000 docs gets a theatrical release and that does not always have a financial return.

Creative filmmakers are building audiences for their films on the web by organizing communities around the film’s issues and these people are donating to their films and waiting to pay for downloads. You should consider distributing it yourself to sell on your website.  Instead of a percentage of each download, you will make the full price.

What are your marketing plans? 

Outreach is a major key to socially oriented films; we want to know that the people who need the film will see it so put outreach in the budget. Did I lose you with that last word?

Well, you have to face the music and go to the left brain now and do a budget but never fear Maureen Ryan www.producertoproducer.com  is perfect for you.  Maureen is an award winner producer of many great documentaries including Dick Johnson is Dead

Her website has sample budgets on her website which is dedicated to supporting independent film producers by sharing helpful and essential information about practical film production.

Using 990’s to find grants that match your project

Finding grants that match your material is paramount to the funding process. Go to
www.grantsmart.org and search for granting organizations by key words.  Once you find them; go to https://candid.org/.

You want to find and check out the Corporations 990 form which is part of their income tax, and candid.org has a slick 990-PF that shows you exactly where the most important funding information is located.  You can find the most recent 990’s at https://www.guidestar.org/

I know is sounds sneaky, to look into some corporation’s income tax, but all is fair in love and doc financing. You can access info on over 200,000 U.S. private and community foundations for free and you will find how much an organization donated in contributions, gifts and grants for prior years.

Don’t enter grants you don’t think you can win

Find a potential funder that matches your film and find the name of the operations officer and, most importantly, find who won last years and prior year’s grants. Is your film a fit? The biggest complaint is that too many people apply for grants that do not fit. See if you can find the prior winner’s web sites, they might even be willing to give you tips on entering this grant.

Don’t enter grants you don’t think you can win. Your time is too valuable, it is best to find grants you think you have the best chance of winning and then write a few more paragraphs in your proposal to tailor it just for them.

I know when someone reads my grant web site information because they say, “My film is unique and makes a contribution to society.” That’s my mission statement and I like to see this because I know they read the guidelines.

While you read each potential funder’s site, keep looking for questions that are not answered, like how many apps did they have last year and what is the amount of money they are giving this year.

Don’t be shy

Now comes the best part of funding. Get the list of corporations or non-profits you think are the best ones to submit your film. Find your question that was not answered on their web site.  Then, search for the name of the granting officer and phone number because you are going to call them!

Don’t be shy. You would never enter a grant without first making contact with the grantor. This is your great opportunity to introduce yourself and make an important connection.

Place your call in “prime time” from 10 to 12 or 2 to 4 and ask to speak directly to the operations officer in charge of the grant. If they don’t answer, try again later or get information on the best time to reach them.

“Touch my heart and I reach for my pocket book.”

Your job is to touch them, remembering that we communicate through the heart chakra.
I say, “Touch my heart and I reach for my pocket book.” Keep this in mind when creating your short pitch. This connection puts energy to your application; it is the voice behind the film.

Now what will you say when you get them on the phone? Go back to your 25 pages and create two lines that bring your film to life and tell them this story as your pitch. Tell them the title of your film and give them this short pitch. Don’t over pitch, that’s the worst thing you can do. Just tell them enough of the story line for them to remember you and the pitch.

You read this person’s bio on the site and you know the films she/he funded in the past.  You want to compliment them on their past selections, for their on-going contributions, and support of filmmakers.  Ask your question that was not answered on the web site.

Be relaxed, have your check list of these things in front of you and make a good impression and keep this phone call under three minutes. Be sure to listen to what they say. Let them talk.

Don’t forget to write and never give up

Once you hang up the phone, write them a nice Hallmark card and mail it that day. Be sure to thank them for the information. Give them your short pitch again in the card. You now have two connections with this person and when they see your application they will remember you through the call and the card and the story of your film.

Realize that we want to fund you; we are looking for emerging and established filmmakers with engaging stories to tell.

We know you are talented, most of the people who give grants are not filmmakers, we are your admirers, and we are astonished at your talents.

The golden rule in applying for grants is “never give up.” Keep going back, I have funded 2 films that entered my grant 3 times, I love filmmaker’s tenacity.

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers the Roy W. Dean Film Grants and fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionHer new class “How to Fund Your Film” is available on Vimeo on Demand.  She is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits