Carole Dean – The Art of Film Funding Blog

Carole Dean founded From the Heart Productions in 1992 to help indie filmmakers get their films funded.

In her blog, she shares her knowledge and advice on:

  • Raising Money for Your Film
  • Getting Distribution
  • Manifesting Money and Success
  • Crowdfunding
  • Fiscal Sponsorship

And more with the goal of giving filmmakers the tools to get their films produced.

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.  See IMDB for producing credits.

Recent Blogs by Carole Dean

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IndieFlix plans to take films from single classroom screenings to over 10,000 screenings world-wide

by Carole Dean

Ronald W. Thomson is not resting on a successful legacy of experience in securing capital for companies in the global media entertainment and technology communities. As CEO of Liquid Media Group, he oversees a business solutions company, empowering independent IP creators.

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

His goal is to create an independent filmmaker’s studio. To accomplish that, Ron has acquired IndieFlix Group Inc., a B2C global, streaming, and B2B virtual community screening service that delivers content for a purpose to schools, and corporations.

I interviewed Ronald as well as co-founder of IndieFlix Scilla Andreen on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast on their future plans.

Passion and Need Created the Education Division

Scilla Andreen is an award-winning producer, director, and co-founder of IndieFlix. This screening service delivers content to schools and corporations. Sheila continues to grow the library, which is currently at 4,000 plus titles to represent diverse voices, marginalized communities, and women.

What led to founding IndieFlix was her getting involved 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, she decided to screen this film to her child’s six grade class. It transformed that school.

This was the beginning of her IndieFlix education division. Screening for schools became a mission for Scilla to bring people together. And it grew. She did another film called, “The Empowerment Project” because schools were saying, what else have you got? She 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,” Scilla told me about her growing involvement with supplying films for schools, “or some way to address mental health challenges of their students and educators and families.

“I took our first mental health film aboard 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 IndieFlix 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 film is being screened by large corporations like Microsoft, Liberty Mutual, HP, Starbucks, and Goldman Sachs.  She is working with Fortune 500 companies and not just doing a screening.  “We’re 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 to satisfy the demand for her films. This comes 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 global 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 got one box office weekend.”

Scilla’s Office Nickname is “Fortune Cookie”

Around IndieFlix, she 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 your film is a marathon.

“You can make a living creating these products because you believed 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 ‘flashing-pan-disposable-art concept.’

“Let’s be more intentional with our films and savor it and let us monetize your film.”

Full information on IndieFlix is  https://www.indieflix.com/

 

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.

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 

Take your film production team and turn it into a powerful “creative machine” to help you fund and finish your film  

by Carole Dean

I am sharing the book, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, with our Film Funding Guidance Class. We have the class every two weeks for filmmakers who are fiscally sponsored by From the Heart Productions.

This book could have been written entirely for the film industry.

Mastermind Team

The Power of the Mastermind as The Driving Force for Success

“Power is essential for success in the accumulation of money” states Napoleon Hill. “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, 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.

Economic vs Psychic Mastermind Group

Napoleon goes on to say that, “to better understand the potential power available to you through a properly chosen mastermind group, we want you to understand 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.”

No Two Minds Ever Come Together Without Creating a Third

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

“No two minds ever come together,” Napoleon writes, “without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind. Keep in mind the fact that there are only two known elements in the whole universe, energy and matter likewise they are units of energy.” (This book was written 100 years ago.)

“The human mind is a form of energy a part of it being spiritual in nature. When the minds of two people are coordinated in a spirit of harmony, the spiritual units of energy of each line form an affinity, which constitutes the psychic phase of the mastermind.

“The mastermind principle, or rather the economic feature of it was first called to my attention by Andrew Carnegie over 25 years ago. Discovery of this principle was responsible for the choice of my life’s work.”

The Wealthiest Men in America Made Use of This Concept

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,” Carnegie claimed, “who has accumulated a great fortune, and many will show you that they have consciously or unconsciously employed the mastermind principle.”

Hollywood Was Built on 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 and you’ll see that in watching the dailies or the rough cut there’s always a group of people sitting in the screening room and they are all giving their input. Not just one person, but a group of them giving ideas and using this master mind power to improve the film.

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

They knew that two minds together, working towards one goal brought out the God mind which held the secrets of the universe.

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

Wow, that is quite a statement.

Masterminds Can Convert Energy into Matter with Brilliant Ideas

Napoleon goes 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.”

Our Presidents Use this Mastermind Concept for Guidance

Our presidents do this, they have boards of wealthy successful businessmen who give them basic ideas and advice.

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 after he was shot down over the Himalayas during World War II.

He became friends with Chiang Kai-shek, a politician, revolutionary and military leader who served as the leader of the Republic of China. Sonny actually flew him around China and then at 23 he took over all the imports to China.

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 which contained some of the top brains in the United States. 

Minds Working in Harmony

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.

Men take on the nature and the habits and the power of thought of those with whom they associate in a spirit of sympathy and harmony.

The chief source from which power may be attained is infinite intelligence. 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.

What is paramount to success is to understand that, to achieve the greatest results, you need to stay on a positive track even though someone suggests an idea that is outrageous you do not negate it; you build on it.

You build on an idea to something even more outrageous.  And, before the night is over, you have some incredible new ideas. Edward de Bonor wrote about this in his book Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step. It is very important that you keep negativity outside of these meetings. Let your imagination go free and have fun and once it is over you can find the jewels and implement them.

Wooing Money

Napoleon says something that’s very important for us and those of us who are in the throes of fund raising already know this very well.

“Money,” Napoleon comments, “is as shy and elusive as the old-time maiden. It must be wooed and won by methods not unlike those used by a determined lover, in pursuit of a girl of his choice.

“And coincidental as it is, the power used in the wooing of money is not greatly different from that used in wooing a maiden. That power when successfully used in the pursuit of money must be mixed with faith. It must be mixed with desire. It must be mixed with persistence.”

With that persistence, use your faith and desire to achieve your goal.  Never stop until it is achieved.

Money Goes to the Person, Not the Film

You really need to woo your potential donors. They need to know who you are because they need to like you and trust you.

This can take six months to a year maybe two years.  Tom Malloy, indie producer and co-instructor in my Intentional Filmmaking Class, talks about spending hours and sometimes even weekends with potential donors and finally getting the money.

He tells the story of a time when he had been wooing a potential donor for many months.  When, on a Saturday night, he was all comfortable at home with his family and the phone rang.  The potential investors said, “come over I want to talk to you.”

Tom got up from his comfortable couch, got dressed, and drove over to the investors home.  He spent the evening with him and guess what? He received an investment of $100,000 that night.

Think about it.  You’re not going to jump at an offer when you meet someone. I don’t care if it is the best offer you ever heard. You are giving your money to that person not to that film.  So, you want to know who is this person? Have they made films before? Are they trustworthy?

Think of a Donor or Investor as a Potential Soulmate

A good investor would want to spend time with that person before they wrote a large check.

You can’t just walk up to someone, show them your trailer, ask for a large donation and expect to walk away with it. You need to think of the ways that you woo potential partners and apply those to wooing your donors. 

For women, think of what you would do if you met someone that you thought might be your soulmate. What would you do? That’s exactly how you want to treat a donor or an investor.

Napoleon says, “When money comes in quantities known as ‘big money,’ it flows to the one who accumulates it, as easily as water flows downhill.”

You see that when someone does a good film, and they get a three-picture deal.

Getting Into the Flow of a River Going Downstream Brings Financing.

According to Napoleon Hill, there exists a great unseen stream of power.  It is like a river.  One side flows in one direction carrying all those onward and upward to wealth.  On the other side of the river, flowing in the opposite direction, are those unfortunate enough to get into it and not be able to extricate themselves from it.  This side flows downward to misery and poverty.

I am sure you have met some of those people. 

Remember in the film, Star Wars, where Han Solo, before leaving Yavin 4, said to Luke Skywalker “May the Force be with you.

This is the same thing Napoleon Hill is saying, get in the river that flows carrying all upward and onward to wealth.

 

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 

Persistence is willpower and a good habit that will lead to success

by Carole Dean

Persistence is the habit of concentrating one’s thoughts upon building plans for the attainment of a definite purpose.   Persistence is a direct result of habit. Your mind absorbs and becomes a part of the daily experiences upon which it feeds.

Persistance

Using persistence to raise money and create your film takes a lot of courage. I see it all the time in the filmmakers we fiscally sponsor at From the Heart Productions and who apply for our Roy W. Dean Grant.

You want to believe in your heart that people really want to hear from you.  You want to believe that you are inviting them to join you in making your film. That you’re inviting them to join you in your distribution. 

If you are contacting them again for the second or third time consider this email to be a reminder, a gentle reminder, because persistence pays off. Persistence is the trait of any top salesperson.

Here’s how to develop persistence.

Go Until No

Producer Tom Malloy, who has raised millions for his films, his own saying that describes his belief in the power of persistence.  Go until no.  You want to keep asking until someone says, “absolutely no!  I will not fund your film.”

Then Tom says OK, I understand you won’t fund this film, but can I contact you when I start my next film? And always they say yes!  That is true persistence.

What is your motivation to contact people the third or fourth time?  To reach your goal.  Always work with your intention in mind.  Why do you need to send this email?  What is the benefit for you?  What is the benefit for the donor?  They need to be equal. 

You need to offer them something. Like putting their name on your website or listing their name in a rolling credit on the film or posting on social media the fact that they gave you money.  Find something to give to them.

Creating the Habit of Persistence

There are four simple steps which lead to the habit of persistence. They call for no great amount of intelligence, no particular amount of education, and little time or effort.

They are:

  1. A definite purpose backed by burning desire for its fulfillment. What is the amount of money you intend to raise at this time?  That is your burning desire, to hit that goal.
  2. A definite plan expressed in continuous action. Yes, you have a list of people to contact that you know like you and trust you and could contribute to your film.  Your plan is to get a large percentage of them to donate.  The normal rate is 5% of your data base.  You might set a goal of 30% of your data base will donate.  That is part of your plan.  Your persistence now is based on a plan to get 30% of your email base to donate.
  3. A mind closed tightly against all negative and discouraging influences, including negative suggestions of relatives, friends, and acquaintances. Definitely don’t discuss your goals with others, keep them to yourself.  People can’t understand how you can raise over $100K to make a film.  Set goals that you believe you can hit.  Because each time you hit a goal it empowers you.
  4. A friendly alliance with one or more person who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose. This could be your producer, your social networking person, your best friend. Many times, producers will take on a mentor even if they only talk to them once a month so that producers can empower through these conversations to feel comfortable to continue asking for money. Use someone who give you good feedback and someone that you enjoy talking to and always feel better after you talk to them.

Napoleon Hill, is his masterwork Think and Grow Rich that has guided thousands to success over nearly 100 years, says these four steps are essential for success in all walks of life. The entire purpose is to be able to take these four steps as a matter of habit. These are the steps by which one may control one’s economic destiny.

They are the steps that lead to freedom and independence of thought.

They are the steps that lead to riches, in small or great amounts.

They lead the way to power, fame, and worldly recognition.

They are the four steps which guarantee favorable breaks.

They lead to the mastery of fear, discouragement, indifference.

“There is a magnificent reward for all,” Napoleon Hill writes, “who learn to take these four steps. It is the privilege of writing one’s own ticket and making life yield whatever price is asked.” 

Why You Need Sticky Story

When you are sending out emails asking for donations, you need to be persistent.  People are all in a hurry, often over caffeinated so you want to make it very easy to send the money and make your “ask” emotional. 

Tell me a sticky story that the person can remember.  Dan and Chip Heath wrote a brilliant book, called Made to Stick.  After reading their book I created, with their approval, what I call a sticky story which has the elements mentioned in their book and I wrote it for filmmakers.

In a “sticky story”, you take all the knowledge you have on your film and transform it into a simple story that is easy to remember. The first rule is to keep it simple, find the core of the idea. You may have volumes of fascinating information but keep taking things away until you can’t take anything else out or you lose the essence.

How To Create Your “Sticky Story”

Find the Core

Think of journalists who create lead copy for articles, and you get the story in a few words, they prioritize. So, can you.

Something Unexpected

This simple story needs something unexpected; this is to be sure you get their attention.

You might ask a question that the film needs to answer. It can be a surprise like a shocking fact or a point of interest they will remember or a massive change in direction for the film.

Something Concrete

You need specific people doing specific things or give them some facts. Concrete ideas are easy for people to remember and they create a foundation.

Credible Information

This is what makes people believe your story. This can be a place for truthful core details and please make them as vivid as possible. We need to see your film from the words you use.

Find the Emotional Heart

I say, “touch my heart and I reach for my pocketbook.” We communicate through the heart chakra, so touch me with your story.  You can do this through one of your characters, let me feel them.

When you pitch me your “sticky story,” I want to walk away with your film in my mind forever. Then I can tell my friends that I invested/donated to your film and brag about it on my social media.

Remember, you have carried this film for several years and your audience is just hearing about it. That’s why brevity and a sticky story are needed to transmit your knowledge.

Don’t Forget to Write

First write down your story.  Next, begin to say it, so that you can put these elements into your own words.  That should give you a good pitch, an outline for a written “ask” for emails or letters.   I get letters all the time from organizations I donate to.  Letter writing is still appreciated. 

I understand that wealthy people always open a hand addressed envelope first.  Use good stationary, find paper with texture.  I like to think about people being in three categories.

Audible, you can hear this in their conversations, I heard, He said, did you listen to….

Visual people say I see what you mean, they visualize everything…

Kinesthetic people are the “feelers.”  For them you want textured paper.  It’s the feel of something that they use to judge you by.    That’s why I always pay a bit more for textured paper with our stationary.

You may also want to put a special stamp on the envelope.  The post office normally has stamps for the Arts that are beautiful and will really set your envelope aside from all other mail.  You might get some of artistic looking stamps to use for any correspondence.

Do You Really Deserve This Money? 

Now, it is up to you.  Are you open to receive?  Do you deserve $100K to fund your film?  Why should people give you money? 

You want to be totally open to receive.  You may have to convince yourself that YES, you are worthy, yes you will be honest and use the money to the benefit of all concerned and produce an excellent film.

Remember, fear is the worst of all enemies and can be effectively cured by forced repetition of acts of courage. I agree it is an act of courage to ask someone for money for your film.

I’ve never met a filmmaker who wasn’t a self-starter.  it’s your persistence and your willpower that creates your success with funding and finishing your film. 

 

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 

by Diane Estelle Vicari

2001 is a year to remember. My first co-directed and produced independent feature film opened theatrically. SUGIHARA: Conspiracy of Kindness is the story of Japanese Consul General Chiune Sempo Sugihara, who during World War II saved the lives of thousands against his government’s orders. I was finally going to share this inspiring story of how “one man can make a difference” with a live audience. That is, until I received an invitation from scoring and recording mixer Tommy Vicari.

 

 

Tommy invited me to visit the famous Hollywood Capitol Records recording studios and to document a five-day recording session. I would “bear witness,” he said, “to history in the making.”

Being a one-woman band with a scheduling conflict on the same week of my Première, I kindly declined the offer. Tommy kept insisting — which was so uncharacteristic of him — until he eventually broke down my resistance. I agreed to hire a crew of four camera operators, direct them on the first day, and then leave them to continue filming, so that I could attend my special date with my audience.

As long as I live, I will never forget witnessing through my viewfinder, as this Geppetto-like figure walked up to his podium. The energy of the room immediately shifted. I watched the musicians straightening themselves in their chairs, as if a four-star general had entered the room. Then, Maestro Sammy Nestico gave the down beat.

Sammy Nestico and Me

I had been around music since I was a child, playing the piano for seven years, attending weekly rehearsals and performances of my Grand-Maman Estelle’s choir at church, being always a step behind the fanfare during parades, and of course having been married to a recording and scoring engineer for nearly twenty-five years. None of it prepared me for the moment when Sammy Nestico’s music began to play.

I was awestruck and overcome with a sense of pure joy and wonderment at this humble man, who was yet a force to be reckoned with. This tangible magic continued to fill the  studio for days and I was moved to keep filming.

What I experienced during these five days; the world had to see. I missed my own opening night in order to capture the enchantment.

On that day, our twenty years journey together began.  I entered his world and committed to making a documentary film about his life story but mostly to share his message to: “Never Let anyone steal your dreams.”

Sammy passed away January of this year, one month short of his 97th birthday, As his wife Shirley entered the painful process of letting go, she invited me to come to their home to see if there was any items I may need for the film. At one point, I noticed his ties collection, which she had prepared for a donation. 

At the age of 16, this first-born son of Italian immigrant began wearing ties so that he could be considered a “serious” musician.  He began his collection of ties, and that tradition continued throughout his life. He often wore them only once, and purchased another for a new occasion!  I asked Shirley if I could keep this collection.

For Sammy’s 86 Birthday and his 4th Grammy nomination, jewelry designer Pepi© exclusively created “Sammy’s Love Note©.”  

After sharing this story with her, she suggested we bring back his “Love Note” pin and offer it with a collectible tie.

For a $179.00 donation towards the completion of the film, you will receive “Sammy’s Love Note©” and choose one of Sammy’s collectible tie. 

Please click on this link that follows to make a selection. 

https://www.sammynesticofilm.com/rewards/1dof5en3ox3gt3sebg1h97pbe6d8cb

I am privileged to be the messenger of this world-renowned musical legacy and one of our National Treasure, Maestro Sammy Nestico. 

 

How to use hybrid distribution and virtual screenings to be more effective at raising funds, selling your film, and generating revenue

by Carole Dean

Keith Ochwat is the founder of the Show&Tell virtual screening platform which also offers educational courses for filmmakers.  After producing his own documentaries for 12 years, he’s advised hundreds of filmmakers on their distribution fundraising strategy.

Keith recently joined me on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast.  His information is most important for documentary filmmakers who want to reach their target audience.  Here are some highlights of my interview with Keith on implementing a hybrid distribution strategy for your film.

What is a hybrid strategy?

I would define a hybrid strategy as one the most effective ways to think about getting your film into the world and to fundraise. I think distribution and fundraising are really hand in glove working together. And I think if you’re successful at this new approach to distribution, we’ll be talking about today, you’ll be more effective at raising funds, selling your film, and generating revenue.

Hybrid strategy the way Peter Broderick and I always talk about distribution. Someone who is great at theatrical release, is not going to be that good at securing you a television deal. If they’re good at television in the United States, they are probably not going to be that great at securing television deals in Finland, in Brazil, which can be most lucrative for filmmakers as it has been for me and many other filmmakers.

If you make a deal with a single distributor, then you are not taking a hybrid approach. Rather you are   placing all your faith in the belief that one company can maximize your audience and your revenue in all of these windows of distribution.

What we advocate is a hybrid approach where you split your rights.  I define a hybrid strategy, big picture, as splitting rights and retaining control. There are some organizations like the Film Collaborative that helps filmmakers make the most of festivals if they’re willing to work with you. But they’re probably not going to want to make a consumer release deal for you.

Or if you’re working with Richard Abramowitz for your theatrical, you’re probably not going to want to work with him making your international deals. We advocate splitting your rights and using organizations who are expert at certain windows so you can make the most of every window of distribution.

Tell us more about the benefits of hybrid distribution.

We call it hybrid because you do distribution with some of the old ways and some of the new ways. I did the old way with some of my films and when I embraced a hybrid strategy for my latter films, they were much more successful.

We made much more money, and we reached a larger audience. Fundamentally, it was more rewarding to go through that process with a hybrid strategy. We got our film broadcasted on PBS nationally. We made a streaming deal with Netflix.

With my last film, we also prioritized a new or less traditional approach to distribution and fundraising. We worked with non-profit and corporate partners that believed in the message of our film. AARP was the biggest one. They ended up putting up over $250,000 to support a, a series of live events, virtual events, and they sponsored our PBS broadcast.

You may have heard sponsors on PBS where they say this program was brought to you by, and it was AARP and a few other companies that sponsored our film.

How has the expansion of the virtual world has created a new window for documentary filmmakers?

The rise of Netflix is because there’s been a rise in this virtual streaming world, especially for documentaries. Audiences expect to be able to stream films from the comfort of their home. Less and less documentary fans, even in this golden age of documentary are going to theaters to see documentaries they’re streaming at home.

And I think another way you should think about a hybrid strategy is harnessing the best of the old world, which is reawakening and the best of the virtual world.

Tell us about your new company Show&Tell

We help filmmakers execute the strategies for a hybrid funding and distribution. It’s about making the most of live events, but also virtual events. We have a virtual screening platform, and we help filmmakers do virtual events when they’re in distribution and virtual fundraisers when they’re in pre-production and production and post.

I do a lot of teaching. I love to teach. If I had another life, I’d probably be a professor. And I love sharing what I know so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes I made.

We have an educational community. I coach filmmakers on their distribution and fundraising. I also have an online course which has over 50 lessons and we have a private Facebook group. We have a webinar three times a month, on Thursday at 1:00 PM. It’s a free webinar about different topics.

Example, the month of July was dedicated to fundraising and in traditional ways and I had the pleasure of doing a webinar with Carole on July 15th. You can go to our website ShowAndTell.film, click on coaching, and you’ll see our calendar of events.  There you can sign up for a free webinar and learn more about what we do.

My motivation with ShowAndTell.film is to help filmmakers avoid mistakes and help you generate revenue for your film plus help you build your audience.

If you’re at picture lock or interested in a virtual event, if you’re in distribution, you can use our services. With our services, you can ask for paid tickets or you could ask for donations or do both, which is my recommendation.

What is best way to monetize a virtual event?

We teach you how to approach partners and ask for virtual events. You can recognize your partner with a hyperlink or put their logo on your event page. You can even put a short commercial message that plays before your film. There’s a lot you can do with our platform.

You can totally customize your event.  You can set the dates, change the dates, add tickets, lower the ticket price, change donations amounts. A store is available for you. We make it easy with simple tools.

The thing I’m most proud of is we provide knowledge and knowledge is so important. Knowledge is going to give you strength and it’s going to give you options.

And I think that the knowledge that I’m providing is unique. What we do is really encouraging filmmakers to embrace the hybrid approach, make the deal with Netflix when you’re in your consumer release stage, get on PBS for your TV release. We’ll show you how to do this. You should also prioritize conferences, partnerships, and fuel that success through understanding with clarity, your target audience.

In our online course there are over 50 lessons in our private Facebook group, we help filmmakers understand strategies and tactics related to target audience identification, pitching partners, identifying partners, providing templates and tools for you to make money with distribution.

 

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 

Cquence for Adobe Premiere helps you create your first cut in minutes, not hours.

by Carole Dean

Larry Rosenzweig is a filmmaker who dreaded the first draft, rough cut video editing process.  He knew how much it took emotionally and physically to create it.  So, he decided to do something about shortening the time involved. 

Partnering with two other technically trained people who all saw the need to short cut the first edit, they began raising funds to support themselves while they built a brilliant program to solve their problem. 

Video Editing

Cquence

Now ready, Cquence is a rough-cut video editing platform that dramatically accelerates the video editing workflow.  Larry says, “they currently have a seamless one-click integration with Adobe Premier. Eventually we’ll be rolling out integrations with Final Cut 10 and DaVinci resolve.”

I interviewed Larry on my recent The Art of Film Funding Podcast and he shared more about how this program works and what’s in it for filmmakers.

Larry, what does Cquence do?

A filmmaker or a video editor uses Cquence to hold your film and enable you to search for the things that you need and then very easily edit the best moments from your footage within your rough-cut editor. Cquence can be used for shorts, features, documentaries, webisodes, and may other people can find benefits by using this for large amounts of information, example, teachers can use this.

You will be able to use our platform to search for specific quotes, specific interviews, and people. You could search for a word that you remembered from an interview. And visually we also offer you the capability to search for a specific object or a location.

Example, if you want to search for all the coffee cup shots, all the mountain range shots, you will be able to find all those relevant clips from a visual perspective.  And once you find the moments that you want, you’re able to seamlessly drag and drop that over to our rough-cut timeline inside of Cquence.

Normally what people do is they import hours of footage into Cquence.

Who benefits from Cquence?

Cquence is most valuable for filmmakers, video editors, video producers, and this could be used for doing scripted or unscripted work.

At the end of the day Cquence accelerates the video editing workflow. What does this mean?  It enables filmmakers and video editors to focus on higher order thinking and creativity. Not only do you save significant time using Cquence, but you can increase your revenue by having more time to focus on bringing in clients, to fundraise, and to create more projects.

It makes it easy to repurpose and repackage your footage into a social promo and trailer content for you to share across your social channels. Think of Cquence as a searchable archive for every project that you have because we make it easy to use footage even from a previous project.

Another benefit is if a filmmaker and a video editor want to collaborate, they are able to replace the traditional act of having to mail a hard drive or upload terabytes of footage to a cloud storage because Cquence essentially replaces that workflow.

Now that you can save 30 to 50% of your time in editing and what are your plans for the future?

We have a big vision. Our goal is to save 90% of the time it takes to create a first draft.

We have spoken with hundreds of filmmakers and video editors at this point and Cquence is available for both Mac and PC.  As of today, we have an integration with Adobe, so you can download the creative cloud plugin as well, and you can easily export your rough cut from Cquence, which is on your desktop, into Adobe Premier, which is also on your desktop to continue editing, and then finish your film in your existing workflow as you have always done previously.

Can you give us another example of editing with Cquence?

I was using Cquence to edit a documentary web series and had 40 hours of footage and I felt overwhelmed to start editing. I imported all of it into Cquence. The import is simple. You can take a whole folder on your computer and drag and drop it into Cquence and then walk away, let it run over night. You don’t have to sit there while it’s running. This took 10 hours to import and analyze everything overnight.

Tell us about the pricing.

You can go to cquence.app and you can start using Cquence for free up to 10 hours of footage imported. And we also have a standard plan for $24 a month and a pro plan for $48 a month. Both of these plans give you a lot more footage and a lot more export options like automatically generating subtitles.

We’re giving your entire audience a discount, Carole. Your audience can use the discount code SUMMER21 on checkout, and that discount expires at the end of the summer.  Basically, the discount is you get first three months free on any of the plans.

You should be able to follow the steps on our website once you sign up.  Your listeners can reach me at Larry@cquence.app.

 

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 

If you can imagine and believe that you are already a successful filmmaker, you have taken the first step of being a successful filmmaker

by Carole Dean

One thing that nearly every filmmaker has is an abundance of creative imagination.   If you are seeking to prosper as a director, producer, or screenwriter, this is the resource which you need to tap.  And I don’t mean just using it to create a great story for a great film, but using it to create the reality in your mind that you are in the midst of a great career as a filmmaker.

 

 

As my fiscally sponsored filmmakers and readers know, Napoleon Hill is one my favorite authors.  I teach lessons from his monumental best-selling book Think and Grow Rich in our Film Funding Guidance Class every two weeks.

Through his work and others, we’ve learned that by using your imagination, you can create your desired reality in your subconscious.  By making it real to yourself there, it will become real in your life as well.

Using auto suggestion from the conscious to the subconscious

In Napoleon Hill’s chapter on auto suggestion, he goes into detail to explain that material cannot get into the subconscious mind without coming through the conscious mind. The reason you want to get information into the subconscious is because this is how you create your future.

Nature, he writes, has so built man that he has absolute control over the material which reaches his subconscious mind through his five senses. But the fact he does not exercise it explains why so many people go through life in poverty.

I impress upon our filmmakers the importance of writing out your desire and to read it aloud twice daily.

By following these instructions, you communicate the object of your desire directly to your subconscious mind in a spirit of absolute faith. Through repetition of this procedure you voluntarily create thought habits which are favorable to your efforts to transmute desire into its monetary equivalent.

Here is how Napoleon Hill suggests that you create your future:

FIRST: Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire. You do not want to say I want plenty of money, you must be definite. Pick a number and state that number. Personally, I like to say a number, but I say over that number so I’m not putting any limits on what I can receive.  You must have a number; it is very important.

SECOND: Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire. This might be you want to raise over $20,000 for your film. Next you have to promise that you’re going to work on your film so many hours a week in order to achieve that goal so promise 15 or 20 hours a week as a minimum promise because you need to put the work in to create the funds.

THIRD: Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire. Believe me, the universe is time sensitive so you need a month and a year when you want your return.

FOURTH: Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once whether you’re ready or not to put this plan into action.  I call this the “To Do” list.  Write down what you need to do to get that funding.  Like: expand your data base, create emails to “ask for money”, etc.

FIFTH: Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.

SIXTH: Read your written statement aloud twice daily once before retiring at night, and once after arising in the morning. As you read it, see, feel, and believe yourself already in possession of the money.

You need to believe what you want so much that it happens

Napoleon explains that you must believe it when you say it. You must feel that it already exists and know this in your body and in your mind. This is a fact of such importance as to warrant repetition in every chapter of his book. And here he is absolutely right.   Repetition is important as this is a key to achieving your goal.

Author Neville Goddard, teaches us that you have to pretend like you have it.  I tell our filmmakers to go to bed at night with a “movie” of you in a new life and send that from the conscious to the unconscious. This is how we reach the unconscious which is a very important aspect of creating your future.

Napoleon says that man may be the master of his own earthly status and especially his financial status when he becomes able to influence his own subconscious. That is the most important thing we have to get across to ourselves today that the subconscious is running the show. Our job is to get the subconscious to believe we have what we want.

Creative imagination is a talent filmmakers have

Imagination is a key to your success. 

Napoleon says there are two forms of imagination.  One is synthetic imagination. This is arranging old concepts, ideas, or plans into a new combination. This creates nothing, it works with the material of experience, education and observation. It is most used by the inventor with the exception of the genius who draws upon the creative imagination when he cannot solve his problem through synthetic imagination.

The other is creative imagination This is the faculty through which hunches and inspiration are received. It is by this faculty that all basic and new ideas are handed over to man.  It is through this that thought vibrations from the minds of others are received. It is through this that one individual may “tune in” or communicate with the subconscious minds of other men.

Wow, that’s quite a statement from 100 years ago.   

Your brain is not just for storage 

In Lynne McTaggart’s The Field, we learned that the brain may be considered a sending and receiving unit rather than a storage facility. The brain receives information and sends it back out. From what we understand information comes from the quantum field.  Meaning that the quantum field has stored the knowledge since the beginning of time.  And, when we are using our true imagination, we can ask for guidance, or for a solution from this massive database.

This information will eventually come to you.  I’ll say it has been my experience that this comes to me in various ways.  Sometimes I get the though in my head, sometimes I hear the answer in a movie, or someone tells me the answer in a nonrelated conversation.  Just know when you ask, you will receive.               

What you want to look for is a strong desire that comes over you. It may be stimulated by what someone said or through a series of events, but it is so powerful that it has overtaken you.

The overwhelming desire is your creative imagination at work

This overwhelming desire is what you want to pay attention to. When I started my business of buying and selling motion picture raw film stock in the 1970’s, I just was overwhelmed with the knowledge that I could make a living buying short ends leftover from the studios and selling it to emerging independent filmmakers. No one could talk me out of it. And the fact that I didn’t have any money didn’t stop me because I was so determined that I knew in every bone in my body that I would be successful. 

People said you’ll never sell any film that doesn’t come direct from Kodak. And I had to totally ignore them. They said, “You don’t know raw stock, you don’t understand ASAs.”  They were right. I began researching and   I found a book from Kodak with the film stocks and just used that book.  It was simple.  The most important thing I learned from this is that your inner knowing is right.  Follow that “feeling.”

When you get an overwhelming feeling, you may want to put your mind to it and say OK this is what I want to do.  Say this is what I intend to do, so, now how do I do it?  And those are the questions that you take to the quantum field in your meditations, on your daily walks, when you are swimming, whatever you do where you can be completely open to ask and receive. 

Give yourself meditation or thinking time during the day.  Time you are all alone with no interruptions because sometimes the information comes like a flash out of the blue. This quiet time lets you receive. Through this you can get the guidance that you need to turn those strong desires into reality.

Use your creative imagination that you use for the film into your creation of your future

Napoleon Hill says the great leaders of business industry, finance, the great artists, musicians, and writers became great because they developed the faculty of creative imagination.

I think independent film makers were born with a creative imagination that tops the charts. You all are the most creative people that I have ever met in my life.  All of you just explode with creativity when you open yourself and receive it. You were born with this great gift of imagination.

Ideas are the beginning point of all fortunes. Ideas are products of the imagination.  

The story of Frank Gunsaulus                       

Napoleon Hill shares a story of a doctor, Frank Gunsaulus. This man was a preacher in the stockyard region of Chicago.  While he was going through school, he observed many defects in our educational system which he believed he could correct.

At this time his deepest desire was to become the directing head of an educational institution in which young men and women would be taught to learn by doing. He made up his mind to organize a new college in which he could carry out his ideas. He realized he needed $1,000,000 to put the project together.

Every time he thought about where he could find $1,000,000 he stopped right there.  And every night he took that thought to bed with him, that he needed $1,000,000, and he got up in the morning and he thought about it all day.  But then he recognized the only limitation is that which one sets up in one’s mind.

The only way to make something happen is to take an action on your dream!

He said finally I have a great idea, but I can’t do anything with it because I can never procure the necessary millions.

But one Saturday afternoon in his room, thinking of ways and means of raising the money, he said to himself “I’ve been thinking about this for two years, but I have done nothing. The time for action has come!”

He made up his mind that he would get the $1,000,000 within a week.  After he made this decision, he called the newspaper.  He announced that he would preach a sermon the following Monday morning entitled, “what I would do if I had $1,000,000.”

He wrote and rewrote his sermon and had it in perfect shape for the church. Next morning, he got up, he prayed, and he felt assured that the money would be forthcoming.  In his excitement, he didn’t recognize that he’d forgotten the sermon at home until he got to the church.  He couldn’t go back home for it was too late.  He had to just talk from the top of his head and from his heart.

“Reverend I liked your sermon.”

He delivered a wonderful sermon and quietly went to sit down on the front row.  At that time a man from the back of the church came down towards the pulpit an extended his hand and said, “Reverend I liked your sermon. I believe you can do everything you said if you had $1,000,000 to prove that I do believe in you, if you come to my office tomorrow morning I’ll give you the $1,000,000. My name is Phillip D Armor.” 

The pastor went to the office, got the check, and he founded the Armor Institute of Technology.  Mr Gunsaulus stopped dreaming about it and he finally took an action on his dream. That’s when it happens.  When you do something to make your dreams a reality.

So, what action do you have to take to get your film moving? Are you worried about crowd funding because you don’t have a large enough database?

My How to Fund Your Film class has nearly 3 hours of lessons, advice, and tips that I’ve used to help filmmakers raise over $30 million for their films.  If you have watched this class and have any questions, please email me at caroleleedean@gmail.com.

 

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

Our Roy W. Dean Grants are now in their 30th year.  I’ve reviewed thousands of submissions and know what peaks a grantors interest and what turns them off

by Carole Dean

From the Heart Productions has been awarding grants since 1993 when we created our Roy W Dean Grants for unique films that make a contribution to society ( and I’ve been awarding them since 1992 before I founded From the Heart!).  Since then, 72 very different and excellent films have won our grants.  We are proud of the work that our filmmakers have done to achieve their goals and get their film funded, distributed, and seen by millions.

Winning Grants

Roy W. Dean Grant Winner Leslie Neale for Her Documentary “Unlikely Friends” with Carole Dean

Grants are a wonderful way to fund your films as well build an audience.  For filmmakers, there are more opportunities than ever before (we now offer 4 grants each year with the recent addition of our grant exclusively for short films).  Winning a grant will give you film instant credibility with audiences, donors, and distributors.   You can use it to publicize your film in press releases and on social media.

From the Heart Productions wants to help you in winning grants by sharing important suggestions on applying for grants. Everything here applies to our Roy W. Dean Grant. I feel that you will find it also applies to the majority of grants available.

First and foremost, put some passion in your proposal

I want to get as excited about your film as you are. Let the passion for your film jump off the page.

Please, at the beginning of your grant application, put the grantors criteria of the grant in a sentence with why your film fits it… I like to see that because it means to me that you carefully read the web site.  And I want you to realize judges are usually reading a lot of grants at once so, remind them at the beginning exactly how your film fits the grantors criteria.

Use your creativity.  Make it interesting and intelligent.  Get out of the paragraph format if you can. Perhaps use bullet points, use color, use photos, use graphs, use pie charts.  Use anything to break up the monotonous written page.  Show me how artistic you are.  Do this for anyone who will allow it.  A picture is truly worth 1,000 words.

Share your outline for funding

Who else have you contacted for funding? Make a list of all grants you’ve applied for and those you intend to go after. I don’t care how long it is, the longer the better.  Include this to show that you are focused on grants and you know which ones are best for you. 

How much have you raised?  How much do you need?  Where will you get it?

List how you intend to get the money to make your film and include this information in the grant application.

If it is a $200K budget, give us an outline of where the funds will come from.

Example:

$50K from 2 crowdfunding campaigns

$100K from individuals

$50K from strategic partners.  Add how you will get them attached and how they will share our info with their mailing list.  Explain all of this.

Then we know you know you can get the funds.

If this is for a feature, tell me how you will meet the HNI (high-net-worth individuals). Where will you go to find them?

Are you offering a 5% referral fee? I would not tell other people, but I would put those people in a special list as friends of friends who have money. Put a dollar mark you think you can collect that way.

Things we want to know:

List every way you will raise money for your feature film.

Now, tell me how you will get this film sold.

Where do you think it will play?   Theatres or online? International?  What countries? Online VOD? Drive-ins?  Don’t discount this, they are very popular now.

Who do you think will buy it? How much money do you think they’ll pay you? If it is for distribution, what do you expect to get in return?

Does your film have international appeal? Have you found good international distribution? If so, you might want to mention this.

Are you going to the AFM (American Film Market)? Are you out meeting and entertaining HNI?

All of this we really need to know especially if you’re going after a grant from us for a feature. Many people think features are a risky investment and we need some security. That must come from you in how you are raising your funding.

Crow about your crew members with confidence!

One of the things we look for in grants is your crew members. How experienced are they? What have they worked on? This is a major part of decision-making. Be sure to include any awards your crew has.

We want to know in a feature or webisode that that you are fully supported. Especially if you are an emerging filmmaker or have very little experience yourself, we look to see that you are supporting yourself with highly skilled technicians.

Tons of money has been given to people who never finished films. The number one consideration we have and number one question we ask ourselves is will he or she finish this film? The experience and track record of the crew gives us some indication as to whether they can complete a film (as well as how it will turn out).  What is the number between one and 10, 10 being absolutely sure and one being not sure they will get funded?  We often asked judges to give us this number value as it is important.

People who give us proposals and letters that use a qualifier about raising funds like “hope too” or about getting the film made say “I have always wanted to make a film” or “I really would like to make a film” are the ones who go to the “absolutely no” pile.

We want to hear your confidence in your paperwork, I’m making this film with or without you. If you want to join me terrific but if not, I’ll see you at the Oscars. I want you to be that positive.

Tell us why you are making this film

One of the most important things that people often leave out is the answer to the most important question, why are you making this film? What is your connection to this film? Are you making a cancer film because your mother or loved one died of cancer?  If so, tell us, because that means to us that you are totally committed and your chances of finishing the film are high because you are personally connected to it.

If you are making this film to get into the film industry because that’s where you belong, bravo!  Tell us. We want to know and that’s a great valid reason to make a film.  We love and respect your tenacity and your dedication.

Are you making this film to send a message?   We like that too.  If that is reason, why are you so passionate about this information?  How has this information touched your own life and why do you want to devote five years to making the film?

Remember, we know that on average, documentaries take six years to make and two years to distribute. Think then of what the judges will say when you send us your proposal and you haven’t raised a penny.  Or you are not forthcoming with how you will raise the money or that you even know how to raise the money.  This proposal would not get far up the ladder for a grant.

Show your commitment and connection to material

Grants are highly competitive today. Remember people giving grants are mostly not filmmakers.  We highly respect you and we want to support you and we think you are the most creative people on earth. So, recognize the fact that we want to give you money.  It’s up to you to give us the right information in the strongest most self-confident assured way possible so that we can give you the grant.

Most grants have filmmakers for judges.  We do as well, but there are many people who read your material before it reaches the final judges.  Those people need to be totally impressed with your dedication, commitment, and your connection to the material.  This is a key for us.  What is your connection to the material?

I know this is a lot of information but judging grants is a very hard job. And I want to cover everything we are thinking and using to judge your film, so you know what’s it is like from the judge’s perspective.

Who is your audience?

My grant has marketing and I put a large percentage of decision-making on the marketing you state in the application. I want to know if you know who your audience is and to tell me succinctly.

Please, don’t say everyone, that’s ridiculous. Give me a composite of your audience. I want to know who they are, where they get their news, where they hang out online, what they want to see in your film and why. When I know that you know your audience, then you go to the top of the pile.

Use www.FromTheHeartProductions.com as a source of education on funding.

More resources for finding and winning grants

In my online class “How to Fund Your Film” and ebook, I explain how to find your audience, create a believable budget, and to to find as well as capture those High Net Worth investors or donors. 

My book,The Art of Film Funding, 2nd edition: Alternative Financing Concepts” was written for documentaries, shorts, and feature producers for funding via grants, individual investments/donations, online crowdfunding, and distribution through streaming video.

We’ve got lots of free information on our website. See the resource tab that’s a good place to start for information, look under the resource tab and research each of those links below as they are full of funding advice.  

Under the Resource tab, you will find a comprehensive list of film grants

Under my blogs you will tips on “How to Find Strategic Partners for Your Films”

And on our page “How to Apply for the Roy W. Dean Grant”, you will even find of video of me with advice on creating grant submissions for our grant

Guardian Angel Program

I find that the people that hire me to mentor them through my Guardian Angel Program and work with me on a weekly basis are the ones who have a clear concept of what they want to achieve and are most successful.

Normally at the beginning of the mentoring, we pick one thing that they want to achieve.  That could be a film or that could be a book or that could be becoming the chair of the film Department or whatever you want to achieve.  

We then create a plan on how to get there, we list what you need to do and create a to do list.  You then make a commitment for what you want to achieve over that coming week, and we meet again and keep moving forward.  If you don’t have the funds to pay someone to do this, do you have a friend who might do this for you?  Working with a mentor weekly will pay off for you.

 

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.

Tips from Authors and Scholars on How to Successfully Pitch Your Film Project to Land Donors and Investors

by Carole Dean

One of the best books for filmmakers seeking funding is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.  In his book, he explains how 500 men became wealthy by using the concepts he describes. 

Pitch Your Film

The key to selling your film to others is your faith. You need to have unwavering faith in yourself, in your film, and faith in your ability to pitch your film.

Many filmmakers want to become successful and rich.  They want knowledge and riches.  So why not use the material that made so many other successful people?

Film Pitch Advice…From Gandhi?

In a chapter on faith, Napoleon Hill shares the story of Mahatma Gandhi. Starting his career as a lawyer in India at the dawn of the 20th century, Gandhi eventually became a leader and inspiration for hundreds of  millions in India and around the world for civil rights and freedom.  

He writes that Gandhi wielded more potential power than any living man at that time despite the fact that he had none of the orthodox tools of power, such as money, battleships, soldiers or materials of warfare.

Gandhi, Hill writes, had no money, no home, no suit of clothes, but he had power. How did he come by that immense power?  He created it out of his understanding of the principle of faith and through his abilities to transplant that faith into the minds of 200 million people.

This is very similar to your job as a filmmaker, which is to create faith in your potential donors when you pitch your film.

You want people to believe in you and have the faith and believe that you can perform and deliver a successful film on time and on budget. They want to believe that you will successfully complete your film.

Have Unwavering Faith in Yourself

The key to selling your film to others is your faith. You need to have unwavering faith in yourself, in your film, and faith in your ability to pitch your film.

I have many filmmakers call me for questions and when we’re talking, I often say, “pitch me your film.” They say well I’m not good at pitching, but I will read you what I have, or I will try to give it to you.

This is not what it takes to fund your film.  People must hear your enthusiasm, your confidence.  You need to learn how to sell your film with your pitch. Don’t miss a good opportunity to pitch your film for any reason.

You want to have total faith in you and your film. If you do not have faith in yourself and in your film, people will feel unsure about you.

You’ve Got Just 30 to 60 Seconds

Your film pitch should be part of your DNA. You always need to carry it with you.  You need know in every fiber of your being, that you can successfully pitch the Queen of England or the homeless man on the street. That faith inside you will come through in your language, your eye contact, your posture.

You want to be excited about your film and let me hear that excitement in your voice. Your whole body should light up when you start to pitch because you are talking about your precious art.

Albert Mehrabian is a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, who researched the importance of verbal and nonverbal communication.  He says that people make decisions within 30 to 60 seconds of meeting you.

The first decision they make is whether they like you and trust you. That’s the most important decision they’re going to make.

You must get through that like-you-trust-you barrier in order for you to get a donation or a discount or the best DP for your film. Everything you want comes from the way you pitch your film.

People Give Money to People, Not to Films

Professor Mehrabian says that 55% of your potential donor’s decision is made by how you present yourself.

Do you have direct eye contact? Can you look someone right in the eye and pitch them without ever wavering and show total confidence and total belief in you and your film?

He says that your posture is important.  You must sit up straight be proud of yourself and carry yourself with dignity and confidence.

I know from pitching donors for the grant that you want to feel 100% confidence in yourself. You’re asking someone for their hard- earned money.

The point is that people give money to people not to films. That’s what they think.  They decide if they trust you and then they give the money to the film.

Keep in mind that you are the film. When you are pitching your film, it is part of you, and your goal is to make people feel they can trust you.

You may not realize that your body language gives off subliminal clues that your donor will pick up immediately. You need to be absolutely relaxed, confident, assured that you will be able to raise the money for the film. Any doubt that you have could be detected easily by donors.

Calm Down, Chill Out and Be Your True Self

While your physical actions represent a 55% chance of success or your audio, your voice represents 38% of the decision-making process to your donor.  This is based on what you say and most importantly how you say it.

You need to be excited and thrilled about your film. You need to be spreading this joy and happiness and success to the donor.  Make them want to be part of your film.

If you are the least bit depressed, sad, or not in a good mood, don’t go to a meeting and don’t get on the phone to pitch someone.  It may be the only opportunity you have with that person.  Don’t take a chance.

Just say this is not the day and then get yourself back in shape because you must be happy, successful, joyful, confident, and thrilled with the opportunity to share the information about your film. 

Your voice is an important decision maker for them. If you seem disinterested, slow down too much, or if you’re dragging your feet and pausing too much in your delivery, you will turn them off.  They will feel that you are not confident.

If you’re not excited about a project, how can they get excited?

You want your pitch to be so well delivered that you have no doubt that you can fund your film and that you can create a film that is even better than they can imagine.

To do this, you need to get across to the potential donor or investor that they can trust you. They need to like you and trust you.

Practice, Practice, and then, More Practice

Now the shocking part of Mehrabian’s information is the percentage given to the pitch. What percentage of persuasive power is in the words of the pitch? Only 7%. So, this is a very important number for you to realize. Your posture, your confidence, your belief in yourself are the key to funding your film.

The most important thing is to create faith for yourself and in your film through your posture, your appearance, your voice, your enthusiasm and finally through the words of your pitch. The best way to do this is practice and more practice. A good mantra for you to keep saying is “Practice makes perfect.”

Tom Malloy who has raised more than $25 million practices in front of the mirror. That’s right, he’s an actor, yes, but he’s also a writer, a film producer, and now he has directed his first film.  All of that is due to his belief in himself.

Tom knows that you must be excited and passionate when you pitch. Your passion really should help you be exploding with high energy.  You want to be able to answer any questions quickly, confidently, assuredly, and never say oh well that’s not my job that’s what the accountant does. 

Your job is to know everything about the film. You should know the budget inside and out and be prepared to defend every line item. You should know everything about your team members be very proud of them and the prior work they have created. Everything is a matter of faith in yourself and in your film.

Convince Your Subconscious That You are Living Your Dream

Author Neville Goddard was one of the pioneers of the concept of The Law: “imagining creates reality.” He says that to get your dreams to come true you must believe they already exist.  You need to pretend that you are living the life you want. 

Believe that you are the greatest film presenter in the world.  You are getting checks hand over fist.  Once you start visualizing this and “feeling” into this confidence and success then you want to imprint this on the subconscious. 

The importance being that the subconscious mind runs the show. It believes everything that the conscious mind tells it.  For a filmmaker that is wonderful. 

Just imagine a story where you are pitching to high network individuals and rich donors and getting large checks.  Take that believe and energy into bed with you at night.  Start playing a film of your successful pitch and see checks being handed to you.  Play this for the conscious mind while you are feeling like that is your current life.  The conscious takes this to the subconscious and you shore up your confidence from inside.

What would your life be like if you were having a wonderful time raising money, it’s easy for you, it’s a joyful experience?  Tapping into that energy and nightly giving it to the conscious mind as the current situation, you will get this imprinted in your subconscious and things will begin to happen for you.

Mantras for Your Mirror

Consider putting these mantras on the mirror so you see them every day.

I am perfect at pitching my film.

I love myself.

People know I am dedicated to my film.

People see me as a talented award-winning filmmaker

Put your faith in yourself and in your ability to make this film and achieve the aims that you have set out for yourself. 

Your future is waiting for you.

 

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.

How to tap the greatest resource you have to raise money for your film…belief in yourself

By Carole Dean

Three years ago, we started a bi-monthly Film Funding Guidance Class for our fiscally sponsored filmmakers that evolved more ways than we expected. Together, as a group, we learned and now believe that we can use our minds to create our future. 

I love this class; it is one of the most exciting events at From the Heart Productions.  It is every other Saturday morning.  We all feel part of this incredible energy that moves us forward. 

Faith Funds Films

We have read and covered many books on the power of your mind in this class.  There is a wonderful understanding of how powerful we are and that together we just keep improving ourselves.  I want you to join us by reading this information from our recent class.

Faith Funds Films

There was a great Jim Carrey movie back in 2003 called Bruce Almighty.  This picture left me with images that I want to share with you.  When people prayed or intended for their dreams or for emergency needs, the prayers were shown as yellow Post-Its stickers.  Bruce Almighty was faced with thousands of Post-Its each day and he had to try and answer all these prayers.

Don’t you wonder why some prayers are answered and some don’t?  It’s amazing the things that I get and amazing the things I don’t get.

We teach filmmakers that they should be intending receipt of the funds they need to make their films.  Intentions are powerful and carry the same energy as prayers. Our belief is that your mind is your greatest asset in fund raising.  You should have faith in yourself and know in your mind that with your talent and determination, you will get your film funded.  Believing in that outcome and knowing you can make it happen, will make it happen.

They call you independent filmmakers because you need that independence to grab an idea and run with it.  You should not be required to get an approval from anyone but your potential audience.  You need faith in yourself to choose the right project and know you can do it.  Faith is the bottom line.

Listening to That Little Voice in Your Head

There is a lot of information on “manifesting” and “The Law of Attraction” available.  In our class we have read and studied Lynn McTaggart’s book The Field and two of Dean Raiden’s brilliant books, the Conscious Universe and Real Magic.

Currently we are reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (the over 100-year-old bestselling book that presaged The Secret and inspired Andrew Carnegie).  Napoleon Hill says that “when faith and love are blended, they have a way of ‘coloring’ the vibration of thought in such a way that it instantly reaches the subconscious mind, where it is changed into its spiritual equivalent, the only form that induces a response from Infinite Intelligence.” 

I love the use of the word coloring the vibration it’s just like the yellow post its in Bruce Almighty but they are now hot pink to alert him that this is very important.

The interesting thing is that all of the books we have read seem to point to several facts that we need to include in our lives to achieve our dreams.

The most important of which is that all of us were born with ESP.  Dean Raiden stated, after 30 years of parapsychological research, “We all have natural abilities of ESP or intuition, just believe it and accept it.” 

If we do accept that we have a sense of ESP, then that means, I believe, that we are listening to that little voice between our thoughts that is often right.  This is when we know something and there is no valid reason for it.  If we take Dean’s information and believe it, how can that hurt us? 

It’s worth accepting that we do have the ability to make excellent decision when we “feel” into the issue and listen to our inner voice.  This is a beginning step to a happier life.  And it is a good beginning to get on the fast track to funding.  If there are 10 grants to go after, which are the best ones for you? 

Why not ESP it?  Why not read up on each one and see what hits you as a definite yes. If yes, you must apply as this is perfect for you and your film.  Find the ones that clearly match you and your film and that you “feel” are perfect and put 120% of your efforts into those few.

Just Pretend Your Film Already Exists

From studying The Field, we learned information from physicists that the quantum field is the recorder of all things past, present, and future. The quantum field is a vast sea of energy through which we are all connected through our conscious and unconscious thoughts.  All our thoughts are recorded to that field. 

So, how do we create our future using this knowledge and remembering Jim Carry as Bruce Almighty with thousands of these requests? 

One way of creating our future is to focus on what we want intently and keep pretending that it already exists.  That causes things in our life to change and opportunities come to us that lead to the future we want.

Pay Yourself First

You must not forget yourself because you as an Independent filmmaker are our greatest asset. Without you we would not know what is happening in the world. Too many important issues are not covered by the news. You are our journalists; you are our Tom Brokaw’s our Edward R Morrow’s. 

Some of you are investigative reporters who dig into stories and show us the truth and let us make decisions. We need you and we know for you to survive; you need to make a living. We want you to have a successful career and be able to afford whatever you desire.

To achieve this, it starts with how you see your future and what you want in your future. It starts with how you visualize your new life and how easy it is in this new life to fund your film. Like visualizing how easy it will be to find the right team to support you. These things are truly up to each of us to imagine, to intend, to pray for, to visualize and create. 

Make a Movie about Making your Movie

To have the future we want requires time to see the future.  It means you need to be able to visualize it and feel it and know what it is like to live in the life you want.  

So, how do you do this?  You need the faith of Job. You must believe it to achieve it. Keep visualizing your future.  Perhaps creating a film with you and your partner as stars in the film. You are using this mental movie to manifest your movie.

In the movie, you are pitching people who are nodding and then writing and handing you a large check.  You are opening the mail and shouting with joy at the news of winning a grant.  You are busy on Facebook talking to your giant audience about your film.  You are connecting with your audience and your super fans who are funding your outreach.

Realize that you have the talent to do it so it is just a matter of creating a mental movie that you can see, experience, and feel the future you want. Include in your movie the emotions of joy, success, happiness, and freedom. 

Use Your Emotions When Visualizing Your Success

If we use emotions with our intentions, then we get results faster.  Perhaps our emotions can turn these yellow stickers into hot pink where they get immediate attention.  Perhaps emotions can benefit us when we create our future.  Emotions are strong feelings and putting those strong feelings with the emotions of faith, love and forgiveness can be very powerful. 

Neville Goddard taught us that the subconscious believes what the conscious mind tells it. So, it is our job particularly when we go to bed at night is to play the mental movie you created to make your movie!  Send this movie information to the subconscious via the conscious.

Then, through your faith in yourself and your confidence that you are living the life in your movie, the universe sends you the opportunities.

By pretending nightly that you are living your dream you can create your future. This is the secret on how to create what you want.  And your faith in yourself and your dream all become part of your DNA.

Do Not Feel Helpless, You Are in Control

Napoleon Hill says, “there are millions of people who believe themselves doomed to poverty and failure, because of some strange force over which they believe they have no control. They are the creators of their own misfortunes because of this negative belief which is picked up by the subconscious mind and translated into its physical equivalent.”  

So, you can become your greatest enemy when you say things that are opposite or detrimental do what you truly want.  Reverend Ike always said, “money has ears!”  He is 100% right.

Well, you might say, “Carole how do you handle things when you don’t have any money?” You put your faith and your belief ahead of reality. Know that you were destined to be a filmmaker. You have these extraordinary gifts and you intend to use them and since the majority of you intend to use them for the betterment of mankind, why would you not be able to do this?

Do you really believe the universe would put you on this earth with your many talents and then not support you? No, there definitely is an angel support team for you. You must have the faith to daily assure yourself how important you are to all of us. Your health and your wellbeing are of paramount importance to us.  Your faith and belief in yourself become a magnet to you for people, finances, and opportunities.  I think this quote is very important to remember.

“You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down”. Mary Pickford

 

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.

Bill Woolery, the editor behind the trailers for such films as “ET” and “The Usual Suspects”, was known as “The Trailer Specialist.” 

This blog was written for us by Bill when he was a donor to the Roy W. Dean Grant. In this, he offered his advice on documentary trailer editing drawn from his 25 years of experience. He also wrote a chapter in Carole Dean’s book, “The Art of Film Funding.”

by Bill Woolery – Guest Contributor

In the complex business of getting your documentary funded and distributed, having a dynamic, well-edited video promo has become a critical element in a successful strategy.  But often when the producer/editor turns his attention to creating this kind of trailer, the results can be less than satisfactory. 

Why?  Because long-format pieces and trailers are two completely separate video realities.  Each has its own rhythm and energy; each uses a different language to express the same emotions.  Editing a documentary benefits from a well-developed, logical Left Brain …while trailer editing is much more a Right Brain exercise.  Structurally existing in different worlds they nevertheless are both true and faithful to the concept and the heart of the overall project. 

Trailers for documentaries are used in two ways.  One format’s goal is to impress funding entities with the importance of the project and the value of contributing to it.  In this case, the editor takes whatever footage is available and attempts to recreate the theme and quality of “whole picture.”  The other trailer format is created from the completed documentary and is used to showcase it to potential distributors, broadcasters & home video releasing companies. 

RHYTHMN & PACING 

You’ve worked hard and are satisfied with the pace and rhythm you built into your doc. This is surely an asset that you want to preserve in the trailer, yes?  No!  Taking various chucks from your doc and assembling them into a promo without totally rethinking the editing will produce a clumsy, ineffective result.  Individual & overlapping arcs, the “build” in momentum, the emotional “gear changes” that characterize a great trailer have little in common with the corresponding elements in the full-length piece. 

Yes, the trailer will try to cover all the salient points and emotions it can, but the way that these play off each other and contribute to the whole requires a different construction.  True, the trailer may be 50 or more minutes shorter than the doc, but if it’s a great cut nothing will be “lost” from the integrity of the full piece.

VOICE OVER 

Few things will reduce the impact of a trailer more than the use of an amateur Voice Over

A RULE THAT NEVER FAILS  

LET THE MATERIAL LEAD YOU.

“We’re thinking it should be 3 minutes,” I sometimes hear. “Does that sound right to you?”  In theory, yes.  But, as the cut begins to hone down into a solid form, the intrinsic qualities of the material become the determining factor in these kinds of decisions. 

In the trailer mind-set, you’ll find that the material will “tell” when it’s been on the screen long enough.  It will tell you when you’ve revealed too much of it, or if you need to add a bit of setup so that it can “speak” more clearly.  It will tell you if the music cue is wrong.  I usually like to build a long sequence first and then allow the scenes to tell me which of them are superfluous and which should remain in the cut.

“BUT WE ALREADY PAID FOR THIS MUSIC” 

In scoring your doc you’ve probably made many choices using music sensitively and episodically.  But music in a trailer runs continuously -with rare exceptions for dramatic pauses.  It must have momentum, a pulse that propels the trailer (either strongly or gently) from top to bottom.  If your doc already has such a cue, you’re in luck.  If it doesn’t, there’s little alternative to finding a new cue.  You could also ask your composer to create faster tempo versions of the existing cues. 

If you use several cues in the trailer always start with the slowest tempo first and proceed with quicker and quicker ones.  This rule can be broken …but the only exceptions I’ve encountered were due to unusual circumstances, say when the trailer has to end on a tragic note that follows a more active and expositional middle section.  It’s not a particularly good idea to end a trailer tragically.  No need to devise a “happy” ending, but it’s a better choice to leave it open ended with a bit of mystery about the people and the outcome.

 MAKE SURE IT ENDS 

Avoid a slow music fade out at the end.  Yes, your doc may have a beautifully constructed, delicate ending that leaves the viewer in tears.  Your trailer can also invoke a similar poignancy …but it must have a definitive ending.  Why?  The viewer may leave your doc a changed person, pondering a new awareness. 

But when the trailer ends, he or she needs to be thinking, “Hmm, I really want to see that.”  That’s the “new awareness” you want to create here.  This need not be seen as a “selling out” or a commercializing of your project.  It’s just the way a trailer has to work.  A good trailer cut will not compromise the integrity to your project.

 AN EDIT ROOM SECRET 

Invite the clients to sit down the first time they view the trailer cut on the monitor.  A standing person can be uncomfortable and will perceive the cut to be longer than one who is sitting.  Whenever I hear, “It feels just a bit too long,” it’s always from the person standing. 

When Jacqui Frost asked DP’s what they wanted out of their directors, they all had the same answer

by Carole Dean

In my ongoing search for educational information for filmmakers, I recently interviewed Jacqui Frost who is a full professor in the Department of Cinema and Television Arts at California State Fullerton. Jacqui has taught cinematography, documentary production, advanced motion picture production, the language of film and many other production courses. She’s been a producer and cinematographer for over 30 years.

cinematographers

Cinematographer, Professor, and Author Jacqui Frost

She is also the author of Cinematography for Directors: A Guide for Creative Collaboration.  She joined me on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast and I was impressed with her knowledge of filmmaking and cinematography.   While writing this book, she interviewed our top cinematographers.  She asked each one what they want their directors to bring them to understand the vision of their film.

It was amazing that all the cinematographers said the same answer, “they want their directors to be prepared.” Basically, the cinematographer wants to know what the director intends to say with this film and how they want to say it.

A Picture is Worth an Incredible Scene

She shared with me that Spike Lee would get prints of films and project them in a screening room. He would take the cinematographer to the theater and show the film while pointing out what he wanted in a visual style and a visual look.

Sometimes director’s use fine arts photography to communicate a particular look with the cinematographer.   She said that if you look at a Dorothea Lange photograph, you can find a still from the film Grapes of Wrath that will match. In fact, you would think they were stills from the same photographer.  Road to Perdition was photographed by Conrad Hall for Sam Mendes and he used the artist Edward Hopper as a reference.

John Seale worked with Peter Weir on Witness.  Before they began filming, Peter took his DP to the museum, and they looked at Vermeer paintings.  Peter told him, “I want the light to come from the left like that.” John said, “I can do that.”  Think back in your mind and see if you can remember the scene in the film where the boy is looking into a glass cabinet of pictures.  He then points out the killer who is a man pictured inside the glass cabinet in the police station. That’s a pivotal moment in the film and the lighting in the scene was just like the lighting in the Vermeer painting.

Some directors want high contrast in their images, so they go to Georges de La Tour, a French Baroque painter, for the candlelight low-key source. They also use Rembrandt who is often on the directors list. Some like Andrew Wyatt for a realistic look.

Matching the Director’s Vision

This is what cinematographers want their directors do, to clearly show them the look of the film. They want them to show them the color and the emotion they want to emit from the audience. They want directors to use things that they can visually connect with like movies or paintings or still photography.

Jackie says when a director of photography reads a script, they have a lot of notes for their first meeting with the director.  They want to impart to the director their vision for the film. Then, during discussions, the cinematographer will sit and listen to what the director says before he shares what he saw as the vision for the film.  Then the cinematographer knows if he’s got the vision right or not.

Secret of a Good Relationship

Most directors have a team. It’s not just the director of photography it’s usually the cameraman and the assistant cameraman.  These three usually work together.

Jackie said that not every director knows everything about cinematography. There are some cinematographers who would prefer a director to focus on their vision and deal with the actors. These directors often let the cinematographer choose the lenses.  Jacqui thinks directors should know what the different lenses are and what they can do.

The secret to a great relationship between the director of photography and the director of the film is good communication. These two should be collaborating to create the director’s vision.

Making a Connection

I asked Jacqui, “How do you choose a cinematographer?” Is there a list of questions you can give us?  How do you make the decision that this is the person you want to work with?

Jackie said first look at their reels.  If that reel speaks to you visually, you may want to talk to them.  Then you can determine if you believe you can connect with them as a person. She says the conversation should be, “I want to have this theme in the film. So, how can we create that visually and represent my vision on the screen through your cinematography?”

Jackie says that directors should know about lenses because they are a storytelling tool. You need to know what a long lens gives you versus what a wide angle gives you. You need to ask this question; do we want to focus on the actors or the actors and the scenery?

Creating a Mood with Color

I love to talk about the color palette of the film. This is one of the most powerful storytelling devices that the cinematographer has because humans are so emotionally affected by color. With color films, you can set a mood quickly with the right color. This is when your cinematographer becomes a genius with lighting. And of course, they get help from the color correction artist who comes in during post and your set director.

The director might say I see the color palette in this scene for this character to be slightly desaturated because their world is kind of grim. I might want a strong color and much more saturation when you go to the memory that he shares with another person.

You want to use that when you create your look book.  That gives the cinematographer an idea of what you want to do. Jackie says you may want your production designer in your conversation about color and what the color scheme will be. Perhaps it’s blue and orange like you see in Michael Mann’s films or very dark and soft lighting like you see in David Fincher. There are different ways you can go with creating a mood with your color.  You can see each character perhaps having a different color palette.

Jacqui Frost knows her films and her filmmaking.  I highly recommend this incredible book. It will certainly teach you how to communicate with your cinemaphotographer.  Please also check out her newest book Conversations with Contemporary Cinematographers: The Eye Behind the Lens now available on Amazon.

 

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.

“Many people desire riches, but desiring riches must include a state of mind that will not take no for an answer.” Napoleon Hill

by Carole Dean

It’s amazing how many people have cited that their success came from Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.  This book was published in 1937, can you believe that?  It has been a bestseller for almost 100 years. I teach the still relevant advice it contains to the filmmakers in our Film Funding Guidance Class. 

That’s just what you need to make your film.  A true obsession.  You need to clearly see the finished product. Back your obsession with a plan. 

“This book conveys the experiences of more than 500 men of great wealth who began with nothing and became wealthy” Napoleon Hills tells us.  “All they had were ideas and clearly defined visions for what they wanted to achieve.”  Napoleon Hill informs us that they were successful once they understood, the “secret” that his book contains.

With this information, they were able to achieve their goals.  (For anyone who hasn’t set goals, I created an outline for goal setting on how to make the statements in the now as if it is already existing.)

Napoleon Hill says that “there are six definite, practical steps to achieve your goals.” Setting goals is crucial to fulfilling them and for the universe to understand that in your mind it is a fait accompli, it is finished.  I sincerely urge you to create one or two goals.  Perhaps one to take you till September and the second goal to take you until the beginning of 2022.

Your Desire Must Become an Obsession

Hill says that “many people desire riches, but desiring riches must include a state of mind that will not take no for an answer.  It must be an obsession.”  That’s just what you need to make your film.  A true obsession.  You need to clearly see the finished product. Back your obsession with a plan.  You want a definite list of things to do to take you to the goal. 

In our industry, flexibility can be your greatest asset. I see filmmakers who start out going one way and can make quick changes like a bird in flight.  They seem to change their mind and immediately change direction.  This is often what it takes for you to find the money. 

“First is the total dedication,” he writes, “then the belief that your desire is achievable. Don’t share your goals and desires with other people. They may not support you and that lack of support could pull you down. Keep these things inside you where the energy stays and grows and takes you with confidence to achieve your goals.”

The Universe Works Like a Shipping Clerk

Napoleon Hill’s first of six steps in achieving your goals is to “fix in your mind the exact amount of money you want to raise.”   

It’s important to recognize that the universe works like a shipping clerk. When it hears you say that you want six pair of pants size 12, then that’s what they ship you.  If you tell them you’d like some lovely pants that fit, you may never get what you want. You must be very specific outlining exactly what you want.  

Just saying you want to become a millionaire does not work.  We all want that.  The universe works on numbers and visions and beliefs.

Universe, Let’s Make a Deal

The second step is to determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money.  I think that’s important to recognize that the universe wants you to have what you want when you are adamant about it.

Somehow, I got this concept as young girl.  I was always making deals with God and would promise to do certain things if God would do a very specific thing for me.  I knew when I had a deal.  In every bone in my body, I knew immediately that the universe had accepted my request.

I was always very clear with what I wanted and would clearly visualize exactly it. Example, if it was a diamond ring, I could see it, feel it and I would pretend I was wearing it.  If it was the bicycle, I wanted I could see the color, the basket. I could see every item on the bike and would not be shocked when it appeared at the next holiday.

I am sure you did the same thing when you were a child.  Most of us were manifesting all the time and this is how the universe works. You need a burning desire and you need to specifically outline what you want. AND most importantly what you will give in return. 

Perhaps you decide to give a percentage of the funds to your favorite charity or to someone in dire need.  Tell the universe what you will do.  You may want to give something up, like take sugar out of your diet or eat less meat, now is the time to promise that.  Or take a class that will help you in your career.  Promise to do that.

Make a Short Film in Your Mind

You might want to raise money for the film.  You might want to raise $30,000.  Before you settle on an amount and deadline, you want to feel into this amount and see what “feels” right. Pay attention to how your body reacts.  If you go into fear or feel a sick stomach, then reduce the amount or extend the time. 

You can find what your body and mind agree that you can do.  Perhaps you find the right number.  If you think you can do it by Thanksgiving, then see yourself at a Thanksgiving dinner sharing your success with your family. You need to visualize the entire meal.  Visualize who will be there and what they are wearing. Visualize all the food on the table. Even think about what the conversations are. 

Make a short film of it in your mind.  Then swell with pride when you announce how you achieved your goal.  They will be very supportive and so will the universe.  Believe me, the universe is listening to you daily.

You may offer to give your time to a nonprofit that supports the concepts of your proposed film project.  By donating time to a charity, you may be working next to wealthy people.  Often, they donate time to these organizations.  They surely go to the charity events and you can get into them too.  Put yourself where you can meet wealthy people and do good at the same time.

Deals with the Universe are Time Sensitive

Third, Hill says, “Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire.”  Yes, we must fully understand that to manifest, we must have a set end time.  We know that deals with the universe are time sensitive.

One of my best girlfriends always said, “when my ship comes in” we will do this and that. Well, her ship never came in because that was the future.  It was always planned to come in sometime in the future.  It never came in during her entire life.

It’s fun to set your goals and tie them to holidays. This can also be birthdays.  It should be times when you’ll be celebrating or be with family and friends who love you. This is the time two envision your goal as completed and you are announcing it.

Define Your Plan and Goal

“Fourth, create a definite plan,” he writes, “for carrying out your desire and began at once whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.”   

“Fifth, write out a clear concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.”

Now you need to make an outline of how you intend to get the funding.  You know the ways to raise money, so let’s cover them:

  • Family and friends.
  • Crowdfunding
  • Peer to peer funding via emails.
  • Letter writing to wealthy people to ask for guidance, not for money, yet.
  • One on one asks for funding from wealthy people.
  • Major production houses.
  • Nonprofits and organizations who are interested in your subject matter.
  • People you meet while you are donating your time to nonprofit organizations.

Choose one or more of these ways and get to work with a “To Do” list to achieve your goal.

Repeat Twice Daily

“Sixth: If your read your written statement aloud twice daily. Once just before retiring at night, and once after arising in the morning. As you read— see and feel and believe yourself already in possession of the money.”

See, feel, and believe.  All three are needed to bring this to fruition. This is very easy for filmmakers as we are all strongly connected to Neptune, which is imagination and illusion. Neptune is the planet that rules.

Hollywood and most filmmakers are strongly influenced by this wonderful energy to imagine.

 

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.

By Carole Dean

A technologist, a linguist, and a cognitive psychologist. Ina Sofia Kalo is also the creator of Puzzle Theory (PT) for independent filmmakers.  Developed by Ina over two years, Puzzle Theory is an exciting tool for independent filmmakers.  With it, Ina has created a way for filmmakers to attach to their audience while making their film.   As you know, finding and engaging your audience early is important because many of them will fund your film. 

“Less than one percent of films reach a distributor via film festivals.” Ina shared with me in a recent interview on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast.  “However, let’s say you get a distributor, their goal is to spend lots of money for PR and marketing, recoup their expenses, make some profit and then quickly move to the next film because you’re already an old product.  I think the entire system has become completely unsustainable.

“I wanted to build a humane technological system, which allows for real deep, meaningful human engagement, the way humans truly engage over time with ups and downs, with multiple points of connection, with inspiration and curiosity.”

How Puzzle Theory Works

“You or your production company can register a film at any stage of production,” Ina explained. “It can be any genre. Our categories are fiction, documentary, TV series or animation. You build your own page. It will have your unique URL and you can post the link anywhere.

“You have different modules that give information about you, you but basically you start curating your film using storyline. You combine original pictures and video or production shots and video with hand selected content from your existing social media accounts and pages.

“Using our proprietary technology, you can tag and extract any information from current content of your existing social media. We give you the tools to hand select only the most special pieces that you want to include with the making of your storyline.”

Build it Like a Puzzle

Perhaps you start with a shot of your first day of shooting. Then, you have that one Facebook post that you selected because this post is the one that people love and you had the most response.  Or include what everyone thought was very funny, put that in. Then you have let’s say some video that you produced, put that in. You have Instagram that you want to post, perhaps something on your lead actress.

What you are doing is putting different social media views about your production, and information on your crew and your storyline in one place in a timeline. This can be your most valuable promotional asset. It will be one coherent narrative that can be accessed at any time, and even after the film is completed it can stay online for a small $38.00 fee per year.

How Puzzle Theory Can Benefit Filmmakers

Ina told me a story about a Swedish filmmaker who entered a Film Festival. When the festival asked him to send his materials, they expected to get a one sheet, a bio, etc. Instead, he sent them his Puzzle Theory that he’d created.

The organizers of the Film Festival were shocked. They called to talk to him about what he was doing because he had over 75,000 people who were watching the making of his film and they were in 12 different countries! The Film Festival was impressed and excited because he knew his audience and he was in constant contact with them. This gives you an idea of what you can do with Puzzle Theory.

Connecting and Finding an Audience When You Start Developing Your Film

Ina says people connect to ups and downs, to blood, sweat and tears, to real human moments way more than a packaged product. So, they are getting a look at the backstory of the film that brought you to where you are now.  They feel connected and if they like the subject materials in your film, they are even more connected to you.

You can share the link to your film page with anyone over the world or people can search for your film on Puzzle Theory. You can also keep your film page private and share only a private link. This is up to you.

People may find you from being on PT where they can search by genera and find your film.  PT is used by distributors to see what is being made.  People share this link all over the world and you may have people find you from around the world.  You can keep it private until you want to open it up to the world.  This is up to you.

By posting often people can see your movement with the film.  They can log on to PT day or night.  Since we know the average time to make a documentary is six years and a feature is from 3 to 8 years you will have an interesting story history for your audience to connect with you.

You can link your PT information to your crowdfunding page.  This way people can see the entire story of making the film and the inside information long after donating.

How to Get Puzzle Theory

At this point Puzzle Theory is by invite only.  Ina is checking content and does not want violent films or nudity.   She has a brilliant website and best of all she has a question and answer session monthly.  You can find that on her site and get to hear her personally. 

She is most enthusiastic about this brainchild of hers and rightfully so.  This can be a major asset for you in your Public Relations, Marketing and Distribution.  This is a place that you can proudly sit back and look at what you have achieved.

You can hear the entire interview here and get more specific information and costs. https://www.blogtalkradio.com/the-art-of-film-funding/2021/03/10/puzzle-theory-is-the-answer-to-marketing-distribution-for-indie-filmmakers

Contact for Ina and PT is contact@puzzletheory.com

 

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.

Nearly a century ago, a brilliant author spurred by a self-made millionaire, provided a path that others have followed to build great businesses and obtain their dreams…including me

 by Carole Dean

“The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.” ― Nikola Tesla

This is a great statement for funding films.  Clarity of thought and purpose are paramount to success in any venture. Especially in the film industry.

I was invited to Portland Oregon to teach my book, The Art of Film Funding, and after the event I stayed to talk to filmmakers.  Everyone wanted to pitch me, and I love this part of filmmaking.

manifesting success

Creating Your Future Means Living as if You Have Achieved Your Goal

One couple told me that they were raising funds to go to Australia and create a film on the mating habits of leaches. I immediately started laughing, thinking they were joking.  I thought they were saying to me, how can anyone pitch this film?  However, I soon realized they were serious. In fact, very serious, and so I gave them my card and asked to please let me know how their funding worked for them.

It was about six months and I got a post card from Australia saying they raised the funds and were there shooting!  So, look at how easy it is to pitch your film compared to raising money for a film on leaches.  If they can find the money for that film, you can certainly find it for yours.

Filmmakers are Entrepreneurs. They are Business Owners.

In our bi-monthly Film Funding Class we are reviewing the book, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It’s amazing how many people have cited their business success came from Napoleon Hill’s information.  This book was published in 1937, can you believe that? It has been selling for almost 100 years.

This book conveys the experiences of more than 500 men of great wealth who began with nothing and became wealthy.  All they had were ideas and clearly defined visions for what they wanted to achieve.  Napoleon Hill tells us how they were successful once they understood, the “secret” that his book contains.  With this information they were able to achieve their goals. 

Let’s see how this can help with film funding.

In the beginning of the book, the author, Napoleon Hill, reminds us that riches cannot always be measured in money.  Money is wonderful and gives you the power to help those in need but some of the greatest riches can be in terms of lasting friendships, harmonious family relations and understanding between business associates.

I totally agree because I relish my relationships with people in the film industry.  To me, this is one of the greatest joys life has to offer, having good associates in business with a loving family surrounding you and long-term friendships which you will find in our film industry.  Just know that the people you meet in the industry will be here with you and as you grow in achievement so will they.  You are always connected to them.

For example, I took filmmaker Jahangir Golestan to independent film distribution guru Peter Broderick back in 2005 with his documentary on the earthquake in Bam, Iran.  I have been friends with Peter since then. 

Keep everyone’s card.  Always keep up with the new people you meet in the industry.  They are friends and you want to stay in touch even if you only see them once a year.  This is the business of film.  Always remember, this is a business and they are your business associates.

Andrew Carnegie Commissioned Napoleon Hill to Teach his “Secret” to Those Who had a Vision

In the beginning of Think and Grow Rich, the author, Napoleon Hill, relates a conversation with Andrew Carnegie who he calls, “the lovable old Scotchman.” In the early days of the 20th century, Carnegie famously overcame his poor beginnings to become one of the richest men on earth.  When Carnegie realized that Hill quickly grasped Carnegie’s secrets to wealth, he asked Hill if he would be willing to spend 20 years preparing himself to share the secrets to the world.

Carnegie wanted this information placed within reach of people who do not have the time to investigate how men make money.  He believed the formula should be taught in all public schools and colleges. Carnegie came to this decision after hiring many young men with little schooling and coaching them in the use of this formula which allows them to develop excellent leadership qualities.  His experience with a young Charles Schwab and other ambitious men convinced Carnegie that much of what is taught in schools is of no value whatsoever in connection with the business of earning a living or accumulating riches.

His coaching made fortunes for everyone who followed his instructions.  He does say that the secret cannot be had without a price.  It cannot be given away it cannot be purchased for money.  Mainly because it comes in two parts and one part is already in possession of those who are ready for it.  I believe that is a burning desire to achieve something which all of us have. This secret equally serves those who are ready for it.   

Just How Committed are You to Your Vision?

I know this to be true.  When I was married and raising a child at home, I could see that there was a market for those little old short ends of film left over from production.  I knew there was a business buying and selling them.  Once I started that business and got it moving, two engineers came to me to be partners and finance them in the business of buying and selling used video tape.  I agreed that this could be a good business. I could see how it would be easy to sell and knew I could do it. 

We were already selling used 16mm film stock to TV stations and now we would have another product for my existing customers.  I thought it would be easy and sometimes that’s the best way to think.  If I had known how difficult this expansion was, I would never have done it.  I think that’s how the universe tricks us sometimes, we don’t know how much there is to do to achieve our visions and that’s why a true dedication to your vision is needed.

Another reason I jumped for this idea is that I had no failure history. I had no one telling me I could not do this.  Those things help.  So, I said yes, I will go into business with you.  I had an office in Studio City and one in NYC.  They wanted to put in time and their knowledge of video tape as cash to buy into the business and I was to cover all expenses. 

All of this was agreed on as I would house them in my office but when we came to the final contract they said no, we want to do this in our office north of LA.  I said no, I can’t get there often, it’s too far.  They withdrew their agreement.   

I was left with a machine to repack 2” video tape called a Recortec that at that time cost more than a Mercedes 450SL.  I called the company to return the machine and they said sure, but you will pay a 20% restocking fee.  Woah!! That was a hefty fee on top of my lawyer’s fee and the time I put into this expansion.

So, I had a talk with myself.  If I believed in this business before why do I not believe it now?  I know I can do this.  Now the doubts came up.  You don’t know tape.  You will have to learn the technical qualities, the language and only heaven knows what else, I thought.  This is not easy.  Then I caught myself and said, I can do this!  So up to the home office of Recortec I went to learn about the machine and how it worked.

They picked me up from the airport and we were in their office at about 10am.  When the salesman started talking, I thought I had just arrived in some foreign country!  I did not understand a word he said.  So, I began stopping him asking what is a relay?  What is a diode? 

Needless to say, they took me to lunch at 11am!  Then put me on an early plane home.  The owner called me to say that if he had known I was a woman they would not have sold me the machine.  Being from Texas and growing up in the “good old boys world” I always signed my letters as C.L. Dean, so most people thought I was a man.  Sorry guys, but this helped me to meet a lot of people and learn much more.

What Do You Do When You Don’t Know What to Do?

I decided that I should get this machine out of LA and take it to NYC where I could put it in my rented brownstone and work on it, night and day as Cole Porter would say.  I did just that and I hired a woman with engineering knowledge who had worked for NBC.  She and I began to figure what this machine could do.  We ran tests, if you clean tape once you get this percentage of drop outs.  If you clean it twice you get less.  So, some of the tapes we cleaned 10 times.  Eventually we found that twice was good enough. 

We were all celebrating after we made a break-through sale of tapes to a top Ad Agency in NYC.  They loved the tapes at first, then called to say that they played them back once and then there was no signal.  They said it’s like someone took off all the oxide.  I think I know who that someone was.

To learn more about tape, I took myself to Montreux, Switzerland to go to a video tape convention.  On the first morning, I had my yellow pad and pens and went to this lovely hotel, walked into this room with about 150 engineers, and I was stunned.  They were all dressed in black, with white shirts, most had black horn-rim glasses and plastic pen holders in their pockets next to their slide rulers.  There was not another woman in the room.

I was so shocked that I just asked the universe for guidance and I went to a row and walked over a dozen people and sat by a man in black with the plastic pen holder.  I began to listen to the speaker, and I took notes.  The speaker said CCD more than anything else, so I asked this man next to me what is a CCD?  He said, “a charged coupling device.”  I said, “what is a charged coupling devise?” and his face lit up with a big smile. 

He said, take lots of notes and I will explain everything.  I had found my engineering angel.  With his education, guidance, and my determination to get my money’s worth from that machine, my company became the largest recycler of video tape in the US in 5 years.

So, this is the first part of the secret.  You have a vision, you have a strong desire with a clearly defined goal, once you have this then you are ready for Napoleon Hill to give you “the secret.”

Once You have an Idea, a Vision, and are Confident You can Do It, What’s Next?

Now back to Think and Grow Rich.  We can learn from the success of these normal men who became wealthy and successful.  Knowing what they did and how they did it can only aid us in producing our art and achieving financial success.

“Education has nothing to do with it,” Napoleon Hill says. The secret had found its way into the possession of Thomas A. Edison and he used it so intelligently that he became the world’s leading inventor although he had but three months of schooling. This secret was passed on to a business associate of Mr. Edison and he used it so effectively that although he was there making $12,000 a year, he accumulated a great fortune and retired from active business while still a young man.

Many of the men that Napoleon hill researched had very little high school let alone college. Henry Ford never reached high school. Hill says as a final word of preparation before you begin the first chapter, “may I offer one brief suggestion which may provide a clue by which the Carnegie secret may be recognized? It is this – – all achievement, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea! If you are ready for the secret, you already possess one half of it, therefore, you will readily recognize the other half the moment it reaches your mind.”

Now you want to fund your film or documentary, so you have half, you have an idea that you want to achieve, i.e., the production of your film.  Now, it is only a matter of finding how this works.

Having the Conviction to ask for What You Want and Expect to Receive It

This is our first clue. Thoughts are things and powerful things when mixed with persistent purpose and a burning desire to transfer these thoughts into riches or material objects. We want to remember how powerful our thoughts are.

Thoughts are energy. Today science can read your thoughts with a machine that doesn’t attach in any way to your body.  A machine near your body can pick up your thoughts they are electric they are alive.  They can bring you want you want or don’t want, it’s up to you.

The introduction of Hill’s book covers the story of Edwin Barnes, “the man who thought his way into partnership with Thomas A. Edison.” Hill says that we must learn “that thoughts are things.” And powerful things when they are mixed with definitiveness of purpose, persistence, and a burning desire for their translation into riches or other material objects.”

Edwin Barnes wanted to work with Edison not for him. This is another part of the secret, clarity of thought; know exactly what you want. 

Young Mr. Barnes had two difficulties, one he did not know Mr. Edison and two, he did not have enough money to pay his railroad fare to Orange, New Jersey.  However, Barnes was so determined that he traveled on a freight train and presented himself at Mr. Edison’s laboratory and announced he had come to go into business with the inventor.

Years later, when Mr. Edison talked about their first meeting, he said Barnes looked like an ordinary tramp.  But there was something about the expression on his face which conveyed the impression that he was determined to get what he came for.

Edison was a smart man and he saw that “special something” in Barnes.  He thought this man was willing to do anything to get what he wanted and Edison was open to receive

So, let me ask you, are you open to receive what the universe has to offer you?  Think about this and get open to receive.  It comes disguised sometimes.

Though Barnes was disheveled and poorly dressed, it was his intent and his strong desire that caught the attention of Edison.  Because of the young man’s traits and total determination, Edison gave Barnes a chance.

I guess that’s what my engineering angel, Eugene Leonard, the inventor of the Chyron, saw in me; determination, and a will to learn.  Whatever it was, he knew I could create this video business.  He saw something in me that allowed him to put in an enormous amount of time teaching me.

Creating Your Future Means Living as if You Have Achieved Your Goal

Napoleon Hill said the most important thing was what Barnes thought.  He believed that he could become a partner with Edison.  His intent was so strong that it overrode his financial condition at the time. Desire wins above all else.

Barnes did not get a partnership with Edison at first but he did get a chance to work in the Edison offices for a nominal wage and this gave Barnes an opportunity to display his “merchandise“ where his intended partner could see it. Every day Barnes continued his thought of being Edison ‘s partner. He did not give up his vision and daily saw himself as his partner.

An opportunity came but it was not what Barnes was expecting. Edison had perfected the Edison Dictating Machine and his salesman were not enthusiastic over this machine because they didn’t believe it could be sold.

However, Barnes knew he could sell it, so he suggested Edison give him a chance and he did. Barnes was so successful in selling these dictating machines that Edison gave him a contract to distribute and market all over the US. During this time a sales statement was created that said: “made by Edison and installed by Barnes.” This business alliance lasted more than 30 years and Barnes became very rich.  Hill said Barnes proves that one can think and grow rich.

To recap: Barnes had a clearly formed idea.  He knew exactly what he wanted. He had the purpose and determination to get to Edison’ office and let Edison see his commitment to his genius. Edison took advantage of this by hiring Barnes and it brought them both a consider amount money.

The secret here is that Barnes would never give up his belief that he could be an associate of Edison’s.  He kept that believe even though he was not sure how it would work out.  This is where we can use our knowledge of current quantum physics and understand that there are literally millions of ways that things can happen. You and I can’t think of them we can only think of a few ways, but the universe has a broader scale on everything.  The fact is his determination, his desire and his clearly defined future are what brought Barnes success.  He knew he wanted to be a partner with Edison and he made it happen.

What do you want with all of your heart?  Find that.  Write it out so you have a clearly defined goal.  Begin to live as if it has already happened. Know that thoughts are energy and your thought are all positive, your thoughts coincide with your goals.  You are confidence you can do this. 

Do what you need to do to achieve your goal on a daily basis.  Keep the universe thinking you already have this in your life. Then pay attention to what the universe sends you and be ready to receive. 

 

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.

There are many ways to get your film funded.  But all of them rely on believing in yourself, your talent, and having the faith in yourself that you can manifest it.

by Carole Dean

I love David Spangler’s excellent little book, The Laws of Manifestation.  Discussing its lessons and how it applies to creating success in your work and career, is a regular part of what I teach filmmakers in my classes.

His explanation of manifesting and his explanation of the universal laws governing it make sense.

Manifesting

The more you believe in yourself and your film, the easier it will be to fund it and find the right crew

Levels of Manifestation

David says there are several levels of manifestation. “The mechanics of manifestation depend on a person’s level of consciousness. An understanding of this throws light on what is meant by laws of manifestation.

“The physical level is experienced by everyone and it represents our most obvious level of manifestation. On this level physical energy is expended through some form of labor. This is the means used to bring manifestation about. We call this working for a living. And we work obviously with these laws to accomplish our manifestation.

“They are natural, economic, religious, social laws and we do not consider them to be supernatural. This denotes a willingness to expand physical energy through the appropriate form of work and labor. There’s also a new dimension where the energies of the emotional realms are added. This might be the manifesting of good health when physical or medical attention is not available or it is ineffective, this could be faith healing.

“There is also the need for requests where you ask in prayer for what you want and release it to the universe with the faith that it will return to you.  This factor is a manifestation of faith and the energy of devotion. Where there is faith there is trust, security, lack of tension or worry. Your work becomes a joy and one is more open to being guided into the kind of labor that is truly fulfilling.”

I see this a lot with filmmakers once they have gotten into the state of mind that their film will be funded. They trust that the money is available for the film and they know they will bring the film in on time and under budget.

She Willed it So and it Happened

Here is an example I can share with you. One of our fiscally sponsored filmmakers was making a film about the drugs in her small town and the film discussed how a large percentage of the population were on drugs.  Her goal was to show the film to express the need that we work together to help heal these people from addiction and prevent more from falling into drugs. 

She raised $180,000 and quite a bit of it was during the Covid-19 pandemic.  She never stopped funding. For funding parties, she did everything she had planned as if Covid-19 would not prevent her and it didn’t.

She had the faith that people would support this film and she “willed it so”  and applied for and won grants. I should have mentioned early on that she’s a first-time filmmaker.  She just didn’t know that she couldn’t do it.  Sometimes that’s the best place to be.  Not to know you can’t do it.

Never did she have this fear and worry thinking that no one will give me money during a public international health crisis. Her thinking was of course they’ll fund this film.  It’s urgent and we must solve this drug problem.  This is the right attitude for raising money. 

Please consider outlining the benefits of your film.  Remember them daily and use these benefits to create your self-confidence and maintain it.  You are greatly needed to bring us important information on documentaries and brilliant films to keep us entertained and enlightened.

I know this is a hard time for independent filmmakers but now is the time to have the faith of Job.  You must know that your film will be funded, and it will be seen.

Don’t Get in a Spin Over Your Film

In his book, David Spangler brings up one of my favorite parts of the Bible. It’s from the sermon on the mountain, Matthew 6:28.

‘Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore if God so clothes the grass of the field which grows today and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you.’

When times are tough, you need to read this statement and “feel” into its meaning.  If the plants do not work, they toil not, and they don’t get in a tizzy, “neither do they spin and yet I say unto you that even King Solomon in all his glory,” meaning how well he lives and dresses and his riches, that these lilies of the field are as beautiful as King Solomon in all his wealth. 

Perhaps it’s because the lilies know how beautiful they are.  They know that to us they are pieces of art.  They know their job is to bring us beauty and they do that without any toil.  This means that you with all your many talents can also bring us your art without so much toil.  Your faith is what you need. 

Once you lock onto the benefits of your film you know how important it is to get your story to the masses.  The more you believe in yourself and your film, the easier it will be to fund it and find the right crew.

The Importance of Faith in Manifesting

This takes me to one of my favorite poems.  It was written by Matsuo Basho who was the most famous poet of the 17th century Edo period in Japan. He is recognized as the greatest master of haiku.

His poem is:

Sitting silently, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.  

Your meditations can bring you money.  That’s right.  By taking your film to a silent place for a 20-minute meditation. 

It is very simple.  At the beginning, as you sit down and get comfortable, you make a request to the universe to help you do what is necessary to fund your film.  Just make an ask of the universe and then let it go.  Now you want to listen to the little voice inside you.  When you hear the little voice say, call Sarah, and see how she is. 

Then do it! You may find that Sarah just inherited some money and wants to help fund your film.  You have asked so you can expect an answer.  It will come to you.

I know that is a little far out, but all of this is to explain to you how important faith is in manifesting. It is the cornerstone of manifesting you really need to believe you can get what you want. You want to feel it, know it, and use your emotions to pretend it already exists.

Emotions like joy, confidence, and happiness, always work in your favor. When you are constantly sending up love and gratitude to the universe and thanking them for the small and important things you have in your life then you are living in faith. 

Create Mantras to Pretend You Have What You Want

When you are going to bed at night, tell the subconscious that your film is fully funded. When you are visualizing that you’re sitting in the theater watching your film on the screen with a packed house, when you’re constantly sending out emotions of success, achievement, and joy, then these emotions help the universe to move the energies around so that what you need is brought to you.  Pretend you have what you want.

You want to be saying, “my film is winning awards, people love it, and I am successful.”  Now the universe is very clear on what it is that you want.  They can easily send more opportunities to you. It’s up to you to be looking for them.

It’s just as if someone in a tennis game hits a serve, a really great serve.  You know your job is to return it, so you must be there and be present. You must be prepared to return it. You must be on your toes and moving in whatever direction is needed to successfully return that ball.  That’s what you want, to be in a position where someone is interested in you and asks about your film.  Now, you have what you want, an opportunity to pitch your brilliant film and engage someone.

When a friend calls and says I’m attending a zoom party tonight, do you want to join me? Before you say I’m too tired or I don’t know I had a bad day, say who will be there? Are there any people that might fund my film?  Find out if the universe is behind this request and if so, please attend.

In most film groups, there’s always someone that you can talk to about your film.  Remember when people ask what you are doing, you want to say I’m raising money for my film. I’m looking to raise $40,000 on my documentary, we’re in the production stage, and I need funding to shoot.  Or I’m in the post-production stage and I need $40,000 for my archival footage. Let them know your passion, you might say, “I’ve already put in two years of work and my brilliant film is coming together quickly.”

People want to work with filmmakers who are talented. Remember you need to realize how talented you are and never let on how much hard work is involved in filmmaking. Maintain the idea that it’s all glamour and glitz and bring people in by your enthusiasm and your love of the film industry. 

Let them know of your many talents. Staying positive is the key to funding your film. No matter what’s going on in your life this is where your faith comes in.  This is paramount to funding, your faith in yourself and your abilities, your faith in your script or your documentary.  These feelings and beliefs must be part of your DNA.  You must have the faith of Job, be full of confidence and exude success.  

Faith vs. Hope

Faith is quite different from hope. Faith is a powerful energy to put in your proposal and your deck. The faith you need to have is that the money is there, and you will finish the film. Hope means your wishing this will happen.  There is a lot of power in your proposal and your speech when you use the word faith. We know that you will do the work and feel confident thank you can achieve the end result, i.e., completing and funding your film.

Hope means to me (and a lot of other grantors and funders), that you’re not sure. It’s a lack of belief.  You hope something will happen or hope you can make the film.  What we want to hear in your proposal is confidence and faith in yourself and your project.

Never put hope in a proposal or an outline or anything you give to anyone. Always keep very positive statements in your paperwork. You want to say we’re shooting on this date, we are doing post on this date, and we are releasing the film on this date.  There is no hope about this, it is a fata accompli.

I can honestly say that I have seen people that willed things to happen. Their faith and belief were so powerful that they saw what they wanted and they did what they had to do to achieve it.  They firmly believed daily that the funding was there, and they made the film. They willed it to happen.

We as human beings have that potential, we can will something into being and that is part of manifesting. This is truly your faith in action. There is nothing more beautiful than someone who says I know I can do it those are the people you want to work with.

Making this Film With, or Without You

When I ran my film business, I had a dear friend named Frank Smith who worked at Kodak. In my opinion, he was the best dressed man in Hollywood!  He always looked sharp.  Frank was a lovely man, and he was the person that people had to pitch when they wanted free film. 

I asked Frank one day “how in the world do you make a decision on who gets it and who doesn’t?” And we were good friends, so he was honest with me.  He said that when a filmmaker called him and started to pitch the film, he would lean back in his chair, get comfortable, put his feet on the desk, and be ready for 10 minutes of information.  That is exactly what happens when people pitch me. I’m used to it. We just relax and listen to what you have to say because we’re listening to every word believe it or not.

While we are listening, we are thinking, will this person finish the film? How powerful is their belief in themselves and the film? We’re not thinking, hey this guy has never made a feature, he has only made three shorts, and he wants to do a feature?  That might be a minor part of it but the real thought is how convinced is he or she?

Frank said, “I listen closely and when they get to the point where they say or infer, I’m doing this with or without you, I pay attention.” 

Frank said that was when, “the feet come off the desk and I sit up and I say OK now wait a minute. Let’s talk about this.”  Then he starts asking questions like who is the director, who is your DP and what is your plan for attachments? Because his job is to find the up-and-coming filmmakers. He could not miss one and let them go to my company where we would sell them short ends or, heaven forbid, they go to Fuji film.

He knew that if we saw their potential, we might give them a great deal on new and short ends.  And he could not lose a filmmaker to anyone. He had to be very discerning on who he chose and when they said I hope to raise the money, or I should be able to raise the money and especially, I HOPE TO FIND THE MONEY, that’s when he said my allotment for the year is gone or some other excuse.

Please recognize the fact that if you’re not 100% positive it comes through in your words and your slightest lack of faith in any area will be picked up immediately.

You must be up, enthusiastic, happy.  Stay up and in that place of absolute knowing that I am making this film with or without you.

 

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.

A journey of discovery to find that the future we desire and the means to achieve it are waiting for us in the Quantum Field.

by Carole Dean

I met Caroline Myss at the Monroe Institute of Applied Science in the rolling hills of Virginia.  I went there to find out why I was unexpectedly popping out of my body. 

No, this was not a physical injury.  I wasn’t throwing my back out.  Founded in the 70’s by Robert Monroe, the Monroe Institute is the world leader in human consciousness exploration. I was there because I was finding myself thrown into a different area of awareness and not sure why.

manifesting

You began an outline.  From the outline you write a script.  From the script you hire people and make a film.  Therefore, you have manifested your idea.

Caroline had begun to do health readings for people she did not know and had never met.  This was before she became a five-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally renowned speaker in the fields of human consciousness. 
She was there to investigate Robert and experience the institute’s meditation chambers.

I thought she was one of the smartest people I had ever met, and we became good friends.  We both loved Robert and his research.  We teamed up to create a newsletter that we could send to the Monroe Institute mailing list as well as other people who were interested in unusual events.

I became the publisher and she became the writer/editor of Expansion. Which is a perfect name for something written and published by two women with strong Sagittarius traits!

Somehow one of these publications made its way to England and Caroline was asked to go to there and speak. That was the beginning of her career.

A Magical Place in Scotland

Fast forward a few years and she is teaching at Findhorn Foundation in Scotland. Findhorn is an unusual place that came into being using the laws of manifestation. It was a sandy area and the creators of Findhorn began to grow a garden.  Through prayer and meditation, the garden produced some incredibly large vegetables. They gave the credit to the Angels who they said helped grow their vegetables.

From this meager beginning, a major source of information and education was created. As their web site explains:

The Findhorn Foundation is a dynamic experiment where everyday life is guided by the inner voice of spirit, where we work in co-creation with the intelligence of nature and take inspired action towards our vision of a better world. We share our learning and way of life in experiential workshops, conferences and events that take place within a thriving community and ecovillage.

For me to go to Caroline’s workshop, I had to donate a week’s labor to Findhorn. I chose to work in the dining room and clean it after the breakfast meal.  At this time in my life, I was running a business with a NYC and LA office and close to 100 employees.

This one week vacuuming the dining room was better than a year with the best psychologist.  It was a week of self-discovery and well worth the time and money. 

After my week of servitude, it was a joy to begin a week of classes with Caroline on remote healing.  Everyone in the class had no experience in such events.  We were all very normal people.  We’d meet and study about 5 hours a day. She is a wonderful teacher.

The shocking thing was that the last night we all put our names into a hat and then drew a name of someone in the group.  Then we were told to “read” for that person.  Each of us got some important insight about our chosen name.  We were all shocked at our accuracy. 

In Search of the Sacred

This incredible experience set me on a life path of understanding how it is possible to communicate with and get information from people at a distance.  That’s one reason why I love Lynn McTaggart’s book, The Field, in which she investigates and demonstrates that everyone is connected through a quantum field. 

While at Findhorn, I discovered The Laws of Manifestation by David Spangler. David says that manifestation is not magic.  It is a process of working with natural principles and laws to transfer energy from one level of reality to another. An example he offers of this process are authors who have an idea and write the idea down as a movie or a play.  It then now exists in physical form.

He talks about a writer who “has a concept which is mental. Through his speech to people, he is able to fire their emotions in response to that concept.” This person has translated mental energy into emotional energy.

He gives an example of a piece of coal. By itself it is cold, a black rock, yet it can burn; It contains the potential of heat. When ignited that heat is released. Physical energy is translated into radiant heat energy.

These examples show that manifestation is a change of form or condition of being. It is not the creation of something out of nothing.

What Does Manifesting Mean?

David says, “The dictionary defines it as making clear to sight or mind, making visible.”  He wants us to realize that the thing that was manifested was already there, but it was not clear it was in a different state of being.

I like this description because it’s true and easy to understand. You get an idea for a film, it’s in your head you see it, you feel it, you know it. It lives but in another dimension for lack of a better word. Your job as a filmmaker is to bring it into this dimension.

You began an outline.  From the outline you write a script.  From the script you hire people and make a film.  Therefore, you have manifested your idea.

The idea was there but it was up to you to bring it into this dimension.  That’s why lots of people can come up with the same idea at the same time. The idea was in the quantum field and discovered by those who were the most open to receive.  Those would be the ones who meditate and who give themselves private, quiet thinking time.  They were able to pull down this information in its full form as if it already existed.

As president of non-profit From the Heart Productions, this is something I hear this all the time. Filmmakers say to me, “I woke up in the middle of the night I had an idea for a film. I started writing down the essence.  The next thing I knew I was at my computer the next day and every day for the next month and the entire script came to me.”

They say it was as if they had a guide or someone on the other side helping them. Perhaps they got their ideas from the quantum field, brought them into this third dimension, and used it for their film. However, it works, this is manifesting; taking an existing idea, and moving it into this dimension.

The Universal Laws for Manifesting

There are laws around manifestation and that’s what we want to consider.  “That faith, which is an abstract and somewhat frightening word to many people,” David suggests, “is the most important part of manifesting.” He quotes Hebrews 11:1, “faith is the substance of all things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. By their faith you shall know them.” (The New English Bible phrases it in modern English, “faith gives substance to our hopes and makes us certain of realities we do not see.”)

David says “that when you ask to draw something to yourself, that something already exists. It could be an idea or a picture. Artists sometimes see a picture in nature or in their head and they must draw it, put it on paper or canvas, it to bring it into this dimension.

To conjure something up from nothing is magic but manifestation is not magic.  It is a natural principle or process where something is changed from one state of being to another.” 

I see this all the time when an idea or concept is changed into a film script.  A vision is changed into a piece of art.

Sometimes I will ask people what is your logline? Please give me the film in one sentence.  “I don’t have it yet” they say or “I’m working on that” because they are in the middle of manifesting.  This is taking it from one dimension into another dimension.

“The movement of an idea within a person’s consciousness,” David concludes, “from a vague ambiguous state to one of clarity and understanding is the process of manifestation. Manifestation deals with a lot more than finance. You can manifest ideas, states of being, health, as well as tangible objects.”

Alright, we agree with you David because this has been our experience too.  Authors Wallace D. Wattles and Stuart Wilde, who we study in our Film Funding Guidance Classes, also have said that faith is required, that you must see it to believe it, and that your ideas have to be clearly defined.  You must pretend that you already have that which you want. It is a matter of bringing it into this dimension through your faith.

The Possibilities are Endless

Remember that what you want already exists on another dimension.  Noble prize-winning physicist Erwin Schrodinger says that anything is possible.  That in quantum physics there are millions of possibilities for everything.  

This means that there are millions of possibilities for our future. It is up to us to choose the future we want and see it created using the laws of manifestation. It is our job to be very clear on what we want.

I know this is hard to do when you may be sitting with a bank balance of $100 and you would rather it was $100,000.  So how do you get from one place to another?  That is why it’s important to study manifesting, the laws of attraction, and the principles of creating a future that we want.  The more we know about the people who have already achieved this, the easier it will be for us to use.

If Scorsese can do it, Spielberg can do it, Spike Lee can do it, then you can do it. 

Igniting the Energy Inside You

In my relationships with filmmakers, I’m witness to so much creativity and so many possibilities.  It’s easy for me to see.  But you as filmmakers need to see it. You need to know you are special.  You need to know that you have amazing gifts. 

All of you are so lucky.  You were born with immense potential.  I am here to say to you that you need to daily thank the universe for your gifts.  Recognized them, be proud of them. Embellish them.

It is up to you to see your full potential.  It is up to you to see your future clearly.  To create your vision for the future, bring your chosen future into being on a daily basis using the laws of manifesting as well as whatever else you find that empowers you to realize that you are gifted, you can make this film, you are supported by the universe. 

Ask for what you want. Expect a miracle.

 

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.

Tax Law Extension Provides Major Tax Benefits for Investors of Film and Television Productions

by Carole Dean

In my recent interview with entertainment lawyer Corky Kessler, he was excited to tell us that he helped reinstate IRS Revenue Code Section 181 for five more years.  The reinstated Section 181 offers tax benefits for digital media producers.  This tax law is most beneficial for features and documentaries with budgets up to 15 million or 20 million.  It will greatly help producers of those projects attract financing.

Section 181

Expense Production Costs

The reinstated Section 181 is straightforward. It’s the same law that was created for the Jobs Act of 2004.  It’s been extended and approved for five years until 2025. It allows investors in a media production to expense all production costs when it is paid.  This creates a loss for the production which creates an immediate tax benefit.

The rules are that 75% of the costs of the film or television project must be spent and performed in the United States.  The balance of 25%, can be shot anywhere.  This means you can take advantage of other countries tax deductions like Canada or Germany.  Many countries have good tax incentives for you to shoot in their country.

US Tax law 168 is still in effect so you have a choice of using the reinstated section 181 or the 168.  The 168 has no limit on the size of the budget and you must “Put the film in service” to get the write off.  Those are two main differences and you can only use one of these, 168 or 181.

Cover Your Investor’s Money

“The good thing about the 181 is that I can cover the investor’s money.” Corky explained. “I can tell the investor that I can cover almost every dollar that the investor puts in. I can cover 70 to 76 cents on every dollar, which is amazing. There’s no other business that you can cover their investment, 70 to 76 on the balance.”

The 181 law allows up to a $15 million loss. Or you can go up to a $20 million loss if you spend a significant amount in a low-income or depressed area. For the person who has a 15 or $20 million dollar movie or even lower, the 181 is still better and you can grandfather your films.

Need Just One Day of Photography to Get Grandfathered In

“So, as soon as you have a screenplay, “ Corky says, “ and you have a summary budget, you are ready. You do one day of photography with some dialogue that doesn’t have to remain in the project. And you need your investment documents, which I can prepare, but you don’t need investors. Once you have these things, you can get grandfathered into 181 forever. That will never expire.

“Now when your film is grandfathered, you can change your screenplay or teleplay.  If it’s television, that’s acceptable. You want one day of photography with some dialogue. You can shoot it on your iPhone. It doesn’t matter, and you don’t have to use it in the project. Also, the investor documents that I prepare, those can change. Once you have these set up, you are grandfathered forever. There’s no end date.”

How to Learn More and Take Advantage of Reinstated Section 181 for Your Film

Filmmakers that want to know more about Section 168 or the 181 benefits and how to grandfather their films,  can contact Corky via email at Corkykessler@aol.com or on his cell phone at 312-925-2110.

For more information on both the 168 and 181 see this blog: https://fromtheheartproductions.com/how-to-get-your-film-funded-with-new-tax-law

 

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.

Lessons in Neville Goddard’s book “Feeling is the Secret” Teach Us That Your Emotions Can Create Your Future

By Carole Dean

In our bi-monthly Film Funding Guidance Class, we study books by brilliant authors that teach us how to use our mind to improve our lives and fund our films. 

Recently, the focus of the class was on the work of writer Neville Goddard and his book, Feeling is the Secret.  I chose this because “feelings” are powerful manifestors.  Learning how to use our feelings in a proper way can help us create the future we want.

Manifest Your Success

The subconscious does not originate ideas but accepts as true those which the conscious mind “feels” to be true. Our emotions are creating our reality.

The law of consciousness

Neville opens his book stating, “The world, and all within it, is man’s conditioned consciousness objectified. Consciousness is the cause as well as the substance of the entire world so it is to consciousness that we must turn if we would discover the secret of creation.

“Knowledge of the law of consciousness and the method of operating this law will enable you to accomplish all you desire in life. Armed with a working knowledge of this law, you can build and maintain an ideal world. Consciousness is the one and only reality.” 

As a class, we learned this from studying the works of Amit Goswami and Dean Radin.  They both said, “Consciousness is the one and only reality.”

“This reality may, for the sake of clarity,” Neville continues, “be likened unto a stream which is divided into two parts, the conscious and the subconscious.  In order to intelligently operate the law of consciousness, it is necessary to understand the relationship between the conscious and subconscious.”

The subconscious believes that which the conscious impress on it

Neville believes the conscious impresses the subconscious while the subconscious expresses all that it impresses upon it.

“The subconscious does not originate ideas but accepts as true those which the conscious mind feels to be true and in a way known only to itself, it objectifies the accepted ideas. Therefore, through his power to imagine and feel and his freedom to choose the ideas he will entertain, man has control over creation.”  

This information gives us so much knowledge to use to improve our lives. 

We need to know that the subconscious does not originate ideas but accepts as true those which the conscious mind “feels” to be true. The important word here is “feels,” what feels to be true.  Meaning, our emotions are creating our reality.

Feeling successful can create your success

Neville goes on to say, “control of the subconscious is accomplished through control of your ideas and feelings. The mechanism of creation is hidden in the very depth of the subconscious. The subconscious transcends reason and is independent of induction.”  

As Neville says, it does not have to be true.  It needs to be what you want your life to be, what you want to “feel” daily.  Perhaps that feeling is success or confidence or joy.  All these wonderful emotions are there for you to choose from.  Please take some time to find the emotion you need to bring your future into being.  Using your subconscious to create the “feelings” you want in your everyday world.

Neville says, “the subconsciousness contemplates a feeling as a fact existing within itself and on this assumption proceeds to give expression to it.” 

He says that ideas “are impressed on the subconscious through the medium of feeling. No idea can be impressed on the subconscious until it is felt, but once felt, be it good or bad or indifferent, it must be expressed. Feeling is the one and only medium through which ideas are conveyed to the subconscious. Therefore, man who does not control his feeling may easily impress the subconscious with undesirable states. You need the discipline to entertain only such feelings as contribute to your happiness.”

Controlling your feelings can lead to a happy life

That controlling your feeling is the most important thing you can do for a happy life. Neville instructs us to “Try not to entertain an undesirable feeling or think sympathetically about wrong in any shape or form.  Do not dwell on the imperfection of yourself or others. When you do this, you impress the subconscious with limitations. This is the whole law of a full and happy life. Every feeling makes a subconscious impression. He says, “do not dwell on the imperfection of yourself or others.”

The author gives an example: “’I am healthy’ is a stronger feeling than ‘I will be healthy.’” 

Remember, it is what you feel you are that dominates.  Feelings are creators and what you feel is what you can achieve.

A change of feeling is a change of destiny

We need to be careful of our moods and feelings because there is a direct connection between feelings and your visible world.  Neville instructs us that our body is “an emotional filter and bears the unmistakable marks of your prevalent emotions.” 

He says that, “you should be able to feel the state that you want to be living in. You should be able to feel joy or happiness or success or achievement. Living and acting on that conviction is the way to achieve it.  He says all changes are brought about through a change in feelings. A change of feeling is a change of destiny.  All creation occurs in the domain of the subconscious.”

So you need to get control of the operation of the subconscious and realize that control is needed with your ideas and feelings.  You have to be controlling your feelings to send it to the subconscious to a create the life you want to live.

To create through feelings a happy life, a successful life, a creative life, Neville says that the subconscious doesn’t care if what you are thinking is truth or false. “It will accept as true that what you feel to be true.”

This sounds easy to do but you need to pay attention.  I have been paying attention to my “feelings” and it’s easy to slip into fear or uncertainty in today’s world. So, I had to catch myself and keep turning things around so that I am saying I am happy. I am prosperous. I am inspired. 

Getting the feelings, you want to create in your life are important.  You may want to think of what feelings make you happy so you can send these feelings with your thoughts directly to the subconscious.

The subconscious receives ideas from the feelings we send it

“We should not be dwelling on difficulties or delays,” Neville writes, “or what possible barriers might come to our lives.  When we start having very strong feelings of any kind, we must remember that these are being impressed on the subconscious. 

“It’s important to recognize that the subconscious is the place of creation.  It receives the idea from the feelings we send it. It doesn’t change the idea, but it gives it form so “the subconscious out-picture is the idea and the likeness is received.”

The subconscious serves us by giving form to our feelings, and it does not like compulsive thoughts.  Neville says “it responds better to persuasion than to command.”  

And one of the most important things he notes is “your desires are not subconsciously accepted until you assume the feeling of their reality; for only through feeling an idea subconsciously accepted, and only through this subconscious acceptance is it ever expressed.”

Stay away from “what ifs”

Getting your desired outcome connected to the feelings is what produces your desires.  Stay away from the “What if’s?” What if I can’t raise the funds?  What if the new director is not the right person?  These both would bring up the feeling of fear and that’s not what you want in your life.

You want to feel success.  I suggest you get that “feeling of success” implanted in your body so you can activate it on request.  Neville says that all things come from within from this subconscious. He says we can’t see anything else except what is contained in our subconscious. That “your world in its every detail is your consciousness objectified.”

We need to remember, “The subconscious accepts as true that which you feel is true, and because creation is the result of subconscious impressions, you, by your feeling, determine creation. You are already that which you want to be and your refusal to believe this is the only reason you do not see it.”

That is a shocking statement.  In other words, we all contain the possibilities of the success with the future we want.  We just need to stop feeling emotions that we do not want to bring into our life.

Your subconscious accepts your feelings as reality

We need to recognize those feelings of anger, guilt, fear, unhappiness and loss and replace them with success.  Success seems to be the key. We need to learn how to keep feeling successful and confident and keep imprinting these feelings on our subconscious.

We want to remember is that the most important thing to recognize today is that the subconscious plays a major part in our consciousness, in our reality. 

What we feed into the subconscious is what we see and experience in our consciousness. Getting control over our feelings is the number one key and recognizing the power of the subconscious is the second key to achieving a successful and rewarding life.

 

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.

Using Your Imagination to Create Your Future

Did the imagination you used as a child vanish when you became an adult?  Time to rediscover it because if you can imagine it, you can have it.

by Carole Dean

One purpose of our Film Funding Guidance Class for our fiscally sponsored filmmakers is to show how powerful our minds are and how to use that power to fund your film.

In this current class, we were studying Neville Goddard and his book, The Secret of Imagining.

Using Your Imagination

Neville tells us that the child inside of us, that child who can imagine and believe anything; is the creative power and the wisdom of God.

If you can imagine it, you can have it. 

Imagination is the key to creating your future. That’s what all of the masters of these techniques teach us.  So, since imagination unlocks a wonderful life, Neville wants us to realize how powerful our imagination is for forming material objects. 

Look around your room and everything you see was once an idea.  Someone imagined your chair, your desk, your lamp.

Your inner child is your greatest creative power.

Neville starts his teaching by telling us that the child inside of us, that child who can imagine and believe anything; is the creative power and the wisdom of God.

Neville says, “look into the world and name one thing that wasn’t first imagined. You name one thing that does not now exist in your imagination just name it.  And, to make sure we get it, he repeats “all things exist in the human imaginations.” 

When we were children, most of us created and played games that sprang from our imagination.  We became our favorite movie star. (My favorite who I loved to quote was Bette Davis.)  We imagined ourselves all over the world.  Shopping in Paris for Yves St. Laurent, combing through NYC Saks Fifth Avenue looking for the latest summer apparel. 

Then, somehow, once we got into the real world, stopped exercising our imagination.  We started working for a living and took on the responsibilities required to maintain a home and family.  At that point, must of us lost that innocence of believing the possibilities open to us.

“I remembered my father was an emperor of China.”

Think back to the film of the great, classic love story Wuthering Heights and see if you can remember the scene where Heathcliff has returned a wealthy man.  His childhood sweetheart, Catherine, asks him how did you become so wealthy? And he said, referring to the games they played as children, “I remembered that my father was an emperor of China and my mother was an Indian queen”

I take this to mean that he began to believe (imagine for real like he did when he was a child) that he was from great wealth and knowledge. That he could do anything.  He used this belief to give him the courage and confidence to take chances, be bold and get that fortune that was rightfully waiting for him.

Making something that is only a thought into something that is real.

The The Secrets of Imagining came from a lecture Neville was giving. He asked the people in the room to note how intimately they felt with this room.  He said that they’re as comfortable here as they are in their home. Why is this, he asked?

“Because we are in it and to us it’s real. You may have the capacity to sit here and draw your own home but in your mind’s eye you have a description of it but it’s not as real now as this room is. This room is real because we are in it.”

“Now this is what I mean by making something that is only a thought into something that is real. How do I do it?  I single out, out of my own wonderful human imagination, that which I want to make real.  It’s all in you.  Then I must enter into it as I have entered into this room.”

Entering Your Imagination.

On this, Neville quotes William Blake from Visions of the Last Judgement  “If the spectator would enter into any of these images in his imagination, approaching it on the fiery chariot of his own contemplated thought,” then Neville says it would become just as real to him as this room.”

“You may ask, what would that do to me?” Neville asks. “Will it become real in the not distant future?  I know from my own experience it will. You can sit here and enter into a state. It may not take on quite the reality of this room, but it will if you persist in it: it will become just like this.

“When you open your eyes, it vanishes. But, does that mean that I tasted that and that’s all? No. Having gone into it, may I tell you, it will follow you. It will not recede into the past as memory; it will advance into the future and you will confront it. This is a secret of imagining, which is finding out the secret of God.”

How imagination created my future.

In an interview with physicist Fred Alan Wolf about his book, The Dreaming Universe, I asked him how powerful is our imagination?  He said that “imagining is like a handshake across time.”  You can imagine it and it will happen.  That is exactly what I have experienced many times in my life.

As a young teenager in Dallas, Texas, my evenings after dinner would be spent on a slanted roof watching the planes take off from Love Field.  I would imagine I was on that plane.  In first class of course, chatting with people, excited over my trip to NYC to visit Saks to watch the runway models and shop for top fashion designers.  Sometimes I imagined I was en route to Africa to go on a safari.

I can honestly tell you that I often found later in life that I remembered or felt de ja vu when I was in Paris shopping or at Saks watching their runway models, in fact I became a runway model in Dallas while imagining all this future.

I know imagining your future works because I did it.   As a child I used my imagination to take me out of the boredom of poverty and out of the belief that women should be home raising children.  I wanted to be a Mildred Pierce and own my own business. 

If you believed in the reality of the time you would know that was impossible to do.  Yet I did create my own business.  I did it because I believed that I could do it.  I was good at imagining and I believed what I imagined. This is what Neville wants to teach us. Believing in your imagination can bring your thoughts into this reality.

“Your imagination animates the world you live in.”

Back to Neville, he says, “You cannot die. The body, yes, this will fade; but I am not the garment that I’m wearing. I am the wearer of the garment, and the wearer of this garment is all imagination.”

Neville says “I am telling you from my own experience. I am not speculating. I am not theorizing. The power of which I speak is a power within you. That power is not something on the outside; Its your own wonderful human imagination, and you will learn to control it. Your imagination animates the world in which you live. You change your imagination and you change the world.”

Learn how to control your own imaginal activity as this is creating your world.

Neville tells us not to try to change the world outside before you are able to own and control your own imaginal activity. Your own imaginal activity is animating your world. If you believe that you are injured or that others are against you,   then you have conjured them into your world, and they have to be against you.

By the same token if you believe they are working towards the fulfillment of your good, they have to work towards the fulfillment of your good. You don’t have to ask them you don’t have to compel them.  

Neville says “I simply do it only within myself, and the whole vast world exists within me.”

Wow, what a statement, Do it within yourself because the whole vast world exists within you.  This is a powerful thought. 

If the world exists inside us, then we can just imagine anything we want and expect to get it.  We must believe how powerful each of us are.   For example, with COVID-19 raging we can believe that we are healthy and see ourselves as the picture of health and not getting COVID-19. 

Imagine money in your bank account.

That’s a great thing to imagine.  You can begin to imagine money in your bank account.  Take a bank statement and add more zeros to the total.  Put that in front of you for your daily belief system where you have tons of money in your account.  Then focus on your “to do” list where you are applying for grants and having Zoom house funding parties.  Focus on this list and imagine the money in your account. 

Remember, if you believe that you are injured or that others are against you, then you have conjured them into your world, and they have to be against you. By the same token if you believe they are working towards the fulfillment of your good, they have to work towards the fulfillment of your good.

You don’t have to ask them you don’t have to compel them.  I simply do it within myself as “the whole vast worlds resides in me.”

Change your thoughts first then you can change another person.

Neville says, “therefore it’s myself pushed out. It’s objectified. I don’t have to change affairs; I only change it within myself and then everyone, though I know him or not by name it doesn’t really matter, it’s myself pushed out.”

He believed that each of us is connected,  When he refers to “pushed out” he means that you are connected to him and so when his mind tells you to change your thoughts, he is changing his thoughts and the other person is connected so he can change that person’s thoughts too.

“All I have to do is to concern myself with that which I want in this world, and try to keep it within the frame of the Golden rule: doing unto others only that which I would want done unto me, nothing more than that; hurting no one, doing not a thing to anyone other than that which I would want done unto me. If you want only lovely things done, do only the lovely things and do it all in your own wonderful human imagination. Then you will realize this tremendous secret of imagining. It is the greatest of all secrets, to the solution of which everyone in the world should aspire.”  

 

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.

Why Connecting to the Quantum Field Can Help You Make Quantum Leaps in Your Filmmaking and Film Project

by Carole Dean

“My brain is only a receiver. In the universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength, inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.”  

Quantum Field

Having trouble finding and identifying your audience? Use the quantum field to connect with them and share your story

Who do you think said this? He was alive 100 years ago.  He was a physicist.  Who do you think knew there was a quantum field, a shared consciousness of energy and knowledge from which we are all connected, and that his brain was a receiver decades ahead of anyone else?

He’s one of the many great minds whose knowledge and insight I share with our fiscally sponsored filmmakers to help them reach their full potential.  Keep thinking on the answer to this mystery man and I will tell you. 

Saturday morning has become my favorite time of the week.  This is when we meet with our fiscally sponsored filmmakers in our Saturday Film Funding Guidance Class.  Over the last two years, we have expanded our knowledge of who we are, how gifted we are, and how to unleash our creativity. We have read and studied how to use information on the power of our minds from books like The Field by Lynn McTaggart, Real Magic and The Conscious Universe by Dean Radin. 

Currently we are enjoying Quantum Spirituality by Amit Goswami, a brilliant physicist.  Let me share some of this insightful book along with examples of how to use his teachings to help make your film and your filmmaking career a success.

The Human Condition and How to Get Out of It

“Some ways to get out of the human condition”, Amit Goswami writes, “are non-locality, discontinuity and tangled hierarchy.

“For us to Internalize information is the signature of a quantum experience. The external world of our experience, by the necessity of manifesting is approximately Newtonian and deterministic, detached from the casual world of choice. We want to look to our internal experiences, the subtle world, to find our way back from the physical machine aspect which is our running our lives to the casual creative aspect of ourselves.

“It is important to know that Non-locality is signal-less instant communication.  Instant communication means communicating with yourself, it is oneness. The quantum world view says we human beings have the potential of being one with everybody else using this non-local communication. Naturally cultivating non-locality will help shift your me-centeredness towards the Universal quantum self.”

Finding and Using Your Universal Quantum Self

When you’re making a film that has a worldwide aspect you will want to learn how to use this universal quantum self.  This is necessary if your film has an essence for a worldview that you want to share with other people.  You’ll want then to connect with them (your audience) using this universal quantum self.

Perhaps your film is an exposure of something that society needs to know about or it is a biography of a loving kind human.  These films you may want to share internationally. If your film has an essence that fits a worldview then you might be able to use this idea of the interconnectedness to reach your audience.

How? By taking the essence of your film into your meditation and asking to connect with your world audience.  Take that energy of your film, the feeling of the film, with you and ask for the universe to connect you emotionally to your audience.

Begin to resonate and feel that energy of your audience.  Ask daily for the universe to connect you with your audience.  Perhaps by saying:

  • I am my audience
  • I am connected to my audience or
  • I am expanding my audience daily

One of these could be your daily mantra.

Attaching Your Audience to Your Film

Follow that up with posting online information of one or two lines about the essence of your film.

  • Post something about the purpose for the film.
  • Post the benefits of the film.
  • Ask friends, family, and fans to re tweet for you.

Perhaps even take some of your interviews or any footage you have shot on your film and make short one-and-two-minute videos.  Post those on a new YouTube account and drive people to your website where they can join your community to help support you and your film. On your website, gave them a gift for joining. 

Now more than ever we need to get connected and these are ways you can get your audience connected to you.  People want to hear about your film and your job is to tell them.

Raise Your Energy from your Navel Chakra to your Heart Chakra

“In the brain”, Amit says, “your me-centeredness expresses itself as activities in the brain areas that neuroscientists identify as belonging to the self-agency.  The reinforced memories of ego-persona that feed your ‘me’ are stored in these areas.

“In the body your self-centeredness expresses yourself as vitality tied up to the navel chakra-the welfare of you and you alone. Narcissism. Or for women, in the heart chakra. Too much neediness, needing another to attach to.

“Practices like giving, giving unconditionally, obviously take you away from the thoughts of the Me-personas.  This is recommended and it also raises the energy from your navel chakra to your heart chakra. Giving is just one practice; another practice you can do is the practice of not taking yourself so seriously – humility. Still another one is forgiveness. All of these practices can also help when getting self-respect instead of self-indulgence.

“In the quantum world view, moment can be continuous which is familiar to you, right? Like moving cars, moving ants all move continuously in your experience.  The physicist Niels Bohr discovered in 1913 that when electrons jump from one atomic orbit to another, they jump discontinuously without going through the intermediate space. Such a quantum leap is allowed in the quantum worldview. It is via these quantum leaps of thoughts and feelings that you learn to make positive emotional brain circuits to balance negativity.”

Making Quantum Leaps

Let’s talk about these quantum leaps.  I see them all the time from people who go to college, graduate and make a quantum leap into a very good job as an acquisition person or a producer for Netflix. These things are possible. It happens to some people but not all. The question is how do you make it happen to you?

Let’s think about how you create your vision for yourself or for your film.  For your film, you create a platform, that is your deck for a feature and a proposal and trailer for your documentary.  You outline how you will take this idea that is now only a vision to a completed film. 

How can you use Amit’s information to improve this process?

The majority of documentary films take six years to make and two years more to distribute. How can you break that record? Feature films sometimes take five to ten years. How can you finish faster?

The idea is to make a quantum leap from concept to completion. Some of this can be done with:

  • The power of your mind
  • Meditation
  • Connecting to the right people
  • Finding your audience
  • Attaching yourself to money and people and information that will move you forward

I know this is hard work, and it takes unrelenting determination.  Most importantly you cannot lose faith.  If something doesn’t work, you must be prepared to back up and try it again.  Or try something new or different because you know your future is waiting for you. 

You know it’s up to you to find out how to get through these obstacles by going over them or around them.  Or by finding new ways and often, going outside of the box is the best solution.

Sometimes the Funding Comes from Your Audience

In my experience, the way people get money for their films is they connect with others of like mind who love the concept of their film.  People who love the subject matter and who want to see the film made.

Finding people with money is the most important thing to do and sometimes you need join organizations or groups.  Sometimes you need to donate time to a charity to get in the same room with wealthy people before you can begin to share your ideas with them.

How can you meet them? Consider how you might meet them on common ground.  Perhaps that is taking care of animals at a rescue shelter.  Perhaps that is a wildlife reserve, perhaps that is an organization to save and protect the oceans.

Consider finding a nonprofit you can donate time to,  something that is either in line with your film or something that is in line with your heart.  Then consider donating some of your precious time to a charity that will allow you to meet wealthy people.  You will be doing what Amit says is important to raise your energy by giving unconditionally.

Focus on the “Be” in Do-Be-Do-Be-Do

Amit says that “the creative process is do-be-do-be-do”.  “Do” is when you go out of your way to help someone. The “be” which is like in “being” is hard for us. Our tendency is to do-do-do. To make room for ‘be’ you need to engage with concentrated meditation focusing on an object. This slows you down.

Then between your thoughts you will have gaps. I always get a kick on the London metro whenever the train comes to a stop the loudspeaker warns, “mind the gap.” That’s what you do, you mind the gap between the thoughts.  The more you mind the gap, the more extended the gap gets. 

Where do you go when there is a gap in thought? In the unconscious of course. Giving your much-needed unconscious processing. The unconscious is much better at sorting out the new from all the potentialities that you have created through your conscious processing, especially when they get a chance of expanding using your ‘be’ time.”

I truly agree with Amit.   I find that my daily meditation in the morning and in the afternoon helps me slow down enough so that I do hear the information that comes in the gap between thoughts, it’s meditation that helps me “get it.”

“It” can be the slightest hint of something, or it may be an answer to a question you ask. It may be a flash of the future; it may be a message from someone. It is always an important piece of information.

And the more often you catch it, the more you stop what you are doing, I mean when you literally stop and pay attention to it and take the time to process it, and take the time to honor it and accept that it is real and important, that’s when you can incorporate this information in your life.  The more you stop and recognize and respond to these messages from the gap, the more you will get.

I highly recommend you pay attention to the little thoughts that are between the brain chatter…trust me, that is your quantum self talking to you.

Who Said That?

So, did you decide who that was who made the statement, “My brain is only a receiver. In the universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength, inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.”

This is from our beloved Nicola Tesla.  He knew how to reach the quantum field and make those quantum leaps.  I think you go into the quantum field often in filmmaking.  This is where you get your knowledge, strength and inspiration.

 

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

How to Find and Listen to That Little Voice Inside You to Eliminate Negativity, Stress, and Allow Your Creativity to Flourish

by Carole Dean

Every other Saturday at 10 am we have Film Funding Class for our fiscally sponsored filmmakers.  These are some of the kindest people in the world, intent on educating themselves and moving their films forward.  They allow me to share books with them on the power of our minds.

Quantum Spirituality

Some days I get on a roll and I don’t want to stop. I work too hard and end up exhausted.  After reading Amit’s work, I intend to recognize when my energy is getting depleted. I will immediately stop, meditate and take my vitamin C.

 

This week we are studying Quantum Spirituality by Amit Goswami.  There is a wealth of information in it aimed at moving you to a higher consciousness and improving your ability as a filmmaker.

From the massive amount of exercises and information Amit has in this book, you might want to read only one chapter a week and integrate that into your life.  Perhaps you could take a year of reading and integrating.  With this approach, you could become a much more enlightened being with a better understanding of your incredible human potential.

I highly recommend Quantum Spirituality.  Here are some of the highlights that will help you thrive in life and your filmmaking career.  

Realizing a Transformational Journey

Amit tells us about setting the stage for a transformational journey. He talks about the chakras and their importance.  He shows us where, via a map, they are located on our body.

“The brow chakra: the initial vital function is rational thinking for which the organ is the prefrontal cortex, right at the back of the forehead. The associated feelings are clarity of understanding when the energy moves in, and confusion with depletion of energy.”   

This is very important for filmmakers to know.  Filmmakers work long hard hours and often hit this depletion of energy.  One thing that can help you is to find a quiet spot to meditate for 20 minutes and get back on track. 

They say 20 minutes of meditating is like one hour of sleep for the rest it gives your body.  Dr. Linus Pauling said Vitamin C is a healer and that it helps clear your mind you when you get tired.  It has been proven that people do better with tests and under stress after taking vitamin C.

Amit goes on to say, “With further opening, this brow chakra is the one that funnels the intuitive energy associated with the archetypes that are attracted to you. This is why this chakra is called the third eye or the eye of intuition. The associated feelings of archetypical exploration are satisfaction, when energy is gained, and despair when energy is depleted.”

Some days I get on a roll and I don’t want to stop. I work too hard and end up exhausted.  After reading Amit’s work, I intend to recognize when my energy is getting depleted.  I will immediately stop, meditate and take my vitamin C. 

Communicating with Your Audience

Amit teaches us how to recognize signs from our body and how to restore our balance.

“This brow chakra is an important chakra for all of us because we need to be connected to our intuition.”

We are all blessed with psychic abilities, we learned that from Dean Radin in his books, and using those abilities is very important for each of us because we are connected to the universe and to each other.   

For filmmakers this is important because you need to tap into people to know what they want. 

You want to tap into what your audience likes and learn how to communicate with them. What better way to get in contact with your market and your audience then through your own intuition?

Always trust that little voice.

Building Positive Emotional Brain Circuits

Amit proposes that we need to loosen the structure of the ego by developing more authenticity as to who we are and what we’re doing. We need to understand the chakras in the body where we experience emotion and the mental thought that accompanies this.  We want to pay attention to what we feel.

He believes the science of the chakras is also very important. When doing yoga, he suggests that you need to focus on the chakra for each yoga position.  Yoga will benefit you even more when you add this newly learned behavior to your life.

All of the practices he talks about are effective to building positive emotional brain circuits.  These are good to help balance our negativity in general situations of emotional management. (Here, I think he means so that we don’t lose our cool and are able to handle a lot of stress.)

This is perfect for filmmakers who are learning to shoot with COVID-19 rules.

Imagination and Preparation

“Creativity begins,” Amit tells us, “with the stage of preparation according to creativity researchers, three “I” words play a huge role even before that: inspiration, intention and intuition. Inspiration is what we experience when, with or even without reason, the quantum self touches us, and we feel expanded.”

Amit calls this — A beginning of curiosity. 

“As we make an intention for such visits more often, it is then that we become aware of our intuitive faculty and the law of attraction: the archetypes are attracted to us. And now the word begins in the form of the four stages of creativity.  As “I” words they are imagination, aka preparation, incubation, insight, and implementation aka manifestation.”  

An Academy Award winning producer I know uses this “I” word, imagination, before each shoot day.  At night, she imagines the next morning.  She goes through everything from hearing her wind-up alarm clock along with the call from the front desk to wake her up. Then she imagines everything that should happen until she is on the set and the first shot is made. 

It is in the imagination phase that she discovers anything she may have forgotten to do or say to someone.  She catches her mistakes before they happen using her imagination. 

Grist for the Unconscious Mill of Your Mind

“Focused imagination and preparation: preparation firstly consists of catching up on existing knowledge and extending it through imagination.”  

For filmmakers, this would be doing your research using your creativity and your imagination to extend your idea and expand it to be fully creative.

He recommends that you read voraciously. Read the good books, read current materials on archetypes, read whatever you can get your hands on, and imagine, imagine, imagine. The idea is to generate new and divergent thinking, ideas that will act as fodder for the second stage of incubation which is unconscious processing.

Amit also suggests that you “listen to lectures by people of transformation, go to workshops, talk to like-minded people.  Always to generate new grist for the unconscious mill of our mind.”

Clean up the Thoughts in your Mind

He wants you to watch your mental preoccupations; if your mind is preoccupied with old stuff, clean it up.

“Clean up your unconscious,” he advises. “I am putting on a new persona to feel good about myself. So, we need to clean up our persona and eliminate inauthenticity as far as we can in our present state.”

And he recommends that we meditate.  

“Many people believe that meditation is a complicated technique to be done for hours on end, but this needn’t be the case. If you’re new to meditation start off easy, 10 to 15 minutes a day of a simple technique is enough in the beginning.”

Here is his sample meditation:

“Sit comfortably wearing comfortable clothing. Close your eyes and relax your body. Start off by paying attention to your jaw. Like almost everyone you’re likely to hold tension in this area so place your attention on relaxing your jaw.

“Then relax your belly, your shoulders, the muscles around your eyes, and allow your shoulders to drop.  Take a deep breath or two and the muscles all over your body will start to relax.  Now place your attention on the following mantra, you can coordinate the mantra with your breathing, say AUM as you breathe out and focus on staying present.

“This meditation is called concentration-meditation. It is focusing on an object. You can use your breath and focus simply on the breath or focus on a lighted candle.” 

Amit states, “The mind needs discipline while the heart needs freedom in order to explore the new. Usually we’re in the opposite situation, our mind runs freely around without control, but our heart is locked away closed to any contact with new reality.

“To change this status, we have to train the mind and bring it under control by means of practice on concentration and to learn to let the heart express freely without the mind interfering. The best way to strengthen the heart is via the exploration of love.” 

Think of some of Clint Eastwood’s films like his Oscar winning Million Dollar Baby.  That was full of love.  You left that theatre with love in your heart.  Love is contagious.

Slow Down the Mind to Hear the Thoughts in the Gap

“It is said in these spiritual traditions,” Amit writes, “that meditation appears spontaneously in the mirror of a mind that reflects a heart full of love.  The practice of concentration is relatively easy to build into a success when we love what we’re doing. If the exercises are done in a flat and boring way, without putting heart into them, success will not come easy.

“In this way the daily practice of mental concentration is very important for your health. Even if you practice a little each day the constant practice is a very important aspect of the mental training, first because the nature of the mine is to change, and this consistency in practice is helping to regain control over the mind.”    

He provides a Zen story that describes the lesson of it all.

“A student went to his meditation teacher and said, my meditation is horrible! I feel so distracted, my legs ache, or I’m constantly falling asleep. It’s just horrible.

“It will pass, the teacher said matter of factly.

“A week later the student came back to his teacher. My meditation is wonderful I feel so aware so peaceful so alive is just wonderful.

“It will pass the teacher said matter of factly.

“And indeed, although my day-to-day experience would differ as described above with time, I found that there was more space between my thoughts, my mind was slowing down.

This is exactly what you want because, “slowing down the mind allows the information from your extrasensory perception to make itself heard.” Deepak Chopra has always said, “listen to the voice in the gap between your thoughts.”

However, when your thoughts are moving rapidly it’s hard to hear your little voice.  When you slow down your thinking, the little voice becomes easier to hear and that enhances your intuition.

I have found that the more I use my intuition the stronger it becomes and the more information I get.   

It’s as if they know I use it and then they give me more information.  I always feel like I am being guided,

I know that I am never alone. 

 

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.

How meditation removes barriers, fears, and can take you on the trip of your lifetime

by Carole Dean

I have been meditating daily since the ‘70s. This was the only way that I could run and manage my film company offices in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.  I found quiet places in each office to meditate. In New York, it was our air conditioner room.  In Los Angeles it was the office supply room.

meditation

A good meditation is amazing. It’s like being in this magic library full of ideas and thoughts.

I used to say I was taking inventory, but they knew I was meditating.  So, I just put a sign on the door saying “meditating” and they were as quiet as church mice.  They knew I needed peaceful time alone.  They knew this was good for me because I always came out of those rooms much happier than I went into them.

Connecting to the Quantum Field

Sages have been telling us for centuries that it’s in the quiet that we connect to our higher self. I think it’s more than that.  I think we’re connecting to the quantum field, that incredible field physics tells us is invisible and yet it surrounds us and fills the air with heightened energy from here throughout our entire universe.

This quantum field is said to be the record keeper of all time.  It remembers everything, it hears everything, it sees everything. It’s an archival storage unit for all of us to tap into.

It’s like finding your favorite radio station. When you find it you normally remember how to tune back into it.  Once your body finds this magic spot it will remember, your body remembers and creates a pathway back to the field so you can go there again and again.

Becoming Part of the Conscious Universe

When you get into a completely relaxed state, magic happens! Your whole body seems to dissolve into nothingness.  You are just this little particle; your true self, and you realize you are part of a vast supporting and caring universe.  You realize this is a conscious universe we live in. There is so much knowledge and information available to you in this place that you need to find your way in and experience for yourself what I’m talking about.

A good meditation is amazing. It’s like being in this magic library full of ideas and thoughts.  All you have to do is tune in to this place where you’re totally relaxed.  You’ll forget you have a body and the next thing you know 20 minutes is gone and you’re sitting there thinking, “Gee that was easy.”  

You now have an answer for what seemed like a perplexing problem in the beginning.  If you don’t have an answer or any ideas immediately, you will get them soon. 

Releasing Your Creativity

You will notice daily how your creativity is improving.  Somehow you have less blocks. Your creativity soars and grows more confident daily.  It is directly tied to meditation.  The more you meditate the more creative you become.  Somehow this removes any barriers or fears and opens you to your normal creative self.

In meetings you can better express yourself.  You become a much better problem solver and are the first one to focus on the problem and a solution.  You seem to be very clear on identifying problems and finding solutions and you use your creativity in doing these things.

Sometimes I go into a meditation presenting a problem and then offering a solution or two.  Normally another option pops into my head that is much better than anything I offered. I thank the quantum field; I thank our Conscious universe and I give gratitude for the incredible support they give me.  All of this is available for you too.

The Benefits of Slowing Everything Down

So, what’s so important about relaxation and meditation Carole? We’re living in a world that is fueled by caffeine. We love our daily espressos and lattes and cold flats and anything to get us revved up. So why slow down?

It’s in the stillness that you heard the little voice.

Getting quiet allows you to relax your entire body and the benefits to the organs of your body are incredible. A 20-minute meditation for the body can be the same as almost two hours of rest according to the Transcendental Meditation people have done a lot of research on meditation.  Many of our actors and filmmakers us TM to relax and learn to meditate.  This is a great option for you.

You don’t get into the quantum field driving a Ferrari.  You get there by totally relaxing, chilling out and getting into your true self, which is that tiny bit of you that came into this body and that will leave this body, that eternal you.

Taking The Trip of a Lifetime

Finding that true self and going on journeys with it into the quantum field are the greatest treat in life. If you’ve not tried this, I guarantee you there’s nothing more exciting and more fulfilling then to sit in a quiet place totally relax and then through your meditation, have the trip of a lifetime.

You come back from your meditation totally relaxed and with knowledge, confidence and realizing that you are supported. Your mind is lazar focused.  You know what your priority is and how to do it.  You’ll feel very confident.  Believe me, it’s empowering to meditate and get centered and focused.

You will know there is a place for you to go to tap into the akashic records.  This place where all information is stored, it’s a library of thoughts and knowledge.  There are solutions to problems with abundant knowledge; it is all there to empower you.  It has been accumulating information for you since the beginning of time.

Scheduling Your Meditations

Relaxation and meditation are things that the more you do them the better they get.  In the beginning you need to put meditation in your calendar but before long, your body and your mind will remind you because they love it.  Your body has 20 minutes to rest and regroup.  Your mind gets to clear out the “stuff” and then can help you clearly focus on what you need to do.

Giving this time to yourself is a wonderful gift.  It will return you many beneficial rewards.  Getting started is the hard part.  You need to have consistency with meditation.

Meditation advances with each sitting and soon it makes what Chopra calls “quantum leaps.”  That’s when you really know you are hitting the motherload.  The more you do it the better it gets.

Getting Help Winding Down and Relaxing

I want to recommend a person who has relaxation and meditation videos that you pay for once and they are yours forever.

For years I have worked weekly with Sevina Altanova.  Sevina helps me relax and gives me Reiki sessions on a weekly basis. I use her yoga exercise video in the morning to keep my body in shape and, sometimes I use her meditation tapes in the daytime to take me on a wonderful guided tour.   

Sevina is an actress who immigrated from Bulgaria with her director/writer husband and two lovely boys.  Please check out her website. https://stressmanagementresources.com/    Look under “Meditation” for her 11 Science-based reasons for meditation.  Check out her “Relaxation” information and be sure to take advantage of the free meditation.

 

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.

 

By only asking for things for your highest good, you will raise your energy and increase your happiness.

It’s exciting that science is now looking into Eastern spiritual information and practices to understand quantum physics.  It’s a wonderful time to be alive and get to understand the power of our minds. 

Manifesting

The physicists say that you have an electric body. Your mind is electric, your thoughts electric and they are energy.

Many things Carole Dean wrote ten years ago are now proven and understood by physicists.  She wrote “The Art of Manifesting: Creating Your Future” to explain the law of manifestation and outline how to use the law of attraction to accelerate your manifestations. You can turn dreams into reality and this book shows you how.

On The Art of Film Funding Podcast, she discussed with host Claire Papin how filmmakers and others can use the lessons in the book to create their own success.

Are we manifesting daily with our thoughts and if so, just how powerful are they?

The physicists say that you have an electric body. Your mind is electric, your thoughts electric and they are energy. Your thoughts are things, they are alive, they are energy. Plus, we are living in a conscious universe. Our universe, sees everything, records everything and is part of us.

All this is proven. Currently they’re doing PSI (term used to refer to psychic phenomena, experiences, or events) experiments and they are proving so many unusual things that we’ve always been wondering about.  They are researching psychic phoneme, like premonition, when you know something’s going to happen.  Or when you talk to someone on the wind and ask them to contact you and they do. The researchers are finding that these things are natural.  They can reproduce many things we call physic phenome in the lab. If we talked more about these unusual experiences with each other, we would realize that they happen often. 

Dean Radin, head of The Noetic Science Institute has written a brilliant book called The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena where he explains his psi research. It’s amazing how many of these things we think are abnormal are being proven in the laboratory.  He concludes that we are physic and we are all connected to each other. I think we are very powerful beings and we need to recognize our powers and use them.

Are we walking WiFi’s?

We’re constantly sending things out with our thoughts. We are always asking the universe to help us with decisions. Are our thoughts contributing to our futures?  Are we sometimes dreaming things into existence?

Let’s use what physicists say and picture a universe where all around you, every inch of space around you is teaming with energy, energy that is constantly moving and refreshing itself.  It is a constant and exists all around us and incorporates us to the stars and all life on our earth and to all of our galaxy.

To give you an idea of the power of this invisible energy, if you and I were sitting three feet apart, the energy between us would be enough to boil all the oceans on the earth. Now that’s mathematically proven. This energy is called the quantum field.

This field is what connects us. We’re all connected through the quantum field and this field is constantly recording everything that happens, every movement, every sound, every thought. Here we are as electric beings, our hearts are electric, our brains are electric, and we are living in a universe teaming with energy, it too is electric.  And, we are constantly broadcasting our thoughts.

So, let’s pretend that what you’re sending out with your thoughts you are manifesting.  I know this is a big jump, but let’s consider what if.  If you are visualizing your film finished, if you can see yourself at the premier screening where your title comes on the screen, the credits roll and you are experiencing joy, gratitude, happiness, success and achievement as you watch your completed film, is this helping to create it?  That’s the question.

If you change your thoughts to those of success and gratitude daily where you have a vision of your completed film, you know it is sold, and you are profitable, then does this help you?

Why not consider they are for a month. Just pretend that all the thoughts that you send out, will manifest what you want.  Try this for a month and watch how more positive you become.  You will only want to think of harmony, happiness, success and benefit to all.  Then you will begin to see major changes in your life and the lives of those around you.

It all starts with your thoughts. What you’re sending out and what you believe.  By only asking for things for your highest good, you will raise your energy and increase your happiness.

When you come to the realization that you are living in a conscious universe, realizing that it hears your thoughts, it knows what you are doing, it knows what you are thinking, then you will want to carefully chose your thoughts to be of the highest vibration. 

Your thoughts will be for your highest good and for the good of all involved.  Now you are coalescing with the universal mind.  You are co creating with the universe and your wants and needs will be of second of importance to you.  Your first focus will be to achieve where all involved benefit and this will happen.

Tell us more about the law of attraction

According to the mathematician, Rob Solomon, in his article The Mechanics of Reality, Solomon states that “the past is finished, and the future is unformed. Both have no existence in physical reality only the now is real.”  He refers to the quantum field as the “matrix.” Hs states: “The matrix is infinite and exists outside of time. It contains, in an intangible form, every possible instantaneous configuration of physical reality, like a vast archive of film frames. It is pointless to conjecture why this is so.”

He quotes the Russian physicist Vadim Zeland who proposes that: “the matrix also contains information on alternative ways each state could develop overtime if materialized. These possible timelines he calls lifelines and refers to the potential alternative sequences with which events might unfold as scripts. Because the matrix is infinite in principle there is no limit to the scenarios and scripts an individual could potentially experience.”

Solomon says let’s take a hypothetical person and call them Ellie.  “her fixations self-image, strongly held beliefs, (some of which are self-conscious, and which she is not aware of), attitudes and opinions about how she sees her world, be collectively labeled as her “mindset.”

Where the conscious mind does not access the matrix directly, its conclusions, convictions, and strongly held beliefs can as long as they impact the subconscious mind, by possessing a powerful emotional content.”

I believe this is an important key to manifesting.  Emotions are the way to manifest your dreams to fruition. Sending feeling with emotions along with visualization of the desire you want is what produces the event. And to live as if you have what you want is what makes it happen quicker.

“The usual analogy is that our mind set acts like a radio. Ellie’s mindset “tunes in” to the corresponding region of the matrix, and lights it up. The matrix then delivers the circumstances held in the lit-up region to Ellie’s physical experience. Although there is always a time delay. Belief and expectation are important factors to the success.

If Ellie performs physical action as if her intention had already been achieved this can have a powerful impact on her belief and the realization of her intention. Action can also reinforce the following factors which can be brought under Ellie’s control and which powerfully impact the matrix, even independently of action: intention, commitment, determination, focus, emotion, excitement, enthusiasm, passion and imagination. As we now know only the present instant is real.

The only power Ellie has is to intend and form the future, preferably with excitement and enthusiasm, by behaving as if her intentions have already been achieved in the here and now. This will cause the reality film to roll in the direction that points to her desired frame in the matrix. So that by the time the future arrives– by becoming the present—- it delivers what she desires.” 

“In applying the law of attraction to achieve some desire, we should visualize, and meditate upon our desire with the excitement and feeling that it has already been achieved, with a strong sense of the present. Only the present instant is real, and it is only in the now that we have the power. We should not even imagine ourselves projected into the future with our desires fulfilled, because the future does not exist. Most importantly we should not entertain thoughts about how intentions are quote going to happen. That places desire squarely in the future and the matrix will respond by reflecting back an endless state of going to happen–one day!

Instead picture our desires fulfilled in the here and now the associated excitement and feeling will then steer the analogous matrix film strip towards a frame where our intentions have indeed been achieved. These will emerge into objective reality at the appropriate time.

Actions also, as far as possible, should be preformed as if the intention has already been achieved.  Pay no attention to the facts, existing circumstances, contingencies, or to the seemingly necessary Ways and Means. And disregard all limiting factors, be they inadequate funds, poor health etc. Dismiss probabilities, possibilities, and seeming likelihoods as irrelevant. Even business theories and practices of the material world have absolutely no place where the law of attraction is being invoked. “

I think Mr. Solomon has given us a clear, concise way to manifest and I highly recommend it.

How Knowing That We Are All Connected Will Improve Your Chances of Making Your Film

By Carole Dean

Every other Saturday morning at 10am, From the Heart Productions conducts a Film Funding Guidance Class for our fiscally sponsored filmmakers. As the class title suggests, the purpose of our meeting is to keep filmmakers on track to raise money for their films.  We offer them some very unique advice and lessons. 

There are not only suggestions for improving loglines and creating a great pitch, but we work to keep them inspired and motivated.  Because it’s not just important for them to know how to increase donations.  They need to believe in themselves that they can do it.

conscious universe

We are all connected to each other.  We are living in a conscious universe that hears our thoughts, knows our mind, knows what is in our hearts. 

I open the class by discussing the work of one my favorite authors that highlights how using the power your mind can create your success.  Then, Brieanne Pryse, a natural healer and intuitive contributes her insightful comments.  Carole Joyce, the Director of the Roy Dean Grants offers ways to keep moving your film forward. She is followed by Jason Smith, writer/director/producer of the award-winning documentary I Voted? who takes questions from our filmmakers.  We close the class with a filmmaker pitching us their project and getting feedback. 

(You should join us some Saturday morning if you are one of our fiscally sponsored filmmakers, we created this class just for you.)

In the last class, I dove into The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena by Dean Radin. It is a great example of what we teach here at From the Heart Productions.  

I want to share with you an excerpt from the class as the information in it is important to all filmmakers trying to get their films financed and finished. 

Notes from Dean Radin’s brilliant mind

We are starting with the section on new metaphysics. This is Willis Harmon’s proposed wholeness science with the basic assumption that the universe is a single whole within which every part is intimately connected to every other part.

He writes that “The entire spectrum of states of consciousness, including religious experiences and mystical states, has been at the heart of all cultures. These states of consciousness may be an important investigative tool, a window to other dimensions of reality.

“The question is not; how can we explain telepathy? but rather, how can we explain why our minds are not cluttered by all that information in other people’s minds?

We need to think, not how can we explain this psychokinesis? But rather, how can we understand why our minds have such a limited effect in the physical world.”

We are all connected, to each other, to the stars, to the universe

“Human beings are part of the whole and there is no justification for assuming that drives such as survival, belongingness, achievement, and self-actualization or not also characteristics of the whole.

Similarly, since we experience purpose and values, there is no justification for assuming that these are not also characteristics of the whole. The universe may be genuinely and not just apparently, purposeful and goal oriented.”

I like this concept Mr. Harmon proposes because it tells us we have been doing the right thing all these years by setting goals and focusing on achieve them. We create our to do list and are daily working on it.

This also supports our daily visualizing our positive results.  Now our understanding that achieving success is interconnected with the universe which is even more empowering. Plus, realizing that the universe hears and supports us and perhaps actually helps make things happen.  This is excellent news for goal- oriented people like filmmakers.

I am sure you have found that sometimes when you were not able to achieve your goal, that too was part of the plan of the universe. Have you ever found that the times you did not get your desired goal was because it would have brought you problems or it was taking you off your path?

I bet you always found that not getting a goal was sometimes for your better good.  I know I have.  I always say the universe knows more than I do and if I don’t get this, I will understand that what I want is not for my highest good.

Metaphysics is shifting towards a mystical worldview

Dean Radin says that “Harmon’s information reveals the new metaphysics is shifting towards a mystical worldview.  Some scientists will be suspicious of this interpretation, and yet what else are we to make of the writings of Nobel laureate physicist Erwin Schrodinger who says: I have no hesitation in declaring quite bluntly that the acceptance of a really existing material world, as the explanation of the fact that we all find in the end that we are empirically in the same environment, this becomes mystical and metaphysical.”

Dean continues, “Some of the suspicions that scientist have about the concept of the mystical almost certainly derive from its close association with religious doctrine. But that is not what Schrodinger, Einstein, James, and dozens of other eminent scientists meant. They were talking about the nature and experience of interconnectedness.”

This takes us back to astronaut Edgar Mitchell and his Epiphany when he was returning home from Apollo 14 and he felt that “moment of connection” to all the stars in the universe, to all the people, to all life on the planet, to space its self and he immediately knew that we are all connected.

We need to thank Edgar for being bold enough to admit what happened to him.  He spent the rest of his life working with physicists to prove that we are connected. Dean Raiden is running the company that Edgar Mitchell started, The Institute of Noetic Sciences.  Dean has spent most of his life working with psychic phenomena which has been beneficial to all of us. He is working at the forefront of science in understanding our interconnectedness.

I think this information is most important to all of us.  For example, when you are in a meeting and start to pitch someone about your film with the intent on getting funding or production benefits, I want you to realize that you’re already connected to this person.

The Conscious Universe is connected by the Quantum Field which records everything

That’s what this book, The Conscious Universe, is teaching us, we are all connected to each other.  We are living in a conscious universe that hears our thoughts, knows our mind, knows what is in our hearts. 

So, please, keep this in your mind when you’re creating your pitch. Perhaps you don’t look at someone as a wealthy person or as the acquisition’s manager.  Perhaps you see them as another being on the same path as you with their own set of hopes, goals and dreams just like you. Perhaps you think of them as a mirror of yourself. Would this be a good move for them?  Is so, why?  Work, create, live knowing that we are all connected.  You are not separate; you are part of the whole and so is this person.  What is best for both of you?

Find what you feel are the most important parts of your film and outline what is extraordinary about your film.  What is the real essence of your film that this person will understand?  Tell them how it benefits society and share this information with great pride and sincerity from your heart of hearts.  Make it personal.  You are speaking to another human on a journey with goals just like you.

Live with the knowing that you will find the right person to fund your film and in fact you’ll probably find many people who will fund your film. You want to relax in the knowledge that “We are all connected.”

Dean goes on to say “Underlying the isolated world of ordinary objects and human experience is another reality, an interconnected world of intermingling relationships and possibilities.

This underlying reality is more fundamental in the sense of being the ground state from which everything originates.”

We are constantly sending and receiving information

Dean share the following: “The Buddha compared the universe to a vast net woven of countless varieties of brilliant jewels, each with a countless number of facets. Each jewel reflects in itself every other jewel in the net and is, in fact, one with every other jewel. Everything is inexplicably interrelated. We come to realize that we are responsible for everything we do, say, or think, responsible in fact for ourselves, everyone and everything else, and the entire universe.

“We are those jewels, each of us reflects out to others who reflect back to us and we are all in this net together.  We are not separate; we are all inner connected.

“The deep interconnectedness revealed by modern science and described in ancient doctrine suggest a racially connected network of physical variables interacting like a shimmering weavers loom as both modern physics and ancient Buddhist doctrine suggest, deep interconnectedness embraces everything, unbound by the usual limitations of time and space.  Sir James Gene said the universe begins to look more like a great thought then like a great machine.”

Dean goes on to say that, “the information about deep interconnectedness brings up the possibility that mind and matter in our action may have been misconceived. That we’re probably not dealing with interaction between two dissimilar entities but with the single phenomenon. Meaning then when we set a goal and focus on it that action is part of who we are and fully accepted by the universe because the universe is goal oriented we are goal oriented so when we visualize what we want it’s a natural thing to do, the universe is part of us and hears our thoughts and knows our hearts.  Perhaps even, that mind can cause matter to conform to mind’s vision.

Are we Co-creators of our future?

Perhaps we are creating our future on a daily basis.  This is what the physicists are telling us. I’m looking for everything I can find to support these statements so that all of us feel comfortable when we set goals and create our to do list.  When we achieve our success, perhaps the universe celebrates with us!  Perhaps it is as happy for us as we are for reaching our goal.  Wouldn’t that be nice to envision?

Science is inferring that the universe is goal oriented.  So, when we’re asking for something that is a natural expansion for us, something that takes us to our goal, then the universe sees and acknowledges this.  When we are working with the universe things should come to us as a natural event.  That is a given, we should be supported. 

Let’s use this information and start realizing that this is who we are, this is how the world works.  The scientists are trying to tell us this, in fact some of these men are spending their whole lives trying to prove that psychic experiences are natural, and we are the ones that are saying … really?  Well, I’m not so sure.

I am suggesting that we jump on board and say, “OK I can play this game, so, let’s give it a try. I’m going to interact with the universe, show them what I want, then make every effort to receive it and then relish in the delight of my success.”

 

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.

 

Film funding really starts in your mind with your faith in yourself and your film

Successful people manifest success. That is a core part of what Carole Dean, president of From the Heart Productions, has been teaching filmmakers for over 3 decades.  It has helped fund a lot of films.  It’s not enough to desire to create a film that audiences applaud or getting that check you desperately need to finish post-production.  You’ve got to have a picture in your mind of yourself in those scenarios.  Feel comfortable in it, feel you deserve it, and it will happen for you.

Art of Manifesting

Do you have a clear vision of yourself and your future? You will need it to manifest your success

Carole Dean wrote “The Art of Manifesting: Creating Your Future” to explain the law of manifestation and outline how to use the law of attraction to accelerate your manifestations. You can turn dreams into reality and this book shows you how.

On The Art of Film Funding Podcast, she discussed with host Claire Papin how filmmakers and others can use the lessons in the book to create their own success.

What prompted you to write the Art of Manifesting, Creating your Future?

I wrote this after traveling the world teaching my book, The Art of Film Funding. I began to realize from listening to filmmakers that the greatest asset they have is their mind.

I made it a point to keep a record of those filmmakers who assured me that their film, “would be funded and finished within a certain time.” I also kept track of some who told me that film funding was “very difficult and they were unsure of themselves.”   I made it a point to connect to these filmmakers and followed up to see what percentage of them finished their film. 

It was an incredibly high percentage. No matter what the subject, no matter what the budget. The fact that they believed they could do it seemed to overcome everything else. And those that said they thought it would be difficult were still looking for funding.

I had nothing in my book to support the power of your mind. I had intended to encourage people that their mind was powerful but did not focus on what is the most important asset filmmakers have, their faith.  Your belief in yourself and your belief in the completion of your film is paramount to production and funding.

The information in my “The Art of Film Funding” as well as my new book “How to Fund Your Film” must be accompanied by how to use your mind to fund your film.

I taught in South Africa, in New Zealand and all over America and I had so much fun, but the more I taught the funding book, the more it became clear that was only half of it. The real important side of film funding starts in your head. It’s all about what you think because “you are the magic.” You are what makes the film. And if you feel you cannot do it, that If you have the slightest feeling of discomfort, or if you lack confidence, this can impede your process.

Film funding really starts in your mind with your faith in yourself and your film.  It’s the most important part of funding.  As you might imagine filmmakers pitch me constantly for the film grant and to become sponsored by From the Heart. I can tell when someone calls to introduce themselves and their film if they’ve got the faith to fund their film or not. It is in their voice. It’s in their pitch, it’s in their paperwork and it is in their trailer.

Filmmakers need to be totally determined and fixed in the knowledge that their film is funded.  Their pitch to me must have that confidence.  All of us want to feel that the filmmaker can fund the film without us.  Your job is to make us feel that you are determined to make this film and that no one will stop you. That’s the level of confidence that you need to fund your film.

What does manifesting mean?

The Miriam Webster dictionary says:

Manifesting: apparent to the senses, especially to the sight, apparent, distinctly perceived, hence obvious to the understanding, apparent to the mind, easily apprehensible, plain, not obscure or hidden.

In other words, you can’t say to the universe one day, okay, I am making a feature film and this is my plan, and then the next day I say, well, you know, I’m not sure if I want to make that film. I think I might make a documentary. You need to clearly define what you want to manifest.

This is the most important part of manifesting. It goes back to the definition, “evident to the senses.” You need to feel it, see it, know it, believe it. All the senses are involved.

You want to be able to talk about your film as if it is a fait accompli. This comes through your voice as someone who is most confident. Your body language must be very positive, this comes from your mind, you know that you can make and fund this film and you carry yourself with great confidence.

As for vision, you need to be able to see the completed film. You need to know what you want the film to look like so that you can describe it.  Funders, grantors, donors and crew members want to know your vision of the film.

It’s best to think about what you want, make a commitment to yourself and the universe and say, okay, this is it. I’ve found what I want. Now you start manifesting. Now you start creating the vision, you have clarity on what you want to create. 

To manifest you set goals, short and longer term, like a three-month goal, then a six months goal, etcetera, and start moving forward. That’s how you make it happen.  (Goal setting is fully explained here: https://fromtheheartproductions.com/film-funding-guidance-class/)

From the beginning, knowing what you want, and starting out on a strong foundation with clarity and vision. That’s how you manifest because you are manifesting every day with your mind. Think about this, often, at night, when you go to bed, you say, tomorrow at 8am I am on conference call, my goal is to close this investor, you go over the next day, you visualize it and then the next day you manifest your plan.

When you go back and look at the physics of how things in this universe work, we are the magic. We are what stops a particle.

They say particles are never at rest. They’re always moving even at zero-degree temperature. When a human looks at a particle, they can stop it. Now how does that work? I think it is because we are the magic. We are the power.

Understand the power of your mind and realize how powerful you are so that you can use that power to make your film. Your belief and faith in yourself are the most important part of filmmaking. To believe and have this confidence and have a clear vision of your finished film is how you manifest.

Why do you say that artists need to know the market for their films early in production?

Let’s say if you were going to drive from LA to New York, the first thing you do is to create a route to get to your destination.  You would not get in a car and start driving not knowing where you were going.

Your destination is the most important thing. Too many filmmakers start out to make a film and they’re not sure where they can sell their film. They’re not sure where it’s going to be screened or shown or what the distribution would be. They don’t have a destination in mind.

And you need to identify your audience at the beginning of production.  And don’t say “everyone” will love this film.  We want to know specifically who your audience is.  Give us a composite of the person who represents your audience.  Where do they hang out?  What clubs and what organizations online do they belong to?  How do they get their news?  NY Times or Buzz Feed?

You want to identify and connect to your audience because these people will fund you and they will buy your download. Once you Identify your audience then you can connect to organizations where there are more people interested in the same content as your film.

You need to connect to these people, attach them to your mailing list and keep them informed on the progress of your film. This is how you expand your database of contacts. Your contacts in film production are the lifeblood of funding and marketing your film. This is your audience.

Once you identify the audience then you can ask, “who would be interested in buying the film? Where, which channel? Which cable station, which streamer? Which one of these places would want to buy my film? You need that destination.

Downloading is going to be even more prominent in the future because of Covid-19. We may not have as many theaters when they reopen, we may have a smaller number, and they will be dominated by the major distributors. Now, more than ever, filmmakers need to have the knowledge of how and where to distribute their film. 

It’s times like this, during a crisis, that your creativity can soar, and you can find new ways of distributing your film and end up making more money than you would have before Covid 19. Look at this as “a shake up of the old way” and you become an innovator for the new ways to distribute your work.

You book says you must have relentless faith to manifest, we want to know why.

Faith is one of the great keys to a successful life and I am sure it’s the greatest key to filmmaking. Faith in yourself, faith in your film, faith in the knowledge that universe will support you to raise the funds to make the film. If you read one of my favorite parts of the Bible, Matthew 17:20, it says:

For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

I don’t expect you to move the mountain, just move the Hollywood sign a bit.

 

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 production. Her 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.

 

Entertainment lawyer Robert L. Seigel on the need to review contracts, what to expect from insurance companies, and the what the future will look like for film production

by Carole Dean

Robert L. Seigel, Esq. is a brilliant film entertainment lawyer.  He has been helping and supporting filmmakers for over thirty years and is a donor for our Roy W. Dean Grant.  His expertise has helped many filmmakers beginning with production through negotiating successful distribution contracts.  

Covid-19 Filmmaking

I interviewed Robert and asked him to share some of his wisdom on where the film industry is going with the new coronavirus restrictions.

Robert, many standard contracts have what is called “boiler plate.” Should all these contracts be reviewed and modified under the threat of the new Coronavirus situation?

We have a couple of issues. One issue is regarding productions that were pre-virus and then we have post virus.

To give you an example, I have a client with a production where we had four days left and eventually the two leads and their representatives just didn’t feel comfortable continuing. So, he had to stop production. And then we were reworking their contracts saying that they’ll pick up subject to professional availability and good faith negotiation.  We thought that was a reasonable way of doing it.

Then, we got this bizarre letter from SAG-AFTRA that was stating, “For the first three weeks after the interruption, you pay people half their salaries and then you pay them the full salaries until it’s over.”  We don’t know when it’s going to be over. If we keep paying them, we’ll pay them more money than the budget probably.

So, the producers contacted SAG-AFTRA and said, “That’s not going to work. We would continue working when everyone is comfortable, and when that is, we don’t know.  Basically, we would try to schedule and just finish the shoot.”

That’s just the most reasonable way of doing it at the moment. Then SAG-AFTRA said, “We have to give some thought and we have to come back to you.”  We are waiting to hear from them before we can finish revising the agreements. That’s a very concrete example.

Will insurance cover the cost of the shut down for the virus?

Going forward, I think all insurance companies are going to say that the Corona virus or things like that are not going to be covered in most production insurance policies.

You might think something like shutting a film down would be covered by many insurance policies for independent productions. Well, no, not really because most insurance, especially for independent productions, is bare bones. You have workman’s comp to protect people who work on the project for usual injuries.  And then you have property damage and other basic types of insurance.

But something like coronavirus, which is not foreseeable, a lot of insurance companies are not going to pay off because it’ll be listed among a list of exclusions.

People say, “Oh, it’s business interruption.” Well an example of business interruption is when a theater on Broadway is shut down by New York  because you’re not an essential business. That’s business interruption of production. And you know what, you can calculate that by the attendance on the average for a Broadway theater or even a movie theater. But, for a production, you don’t know how well financially the production is going to do.

It’s just too speculative in nature.  That’s the issue.

Insurance companies will cover if you have a fire or a typhoon or, or some kind of “act of God” like lightning or an earthquake. Now you have basically a lot of arts organizations and other companies all trying to put claims in and they’re all getting bounced back because the insurance companies are saying, “If we pay everybody, we’re going to go bankrupt.” And we are saying, “All these years you’ve been issuing policies and we have been paying premiums and now something like this happens and you’re saying ’You’re not going to pay?’”

They’re actually going to court. The problem is most people really can’t afford to go up against insurance companies in order to get payout and the question is, what is the payout going to be? It could be a hundred thousand dollars; it could be millions.

I just read a story about The New York Metropolitan Opera. It didn’t have any provision like this because it was cost prohibitive. And that was the case with a lot of these small film productions. They weren’t going to cover all the possibilities. I remember after 9/11, there was anti-terrorist insurance, but later they said eventually it became something that was a risk of doing business.

What can we expect to see in the film industry going forward?

I think for productions, especially narratives, there will be a waiver of liability. You’re going to have fewer crowd scenes and only after a period of time when there is more testing or possibly a vaccine. And that’s a whole separate issue. There will be these waivers saying that there is density and there is the possibility of contracting something like the Corona virus and you assume the risk in order to take the job.

What producers, networks and studios are going to say is “If you don’t sign this, then you don’t work. Life is a risk.” There is something to be said for that. Basically, there will be some kind of waiver in all of these provisions. And I think in terms of casting a crew, at the moment there aren’t any really any laws. You have OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration with basic guidelines for any industry, not just film.

I think what the studios and the networks are going to do is they’re conventionally going to put together a series of protocols in order to move forward, such as limiting the crew.  Shooting as much in house, not on location, but using studio facilities and separating out into groups. people possibly will be quarantined for certain period before they can come onto sets. Maybe they will have their temperature taken and/or they are going to be giving rapid response tests.  Now we have such an issue now with testing that this is something that is going to have to really get much, much better before it’s doable.

In Europe where film and theaters are starting to open, theaters are saying people in rehearsals must be at least three feet away, not even six feet. And if they’re close, they must wear a mask. How do you rehearse? How do you do shows with people wearing masks? I think a lot of people are going to basically in the case of symptoms of fever with  live actors and directors, they may just say, “we may have to wait until there is more extensive testing or there’s a vaccine.” It will be January, maybe later than that before we may have all we need, now it is undetermined, it is unknown territory.

Tell us the meaning of force majeure in contracts.

The idea of force majeure is an interesting situation because sometimes it’s better to have a very broad force majeure and sometimes it is better to have a very narrow one. The wording for force measure is going to be redefined to talk about foreseeable and unforeseeable.

The idea with force majeure is that is that it’s an excuse for when or if you can’t perform so you won’t be held in breach or if someone else doesn’t perform so they won’t be held in breach. It’s a defense against claims of breach of contract. That’s what force majeure, is. It’s not necessarily a kind of a golden ticket in order to get money from an insurance company.

Here is an example.

If an actor  doesn’t want to act, producers and insurers are  going to say that’s not force majeure because they’re concerned about their health.  When the state shuts down production because it’s not an essential business, then that’s something that could be considered either a business interruption or possibly a force majeure, because it’s something that’s out of producer’s control as the state is basically shutting you down.

That’s the argument whether the insurance company is going to agree to it given the fact that if the insurance company pays one policy it will have to pay a lot of claims, and they say we’re going to go bankrupt.

What will happen to the window for theatrical release?

The experience of going to a movie theater is unique and special, especially for certain types of films such as science fiction, blockbusters, the superhero films and comedies. However, the idea of opening a theater with 25% capacity limitations, is it worth it?

I mean, that’s a question restaurants need to deal with too. Is it worth opening up when you can only seat a limited amount of people? This is a question that goes beyond just the theaters. Companies such as AMC, for example, are talking about filing for bankruptcy.  The AMC chains find during the week fewer people come the weekend and they don’t have a packed weekend audience, are the theaters going to survive?  

But, if we take a step back, then realize that attendance was really going down. We have a whole generation of people that watch things just on phones, TVs and computers screens. Basically, this audience uses streaming services. When movie theaters do open, they must deal with reduced capacity.  How well that will work? I don’t know.

The new releases are now available on Amazon for $19.95 to stream it at home. if you have a family of four that’s very reasonable, so perhaps the streamers will be the new initial release window and not the theaters for many films.

Going forward what should we expect?

Basically, filmmakers have got to really sit down with their attorneys before they start shooting to get clear on how to issue their contracts, how to write their contracts or change their contracts. They need to consider how to hire people and what conditions to put together on the set.

It’s really the set conditions. Certain items may not appear necessarily in a contract, but there will be  a kind of a protocol that producers will use because of business concerns and liability.

And what’s been interesting is in the trades, like in Deadline and Indiewire, there have been a series of articles about reopening and they’ve had different producers giving their tentative plans for how they will move forward for productions. And some of them are really detailed. They started naming some of the elements in terms of cast and crew size and sanitizing and basically no more buffets, you need food that’s pre-wrapped, having doors that are without handles, ones that push open. I mean it’s getting really complicated.

The Florida film commission does have a very good website where they have a series of trade articles, from the trade publications concerning going back into production. There is a large amount of homework that’s involved.

There’s an article that has to do with how the Europeans are handling COVID-19. And Sweden says the maximum number of people allowed is 50, which is a good number because in the US it can’t be more than 10 or 20 on set depending on the state. The restrictions in the US are how to handle interior shots that deal with maintaining social distance.

I think you’re not going to see many projects with multiple performers on screen. You may see people shooting one actor at a time and then maybe editing them into one scene in a two shot or limiting the number of actors in the frame. How do you shoot a two shot with social distancing? When the testing has been hopefully perfected, maybe they’ll be a certain comfort level so they can have two shots or three actors in a scene.  Again, this is speculation for the moment.

Mediamakers are using zoom for production meetings, so development is doable. Post-production is somewhat doable because it can be done remotely as well as distribution especially online. Production will be small crews with safety protocols, getting waivers of liability and things will take longer and cost more. You now need to buy sanitizers and packed lunches and your production schedule is going to be stretched out because you may have to do it in shifts to prevent crowd density.

Tell us about waivers of liability.

As I stated before, I believe there will be waivers of liability that would protect production if someone gets ill during the shoot so that they could not sue the production. That’s the idea of a waiver of liability. You’re taking a risk when you put people on the set.  To minimize your risk, you need to put protocols in place.  

People will say I’m taking a risk just getting on the set, so what are you doing to help  me be more safe and secure? What protocols are you putting in place to minimize my risk? Without this the actors may not show up. Then the next question is, will the audience in the theaters show up? There’s a lot of unknown territory at this point. For mediamakers, it’s trying to spot the issues, create protocols and get waivers of liability.

So, until there is more information, this is a work in progress, which is to be continued.

 

Robert L. Seigel can be reached at rlsentlaw@aol.com   From the Heart Productions highly recommends him.

 

Carole Dean, author of “The Art of Film Funding”, discusses her new class “How to Fund Your Film”.  Why you need a believable budget, a killer script, and a plan to capture HNI’s.

Carole Dean’s passion and mission is teaching film funding.  She found her love and calling after creating her revolutionary first business. Beginning buying left over film from studios in the 1970’s, she sold it to filmmakers at discount helping spur an explosion in independent films. Getting to know her clients, she saw how difficult it was for them to get funding. They were artists and dreamers and not savvy in raising money from investors.  So many great films, filled with incredible life-changing stories, from talented producers and directors, were going unmade and it made her mad.

 

Expert Tips on How to Fund Your Film

Carole Dean’s new class “How to Fund Your Film” is available now on Vimeo.  You can save $10 off the price until May 31st by using the code GetFunded. 

 

In 1993, she founded and is president of From the Heart Productions, a non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers find money for their films.  The organization offers film grants, film funding classes, and fiscal sponsorship for filmmakers.  Since its creation, Carole has helped guide filmmakers to raise nearly $30 million for their projects.  In 2012, she authored the best-selling “The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts”.  

Her new video class, “How to Fund Your Film”, has just been released and is now available on Vimeo on Demand. In it, Carole has created a detailed, informative, and fun course for filmmakers that lays out a step-by-step plan for funding their film.

On The Art of Film Funding Podcast, Carole previewed her new class with host Claire Papin.  

Why Did You Create the How to Fund Your Film Class?

I give a lot of consultations to filmmakers. I am lucky, I love what I do. I have the greatest job in the whole world. I get to talk to filmmakers who want advice on film funding.

And one day I hung up the phone from a consultation where the woman was very pleased with what we created together. It’s always a two-way street. It’s bouncing ideas and my sharing the knowledge.  I began to realize that I have a lot of information. You know, sometimes you get used to it, but this filmmaker was shocked at the knowledge I shared.

And I thought, I really have got to get all this down. I have so many stories to tell about people who were successful by doing unique and unusual things. So, I decided to start taking all of the notes that I give to filmmakers and putting them together so I could create a new book. It really started out to help save me time. But then I realized, that there’s a lot to learn I ended up with a three hour class!

Which is the Blink of An Eye Compared to How it Takes to Make a Film

The sad news is, it’s an average six years for someone to make a documentary plus two more for marketing and distribution. So, if you knew going into a film as a documentary that it was going to take you eight years, you might think twice.

My job is to help you make it a lot faster.  I want you to know where the pitfalls are and where to put your focus. And that’s what I put in this book. The idea would be that you get finished faster.  Then, for features, it can take from 3 to 5 years and of course that’s all about finding the money.

I spent a lot of time on finding money in the class for feature makers as well as for documentaries or shorts or webisodes. It’s all the same thing. It’s raising money for your art.

Where is the Power Point?

It is on Vimeo and from the current sales I find what people do is they will watch about 20 minutes and then they’ll come back and do another 20 minutes. It is in sections to let them do as much as they want at a time. It’s all created for filmmakers with current filmmaker’s success stories.

How to Fund Your Film Has 14 Sections?

You may remember Johnny Depp in Alice in Wonderland said, where, where do we begin? And they said, Oh, you start at the very beginning and you’re going until the very end.

So, the very beginning of the class is when you say:  I want to make a film and it goes until the end where you have lots of information on funding, marketing and selling yourself and your film.

You Begin with Stressing the Importance of Finding the Time to Create a Film

Where will you find the time to make a film? That’s what I want you to ask yourself first.  Are you willing to put in 15 to 20 hours a week?

Because most filmmakers have a job, a usually a full time or two half time jobs and then they have their family. They have to their health. They have to take care of their health and exercise, meditate. And now you have your precious film that you want to bring into that world.

You have to make some major decisions on where to find the time. In the very beginning, we cover how to schedule your time, how to find it, what to give up. I give you suggestions, but you make the decisions.  You really want to make a commitment to creating your film.

And You Need to Make Time for All Your Rewrites

That’s the most important thing about writing. My friend Jeff, who runs The Writers Bootcamp says, when you’re finished with your script, well congratulations, but you are only 7% finished because now you have the rewrites.

I helped one man with a mystery, a thriller film, and I read 52 revisions of his script. He was very successful, he raised the money, he made his film, he won awards for it. So, it takes a total amount of focus.

You have no idea how many times you’re going to have to rewrite your script. That’s for a feature for a documentary it’s such an organic piece that you’re always rewriting it because as soon as you turn on your camera, the film takes off and it often goes in a new direction.

You Mention in Your Class a Very Clever Method to Getting a Great Final Script

I want to see a script that is a dynamite script because a good script will not make a good film. It has to be a dynamite script.

So, when you finish that script, get some coverage, get people, not your friends or family. Don’t send it to anyone you know.  Send it to a professional reader for coverage.

You can find them on Craig’s list. Please, get some honest feedback and you have to continue to do that until you really have a strong, incredibly good script because your whole future depends on the power of that script.

And it is the same with the documentary. I say put some passionate in your proposal. Because when we are judging films, we’re sitting here, reading one proposal after another for the grant.  When we hit one with passion, we jump out of our seats with joy and want to share with the rest of the judges. I want passion that jumps off the page.

You Give Advice on Why Filmmakers Need a Believable Budget

Oh my gosh, yes. That’s when everybody freaks out, but the whole secret is that it must be believable. You want a believable budget.

And for the grant I get a lot of budgets that are even numbers and I know they’re guesstimates and I will accept them, but I don’t know about other grantors. I think that for your own self being and the peace of mind, you really need to know what your budget is.

And You Tell Them How to Get One

So, I have put in How to Fund Your Film Class people to call people that are donors to our Roy W. Dean Grants. I recommended David Raiklen for music,  Sam Dlugach for color, Jerry Deaton for sound and more people for the New York area.

These people are exceptionally talented, and their prices are reasonable. And they love documentary filmmakers and independent filmmakers.  Especially ones that come through From the Heart Productions.  

And that’s what you want, is you want someone who will love your film and take on the same passion you have for it.  And that I’ve seen that happen with all three of these people with sound, color, music and more. You always want to put a brilliant team together.

And, and I’ve explained to how to do that.  To get a believable budget, you really need to call people and say, here’s what I’m doing and what do you think this will cost?  Give me an estimate. And I know that,  as I get closer, I can get to the penny.

You want to get a believable number because you never know when you’re going to get in an office or at a luncheon with some person who says, well, really how much you need?

And you can say $56,000 is what I need on my budget and bring up the budget on your phone and say, here it is. And you can defend every line.

You’ve Also Mentioned the Importance of Networking for HNI, High Net Worth Individuals

Well, this is the next phase. You get your believable budget, your incredible script, your killer script and your brilliant outline impeccably done for your documentary or short or webisode. And you have the pitch, the proposal, the paperwork. Now what are you going to do?

Well, you’ve got to get out on the street and meet some wealthy people. And so how do you do that? Well, you’ve got to become part of their world.  So, you want to identify community organizations where wealthy people could belong.

And many of these organizations offer a low-priced membership that you could afford. And yes, they have some gala events, but that may be worth it at the end of the year.

But the main thing is that if you join and you really put in some time and give of yourself to that organization, let’s say that it was a for the humane society, that’s something that simple.

You might be walking dogs right alongside of someone who’s worth a couple of a billion dollars!

Carole Dean’s class “How to Fund Your Film” is now available on Vimeo on Demand.  You can save 10% if purchased by May 31st by using code GetFunded

We Invited Our Fiscally Sponsored Filmmakers to Share Stories of Moments that Changed Their Lives

By Carole Dean

Every two weeks for over two years, I’ve conducted our Film Funding Guidance Class for all or fiscally sponsored filmmakers. 

In it, my board and invited guests and I impress upon our filmmakers the power they have in their minds and how to use their intentions to complete their film.  We give practical advice on how to help keep them motivated moving forward.  Each week, a filmmaker is invited to pitch their project.  They get invaluable advice from us and other filmmakers on how to improve it.

Extraordinary Filmmakers

Our fiscally sponsored filmmakers share what inspired them and their films

With the sudden onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was easy to tell from my conversations with them that our filmmakers were distracted and worried.  They were concerned about the health and welfare of friends and family.  They were also very down that with many of their projects were now on hold. 

I wanted to do something that we could do as a group.  Something that would support other artists and filmmakers.  It would need to be a project that would lift all our spirits, bring us closer together,  and put our filmmaker’s brilliant minds to good use.

Extraordinary Filmmakers

We discussed many options and one that had the most resonance for them was for each of us to write a chapter in a book.  They keep the rights and let From the Heart Productions publish the eBook. 

I suggested a working title of Extraordinary Filmmakers.  

They could write about anything spiritual that happened to them.  Or, they could write about something extraordinary in their lives, even the moment when they knew they had to be a filmmaker/storyteller. 

First Meeting

It was agreed that we’d meet once a week.  We had our first meeting via conference call and the turnout was great.  So many attended that we’ll be able to have 12 chapters of the book. 

Some key decisions were made. 

Our deadline for edited copy will be July 24th, 2020.  Filmmakers will break up into groups to help each other with chapters.  We’ll appoint editors to review the work during the 3 months until project end.  In each meeting, we’ll discuss the most recently finished chapters and offer advice for any improvement.

Giving Back to Other Filmmakers

It was also decided that the book will be for sale.  The profits will go to an emergency fund for filmmakers in need. 

I could not be happier with the response, excitement, and energy surrounding this project.  It is a great opportunity to put in writing important moments in their lives and inspire others.  Also, I’m very glad that any money generated will be used as well to help other filmmakers.

 

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.

Thoughts on The Most Important Thing Filmmakers Can Contribute During This Crisis

by Carole Dean

 

Ok, I want all filmmakers reading this to play a game called let’s pretend.

Let’s take our imaginations and pretend that something is real even though it may not be.  For the moment, we’re going to pretend it is real.

Storytellers

Let’s pretend that we all chose to come into this life to help humanity through the worst crisis ever imagined.  Let’s pretend that before we came into this life, we chose who our parents were and what our goals were for this life.

When I grew up in Texas, I was told I should be the woman behind the man.  That was a desired job, to be a powerful woman who supported her husband. That actually was considered a great achievement. 

Maybe you wanted to be a producer and create good stories.  Or perhaps you wanted to cut the film up and tell a story in the edit room.  Maybe you had an idea and wanted to write the script.

So, here you are, a talented, creative filmmaker in the middle of a disaster affecting all of the planet.  How best can you help?

Storytellers Wanted

What do you think we need the most right now besides love, food and medicine?

I think we need storytellers. 

This is a time to document what is happening and we can do that by telling stories.  This is a time to support others and we can do that with empowering stories. 

You are all storytellers. 

Now, go back to our game of Let’s Pretend.  You are pretending that you came into this life and chose to be here at this exact time in the history of the earth.  It is a time of great fear and economic turmoil facing our planet.  And, you are here with your brilliant filmmaking skills. 

Each of you have many talents and the most predominant amongst all of these is the ability to tell compelling stories.

Perhaps that is what you are here to do, create engaging films to help us through this terrible time.

Keep Calm and Create

You will probably spend most of your time dealing with the crisis daily maintaining your balance and health.  You will also need to keep yourself, your friends, family and other filmmakers safe. 

But what if you came into this life with your many talents to help humanity through this crisis?  If that were true, then what should you do now?  

Meditate on what your original goal was when you came to earth.  What promised did you make to yourself?  The answers are there inside you.  You want to find them and practice that old adage:

To thine own self be true.

 

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

How to move your film, film career, and life forward through an unsettled future

by Carole Dean

This is a special moment in all our lives. Nearly all of us are hunkered down at home during a pandemic.  How do we continue with our lives and keep funding our films with daily cancellations of events and the fear of being close to people and of even going out? 

Now more than ever, we need to focus on our future.  We need to have goals and the confidence we can reach these goals after we emerge safe and secure from this crisis. 

Filmmaker Pandemic

Film shoot on hold? Film festivals canceled? Use your shelter-in time to set goals.

I asked Breianne Pryse to join me on The Art of Film Funding Podcast to give us suggestions on creating and implementing goals.  Brianne Pryse is a natural born intuitive impasse, healer, coach, speaker, and writer.  

She is also a regular on our Film Funding Guidance Classes advising filmmakers how to continue to progress on their projects.  As a lifelong student, she’s been trained in many different modalities. Since 2002, she’s been a full time healer and coach.   

Here is her advice from this interview.

Setting Little, Medium, Big and Almost Impossible Goals

One of the things that I really recommend is to set goals.  But you also must revisit them because sometimes we write them down on a piece of paper and never look at our goals. I believe you must look at them every day or at least every week and you need to be able to connect with them.

I also recommend you have four types of goals. You have the very small ones that you can check off almost daily, so it shows you that you’re getting things done. Then you have the medium goals that have a little bit of work, where you can still check these off easy too.

Then you have the bigger goals where you’re doing a film and working on funding. Getting your film funded may be a big goal.  It’s important that you ask for money and give specifics, like you want to say the dollar amount of your funding goal. Getting your crew, that’s a whole different big goal too. So, you write these down.

Now, the fourth one that I feel is very, very important. It is that you ask for a goal that is just beyond what you think is possible. For example, is your goal beyond impossible possible? And maybe something like, I get an award-winning editor on my film, or I raise $50,000 for my fee. Something just beyond what you think you can do. Because what that does is expand your energy and it helps you connect to the quantum field in a different way.

Examples of Goal Setting

Well, a little goal is, ‘I get up at six o’clock in the morning and write for an hour before work.’  ‘I spend a day without going on Facebook and wasting time.’ Goals like this are good because it tells the universe that we’re in, that we are serious about our goals and we’re making changes.

And it’s all about change. Right now, we are in a very, very high energy year. So that means we need to keep on top of things, or we will get swept away in the negativity and in the craziness, which we do not want to do.

So, these are examples of small productive goals. And then medium goals may be that you write a certain number of pages that day or that week. Because as a filmmaker, most of the time you’re writing your script or you’re writing your promotional material or emails or grants, etc.  And put down actions too.  Ones like I contact three people today for funding, this is also a medium to large goal.

 

 

Why “The Secret” Did Not Work for Many People

I attend a lot of classes where we are told, ‘Oh, you just sit in the chair and you say you’re a millionaire and millions come to you.’ And we know that’s not true, but it is absolutely true that we can create anything we want. We just need to get out of our own way.

It’s feeling into the energy and talking about it to the universe. And just looking at the numbers like, let’s say I need $100,000 for myself. Okay, I’m going to choose to go for this. All right? And then you create that goal and then you start asking questions of the universe. 

What energy can I be today, universe, that would create this? Where can I go to find this funding? What can I do today in this moment to really, really get progress on this goal?

Because what also happens with goals is, as we set expectations.  We all do it regardless of whether we admit to it.  Sometimes we get disappointed because our expectations are not met in the timeframe that we would like. So, the more we can just be in the energy, talking to the goals, allowing energy to move and showing us and asking the universe to show us what’s stopping us is a really, really big thing.

One of the big exercises that you can do is, get a journal, and draw a line down the middle. On the right you write what is happening. And on the left you write what you would like to happen.

An example is, I write on the right I have more bills than income. And on the left I write I would like to create money to pay off all my bills

Now you start asking, okay, so what am I doing wrong? What is going on that is creating the opposite?  And just see what happens and what you hear because the universe is happy to tell you the problems, but we need to be open to hearing it.

Sometimes the universe makes you aware of where you’re overspending, where you’re emotionally spending, where you’re not allowing other people to contribute to you. Now you can write these down under what you don’t want and then you start looking at the behaviors that you can change to solve the problem.

Setting Boundaries for Yourself

One of the biggest things I ever learned was setting boundaries.  Here’s what I recommend people do.

Before you get out of bed in the morning you take a deep breath.  Say, ‘I hear by now and forever on all levels of my being set 100% healthy boundaries on people, negative energy and negative self talk.’ Then, take a deep breath and blow it out.

This pushes people’s energy out of your field. Now you add anything and everything to that. If you’re fighting with an ex, you put boundaries on that person, on their energies. If you’re doing negative self-talk, if you’ve got a specific thing, like your relationship like with your mother. You can put boundaries on your relationship with your negative self talk relationship with your mother. And if you start doing that, that will help you get clear thinking.  You can focus more on your goals and be present in the now.

The more you can set the boundaries, the more you can think clearly. And it was life changing when I figured that out about 15 years ago. Now it also helps when you are feeling great and then you’ll talk to somebody and you feel like you were hit by a bus. That’s a boundary violation. So, you walk away, you say I set 100% healthy boundaries on that person and all their energies and then inhale and exhale and remove it.

Carole, I love your filmmakers and I believe that film is one of the few forms of freedom of speech we have left. Through films people are more willing to look at important issues. I think it’s awesome and  I love and I support the work you do at From the Heart Productions.

 

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

The New Law Disrupts How Non-Union Cast and Crew Are Employed.  We Invited An Expert to Answer Questions from Filmmakers on Navigating the Changes.

by Carole Dean

Veteran entertainment attorney Mark Litwack’s practice includes work in the areas of copyright, trademark, contract, multimedia law, intellectual property and book publishing. As a producer’s representative, he assists filmmakers in arranging financing, marketing, and distribution of their films.

AB-5

Your Freelance Crew on Your Film Are Now Your Employees

Mark has packaged movie projects and served as executive producer on many feature films. He has provided legal services or worked as a producer rep on more than 200 feature film. He’s the author of six books that are all invaluable for filmmakers.  Mark has been a generous donor to the Roy Dean Film Grant for years.

I invited him on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast to help us understand the recently enacted California Assembly Bill AB-5.  The bill went into effect January 1st, 2020 and will impact the employment status for many on nonunion film productions.  It will restrict the use of 1099’s.  Employers are now required to use what is called the ABC test to determine if an employee should be classified as an independent contractor.

Here are the edited highlights:

Can you give us some background and overview of the new law, please?

The California legislature passed this law to codify the principles of a recent 2018 court decision that’s referred to as the Dynamex case in which the Supreme court revised the prior test called Barrello for determining which workers are considered employees and which should be considered independent contractors.

The reason for this new law was to stop some labor practices that were considered abusive.  Namely companies in the gig economy like Uber and Lyft who would hire drivers as independent contractors then deny them benefits that employees have, such as a minimum wage, overtime, rest breaks. In addition, employees compared to independent contractors have the right to form a union.  Independent contractors must pay all the social security and Medicare costs.  They are also not eligible for unemployment insurance.

Basically AB-5 creates an assumption for employers. Consider all workers as employees, unless the employer can prove the worker’s role is an independent contractor according to the state’s new criteria.

Most independent filmmakers, if they wanted to play it safe, would hire a payroll company and pay most, if not everyone, as an employee to avoid any potential penalties. The prior law SB -459, enhanced the penalty for employers who misclassify personnel penalties range from $5,000 to $15,000 per violation.  Where there was a pattern or practice of violations, the penalty could increase from $10,000 to $25,000 per violation.

My guess is there’s an awful lot of independent filmmakers with people they hired as independent contractors when they should have been employees.  It just never surfaced or came to light.

Much of the change has to do with government wanting to make sure taxes get collected.

The government is more likely to receive taxes if they were automatically taken out of an employee’s paycheck than if the gross amount is paid to an independent contractor. That’s why the IRS takes the position that, for most people working on film production, they should be classified as employees, not independent contractors.

They obviously want taxes withheld. If the person is being employed through a loan out company, then the loan out company will withhold taxes. This should not pose a problem for the producer. Moreover, if the person is being hired, not just for their time but, but also equipment is being supplied, it is more likely to pass muster as an independent contractor. But simply calling a person you hire an independent contractor or using an independent contractor form of contract does not by itself give you much protection.

How do you decide who is an employee and not an independent contractor?

In determining whether or not an individual is providing service as an independent contractor or an employee, it can be basically distilled down to what’s called a control test. Simply put, an employee is an individual who the employer has the right to exercise control over the manner and the means by which they perform their services.  An independent contractor is sort of being hired for the end result.

So, if you hired a painting company to come and paint your house, they show up at your house.  You will often supply the paint, although you often get to choose the color.  They supplied the ladders, they supply the equipment, they supply the painters, and they paint your house. And maybe it takes a week and then they leave. And you, the homeowner, you’re not in the painting business and you can just pay them as an independent contractor. They’re in the painting business and that painting company, if they hire people, you know who worked for them, those people should be classified as employees.

So, in a movie, the director pretty much controls how everyone on the set does their job. Actors can’t change their role. They can’t decide when they want to show up. Everything is tightly, should be tightly choreographed, otherwise, you know, the shoot is going to be a disaster.

Exactly. Let’s go over that ABC test. Can you tell us what that is?

The ABC test requires that the hiring entity establish each of the following three factors to classify workers as independent contractors.

The first is “A”, that the worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work.   

“B” is that the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity, the employer’s business.

“C” is that the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade occupation or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity.

This new law creates specific exceptions and says the law can be applied somewhat retroactively. The exceptions fall into several different categories. (There are) certain exempt occupations, contracts for certain professional services, specific businesses, certain business to business contracting relationships…

But there is no specific exemption for filmmakers or those who work in film or television.

 

 

We’re still out here trying to figure out how to work within these laws. Most of my questions I’ve taken from filmmakers and I so appreciate your helping us to get clarity on this. One filmmaker asks, how does AB-5 affect non-union films?

It affects both union and nonunion films, but union productions already pay 95% of their workers as employees, not as independent contractors. And for this reason, unions believe that this law does not affect them. The unions have also said that they don’t think this law affects using loan out companies, but some attorneys are not so sure. For nonunion employees who were paid as independent contractors, the employer can be liable. The filmmaker can be liable if they are misclassified.

The safest thing to do, frankly, is to hire a payroll company. And let the payroll company deduct taxes and social security.

Some of the filmmakers are wondering should they create their own loan out company like create an LLC or an S Corp or even a single member LLC. If they decided they wanted to become a loan out company, what would you suggest they consider? Which type of a corporation?

What are we talking about crew now? People being hired? Yes. Well, it appears that they can.  They can set up a separate loan out company, which is considered a separate legal entity from them personally. And the purpose of loan out companies is basically to save on taxes.

When an actor sets up a loan out company, they usually own it 100%. When they get hired by a studio, they say to the studio instead of hiring me directly as an employee, I want you to contract through my loan out company for my services. So, the studio enters into a contract with the loan out company, which is 100% controlled by the artist. They also get the artist to sign what’s called an inducement agreement which binds the artists directly to the obligations.  The studio can pay a flat fee to the loan out company.  The loan out company hires you and pays you. But, the loan out company is your employer. They are the ones who should be deducting and paying taxes.

A lot of people want to, if they’re in the business, they want to set up a corporation or an LLC.  That gives them some insulation.  Because if things go bad, you could find yourself in a lawsuit.  As a sole proprietorship, even if you founded it as DBA.  A DBA is just a fictitious business name. It doesn’t give you any legal protections at all.

Let’s talk about labor versus gear rental fees. For freelance cinematographers, can they receive a 1099 for their gear rental and a W2 for labor on the same job?

Yes, they can. When you rent equipment, you’re not hiring someone. There’s no employment relationship there because you’re not hiring someone.  These rules about whether you’re an independent contractor or an employee have to do with hiring people to provide services. When you’re renting equipment that’s totally different.

Right. Okay. Got it. Part of the law says collaborating with the same people often could demonstrate that you are dependent on that one job and therefore an employee. What if you’re working as an adviser and most of your work is for one company?  But you have no call time and you can work when you set appointments. How would you classify this?

Well, this is gray areas here. And you know, one of the problems with this whole scheme of treating employees and independent contractors differently is it’s not always crystal clear whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor.  They could fall within this gray area where it’s not so clear.  So, there’s dangers.

My advice is if you’re concerned about being fined the safest thing to do is to hire them through a payroll company. Hire them as an employee and have taxes deducted. There’s no risks for that. It’s only if you hire someone who’s deemed an employee and you pay them as an independent contractor then you have some risk.

So, it’s much cheaper for you to just abide by the law until it’s amended to include the film industry or new laws are made. The safest thing you can do financially is to either start the loan out company or just hire a payroll company.

Right.  And by the way, those penalties are for violating the law.  There could be additional penalties. For instance, if you hired someone as an independent contractor and they should have been employees and they also worked a lot of overtime.  Now, you might also be liable for violating the overtime statute. So yeah, there could be a whole, a whole bunch of potential problems.

Oh my gosh. A letter I received said an option to consider is hire an entertainment law firm. If you’re a producer that has employment contracts in place drafted after 2020, you could potentially be subjected to tax penalties and lawsuits by both city and state of California. Does this mean that even if you have contracts in place, you could be fined if you were paid wrong?

Yes. When the courts look at a contract, if the contract says this is a contract for the sale of a duck, but it’s obvious what you bought instead was the chicken. The court’s not going to be fooled. you know? So, if you say this person is an independent contractor just because the contract says this person is an independent contractor, then it doesn’t make right.

If they should have been an employee, the contract’s not going to fool anyone. I’m not sure most independent filmmakers need to hire an entertainment law firm specifically for this. I would say hire a payroll company. 

If you hire a payroll company, you will probably be okay because this is exactly what the payroll company has expertise in.

If you’re uncertain about what to do, you can hire an attorney. But my guess is that most of the time, if you just had a payroll company that would solve the problem.

 

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

How an invitation to a movie set changed my life and helped spark a revolution in independent filmmaking

by Carole Dean

It was early 1970 and a lovely Friday morning, my favorite day, because I was going to my favorite hairdresser in the valley.  Connie Stevens was a movie star in the 70’s and she owned this lovely salon with the best hairdressers in LA.   My curly hair would be straightened and then piled on top of my head in a “beehive” of cascading curls.  It was a time when straight hair was in, some women were actually ironing their hair to get the last kink out of it.

Short Ends

Driving home with my hair full of spray net, I was totally focused on what to wear as this was a special night.  Mike Joyce had invited me to go to the set of a top TV show.  Mike was a camera man who loaded the film on the camera and handled the distance finder.  

He met me at the gate and escorted me to a captain’s chair saying Visitor…and put me near the action. David Jansen was at his height of power as the Doctor chasing the one-armed man who had killed his wife and Jansen was being charged with the murder. 

Once seated the fun began.  It was lights, camera, action and then it was Reloading….and I saw Mike take this large magazine that held the unexposed raw Kodak film stock off the camera and go to the dark room.  He was soon back with what looked like the same magazine and once it was back on the camera, the Director of Photography said,” Ready” to the Director, who said, Lights, and the set lit up, camera and then action. 

And in just a few minutes and they did the same thing all over again.  This happened 4 times in a row and David Jansen was all upset.  He was stomping around the set saying his lines out loud, and then the same thing would happen again.

The Invention of “Short Ends”

Once we were off the set, I asked Mike what was happening.  The set fiasco was more exciting than watching them shoot The Fugitive, that was boring.

Mike explained that David was flubbing his lines and it was a long scene.  So, when David got the lines wrong, they had to put in a new roll of film to get the entire scene at once.

Well, what do you do with those little old “Short Ends” of film I asked?  We write the footage on the can, tape up the cans them send them to the film department and get new rolls.  What?  You don’t use that film, no, said Mike.  One mistake in this business and you are history.  I can’t take a chance that the film is good.  But Mike you just loaded it yourself.

Mike said, “Not one assistant cameraman will use those, what did you call them?  Short Ends.  No, we know we can get new rolls.” 

My mind was spinning, I had been looking for something that I could do, and this seemed like it was a business in the making.

Well, what if I bought that stock and sold it to these new independent filmmakers?  No, Mike said, no one in their right mind would ever buy film stock that did not come from Kodak.  Forget about it.  Waste of time.  That will never work.

My $20 Business Idea

He was adamant.  But I was not convinced.  You know how you feel when a light bulb goes off inside you and you know this is a good idea?  That’s just how I felt.  I knew I could create a small business buying this left-over stock and selling it to the independents.

All of the union filmmakers like Mike were horrified at the growth of the independent film business.  Those people were not in the union and the word was to never deal with them, don’t help them in any way. 

The cameraman’s union was father to son.  It was only because Mike Joyce’s father was a cameraman that he was allowed to get into the local 659 union.  These independents could shoot films much cheaper and steal shots without permits.  They were brilliant at finding up-coming actors and directors to work for them for peanuts.  The proletariat said they were the dirt of the earth and had to be stamped out quickly.

How do you start a business?  I called city hall and they helped me find how to get a business license and it was very cheap to get a Doing Business As certificate.  Next,  I found I could rent a typewriter for $10.00 a month and off I went to the library to get copies of the Hollywood production companies.  I also copied the animation people., I was not sure what they did but I knew I had to include them.

So far, this was not too expensive.  It was a $20.00 investment.  Now the hard work started.  I hand typed 250 letters and send them to the companies and animators in Hollywood. I got one phone call. 

Vick Shank was an animator in the valley, and he said he would take a chance on 2000 feet of 35mm raw stock.  Fantastic!  I closed him, got the agreement he would have a check ready for me, and said that in 2 days I would deliver the film.

High Heels, Long Legs, and Need for Film

Now, I had the sale but no raw stock.  This was I felt the easy part, to buy the stock.  It never entered my mind that I could not get the stock.  From what I heard they sold it for the silver content for pennies.

Bill Wiedmeyer was the head of Columbia Pictures Studios.  Everyone said he was a nice man, so I call and got an appointment with him.  Walked in with my new mini skirt dress, with my long legs in high, high-heels and my hair in the famous be hive.  He pulled a chair up next to his desk and had me sit there next to him.

He immediately opened his drawer and took out the scissors and said, Lean over here.  I did and he cut off the price tag of my new dress.  At first, I was embarrassed but forget that, I was on a mission, so I just let that go and hoped he would hear me out.

Bill was a delightful man, we chatted for about 20 minutes on the state of the industry at that time and discussed our favorite films.  A Man and A Woman, was the French film that everyone was discussing and he loved that I had seen it.

Finally, I asked him if he would consider selling me some short ends of film.  I told him about my new business.  He thought that was wonderful and I gave him a good price for the film because I had already sold it and I was ready for a nice negotiation.

But he didn’t negotiate.  He took me to the vault and showed the thousands of cans of film and I was in heaven!  Here was my inventory, all I had to do was sell it.

Now, the only problem was I didn’t have any money.  So, I said let me have 3,000 feet today and I will be back and buy all your film.  He started to laugh.  You want me to take a check for $90.00?  I will have so much explaining to do, they will never believe me.   Now was the time to convince him that he would be so happy when I sold all his film and he just sat back in his seat and looked at me.  I knew he was thinking so I sat very still and let him think.

Yes, I will do this for you, he said, and got up and went to the vault again and pulled some cans of the shelf, took my check and I was in business.

Completing My First Short Ends Sale

If I was fast enough, I could get to Vick’s office today.  So I ran home, cleaned the film cans with Comet then rubbed them down with tea towels to make the shine.  I asked Vick to get my check ready.  I delivered the film and got to the hank to deposit his check to cover my check to Columbia because I did not have $90.00 in my account!

That was a memorable day.  It was empowering.  It meant that yes, there is a market for this film. I just needed to find the people who will buy it.  Vick said to try other animators as 100 fee was a day’s work for him, so he was set for weeks.

Now, it seemed to me that to get more customers I needed to have a reference.  So, each day I created a reason to call Vick.  What I really wanted to know was if the film was good and to see how he was and if he was enjoying using the short ends.  Finally, I got up the courage to ask him if I could use him as a reference.  “I will agree on one condition,” “OK, I said, anything you want Vick!”  He replied, “just stop calling me so I can do the work!”

Now armed with a vault full of film stock, one reference, and lots of confidence all I had to do was get on the phone and learn how to sell these little old short ends.

Helping Independent Filmmakers Finally Get Their Films Made

This little ‘ol short ends business took off.  Kodak loved me because I put value to their left-over stock.  They often sent me customers. 

What really happened is that many directors of photography who are now revered as some of our “greatest” started with the short ends we provided.  By providing film stock they could now afford, we helped many directors, writers and producers create their future.  It gave them a chance to make their movies. 

We sold to Cassavetes and Roger Corman who started the careers of Martin Scorsese and James Cameron.  Rudy Ray Moore, “Dolemite”, was able to shoot his features with our film stock.  We took credit cards too!  Robert Townsend and other filmmakers loved this. 

We ended up with three offices. Hollywood on Highland Blvd off Sunset, The Film Center Building in New York City, and one in downtown Chicago. 

Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do what you know you can do!!  Just smile at critics and do it anyway.  Where there is a will, there is a way.

 

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

 

The New Law Changes How Non-Union Filmmakers Must Classify Cast and Crew as Employees

Now law as of January 1st, California’s AB-5 (Assembly Bill 5) restricts the hiring of employees on a 1099.  Employers are now required to use what is called the ABC Test to determine if an employee can be classified as an independent contractor.

AB-5 Film

The ABC Test clearly states that workers are employees unless the employer can prove there is an absence of control, the worker’s trade is outside the employer’s business, and the worker is engaged in the same trade with many other entities.

The impetus behind the creation of the law was to control the explosion of Uber and Lyft drivers who were being classified as independent contractors.  It was intended to end what was considered to be an abusive classification that denied these workers many employee benefits. 

However, as written, the new law ended up eliminating the independent contractor classification for many other workers.  This includes independent California film and television producers who will lose the option to hire most production crew as independent contractors.

How AB-5 Effects Union Films

Unionized productions already pay 95% of their workers as employees, and not as contractors. For this reason, the unions don’t see the legislation effecting their members.

In a joint statement by SAG-AFTRA, WGA West, IATSE, Hollywood Teamsters 399, and Studio Utility Employees Local 724, the unions made it clear that they do not think AB 5 will affect the industry:

“Over the past four months, we have carefully monitored this legislation as it was drafted and moved through the California Legislature…During that time, we conducted due diligence within our own guilds and unions, with outside tax attorneys, CPAs, and entertainment lawyers knowledgeable about our business and loan-out companies, and with legislative staff in Sacramento. These conversations were all undertaken to ensure that AB 5 would not undermine the rights secured by our collective bargaining agreements, including the right to form and utilize loan-out companies.”

How Does AB-5 Effect Non-Union Films

Do you have a “call time”?  That would constitute control. Under the ABC Test, the majority of the cast and crew will be viewed as employees under the company’s control. 

An actor’s work could be construed as usual to the business of a production company. Collaborating with the same people often could demonstrate that you are dependent on that one job, and therefore, an employee.

Options to Consider When Going into Production

Hire a Payroll Company – If your freelancers now need to be classified as employees, get a film payroll company to on board workers as short term employees and serve as their employer of record.

Payroll Fee – It’s not an ideal solution. But adding an additional 15-20% per new employee into your new quotes will protect your production if what you thought were independent contractors need to be classified as employees.    

Hire an Entertainment Law Firm – If you are a producer that has employment contracts in place drafted before 2020, you could potentially be subjected to tax penalties and lawsuits by both cities and the State of California. 

With any legislation, the effects can never be seen in full until the law begins being applied. There have yet to be any court cases that will define the exemptions in this law.  So, best to err on side of caution and get advice when going into production.

We Want Your Questions

Carole Dean will interview entertainment lawyer Mark Litwack about this new law on  The Art of Film Funding Podcast on February 19th at 9am PST. 

We invite you email us with any questions you may have about the new law. Carole will pose them to Mark during the podcast.  You can email your questions to info@fromtheheartproductions.com

Wi-Fi may be providing you with high speed internet, but it’s invisible bandwaves may be slowly destroying your health  

by Carole Dean

Monika Krajewska has been designing healthy environments for 35 years. She became Electro-Hyper Sensitive (EHS) in 2007 after moving into a 1920’s house.  As a result of chronic exposure to mold and electromagnetic radiation, she was physically debilitated for nearly a decade. She found a building biologist who evaluated her home and discovered alarming levels of high electric and magnetic fields caused by the hundred-year-old wiring.  Monika began to recover as soon as the electric circuits were turned off.

Wi-Fi

The best thing you can do immediately to sleep better is to keep your phone away from you at night.

She devoted herself after that to study the science of healthy buildings. To date, Monika has assessed nearly one hundred homes for EMFs (electric and magnetic fields), has given countless talks, and assisted hundreds of people with creating healthy home and work environments. She is often called by realtors to measure properties for home buyers and renters. She is staff with the Building Biology Institute, lectures about EMFs and is founder of Elegant Healthy Homes.

I asked her to join me on the Art of Film Funding Podcast because I believe we are all living in an unseen sea of electronics that are causing many side effects.

The Dangers of Wi-Fi

I asked her to start with an explanation of the Wi-Fi that comes off our cell phone and our printers and compute,

“We call it radio frequency radiation.” she replied.  “Wi-Fi is part of that electromagnetic spectrum. And we have found those frequencies are pulsed frequencies.  If you live in the city, you have high exposure.  Because there are not only cell phones all around you, but everything is functioning on wireless communication.  You are most likely close to cell towers and antennas that proliferate every city. Those signals are particularly harmful simply because they create oxidative stress in the body.  You are being inundated by that 24/7, especially at night.”

Monika said the symptoms of EMF, Wi-Fi, and dirty electricity are headaches, depression, tinnitus, cognitive impairment, brain fog, heart palpitation, fatigue, skin conditions and skin rashes.

Sleep Time Is Repair Time

The first thing she asks a client when she’s hired to assess a home is, “Do you have a good night’s sleep?”  She begins her investigation in the sleeping area.  At night your body is repairing itself from the onslaught of Wi-Fi and EMF’s during the day. It needs the cleanest and most pristine environment to repair you.” 

Things that Monika addresses are the wiring in the walls around your bed, your metal bed frame, and anything that’s plugged into the power outlet around and up to within six inches from the bed. You might want to use a battery-operated clock to cut down on EMF’s.

The best thing you can do immediately to sleep better is to keep your phone away from you at night.  Do not to sleep with your cell phone near you.  Leave it in another room or better yet, put in a Faraday cage bag. I got one for $18.00.  You will not truly be rid of Wi-Fi until you remove the phone.

Forget charging your phone by your bed.  When you charge your phone next to your bed at night you get the radio frequency radiation next to your brain.  You get the electric field coming off the core that’s plugged into the electricity.  This is very toxic to your body.

 

 

Say Goodnight to Your Wi-Fi

“So how can you recharge yourself,” Monika asks, “if you’re not in a clean environment? You want to get rid of Alexa and any electronic gadgets, move them far away.” She even suggests that you go to the circuit breaker board and flip the circuits to the electrical sockets near your bed. Stop any electricity coming into your bedroom and the adjoining room.

Next, you want to consider the amount of Wi-Fi in your bedroom.  I set my router to turn off at night and back on in the morning and immediately I had a better night’s sleep.

You need to find out if your neighbor’s Wi-Fi is coming in. I bought an electronic monitoring device that measures Wi-Fi and EMF. It showed that my neighbors Wi-Fi was streaming into my bedroom with a very high rating.  I put aluminum foil over the windows and that stopped it.  However, if I left even a slit of ¼ inch uncovered, it would come in via the smallest crack.  So, overlap your foil to cover every opening.

Protecting Yourself From Wi-Fi

If you’re in an apartment building, you don’t have any control over what’s going on below you. However, she says there are items you can buy that will greatly enhance your sleep. There are RF sheets (that absorb or block radio frequencies) or bed mats that go specifically under the bed at Safe Living Technologies.

There are really great quality fabrics that are specifically made called Swiss Shield Natural and Swiss Shield Daylight. These two types of fabric that are used for shielding your body. You can make curtains from this and you can buy a readymade canopy for your bed. There  is a wall paint you can use that comes from Safe Living Technologies in Canada.  Monika has a lot of resources and she is happy to share them.

I replaced my normal electric power cords, which produce enormous amounts of electric fields and bought shielded cords with a ground which was very inexpensive. This reduces your exposure around your desk and work areas. 

Monika suggested you rewire your lamps with shielded cords and she said that ACE hardware will do it for $15.00 a lamp.  It may sound like a lot of fuss but believe me it’s worth it to feel better.

Time to Clean Up Your Environment

Monika went to an EMF conference for doctors in the San Francisco Bay area in September of 2019.  The consensus is that it’s just not enough to see a doctor if you are suffering from symptoms brought on by EMF or Wi-Fi.   99% of the responsibility and success with your recovery belongs in cleaning up the EMF environment in your home and especially in your bedroom.  Once you do this, then the doctors can do their work to help you recover.

Monika recommends you see the Ted Talk by Jeromy Johnson here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0NEaPTu9oI   Jeromy  worked in Silicon Valley and became electrosensitive and has become an educator with wonderful sources of information for you, see www.emfanalysis.com 

You can reach Monika at www.eleganthealthyhome.com and on @elegantliving27 on Facebook or you can phone 805 895-4687.

 

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

 

Interview with the authors of “Bulletproof: Writing Scripts That Don’t Get Shot Down”

by Carole Dean

The partnership of the authors of Bulletproof: Writing Scripts That Don’t Get Shot Down is rooted in a 30-year friendship that dates back to their Philadelphia high school days. David Diamond and David Weissman sold their first spec script, The Whiz Kid to 20th Century Fox in 1994 and have enjoyed a very successful screenwriting career.  Together they have conceived and contributed to over a dozen movies with a combined box office growth of over a billion dollars worldwide.

screenplay

“Do not give your script to anybody in the business, any of your professional contacts, until you’re absolutely certain that you’ve done the very best that you can do on a script.”

I was lucky enough to have them as guests on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast. They shared with me some of their brilliant advice for new screenwriters for selling their screenplays in the age of streaming, getting inspired, and getting past the gatekeepers.

Selling to Streaming Services

Carole: I want to know is the pitching and the script submission the same to the new streaming services, as it was to the Hollywood studios?

David and David: Pitching is much more difficult now. In the last really 10, 15 years, development has kind of fallen on the shoulders of writers and producers without studio participation. The streamers have definitely hired a large number of executives from the feature world, to sort of run their feature department.  There’ll be a lot of continuity in selling to them.

What that means though, in practical terms for a lot of people, is that if you’re a writer and you want to sell, whether it’s to traditional studio or to one of the streaming services, you’re probably going to have to write your script.

You should not rely on pitching unless you know you’re coming in with an A list star, and an A list director. Unless you can package your movie as a pitch, you’re going to have to write that script.

The Three C’s of Script Writing

Carole: Let’s get into your brilliant book Bulletproof. One of the first things you share at the beginning of Bulletproof is the three C’s necessary for a great screenplay.  Tell us what they are and why they are so important.

David and David: The three C’s are the fundamental ingredients of an idea for a movie. And those are a character and a concept and a context.

You can’t really start writing a screenplay until you understand what the idea for your screenplay is. And that is a mistake, as hard as it may be to believe, that a lot of writers make.  They’re full of inspiration and they’re eager to get going and they start writing and they really don’t know what the full idea for their movie is.

We put out there right at the very beginning (Of Bulletproof) how important this is and what we think goes into an idea. And that is a specific person in a specific situation under very specific circumstances. And that’s really what you need to know even before you get started doing anything else.

You need to know who this character is, what is somehow broken or incomplete with this person, and what the challenge is that this person is going to be facing and the world that this challenge exists in. What is the world of your movie? You need to know.

The third C, contacts, is also sort of a question of tone and what kind of movie this is.  Because you can have a character and a concept and for instance, the idea for Groundhog Day, that same basic idea was done as a horror film. It was called Happy Death Day.  So that third element which is the genre, the tone, what kind of movie it is, is, crucial as well. 

It’s not enough just to say I’m writing a movie about a character who is living the same day over-and-over again. That can be a lot of different movies depending on context.

 

 

Know Who is Reading Your Script

Carole:  What advice do you have for writers on submitting their projects?

David and David: We have a whole chapter at the end of the book on submissions. Like what do you do when you’re done? One of the points in that chapter is you do not give your script to anybody in the business, any of your professional contacts, until you’re absolutely certain that you’ve done the very best that you can do on a script.

A big part of the perspective of the book is not just how to get a writer through the process of writing a script, which is critically important, but it’s also having in mind as you’re going through that process, who’s reading this script and what are they looking for?

And how is my script going to benefit the person who’s reading it? Because that’s how things progress to production. So, it’s not just about what you feel like doing and what’s in it for you, which is certainly important.

It’s also about the opportunities that you create for the people who are reading your script. And if you’re not creating an opportunity for the person reading your script, it’s not going to go anywhere.”  Yes, you need to know, ‘What are the benefits of the film for the reader? What opportunity is in the script for the reader?’

Where to Find Inspiration

Carole: Well, I love the book Bulletproof. And in there, you suggest writers find inspiration and information in those who have come before. Please tell us how you would do that and how it assists the writer.

David and David: That’s the best part of the whole process, Carole. One of our principal things that we do when we’re preparing to write something is, we try to take inspiration and lessons from movies that have come before that we love or admire or has something really in particular to say about either the vision or the kind of idea we’re writing.

We’ve always done that. And it can be very helpful sometimes. Really, it’s purely for inspirational purposes. You might go back and watch one of your favorite movies of all time, just to inspire you to what got you into doing this. Other times it’s really important just to see what the models are for the kind of movie that you want to write. Hollywood has inherited wisdom and knowledge from a hundred years of, cinematic history. And we take that very seriously,

This is also a literacy issue. You know, you may have in mind that you’re going to write something that’s really genre busting. If you’re not familiar with the movies in that genre, you really can’t subvert the conventions of that genre.  And, and even if you’re interested in honoring, you know, the genre and its conventions, you must know the movies.

If you are going write a romance novel, you wouldn’t set out and write a romance novel without ever having read a romance novel. But I think that that movies are the same way. You really need to know, if you’re going to contribute to the conversation, the ongoing conversation that’s taking place in the movies at all times, you need to know what’s come before you.

Getting Past the Gatekeepers!

Carole: Many producers tell me that not everyone reads a script, but everyone does read the one-page synopsis. And to me that’s the most important part of closing the money man and closing grantors.

David and David: The idea is there are really two purposes for being able to encapsulate the main points of your story in a single page. And the first one is for the benefit of the writer to have a roadmap to follow that it can keep you focused as you’re writing your screenplay.

But the other advantage of being able to reduce your story to key points on a single page is that, at some point in this process, somebody is going to have to walk into their boss’s office and say, you know, I just read something and this is what it is. And they’re going to have to be able to encapsulate that in a brief period of time.  And the more that you can exert some control or influence over what they say in that conversation, the better off you are.

So the idea is to be able to create a page that basically sums up the essential ingredients of your story,  that can be then used in situations just like the one you’re describing when people are thinking about financing something, buying something, so they know what it is even before they’ve read it. Eventually someone’s going to read the screenplay.

Certainly, in the in the studio world, movies don’t get made without the people who are buying them, reading the scripts.

But it does take surviving this process of script readers and assistants and development executives being able to describe what a screenplay is about before it ends up being read by someone who actually has the authority to spend the money to buy it. 

 

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.

“They call creative people ‘daydreamers’ because we are much more creative when we relax.”

by Carole Dean

About three years ago, I found Reiki master Sevina Altanova and have been receiving highly beneficial Reiki treatments weekly.  Her relaxation techniques have made a huge difference in my work.  Since I’ve been getting treatments, I’ve stepped up writing more blogs for filmmakers, I’m creating a new online film funding course, and designing a new eBook for filmmakers who join our mailing list. 

 

“We are over-scheduled, overstimulated, overworked, overburdened and we need a practical way to overcome the bad health effects of our high-pressure lifestyle.” Sevina Altanova

 

She recently founded her own company, Stress Management Resources.  “People who are constantly engaging their minds may not realize that this hampers their creative impulses. For filmmakers, it is very important for you to relax in order to boost your creativity.”

As a guest on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast, Sevina offered tips on how to improve your relaxation and discussed the life changing relaxation techniques I’d learned over the years.

Daydreaming Can Create your Future

 According to research in neuroscience, creativity occurs in the moments of rest rather than while we’re working on or thinking. So, do yourself a favor, schedule time to daydream. Perhaps in your daydream, you see your finished film on the screen in your favorite screening room and feel your success as you jump out of your seat and bow to your standing ovation.

Physicist Fred Alan Wolf, author The Dreaming Universe, told me in an interview, “when you are daydreaming you are really creating your future. It’s like a handshake across time.”  Later in your life when you experience this event, you feel like it has happened before.  That is because you truly experienced it in your dreaming time, which can create your future.

It created my future.  During boring school classes I put on a bright smile and took off to be on the set with my favorite movie stars and watch films getting made.  I was flying over the Great Serengeti and watching the wilder beast migrate, I was gliding down the Nile on a slow boat and riding elephants in India. 

All these things I experienced almost exactly as I had day-dreamed them.  I remember flying low over the wildebeest and in fact when I went to Kenya, I saw the same vision I had in meditation while I was ballooning over the wilder beast. It felt just like I had imagined, before I even knew what ballooning was.  These experiences all felt like they were deja vous, like I had done it before and in fact I had.

 

 

Meditation Manifests Miracles

Sevina highly recommends meditation. “Did you know that meditation is over 5,000 years old? People do meditation to maintain health, heal their bodies, calm their minds and reconnect with their spirit. The most important things in meditation is that you are connecting with your higher self.  Meditation lets the mind relax.” 

As a 40-year meditator, I fully agree. While I was running three offices, NY, Chicago and LA I meditated twice daily.  That was a time you could not talk about meditation or they thought you were a “kook.”  Especially when you were in the business of film and talking to engineers. 

So, I learned quickly to find a quiet place, tell no one, and just disappear for 20 minutes.  In NYC, that was the air conditioner room and in L.A., the office supply room. I would put a note on the door, “taking inventory,” but they knew I was meditating as it soon became very quiet in that place.

This was the most beneficial thing I could have done to help me run three offices at once.  At some point, I read about TM, transcendental meditation, and decided to try it.  Little did I know that Seinfeld and Paul McCartney and David Lynch were all hiding in closets like me.  All of us were experiencing reduced stress and anxiety, better sleep, greater clarity, calmness and a great memory.

I still do this twice a day and now I have a pathway to heaven.  I created a super-highway in the circuits of my brain, so I go to a quiet state quickly and 20 minutes evaporates.  It is the way to live your life with less stress. 

Sevina says, “Any type of meditation that works for you is what you should do.  A walking meditation works for some people, a driving meditation works for some.”  (I always end up in some strange location so I can’t do this!) 

Find what works for you and be good to yourself, put this in your google calendar MEDITATTE MY FUTURE INTO BEING

Music Does Sooth the Beast in Us

“You can relax by listening to soothing music” says Sevina. An article by John Stuart Reid, cymascope.com, says experimentation has found viable red blood cells remained higher in number when exposed to music vs silence, indicating promising results for healing. He says that music therapy, a concept first espoused by Pythagoras of Samos 2,500 years ago, is gaining popularity for depression and relieving anxiety.

“There are millions of studies that show that meditation decreases stress. It will decrease your blood pressure and you have quality sleep. Your entire health will improve, and you will get a stronger immune system.

“When you practice meditation or relaxation, you connect with your partner much better.  You can even resolve problems easily.  Because you are coming from the perspective of love and understanding, you have this ability because now you are relaxed.”

Breathing Exercises are Perfect Before Meetings

Relaxation can decrease stress and tension in a matter of minutes.  Learn to control your nervous system through relaxation practices such as meditation, Reiki, breathing exercises and yoga.  It’s very, very easy.  Anything that brings you joy and calms you down is relaxing.

I want to share a breathing exercise that is incredibly super simple, quick, and beneficial.

You take a deep breath, hold it for three seconds and you slowly exhale. If you repeat this three-to five times, taking deep breaths and holding them for three to six seconds then slowly exhale, you will find after the fifth time your body starts relaxing.

This is something you can do anywhere, before a meeting or a at rehearsal or before you pitch your film.

Please check out Sevina’s website at www.stressmanagementresources.com.  She has meditations, deep relaxations, she does Hypnotherapy and relaxations on SKYPE.  Sevina.altanova@gmail.com.  She is dedicated to helping filmmakers improve their health and create their art.  She is also doing some mindful eating workshops soon that all of us can benefit from.

 

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.

How New Filmmakers Can Avoid Disasters in  Audio Post-Production for Their Films and Learn From an Expert How to Do it Right the Next Time

by Carole Dean

Jerry Deaton, President of AudioKut, has spent the last five years developing his company as one of the new breeds of boutique affordable audio post-production facilities. A donor to the Roy W. Dean Grants for many years, he has mastered the sound of many of our winners and our fiscally sponsored films too. His credits span from re-recording mixer, ADR mixer dialogue editor, to sound design editor, composer, and everything in between.

 audio post-production

“Hire those out of college because they probably have the gear, they have the time, and they’re willing to put the effort in. But, then also hire somebody who’s been doing it for a long time to come out to your location and just kind of check on them.”

Recently, Jerry decided to support filmmakers even more by teaching.  He now gives classes where students sit with him and learn on their own project how to fix and mix their films.  He also checks the final work if they need it.  All of this is on an hourly basis. 

Emerging filmmakers end up spending only a fraction of the cost for audio post and become better filmmakers in the process.  He walks them through all of the technical and creative steps of the process. 

I asked him to join me on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast to discuss his new class and how independent filmmakers can avoid audio mistakes that only show up when you get to post.

Choosing the Right Editing Software Can Save You Money in Audio Post-Production

Jerry said that sometimes it’s as simple as selecting the right software to save money.  The software new filmmakers choose may not do what they think. 

“I find first-or-second time filmmakers with small budgets are wearing several hats.  They are the producer, writer, director, editor and they are expected to know each of these professions intimately.  But, honestly, they don’t.  They don’t know enough so they choose the wrong software. 

“Let’s say they choose Final Cut Pro 10 to do their editing.  It may be a cheap and easy platform to work with but, after all those countless hours they put into editing, they find that when they’re ready to go to final picture lock, they cannot get the sound off in a professional manner.  

“You can’t turn it over to a post house.  You will have to do it in a very archaic manner to even get the sound out.  Then, it costs you much more money for the sound post house to basically re-cut that sound so that it’s workable in a post environment.” 

He suggests spending just a little bit more money and investing in a program like the Adobe Creative Suites or some other platform that will allow you to export your audio in a professional manner.  Just this alone will save so much time and headache down the line.

Getting Quality Sound and Saving Money for Micro Budget Filmmakers

“If an independent filmmaker is making a micro or low budget film,” Jerry suggests, “they need to be very careful in hiring a sound person. Preferably you want someone who has worked on other films.”

“However, there are a lot of filmmakers coming out of college that have been trained to do sound and in a theoretical environment.  When they get out of school and they want to get their first couple of jobs to build their resume. Then often, they’ll do an independent film for free. But what you’re going to get is somebody who may be making a lot of mistakes because they’re learning on your film. And, if I was the filmmaker, the producer, the director, I would not want that situation.”

He recommends filmmakers to go ahead and hire those out of college because they probably have the gear, they have the time, and they’re willing to put the effort in. But, then also hire somebody who’s been doing it for a long time to come out to your location and just kind of check on them.

“The expert needs to be able to tell you: ‘This guy or girl knows what they’re doing, don’t worry about it.’ Or if that expert says, ‘look, from what I see, your movie’s going to be really bad,’ then that’s worth paying for. That assurance wouldn’t cost you much. That visit could be done on an hourly basis.”

But a lot of producers and directors don’t know this is a possibility until they get to post and then they find the problems they have.

”If they called me and said, ‘this is our situation, we’re getting ready to do principal shooting in three weeks. You know, we’ve hired a sound person but we’re not sure they’re really going to be able to do the job.’ I would tell them, hire somebody from my company to come out and spot check.

“If they give a sign off, you’re good to go. And then, you can bring the package to us. This way, you will not get a bunch of surprise comments like, ‘Oh, why did that mike cut out or Oh, why is your refrigerator running during your love scene?’”

Stacking Sound Files Can Be Costly and Leave the Editor Without the Best Choice

“When editors receive their sound files from the sound mixer on location, they’re usually receiving them in a stacked formation. So, let’s just say a scene a will have eight files. That is one person talking. So, it’s eight files of that one person saying one line, but on eight different mikes or eight different situations, eight different audio captures. And then what happens is, when the editors bring those eight files into their editing platform, they tend to merge all those together. And when it gets to sound post, it’s a big problem to unmerge those so that you can choose the best recorded audio piece.

“So I would tell whoever is compiling all these sound files, it’s usually the editor or editors/director, that they should learn the technology behind doing this the right way so that when it does get to sound post, it doesn’t cost them extra money.

“These problems are created because people don’t know what to do with these files, they just look at them and think, I’ll just put them all together. It’s like, no, don’t do that.  They were made so you have the very best sound to choose from. That’s why they did it more than once.”

He thinks directors and editor/directors are learning a lot of their technical skills from YouTube tutorial videos. And that those are great because they do give you a lot of insight into the technology.

“But I still would tell a director/editor, hire somebody that’s been doing this for a long time. Bring them over to your editing suite and just have them walk you through how to navigate these waters. It would be probably the best, $75 or $100 an hour you’ve ever spent, and it would last them the rest of their career.”

Jerry Deaton’s Classes on Sound Recording & Editing

audio post-productionJerry’s new class evolved from all the errors he’s seen with independent filmmakers make on their films. He’s the one they call when they run into these massive problems.

“Some get into problems at a locked cut. If they’re at a lock cut, there’s nothing that can be done. It’s just repair mode. But if they call me before they’ve started filming and they need somebody to help walk them through the waters of sound, I do this for people.”

So, instead of waiting for calls from desperate filmmakers asking him to rescue them from a terrible sound issue, Jerry created his class.  He charges an hourly rate and will come out to the location or talk to the filmmaker in the editing bay. 

“I will say, look, do this and this, and it will help you avoid so many problems in the end.  And you can either bring it to me or you can bring it to any other sound post house who will be so grateful that you did this the right way.

“Remember five years ago, everybody had a department. Everybody was an expert in their department, so editors knew how to do this. Directors knew how to direct sound. People knew how to capture location sound and prepare for sound, post. People knew how to edit and, and deal with the audio and the post-process.

“But with one person wearing so many hats, you’re getting all these gaps in knowledge. The people that are wearing all these hats should really reach out to experts in every department of filmmaking and say, look, just give me a few hours, tell me what I’m doing wrong, let me fix it and then I’ll get back to you in three months when I’m done with my edit.”

You can reach Jerry Deaton at AudioKut.com.  You can send him an email at Jerry@audiokut.com or call 818 434 2601. 

His vision of the new Hollywood has connected him with many like minded independent film makers and support teams.  They understand big budgets do not necessarily make great films. It still takes talent, a good story and an artisan approach to technology.

 

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.

It starts by rewiring our money programming, removing money blocks, and igniting your money super powers

by Carole Dean

With over 35 years of vast experience in the corporate, government and entrepreneur sector, Olympia Hostler loves her work helping ambitious women who want to work less, make more, and live free.  Her “Mind Over Money Makeover” program is designed to help high-achieving women realize their wealth potential.

money mindset

Are you stuck with scarcity mindset that is sabotaging you and stopping you from seeking the funding you need?

“Once women ignite their money super powers, wealth shows up in a steady flow and in more ways than they could have imagined,” she told me when she was a guest on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast

She shared with me the secrets and methods she gives her clients to help them create wealth and thrive by changing their money mindset.

It’s Not Enough to Will It

She was quick to say that using will power or brute force does not work.  Change has to happen at the source to get the results and wealth you want.  The source of “money blocks” is our internal programming and usually that is imparted on us by our well-meaning parents, friends, family and the media.  We often take on what they believe.

Another change she adds that we must make is removing old conditioning that we did to ourselves. When we have certain experiences and we draw conclusions and we make rules, that becomes our conditioning that we put on ourselves. And most of us adopted our parents’ beliefs, thoughts and habits, because, it is a primal instinct. The question is, are these conditionings working for you?

Unblocking Your Money Beliefs

Olympia says that money blocks come from a money programming process.  It is the programming we get from our parents, authority figures, society, media and friends. This programming becomes a self-sabotaging virus and affects all areas of our life. This feeds into having false beliefs, limiting decisions, unprocessed fears and faulty conclusions. 

These limiting beliefs exist on three levels of our being; our body, mind, and heart.  You must shift all three of these back to your “factory settings” to transform your well-being, your health and your wealth. 

Resetting Your Programming

“This is where you undo the years of dangerous programming and get to be yourself again.”

She says we need to realize that the mind controls our behavior, thoughts and emotions. That the heart is responsible for love, gratitude, receiving, connection and support, compassion and community with other people. That the body holds stuck emotions, traumas, stress and fear that affect our physical health.

“You remember that deep person inside who is full of joy, hope and love, that person for whom things come easily and naturally for sustainable wild wealth. It’s when the magic comes back to you and wealth shows up in your life in big ways and in ways that you could never have imagined.”

Changing the Scarcity Mentality

Money myths are lies that Olympia believes our scarcity mentality feeds us and we accept as true.  It’s your scarcity mindset that is your self-sabotaging, inner programming that is holding you back and keeping you small.

She explains that its our scarcity programming that feeds us & we accept scarcity as truth. We think that there will never be enough whether it is success or money. This keeps us stuck and holds us back from living our lives on purpose with passion. It stops us from sharing our gifts with the world and other people who depend on receiving our gifts to fulfill their purpose.

They are the basis for thinking and behavior that makes us say NO to a lot of opportunities and not even recognize some opportunities. We also say YES to things that do NOT serve us, keep us busy and distracted from our greatness.

Meditation

Another way Olympia advises that we change our thinking is through meditation, aerobic exercise, and novelty.

Meditation is super important to keep us mentally, emotionally and physically clear; relieve stress; improve our health; receive guidance; regulate our nervous system and so many more countless benefits.

“In meditative states, we go into our theta brainwaves which lowers stress and anxiety levels, as well as facilitates healing and growth.  Meditation is a single pointed focus, you can do it while walking, and at any time.  You are most productive when focusing on one thing. 

“For best results – it is imperative that we prioritize goals and tasks – then do them one by one.  We are so much more efficient, productive, happy and healthy that way. Twenty minutes is the ideal meditation.

“Novelty is learning and experiencing new things as well as doing the same things differently or changing your habits.”

Being a BFF with Money

Olympia teaches, “You can change your relationship with money to be your BFF.  In my online course, I call this section ‘For the Love of Money’. Changing your relationship with money begins with believing it’s possible.”  

What actions, thoughts, fears, … are standing in the way of being BFFs with money?  Olympia suggests asking yourself if you knew you would succeed beyond your wildest dreams, what would you do, be, or have? If you knew you could not fail, what would you be, do or have?

Would it be what you are doing now?  Something different?

She advises to give yourself permission to be wealthy right now. Commitment starts the snowball.

 

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.

When you realize what a colorist does, it’s easy to understand why no one knows they exist. 

by Carole Dean

Sam Dlugach won our Roy W. Dean Film Grant in 1996 and is one of the best colorists in LA.  He has over 30-years’ experience working with all types of films.  Sam works for a major production company, but moonlights helping indie features and documentaries. He generously gives us his time to serve as a judge for the grant and donates he services to the winners. 

Colorist

I recently interviewed him for my The Art of Film Funding Podcast and asked him how to help filmmakers understand how important a colorist is for their film. 

What Does a Colorist Do?

Sam equated the coloring of a film as the same as mastering is for audio. After a song has been recorded and mixed, then mastering is the final process before it goes to distribution. That’s like putting the final polish on your films’ audio. Well, that’s what coloring is for the image.

“We can take some beautifully photographed work,” Sam said, “and enhance it just that extra 10% or 15% to make it even more impactful in terms of emotion that we want the audience to feel.”

He explained that no matter what you’re shooting, whether you’re shooting a documentary, short film, or a feature film, you’re probably using multiple cameras, multiple lenses, and you’re going to certainly have all sorts of different lighting conditions. At the very minimum, what a colorist does is make all that stuff match.

Actually, when you realize what a colorist does, it’s easy to understand why no one knows they exist.  When they finish their job, the film looks perfect. Every single shot is lit perfectly, and all your shots match, each scene flows seamlessly, and the audience is fully engaged in the film never realizing all the work the colorist did.

Enhancing the Story and Setting the Mood

“In a more creative sense,” he noted, “I’m part of the storytelling process.  I’m helping the director and the director of photography set story beats in terms of the look of the film, in terms of the mood of the lighting, and the contrast ratio and certainly the color imagery.

“I have a day job where I work on TV commercials, so a lot of what I’m doing daily is emphasizing the product and de-emphasizing the background or bringing out people’s faces. There’s a lot of very specific stuff that I’m doing on a psychological level to direct people’s eyes.

“That same sort of artistry and science works in storytelling as well whether it’s episodic television, or a music video, or short film, or feature film, or documentary. Anything that I can do visually to help tell the story is my main job.”

 

 

Matching Scenes and Matching Visions

If filmmakers bring great footage, then the colorist can look great as well.  But many times, filmmakers have challenges on the shoot.

“They may have had problems with lenses, problems with cameras,” Sam explains, “or very different lighting setups from shot to shot that have to be evened out and made to match. It’s a collaborative process at best.  When you’re working with a team of people, if everybody’s got a singular vision of what this film is supposed to be, and everybody’s just working towards that one image, it can be a really great experience, and the rewards for the film can be great.

“I’ve always loved working with filmmakers and directors of photography because I work to achieve their vision.  And a big part of what I do is to interpret what I’m being told.  Some people come in, and they have a better understanding of what happens in the color bay, and some people really are intimidated, or they don’t understand the process.

“It’s my job to deal with all levels of filmmakers and all levels of people that walk into my room and understand what they are trying to tell me so we can find a way to achieve their vision.”

What First Time Filmmakers Need to Know about Working with a Colorist

Typically, after you finish your edit, you would send Sam a version of the edit with a decision list and it will refer back to your original footage.  He creates the edit timeline.  He on the Baselight system and uses a $40,000.00 monitor.  Sam sees everything with this monitor that your audience will see.

The first thing he does when he meets someone new is to talk about the story before he ever looks at the film.  Together with the director he makes notes of scenes and shots by writing down what they mean and exactly how they are telling the story.  They discuss the color journey of the entire movie.

Sam will look at the timeline of the move and talk to the director about the story.  The main question is “what is the story we want to tell?”  They will stop and look at shots of each scene.

“What is the emotional tone?” Sam will discuss with the director. “What are we going for here? How does this flow into the next scene? How does it relate to the previous scenes?” Sam and the director start very basically coloring from raw camera information to a finished look for that single shot.

By the end of the first session when the filmmaker leaves, they should have a good feeling about how the movie will look.  They will have seen scenes from all over the movie that tell the story they have painted together. 

The filmmaker goes away and Sam works for a week or two coloring.  When they come back, Sam will have filled in the holes, done the coverage, and stitched the film together.  Then, Sam watches it with the filmmaker and makes notes to do a trim pass and sometimes a second trim. 

Sam works with people outside of Los Angeles area.  He colored a fiscally sponsored film of ours in Hawaii.  You can transfer files very easily now so you don’t need to be in the same city as your colorist.

Seeking Passionate Storytellers

Sam loves working with independent and documentary filmmakers that are passionate and really have a story to tell.  

“In a perfect world I’m invested in that story too. I care about what they’re trying to say, and so I tend to gravitate lately to unique stories about human nature, about people.” 

Sam wants to work with filmmakers that have something to say about the times we are living in.  “I love working with documentarians because they’re usually trying to right some wrong. They’re usually trying to expose something that needs to be exposed.”

“I get a charge out of working on projects that make a difference, and so I do tend to be a little picky about the projects that I get involved with independently. There’s a great thing about knowing you came through from the Heart Productions. The people that gravitate to what you’re doing at From the Heart tend to be great people and tend to be impassioned storytellers with their heart in the game, and they’re not just in it for the money. They’re not just brazenly commercial. They’re doing something that matters.

Gift to Filmmakers at From the Heart Productions

“I’ve met so many wonderful people from the work that you’re doing (at From the Heart Productions) and from the outreach that you do with independent filmmakers.  I encourage people that are in your program, and your funding programs, and your writers that you work with and filmmakers that find you to come talk to me.

“My door is open, and like I said, advice is always free.  You can reach same at Samdcolor@gmail.com and the time to interview and hire a colorist is early on in production.”

 

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.

Conversation with award winning filmmaker Karen Day on the importance of being your film’s advocate and getting the upper hand with a film distributor 

by Carole Dean

Karen Day is a very successful writer, photographer, and filmmaker because she made it happen.  She is always working on creating a successful future for herself.  She focuses on humanitarian issues in exotic locales like Afghanistan, Cuba, Myanmar, pre-war Iraq, pre-Madonna Malawi, Hollywood, and Washington, DC.  They’ve offered her exciting opportunities to dodge bullets and write for national publications like More Magazine, O, The Los Angeles Times, and The Pentagon.

Film Distributor

Director Karen Day on location with cast and crew from “Nell Shipman: The Girl From God’s Country”

Winner as writer and producer of the Roy W. Dean Grant for Nell Shipman, The Girl from God’s Country, she joined me on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast.  She offered advice to independent women filmmakers just starting out on which we both agreed. 

While it’s important to seek out others for advice, independent filmmakers need to take active control of the future of their own work to have a successful career and to make any money.

The Harry Potter Effect

Karen says one of her real joys is being able to mentor women, young women beginning their career in filmmaking. “It’s a real tipping point right now in the industry. There’s so much opportunity. And it’s difficult to find a mentor.”

“But, Carole, you know better than anyone, and I think you’re one of the major voices in how to manifest and believe in yourself that you can get things done. I call it the Harry Potter effect. I put my mind to an idea and start whipping results out of the ether. I might as well have a master wand.”

This is very true.  Karen realizes that your faith in yourself and in your film is paramount to a successful production.  Your attitude towards yourself and your film must always be of the highest level as you deserve to be funded.  Belief and faith will carry you a long way in the film industry “and make doors open where there were no doors before.” 

The Dark Web of the Film Festivals

Karen was at Raindance Film Festival with her latest film Bamboo and Barbed Wire, a documentary that chronicles the life of a 17- year old Syrian refugee girl in Idaho.  She says that Raindance is a premier festival and they give filmmakers an amazing amount of support. There are distributors there from around the world.

But, she warns, don’t assume that just by getting accepted and networking will get you a deal for your film. 

“There’s a lot in the film festival world that independents still have to learn the hard way. You think oh, ’I’m going to get accepted, and then I’m going to be distributed, and then I’m going to be famous.’ No, actually, there’s a lot of innerness and I call it the dark web, the dark world of politics that goes on in film festivals.

“It’s a good way to meet people and make connections, but it’s not as simplistic as it appears. Film festivals and film distributors are in the business of making money on movies, and producers and writers and directors and cinematographers are in the business of making movies. And it’s a hard lesson to learn that there are two different businesses.”

She is right.  The distributors want to buy the film for the cheapest price possible and filmmakers think they will get prices near what was quoted in Variety for recent sales.  However, these prices are normally exceptional prices.  Distributors and Netflix and Amazon are paying low prices unless you have a known actor in a feature or a documentary.  In that case, it’s a bit higher but not what they were paying a few years ago. 

The information I get from our fiscally sponsored filmmakers is that by the time they get to a festival, usually they are tired from years of producing and are ready to let go of the film.  Once they get an offer, they are so excited that someone loves the film and wants to help, that they often make poor decisions.  Distributors are offering egregious contracts and very low up-front money these days. 

 

 

Finding Out What Your Film is Worth

Because of the horror stories I have heard from filmmakers about bad contracts, distributors not complying with contracts and people selling their film for 20% of the cost, I started a search for who is paying what for films.  That search turned into a blog.

It’s very important that we know the current selling price for docs and features. So, if you want to share any information on what the current prices are for films and docs, please contact me.  All info will be kept confidential.

Karen says that going to the festivals and talking to other filmmakers is the best way to find what happened to other filmmakers, what prices they were paid, who are the worst distributors and who to watch out for.  You won’t find this information in print, only word of mouth or in our blog talk shows where some filmmakers will offer up the truth about their poor distribution deal.

Find Leverage with a Film Distributor

Karen said that getting a distributor as an independent is not always what you thought it would be. Often, people think that a distributor will change your life.  You need to know what money you can make and you need leverage to negotiate.

“The one thing I can say is, if you do have a distributor that’s interested, immediately contact several distributors to see if they will be interested.  Because then, you have more power to negotiate a minimum guarantee.  Number one thing I say to independent filmmakers is, your MG, your minimum guarantee with the distributor may be the only dime you ever see.  So, make sure that you negotiate that.   And the best way to do it is to get more interest than one distributor.

“I did that, and so I was able to negotiate more money than I was originally offered. And I naively thought, oh, well, this is going to be a cakewalk now.  But what’s true is my distributor is in the business of making money on movies, and they’re like a shark. They have to keep moving to pick up more films and compete with all these distributors to find the next great documentaries.

Be an Advocate for Yourself

“I literally had to become a thorn. I’ve been working with the major network media for a long time, so I know what it’s like to push. And some people don’t have that advantage, because I’m older, too. It’s not like I’m 20. I’ve been around the block, as they say, about 4,000 times.

“The bottom line is, none of it’s easy. It was a daily process of what are you doing, what’s happening? Otherwise, you seep into the carpet and you’re thinking, oh, it’s going to happen for me. Mm-mm (negative).

“I can definitely say there have been a couple of great films. The great film Sonita, which is about the Afghan rapper who escaped an arranged marriage. Somebody was doing a documentary on her and they bought her out of the marriage.  It won an Audience Award at Sundance, and it was sold to PBS National.  I can’t divulge how much it was, but I would say it’s not enough to buy a used car.

“I really feel that the art of film negotiation is the number one thing, and the art of film funding. You have to be your own best advocate, and you just want to say, ‘Oh, I’m an artist.’ Well, you can be a starving artist all you want, but you better learn to be a business person too if you want to make a living at your art.”

 

 

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.

Yes, miracles do happen that can help you fund your film.  It begins with using the power of your mind.  

by Carole Dean

In our bi-monthly Film Funding Guidance Class for our fiscally sponsored filmmakers, I’m in the middle of a 6-part series on how to begin creating miracles in your life.   Your mind is your greatest asset and knowing how to use it is the key. 

Creating Miracles

You should brag about your achievements.  Be very proud of what you have done and don’t be afraid to tell us.   

In our most recent session, I covered the importance of having a positive self-image and the need to treat yourself with respect.  Miracles won’t happen in an environment filled with negativity and doubts. 

Here are some steps you can take in your life to creating miracles. 

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….Wheeeee”  So take a lesson from the champ and tell yourself daily “I am the greatest.”  It worked for Ali and it can work for you.

If you are late for a meeting, never put yourself down to anyone. Not even you!  You are the film, you are the creator, the manifestor and you must love you.  With all your heart and soul.  Love you first then you can give that love to others through your brilliant heart chakra.

I want you to honor yourself.  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.  Loving yourself is highly important to let miracles come to you. 

Know You Are Worthy

Sometimes miracles come in the form of money.  This where a lot of people stop incoming money and miracles because 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.   

Each day when you look at your to do list and 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.   The universe is helping me with the film, they are my invisible partner, clearing problems and making my efforts complete easily.” 

Stop Asking How

Another step that stops people from receiving miracles is the “HOW”.  We all want to know how will it happen, where will it come from.  That 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 to do to make it happen. By believing it will happen, you are totally open to receive. 

Seeing is Believing

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.  Emotions are the key to visualization. 

I have had many filmmakers call me when they are crowdfunding and say, “I am only a few days away from the deadline and I am $6,000 short or $4,000 short I don’t think I can make this goal.”  That’s when your visualization is a great asset. 

All of the people that called me in such a panic listen to me and they all hit their goals.  It’s very easy.  You need to focus on the end result.  See yourself with what you want and send up joy, success, gratitude and happiness.  Do not, get into the how….just visualize you with what you want achieved. 

Feel the success and know you deserve this and are worthy of it.  Visualization is the icing on the cake. It will take you home to any goal and definitely any miracle.  Please include these things in your daily life. 

Daydreaming is In!

Visualize what you want on a daily basis, daydreaming is in! 

Fred Alan Wolf said in an interview with me, that daydreaming is a handshake across time where once you see it, feel it and send that vision to the universe you are creating your future.

 

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.

Dealing with his father’s battle with Alzheimer’s, filmmaker Eric Gordon created a documentary to guide others.  He got help in finishing it by finding those that cared including his fiscal sponsor.

Over the past six years, award winning filmmaker Eric Gordon has produced, shot and directed the feature-length documentary, “When All That’s Left Is Love.”  It’s an emotionally gripping film about his aging mother’s determination against nearly impossible odds to care for her Alzheimer’s husband at home.

The film gives viewers an unprecedented behind-the-scenes understanding of a medical dilemma that currently has no cure, but has patients who depend heavily on the heroic tenacity and love of the Alzheimer’s caregivers.

 

community outreach

When All That’s Left is Love is the emotionally gripping story of a wife’s determination to care for her Alzheimer’s-stricken husband in their home. With unprecedented, behind-the-scenes access, the film reveals the toll that the disease takes on families coping with Alzheimer’s, while also showcasing the power of love that sustains both patients and caregivers.

 

Many times, Eric was on the brink of running out of funding.  Using his resourcefulness, belief in his film, and important lessons from his fiscal sponsor, Eric was able to find financial support and an audience for his film.  Through his community outreach, his film is now being shown to thousands who can learn from his mother’s and his experience caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. 

On The Art of Film Funding Podcast, Eric shared his story with host Carole Dean.  He offered advice to other filmmakers on how to rally others around your film by thinking outside the box, by believing in yourself, and your project.

“Eric, Something’s Going on Here, You Need to Start Filming”

It started with a call from his mother telling him his father was lost.  He found out his father had Alzheimer’s.  Realizing his mother could not care for his father by herself, he moved in and started helping his mother care for his father for about five or six years.

“Eric, something’s going on here, you need to start filming,” he thought as his film-making instincts kicked in.  His father was starting a research political trial program.  He approached Dr. David Watson from the Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment Center and asked if he could film the program.

The total project took six years to make. Eric filmed for about four years of the total filming and with editing alone the production did over 900 editing hours in an editing suite. “It turned out to be a lot deeper and a lot more heartfelt than I could ever have imagined because, unfortunately, we captured the complete breakdown of a caregiver.”

“And, because of the access that I had, I was fortunate to have other caregivers who are dealing with the same situation to allow me into their lives as well and we built an amazing trust together and that’s how the project began.”

Donors Like When Their Money Goes to One Specific Thing

Dr. Watson allowed him into his office to film.  Eric would keep him involved with the whole process of the film.  As he got closer to completing his documentary, he noticed money was running out.  “I started seeing the costs involved to finish the film because I was getting ready to hire a composer for the music score and I was a little shocked by the costs involved for a composer.

“So, because of my deep relationship with Dr. Watson, I shared with him.”  He had been following Eric’s  hard work and appreciated his dedication to bringing attention to the effect the disease has on families.  

“You know, I need help with getting money for the composer,” Eric mentioned.  Dr. Watson took care of the funds for the composer.

“Now that’s really what it’s all about,” Carole Dean pointed out.  “Donors are giving money to you and the guy saw how hard you worked and dedicated, and yes, he wanted to help you. And I think a lot of donors like it when they know that their money goes for one specific thing.”

Finding Guidance from Fiscal Sponsor From the Heart Productions

“I didn’t have a grant proposal or a budget and I said, ‘Eric, your funds are running out.’ I worked very hard at my day job and any extra money I had, I used for the making of this documentary.  My funds were running out because I had a lot of bills.  You start seeing these enormous costs involved with a documentary, you realize you better start doing something.”

Eric considers Carole Dean and From the Heart Productions pivotal in changing his thinking and making him get money.  He put together a budget and a proposal.  He reached out to her and her organization for their fiscal sponsorship program.  Their program offers personalized advice and film funding strategies. 

“I have to thank you from the bottom of my heart, because From the Heart Productions is why I’m where I’m at today.”

“You were giving me guidance and Carole Joyce, who is also part of From the Heart, mentioned to me to think outside the box.  I said to myself, ‘You know, my film deals with death, unfortunately, which comes with Alzheimer’s.’ And at the end of the film, we deal with the emotional distress of dealing with funerals and the death of a patient.”

He thought, what an important issue he could discuss with caregivers about pre-needs and the costs involved.  He realized  that a lot of people don’t realize how expensive it is when you pass away

“So, I reached out to various funeral homes to tell them, ‘My goal is to educate caregivers and I want to share this with the world and I would love for you to come in.’ Dignity Memorial, Melissa and Michael Tavers, were unbelievable. They have a foundation and the foundation vetted my film and they also believe in educating caregivers, not just about getting business, and they gave us a National Community Engagement sponsorship.”

 

 

Making A Screening an Event

Eric is a believer that any screening you have that you need to make your screenings like a show.  Even if you’re starting out with your first rough cut screening or you finally add music.

“I make it an event and an experience and I invite various different people that I think would want to be part of the film. I don’t think just money at first. I think, ‘How can we build a relationship together?’ And so, at these screenings, I would invite all of these different various organizations, whoever it may be.

“For example, I invited a few funeral homes.  Once they saw the film, I was able to take them to lunch, tell them my goals, and the importance of educating people in the community and nationwide.”

He told them how he could get them in front of thousands of people, their target audience.  From that, they vetted him. It took months, but they believed in his passion. “They believed in the project and I’m so grateful and humbled and fortunate to have them part of my team.”

Making the Most of Every Connection

Near the end of production, looking at the budget at the funds needs to finish, calculating the costs involved with outreach, Eric started to think “How am I going to fund this film?”

He was outside at the Center for Doc Studies.  It was 3:00 in the morning, freezing cold, and he was having a smoke when he met up with a gentleman who said he was here as an Alzheimer’s researcher.

“Are you going to the Alzheimer’s Summit?” he asked Eric. 

“What’s the Alzheimer’s Summit?” Eric responded

“It’s in D.C. You need to be there.”

“So, I went there and from that I found out about the Alzheimer’s Association Conference. I didn’t know why I was going there at first, I just knew I needed to be there. And somebody at the conference said to me, ‘Eric, you need to meet with these foundations. They have funding available and they love to support different various projects that would educate caregivers.’”

“And I was walking down an aisle five minutes later, incredible story, and I walked up to the Roskamp Foundation Institute booth and they say, ‘Hi, how are you?’ And they say, ‘What do you do?’ And I said, ‘I’m a filmmaker. I just finished a documentary on Alzheimer’s caregivers.’

“They looked at each other strange, and they turned to me and they said, ‘We were just talking about backing some type of media project.’”

Always Bring Something to a Meeting or Screening

“I called them a week later, drove over to Sarasota with a big heart cake, showed them the film, and from there it’s history.” Eric said.

“You never walk into an office without bringing something,” Carole added. “You always bring a gift of something, right? People love that. In my teaching class, Stuart Wilde talks about the fact that you give to people.  You open people’s hearts through your giving and they get to know who you are, so I bet the cake was something they loved, right?”

“They really loved it.”

“I took your advice and I’m making little chocolate hearts that say “love,” so anywhere I go, I think it’s really important that as a filmmaker, as an Indie filmmaker, any screening that we have … For me, if it’s one person or 10 people or 100 people, even one more person to watch my film is important.

“It’s crucial for a filmmaker to go to any screening they can, possible, and give something, hand something out. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it makes them a little curious. It makes them a little bit happier and they’ll show up to your films.”

“From my past experience, you never know what’s going to happen from one person watching your film. All the other doors that could open or just the fact that you’re impacting them, making a difference in their life.”

Getting Friends to Make Introductions

Eric wanted to get in contact with Brian and Steven from Senior Information Centers. His mother had visited them years ago, years before, because they help seniors with legal issues or finding nurses and doing their pharmaceutical drugs. 

He approached Arlene Rossman who was one of the caregivers who’s in his film. She had a really close relationship with Steven and Brian and she got him a meeting with them.  He showed them a few clips of the film.  They believed in what he was doing.

“They are one of our main sponsors now, as well. And without them, I don’t think I would have been able to finish the film because they paid for all the funds to get the documentary finished.”

Creating a Package for Community Outreach

When Eric started realizing the enormous costs involved with outreach, He decided that he needed to make a grand proposal.  He also needed to make a budget. “It was really was eye-opening for me.” Eric commented when realizing the enormous expense, he was facing in marketing his film.

“Thank God, that I met From the Heart Productions. Again, I go back to that because that was so pivotal for me focusing and really changed my life because I realized how important it was to envision and realize that the power of your mind is so important.”

“And so I made my vision board. I listened to those classes that you have on Saturdays. I listened to everything Carol Joyce and you told me and I followed those directions.  Plus, utilizing my own experiences and since I was the event coordinator and sponsorship development officer at Clear Channel, I knew the importance of branding and putting together a package.”

Find Your Target Audience

“People want to see that they’re going to receive value for what they’re giving. So, I started thinking outside the box and I realized, as a filmmaker, and I want to share this with other filmmakers, it’s really, really, extremely important to know your target audience.”

Eric remembered the lessons he heard during From the Heart Productions bi-weekly film funding guidance classes.  That your film “can’t be just for everybody.  You have to have your target audience.”

He started thinking about people that would want to get in front of this target audience.  They might be medical professionals, Alzheimer’s caregivers, people who have a loved one who have Alzheimer’s.  He started to develop a package for these people so they would get their logo on the website.  They would get announced at these screenings. They would get their logo on the film. He thought of all of these different ways that he could help their organization.

“I gave them my passion and love and told them how important this was for me to educate caregivers and they followed suit and they all came on board. Every single one of these organizations have gotten new business directly from our film.”

Calculate the Costs of Outreach

Eric found the costs for outreach rivaled the production cost of his film.

“Most of my production costs, people jumped in and devoted their time because they wanted to get a screen credit.  But when you run into outreach, you’re running into such enormous costs.

“Posters, press kits, graphic designers, trailers, festival fees, that can run over $5,000 for festival fees. Social impact producers. You need a DCP, which is a digital cinema package to project. Publicity, publicity stills, private screenings, traveling, broadcast cuts and they add up. 

“They could go over hundreds of thousands of dollars.  That’s what why it’s so crucial that you find people that believe in your project and show them the love, and they will see your vision and help get that project out into the world.”

Benefits of Working with a Non-Profit

“And another thing that I’ve learned is that I’m keeping it much simpler by going through a nonprofit, which I think is really important, not only for direction. Foundations love to give other foundations monies to educate people in the community, as I stated before.”

“They feel secure that the foundation they’re giving to will make sure that you follow through” added Carole, “because heretofore, there were a lot of films that got financed, but never got finished. So, nowadays, they want to make sure that you finish the film, so you’ve done all that. You’ve got a gold star, as far as most of your donors are concerned.”

“Carole Dean, I just love you and your organization” Eric responded. “I can’t think you enough for the guidance you’re giving me and the places you’re sending me to go to. You’re incredible and, again, I’m not just saying that. I really mean that from the bottom of my heart.”

Attracting a Team with Your Passion for Your Project

“Having an amazing team is really important. I hope filmmakers realize that and if you show the passion in what you’re doing, you don’t have to pay full fees.” Eric advised.  “You can get people to help consult on your projects. They’re more than happy to answer questions.

“For example, when I first reached out to you”, he said to Carole, “I was calling you … I Googled amazing fiscal sponsors, found you, and asked you a question and you had no problem answering and helping me and that’s how, for example, I built my relationship with you.”

“I wasn’t a brilliant grant-writer, so I found an amazing grant-writer to help consult. Normally, it would astronomical charges, but because I did a lot of the work, they jumped in and helped consult. So again, I want to thank, for example, Carol Rainey.

“I have an impact producer that has been crucial in guiding me. She’s amazing and she’s so brilliant. Christina Lindstrom.  And then I brought in a marketing team to help consult, and so I think these are key things to remember that, for outreach, that collaborating and building a really strong team is very important.”

Advice for Caregivers and Filmmakers

“One thing also I learned, and I hope this can help caregivers, is take a deep breath. You have this. You can do this. You need to believe in yourself. Believe in your project. Be passionate. You will do this. It will happen.

“And it takes a lot of time. It takes years, and years, and years, but look for giving programs from corporations. Think outside the box and I believe that all of us, as filmmakers, will succeed.”

Teaching filmmaking to Michael Jackson, how let go of the fear of creating, and using your iPhone to create a storyboard

by Carole Dean

The classic book on filmmaking “Shot by Shot: Visualizing From Concept to Screen” is celebrating its 25th year in publication this year.  Author Steven Katz joined Claire Papin and Carole Dean on The Art of Film Funding Podcast

Lessons for Indie Filmmakers

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash – You can create storyboards by shooting photo boards using your iPhone or any other camera to shoot it.

He shared some stories and what he’s learned about filmmaking over the quarter decade since the film book was first published:

What He Taught Michael Jackson on Filmmaking

“At one point, I taught Michael Jackson and I had to be sensitive to the fact that he was Michael Jackson. But, a couple of times after I got to know him, I said, ‘Michael, you can pay for anything.  If you wanted to make a film for $35,000, you can do it!

“And yet, so much of what we’re working on together over these many months, we’re circling, coming to getting started to making a film, why aren’t we making a film every day? Why aren’t we making a film every week?’… And I’m talking about making a short of some kind, that’s how you learn.  

“For new filmmakers, if you’re at that age when you can take weeks off, months off, or use weekends and not have too much else to do except your love of filmmaking, then you ought to be doing that. Whatever is the gene that prompts you to be highly self-motivated and not fearful is good for filmmakers.”

How to Get Over the Fear of Creating

“When I was in China, it’s a very mimetic culture, they copy everything, and it was a difficult habit to break with the artist I was working with. I did bring 20, 30 people to the room and say, ‘Okay, let’s just talk about how you generate an idea, and where they come from.’

“I would just pull people at random out of the class and say, ‘Okay, well how did you get to work this morning? What happened?’ ‘Well I biked, and I did this, and it’s eight miles for me.’ ‘And where did you get food?’ ‘Oh, I did this,’ and out of that, I would start to pick little moments. I would say, ‘What if this had happened?’ And I would build a story out of the events they’d be telling me.

“And the whole point of it was, Hey, every day you do something. Go to lunch and something interesting happened, and if it didn’t happen figure out a place where it could’ve happened and then let your imagination run.

“I think a lot of the fear that people have about going out and just making something, is where their ideas come from and is the idea too big? You do get better at it. You get better by doing small ideas, that’s the first thing you have to learn is, you don’t have an unlimited budget.”

 

 

Creative Ways to Storyboard

You have a script. You’re a director, you get this (script) and you’re reading it and of course what’s happening is, you’re having all these pictures in your head.  If you want to say, ‘I want to start with a close-up and I want to pull back and then we’re going to cut to Nancy over here for a close-up. And then we’re going to go wide.’ Well that doesn’t mean very much. It has to be seen visually, so visualization is getting it from where it is in your head, where you see it, onto a new form.

“There are many different ways to do that and storyboarding is one of them. You can go out and shoot photo boards, like you can use your iPhone or any other camera to shoot it. You have a scene in a diner, well get your friends, you’ll buy them lunch and then you go around shooting them from all different angles.

“Now you’ve got all these shots, now you may not even be recording the dialogue, you’re not doing the video either. You’re just getting individual frames. Then you’ll bring back your shots and put them into an editing package. You’ll start to put something together and that’s a photographic version of a story. These are all things you’re doing to be able to present the material to other people, but it’s also for yourself.

“With a pencil and a sheet of paper and you can draw stick figures. So, if you’re a director and you don’t draw, you can make up this very primitive looking thing but believe me, that primitive thing when you write dialogue underneath tells you so much. And what happens is, people say, ‘Wow, I didn’t understand why this didn’t work. I got two close-ups in a row, that’s not good.’

How the Directing Greats Protected Their Work

“Alfred Hitchcock would design all his shots in a storyboard. He would go shoot those shots and he wouldn’t really shoot many alternative ways of doing things. And it was the way he could ensure the control of how he wanted to do his movie and the studio couldn’t step in as they often do today and take control.   So, say you shot 45 different shots, but you only at the end need eight of them. And you can endlessly try different versions of them.

And there was a story of John Ford, I forget what picture, it was with Maureen O’Hara, one of his later pictures. He was being asked in an interview about a famous shot where the Maureen O’Hara’s very close in a carriage, and very, very far away is one of the most prominent characters and they’re silhouetted in the distance and tiny in the frame.

“So, someone asked John Ford… ‘I remember that shot. It was so great, but it was done in such an unconventional way, why didn’t you go and get the close-up? Did you get that? Did you cover that in the shot in case the long shot didn’t work?’ He said, ‘No, I didn’t shoot it’ And he said, ‘Well why?’ He said, ‘Because the studio would have used it.’ “

Just do it!

“Look, you want to become a filmmaker? You’ve got to make films, that’s it. That’s the shortest answer. There are a phenomenal number of resources out there, YouTube, and anything online with courses.

“If, you don’t go to film school another option is to do something like the New York Film Academy. There are a number of those and many of the colleges are now offering shorter programs for people who just want to train to get the basics of filmmaking and they’re not looking for a degree.”

 

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.

I’m on mission to solve a mystery that is preventing independent filmmakers from fully realizing financial success. And, I need your help

by Carole Dean

It’s basic business 101.  When you start a business, you need to know how much money you will make from selling your product.  As an independent filmmaker you should know, before you even start, what you can expect to get when selling your film. Right now, that is nearly impossible. 

Let’s fix it.  

Selling Your Film

Photo ©Tokyo Lee Productions, Inc – Director Heather Lenz with artist Yayoi Kusama during production of Heather’s documentary “Kusama-Infinity”

Determining Your Profit

When I started my business, Studio Film & Tape, I knew exactly what to expect as profit.  I know because I set it. 

Back before the world of image capture went digital, you needed motion picture film to create a feature, documentary, or television series.  I bought back leftover motion picture film from studio productions.  I called that film short ends.  From buying millions of feet of short ends off of features and selling them at a discount to new film to independent filmmakers, I eventually created the one of the largest privately woman owned business in US. 

I decided that I could sell short ends of Kodak film stock if I put the selling price very low.  So, I set my purchase price accordingly.  I wanted a 45% gross profit and I was able to achieve that. Gross to me was the selling price less the cost of goods.  I had my books set up for this on a monthly basis.  If I did not see a 45% profit, then it was caused by one of two things: a mistake in the inventory or thief.  Believe me, I experienced both.

Filmmakers Are in the Dark

It is very simple to run a business with clarity like I just described.  Now, fast forward to today’s world with filmmakers creating budgets to make their features and documentaries.  As head of the non-profit, From the Heart Productions, we support hundreds of filmmakers each year.  I find most of them have no idea of what they can sell their film for. 

They are sure they will get into one of the top 10 film festivals. They are also sure that a distributor will take their film and pay prices paid at Sundance.  Some filmmakers think their film is perfect for Netflix.  But do they know the price Netflix will pay?  No.

They only know what they read in the papers when Netflix or Amazon makes a gigantic purchase at Sundance or Toronto.  Then, they use that number as a reference and believe that Netflix or Amazon will pay them the same price.  Please do not do this.  Anytime a selling price is in the papers, that means it is extraordinary.

Here is Where I Need Your Help

Filmmakers need to know what to expect from a sale of the finished product when preparing their budget.   How can you create a budget for a film when you don’t know if you will ever get that money back?  You can’t really or shouldn’t. 

I am asking every one of my filmmakers who has sold a project, “what did you get paid?” But I really want to gather as much information as possible.

This is where every filmmaker who reads this comes in.  If you sold your film, please, let me know the selling price.  You can be anonymous.  I just need numbers to create a data base for filmmakers to know what they can expect when selling their project.  Once I get enough reliable data then I can release it to everyone.  With this information, you can create a budget that will give you a profit.

What I’ve Heard So Far About Selling Your Film

Distributors that I’ve spoken with tell me that VOD (Video on Demand) will get you $3,000 to $5,000.  If you spend a lot of time and money marketing, you might make $15,000.00. 

What??? I thought VOD was the financial replacement of the DVD and that you could definitely get some of your $300K budget back.

Many filmmakers say to me, “I am sure Netflix will love my film.” That may be, but I am told by a reliable source that they pay $1,000 per completed minute for films with known actors and docs known actors voices or interviews.  That would mean your 90-minute feature or doc is now worth $90,000?   Since that is a buyout, how can you make back your budget if it’s over $100K?

One film distributor said that Netflix recently paid only $25,000 for a completed feature.  And that Hulu just paid $22,000 for a finished feature.  This is not good news.  I think it is interesting that both of them paid almost the same price.  How did that happen? 

Strength is Real Numbers

We need to find out what amount can be expected from a film sale.  Do you know? If not, please do some research.  Call people with similar films, ask them, “what did you sell your film for?” Please share with me. If they are reluctant, say, “Was it over $100K or under $100K?” Try to get an idea. You owe this to yourself so you can make a profit.

We must band together and find what are the current selling prices of films.  We have to be honest with each other and share this information. It’s not fair to those who are spending 6 years making documentaries or features who end up with a brilliant film and then ask, “Where’s the money?”  I find that It’s just not there for 90% of the filmmakers.

#WhatisYourFilmWorth

Together we can solve this mystery.  You can email me at CaroleLeeDean@gmail.com  and give me your selling price or some general idea of what it was.  You can be anonymous.  We need a central organizing place for all of us to talk about the amount paid for films.  I want to be this place.  You can call me as well at 805 201 2080.

Don’t mind letting let others know what you got for selling your film?  You can also let me know via Twitter.  We are at @fromtheheartprd.   Let us know what you got for your film with the hashtag #whatyourfilmisworth You will be helping us and others as well.

I see hundreds of films going through my film grant.  There are so many talented filmmakers there are across America.  I want them and all filmmakers to know the potential selling price when they create their budget.

Your time and talents are too valuable to give away. 

 

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.

In advertising and marketing, they call it your USP.  Finding your Unique Selling Point is what will set your film project apart and make it stand out from all your competitors.

by Carole Dean

Heather Hale is a film and television director, screenwriter, and producer with over 60 hours of produced content, including 20 brand new episodes of the television talk show Lifestyle Magazine.  She joined me on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast to talk about her brilliant new book, Story Selling: How to Develop, Market and Pitch Your Film & TV Projects

Unique Selling Point

“What are you doing that’s fresh and different, that we haven’t seen before, that makes this film stand out?”

Heather believes a great pitch is the key to raising money for your film and it must include your USP (Unique Selling Point) to be effective.  She discussed how filmmakers can define and create their USP then maximize it to win investors and an audience. 

What is the Unique Selling Point for Filmmakers?

For filmmakers and content creators, Heather says that ideally your USP is in your log line. “Simply elegantly, and above all quickly conveying what will compel your target audience to pay to view your film or TV show.”

How Do You Find Your USP?

“It’s what’s fresh and different about your film that we haven’t seen before,” she advises. It could be your unique point of view, your unique subject matter expertise that you bring, or your frame of reference.  It could be the way you’re telling the story as there are many non-linear story telling techniques now.

“What are you doing that’s fresh and different, that we haven’t seen before, that makes this film stand out?  Think of films like This Is Us with the two parallel story lines, and even Jane the Virgin.  It’s a telenovela, but we’ve never seen anything with that kind of fun, tongue-in cheek, campy style.  Ask yourself, ‘What makes your film fresher and more relevant to today’s audience?’”

Your USP is what bonds your film to your audience and builds rapport. She offers Game of Thrones as an example.

“There’s so much social media discussion over that, because people root for it, they get emotionally engaged.  What is your point of entry that makes for rabid fans? Viral is not a business plan, you can’t make something go viral, it has to catch on.”

How to Build the Spine of Your Log Line

A simple way to build your log line, Heather suggests, is to start with the six questions journalists have used since the beginning of news to tell a story.  “Sometimes they call it the five W’s, who, what, where, when, why, and sometimes how. It’s the inverted pyramid that inherently forces you to stick to the spine of your story. So, you start with the most compelling details first before funneling down to the rest of your pitch.”

“For example, who is the main character. It’s the protagonist. It’s also who stands in his or her way, the antagonist.  Sometimes this could be a what, like an antagonistic force, but you’re always better if that is personified as a who. Next is what happens to him or her? That’s your catalyst or inciting incident.

“’What’ could also refer to what he wants or she wants.  What is the protagonist’s goal and what is the problem? What’s the conflict? What are the obstacles and stakes?  The climax is the most important what. It’s the most important moment in the script. The where and when is where the story is set, the story world, the milieu or the backdrop. That should influence all the other elements of the script.

“How does the main character overcome all that adversity? Well, there’s your plot. How does your protagonist or other characters evolve psychologically?  There’s your transformational arc. How does he or she resolve the conflict?  That’s how your story ends, which drives back to your climax. Ultimately, the why is why should we care?  That’s the theme. So, I often think the plot is what a story is about, while the theme is what the story is really about, the undercurrent.”

“Why do we care? That’s the theme. Yeah, why? Why would I watch this? Why would the protagonist put him or herself through all that? That’s the why, the driving force, the theme. And typically, your plot, and your character arc are a metaphor for that theme.”

How Important is Your Log Line to Selling Your Project?

“It’s critical.  It’s everything boiled down to that one sentence and it’s sometimes all that anyone will hear. And it’s what gets pitched over the phone, across the credenza, across conference room tables. In markets and meetings, that’s one line that people will use to default to. So, you want to be the one who’s crafted that perfectly.”

 

 

Log Lines with Irony Create a Great Sales Pitch

When watching a movie or a television show, Heather notes, viewers like to proactively add two plus two for themselves, to try to figure out the mystery, to figure out who will end up with who, second guess the plot, and the antagonist’s plan.  

“So, just as you try to make the script an engaging fun read, you want to allow the story to unfold similarly for your pitch listener. So, when the log line is an intriguing puzzle to solve, and inherent in that conflict is the juxtapositions of irony, that’s the arc that launches this inevitable climax, and it shows what the character arc is going to be.

“Irony not only is fantastic in a log line, it’s a really terrific re-writing tool, because you can work backwards and forwards from log line to script and back again, minding the collision of sub-text to explore maybe missed creative opportunities, and where you could be pushing boundaries. It would be more obvious about what the character has to learn and overcome. It would be more obvious about the contrast between characters. That irony is a really critical.”

Your Log Line is Like a Great Reduction Sauce

“I don’t know if you’re a cook or a foodie, but a reduction sauce could be a sweet sauce drizzled over a dessert or a savory gravy dolloped over protein or vegetables.

“It starts with this huge terrain of raw ingredients, like your screenplay, like your documentary, like your reality TV show. Whatever it is, you have this huge amount that is slowly boiled down over time, reducing each flavor to its core essence. And then ultimately strained into this rich, dense, fully saturated, but completely original new puree, and that’s your log line.

“So, if you see a Broadway musical or an opera, the overture reveals snippets of all the music and moods to come, and the log lines are this alluring tease. It’s a synthesis of all the essential ingredients. So, writing that log line is like a microcosm of your script. Just as editing a moving piece of content. I think reverse engineering backwards and forwards enhances both. One informs and improves the other.”

The Importance of a Great Tag Line

Tag lines are understood within the context of the title and the log line, and when they’re accompanied by key art, they give you the whole picture.  Film is a visual medium and tag lines help viewers or readers understand the whole picture in an instant.

“If you remember the Social Network, about Facebook,” Heather gave as an example, “the tag line was, ‘You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies’. That sets up what some of the conflict is in the world. I had a bunch listed in the book. Chicken Run; ‘Escape or die frying.’ That’s a pun that also shows you the stake in the film.

Tag lines just allow you to give that extra angle or that extra twist.  Heather suggests to look on IMDB at a comparable project and look below the storyline and you’ll see plot keywords and tag line. And you can click to see what are the project’s tag line.

“What were the keywords that they used and then brainstorm using other people’s tag lines. Not remotely are you cloning or stealing or using someone else’s idea, you’re just looking at different angles to push it to see what’s been explored or not explored. It can be a really rich fertile territory for brainstorming.”

 

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.

The more the merrier and rewarding when you identify your film’s audience because 98% of your donations will come from your database

by Carole Dean

One of the most important questions to ask yourself before attempting to crowdfund your film is “How do I enlarge my database of contacts?”  It’s crucial as 98% of the donations to your project will come from your contacts. 

Film's Audience

Our fiscally sponsored film “Saving the Rabbits of Ravensbruck” found their audience and surpassed their goal on Kickstarter

 

The first step in growing your database is to define and find the audience for your film.   How do you do that while you trying to make your film?  Here’s information from my book, The Art of Film Funding and Stephen Follows book, How to Crowdfund your Film

Who is Your Audience?

What is it that attracts people to your film?  Start by interviewing some of the people who already love your project.  This does not include family and friends (as the reason they love your project may just be you!). 

Some questions you might ask include:

  • 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?

Check out my blog, “How to Mine Your Audience for Gold” to get a list of right questions to ask.  Then, use the answers create a profile of your real audience. Remember, your audience needs to be motivated by the subject matter of your film.

Is Your Audience Big Enough?

Is your existing audience big enough to fund your campaign?  Gerry Maravilla, Head of Crowdfunding at Seed&Spark, told me filmmakers can expect to get 20% to 30% of their contact list to donate. 

The most popular donation is $25.  So, if you are lucky enough to have 500 names, that will be at most 150 donations.  Multiply that by $25.  That’s $3,750. Is that enough to reach your campaign goal?

If it is not, then you need to add more names.  This audience will need additional reasons to donate because they don’t know you.  To get their donations, you need to create likability and trust.

Locate Communities or Groups

What is unique about your film? Find that and be able to talk about how special your film is because of this uniqueness.

Start listing the various audiences that your film addresses.  For documentaries, it’s much simpler than features, but let’s just take an example of a documentary on organic food. Go online and start looking for organizations and groups who fit your film like vegetarians, vegans, organic consumers, benefits of organic food, etc.

Find those organizations through Facebook and Google. On Facebook, there are thousands of groups set up around nearly every topic imaginable. You can find films or subjects that closely resemble yours.

Log into your Facebook profile. Enter a relevant keyword in the search box at the top left of the page. Then, click the Groups tab to see a list of groups related to your search term. Click on the name of the group to learn more, or click join to become a member of the group.

Make a list from your Facebook and Google results.  You want to find the top 40 organizations and set a goal to connect to at least 20.  Hopefully, they will have a minimum database of 5,000 members each.

Your goal is to get them to support your film. Get them to post about your film on their database, or newsletter, or ask them to tweet about your film.

Twitter and Instagram

Author Stephen Follows in “How to Crowdfund Your Film” suggests doing research and marketing via Twitter.  He advises to search for key people around the theme of your film and use tools like Socialbro or Rival I Q to understand more about that audience.

“Look at who is following these big people”, he writes “and look at who the big people are and find who is the most active with communicating.  Look specifically to see if they recommend other projects because if they do you want to contact them early to get them on board and promote your film as well.”

He recommends to seek tweets which motivate the audience to retweet and comment.  For example, “It might be that people are talking about dogs but it’s only when they get to talk about how to look after dogs that created a lot of people sharing and commenting this will help you understand the language and the sub topics that inspire action.”

Instagram can also be useful with the visuals answering questions like what are the common things with the images on your topic? How professional are they?

Capturing Your Audience

Ok, you’ve got a good idea who the audience is for your film.  You’ve socialized with them on social media, in their communities, and made yourself known.   Many seem really interested in your project and are likely to support it.

Sign up with an email marketing platform such as Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, etc.  Through them, you will get an opt-in link for others to sign up to get more information on your film in exchange for their email address.  We use Constant Contact at From the Heart Productions.  They have a text to join feature as well.

Don’t ask people to join a mailing list.  Ask them to join your community that revolves around your film as well as its subject.  No wants to be on a list. 

Include this opt-in link on your Facebook page.  Facebook has the call-to-action feature. This button appears near the “Like” button on your cover photo and is another great way to encourage email sign-ups.  Add the “Sign Up” button and link to your online sign-up form so your Facebook visitors can join your mailing list easily.

Add your opt-in link to your Instagram Profile and your website if you have one.  Also, make sure it is in your signature in your emails. 

You can drive them to your website where you can collect their email address is by giving them a nice gift, something they can’t live without.  Create short three-minute trailers.  Then, put them on your YouTube channel to drive people to your website.  Once there, they can’t resist your gift and will sign up to be part of your film community.

Reaching Out to Your Audience

By now you should have the audience profiled.  Try to list them by groups.

I always say when you ask for money you often get advice but when you ask for advice, this can sometimes lead to money.  So, with your first emails don’t ask for a donation.  They may still not be sure who you are yet.  They may not trust you even though they may be interested in your content. 

I’d ask them to give you feedback on your film. You might say, ‘I making a film about dogs and I wonder how you feel about these various topics and what information you would like to see in a film of this nature.” Do you like what I’ve written? If you have any suggestions for me, please let me know.

You might get feedback and it could be very good.  I’ve had a lot of filmmakers say they were impressed with the return information. And, you can find that as this person gets closer to the film through their relationship with you, they may eventually donate.

Remember, You Need a Lot More Than Money

Make a list of the things you need that could be donated other than money. Airline ticket miles, social networking, a PA for the shoot. Craft service on the shoot etc. etc.  Some filmmakers put this information on their website to encourage people to contact them to become part of the film’s community and donate their time.

Identifying, contacting and entertaining your audience is key to crowdfunding.  You want to take your crowd to the crowd funding.  They will follow you and donate and support you if they like and trust you and are interested in the subject matter of your film.

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers 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.

How to Keep Your Environment and Emotions From Holding You Back

by Carole Dean

Breianne Pryse is an intuitive life strategist and business coach trained in many modalities. She specializes in helping people get beyond their limitations and create what they desire.  Born with many intuitive gifts, she excels at moving people and businesses into places they never thought possible. 

 

Financial Goals

Toss Your Past Traumas and Current Negativity Surrounding You Into a Bin and Take Back Your Energy

In my The Art of Film Funding Podcast interview with Breianne, she provided these 5 ways to exceed your financial goals.

Keep Your Energy Clear

If you’re working from your house and it doesn’t feel good, this can be a sign there’s too much energy there.   It could also mean there is too much negativity or it’s a sign you have not released your energy correctly.

“With all the political stuff going on, the weather, we are constantly bombarded with energy. We have to own that,” Breianne suggests.  “We say to ourselves ‘All right, I am really bombarded by the energy. Universe, I’m feeling crap today. All right, I’ve got to change this. I have life to live and more important things to do. I need to change it. I’m going to change it today.’”

She points out that there are very basic things that you can do to change the energy around you. “Spraying rosewater around an environment is really great.  Roses are the flowers of angels, so doing that is very good. I like to flood myself with white light as that really helps.”

“Putting boundaries on energy, changing your space. Think of going down to the beach one day and working, instead of sitting in front of your computer in your office. A lot of people have modalities, prayers, rituals that make them feel good and shift their energy. Salt baths and showers are really excellent, because it cleans out your auric field and it cleans out your skin.

“But, is really super important that you honor that you feel like crap and you can change it.  Because as we know, we can get caught up in the nastiness so much, and we forget that we can change it.  We really need to be in our power, and in our awareness and we can do that by changing the energy.”

Clearing Your Mental & Emotional Past

Breianne believes our past traumas not only affect who we are today. They also affect our thoughts and our feelings.  

“Most of us are energetically sensitive people,” says Breanne. “Sometimes when we go to create something awesome, we can feel like we hit a brick wall. Or we’re trying really, really hard and it doesn’t work.  Well, a lot of times that’s some sort of mechanism, some sort of energy within us from our past, that is preventing us.”

Start by Identifying the things that are limiting you.  She offers “one fun exercise that you can do is to imagine in front of you a bin of velvet white, or purple light, and it’s burning really, really bright. You want to find any past traumas stored in your body.  You want to ask, ‘All right universe, what stuff did I pick up from my mom that prevents me from having the money that I want to have right now?’”

“Feel into that energy, and you start picking it out of your body, and physically throwing it into the bin. You can do the same thing with your father.

 

 

“One of the things that was very helpful to me is, I had a lot of feedback and energy from people with old sayings from Oklahoma and Arkansas, because that’s where my family is from originally. One of those was, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.’ Well, that might really be affecting me now, and even though I don’t consciously buy into that, I can remember my grandmother saying that. So, I pulled that and I put it in the bin.”

She believes your ancestry plays a part in this, too. Usually by the age of two, where your parents were financially gets ingrained in you.  So, if they were struggling, and usually when they’re starting a new family, there is a lot of struggle, that energy can be in you and make it hard to make money.

To overcome that, Brieanne likes “talking to the traumas and saying, ‘All right, trauma. Thank you very much. I’m reclaiming my energy. I’m stopping you. I am choosing to create money to help me, my family, humanity.’”

“Throwing everything in the bin is awesome because that’s just saying you no longer need it, and you no longer want it. Now, with this, you need to go back to that magical word, truth. What I notice with a lot of people is that they did not get rid of it. What they did is, they just put it in a box. They did something else with it, so they can’t find it anymore, but it’s still there running the show.

“What I do is, I invite all the energy from all the things that I’ve ever thought I’ve cleared, all the things from all the modalities that I thought I’d zapped. I bring it all up, pull it up from inside my body and I just throw it in the bin. That helps clear it.”

Refine Your Ask

Before embarking on their project, Breianne advises filmmakers to ask “All right, universe, is it time for this film? Will this film have the impact that I want it to have at this point?”  

“It’s all about asking and refining your ask, but you have to remember to ask.” She reminds people that they’ve got to ask every day and ask consistently.  “Because the universe hears everything. Ask the universe ‘How can we make more money today? What can I do to make more money for my film today?’”

“Please don’t say ‘Oh my God, it’s so hard to make money. Things don’t work for me.’  You need to basically be asking daily, and you keep asking, as you refine your ask. Are we asking for the right thing? And just see what happens.

“One of the things that was explained to me was sometimes what you’re asking for is too small. Sometimes, things don’t show up because we’re asking for $10,000 for a film. Maybe we should be asking for $100,000 for two films. Back to that magic truth energy of what is working and what is showing up.”

Be Aware of What Shows Up

“If you’re asking for something, and something else shows up, pay attention,” Breianne warned me.

“Carole, I know that you’ve had this experience too. With me it’s like, I want new clients. So, I send fliers out in the west. Well, all the clients come from the east. Nothing comes from those fliers. It’s all about telling the universe that you want something, but not being attached to how it shows up. I’m sure you’ve had the stories from your filmmakers many times, they’ve spent all this time and energy trying to get money one way, but then it magically appears from somewhere else.

“We have to be aware of that, and say, ‘Wonderful universe, how can I magically receive more energy?’  We have to shift, because if we’re so ultra-focused on one way, we’re not going to see all the opportunities.

“What’s wonderful about this day and age is there’s a zillion and a half ways to make money, we just have to choose. We have to choose what works for us, and go with that, okay? Then that brings it to the fifth way.”

You Have to Put Energy and Action into What You Want to Create

That’s just how the universe works, regardless of what anybody tells you.

“Years ago, when the film, The Secret, came out, there were a lot of people who loved it.  I had a psychologist.  She said, ‘Oh yeah, we have The Secret Syndrome.’ I said, ‘Well, what does that mean?” She says, ‘Well, it means people said they asked for something, like they wanted a million dollars.  Then they went, and sat in their armchair for a year, and got mad because they didn’t get their million dollars!’”

“But the million dollars wasn’t going to find them sitting in their armchair, watching TV. So, it was such a phenomenon that they had to create a syndrome for it.

“It’s basically taking action. Now, sometimes that action can be going down to the local coffee shop, because you might meet the person who is going to give you the money.  Sometimes, it could be going down to the beach, spending some alone time meditating, contacting an old friend that you had, you know?  It’s all about just looking for energy, opening the energy, keeping it open and following it, because that’s how the magic happens, is just following the energy.

“Choose to be in the energy of a successful filmmaker, of a person who makes good use of other people’s money. Go back to number one about keeping your energy clean. You keep your energy clean, you keep your focus, and you keep yourself in that wonderful money energy.  Allowing yourself to stay there, regardless of what craziness people are doing around you, stay focused on your goals.”

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers 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.

 

Author of “The Field” Discusses Her Reasons for Writing it and How Our Thoughts Can Change Matter

by Carole Dean

Lynne McTaggart is a brilliant author.  I fell in love with her mind when I read her book The Field.  She has an incredible way of transforming difficult information from physicists so that we get it. 

We study The Field in our Intentional Filmmaking Class where we intend our future with the science found in Lynne’s book.  One filmmaker, Diane estelle Vicari, took my class and went on to study with her. 

Lynne Mctaggart

“A thought is a thing that affects other things…It’s trespassing into other people and things and changing them.”

Diane connected me with Lynne McTaggart and I was very lucky and honored that she agreed to an interview on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast.  Here are highlights:

On What Took Her on a Journey to Write The Field

“I was curious about why spiritual healing works.“ Lynne explained. “I run an international magazine called What Doctors Don’t Tell You, we look at the science of what works and what doesn’t work in conventional and alternative medicine. I kept coming across really good studies of spiritual healing and I kept thinking to myself, if that’s true, if you could take thought and send it to someone else and make them better, that undermines everything we think about how the universe works.”

“So, I decided to go on a quest to try to figure out what was behind all of this. Do we have human energy fields? What else do we have?  So, I began to speak to a number of pioneering scientists in consciousness research and I soon realized that each of them had made a small discovery that was revolutionary in its impact and its implications and together compounded into a completely new view of the world, a totally alternative view of reality where we are not separate entities as we’ve been told.”

How We Are All Inner-Connected

“We’re not these kinds of little billiard balls just independently operating according to fixed laws in time and space but we are one giant connected entity, thanks for a thing called “the zero-point field” and the zero-point field is essentially a quantum energy field that unites us all in its invisible web.

“But some of the other things they discovered are kind of an outgrowth of that too, that our minds may not be locked inside our heads but be out there in the field, that we are very interconnected with everything, that we have an enormous and vast human potential for extending well beyond our five senses and also the thing that tickled me the most, that thoughts are an actual something with the capacity to change physical matter. “

Thoughts Can Change Matter

“I’m at my heart an investigative reporter, very interested in fact-finding and evidence and so the reporter in me was sort of saying, well, are we just talking about shifting a quantum particle or are we talking about curing cancer with our thoughts? How far can we take this?

‘And also, what happens when lots of people are thinking the same thought at the same time and that shifted me to creating the intention experiment but it was really that kind of left-over question. It was an itch I needed to scratch, left over from the field that propelled me onto my other work.”

Our Thoughts Are Trespassers

“We’re creating all the time. One of the things that came out of my research is the idea that thoughts are trespassers. I mean, a thought isn’t just a thing; a thought is a thing that affects other things and it’s affecting all of the time. It’s trespassing into other people and things and changing them. So, we are co-creators essentially, every moment.”

One physicist proved this in his experiments. 

“The amazing Fritz Albert Popp was absolutely brilliant. He discovered accidentally, when looking for a cure for cancer, that there is a very subtle current of light that’s emanating from all living things and moreover, that other living things are beaming back synchronistically. 

“He found that this light was a communication system inside the body.  So, if something was going on in one place, it would simultaneously let the rest of the body know what was going on. It was coming out of DNA but also it was communicating with the outside and the outside was having a conversation back and so that is a huge, huge thing and may account, to some degree, for why thoughts affect us outside, why they’re affecting other things outside of us.  Popp found that highly cohesive light existed in living things.” 

Are we Vibrating Tuning Forks?

“I believe we may be a tuning fork resonating with other things at the same frequency.  Maybe through these ‘tuning forks’, we set a resonance frequency for what we want and we attract it to ourselves through our relentless focus and faith. 

“You see this all the time, where someone achieves something difficult and we often say ‘He willed it so.’ Or you may know people whose focus allows them to bring the future to the present so that doors open were there were no doors before. 

“People who move up rapidly and always seem to be in the right place at the right time, we have to wonder, are they highly functioning “tuning forks” bringing things to them to achieve their relentless vision?”

How to Make Use of Lynn McTaggart’s Lessons

I want filmmakers to consider using some of this brilliant science.  For example, you could see your film finished and envision yourself at the end of filmmaking at a major screening room and hearing a standing ovation for your film. This nightly vision could begin to attract what you need to make the film. 

That might be money, goods, services, connections, mentors, strategic partners, all of the things you need to make a film.  You attract them with your vibration that comes from your vision of the future as you want it to be.

Who knows?  I do believe that we are all vibrating strings, so perhaps it is all about finding those people and things who are vibrating with you by your relentless visions.

 

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

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