You Need to “Feel It” to Achieve It

It’s not enough to visualize yourself succeeding, you need to seed those visualizations with emotions

by Carole Dean

In our Film Funding Guidance Class for our fiscally sponsored filmmakers, we’re currently reviewing the book, Mind Power by John Kehoe.  The book teaches us about the power of visualizations in achieving success and how to apply them in your life.

visualize success

John believes that one of the secrets to achieving success is to visualize everything that would or could happen to you and live as if it really is happening.  You should see yourself in situations that normally give you difficulty. 

In this visualization, you should see yourself at ease confident and performing well.  You might picture your friends and associates complimenting you, congratulating you on your newfound confidence.

“Seeding” Your Visualizations

“Seeding” is adding feelings. Feelings with visuals are like movies with soundtracks.  They are more passionate, more emotional and contain lots of good energy. 

You should visualize your success using emotions like completion, pride, confidence, enthusiasm, and most importantly, faith.  Faith that this will happen, faith that your future belongs to you, and faith that you will successfully manifest your vision.

Remember the film, Bruce Almighty, when Jim Carrey was God and prayers were yellow post its?  He would find his room full of those yellow post it’s each morning.  Then he would go to work answering prayers. I think that seeding them with emotions would turn the post its from yellow into hot pink so they would stand out. 

Emotions are powerful.  Please be sure to use emotions when you are visualizing.  Send your visions to the universe with tons of “feeling.”

Shakespeare said “My words fly up; my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go.”  Shakespeare knew that you had to have “feelings” with thoughts to bring you the future you want.

Visualize Your Pitch Presentation Before You Pitch.

A few days before you go to pitch your film, you should take the time to start visualizing your meeting. See yourself in an over the shoulder shot.  You are pitching your film.  Your potential donor is smiling and nodding their head like they’re enjoying and receiving the information you’re sending.

See yourself with pride, enthusiasm, and confidence. You should take this into your meditation and visualize the outcome you want with emotions.  Please remember how powerful emotions are and put a lot of emotion in this visualization.

You should be prepared for them to ask you questions. I want you to feel very proud of yourself because you have the answers.  To do this, you want to know what your budget is and be able to defend it. You want to know where this film will be distributed. You want to explain where this donor or investor will see your film.

See Your Future and Claim It.

Be fully prepared for all kinds of questions and be totally confident that you will get funded.  Live with that belief; that you have what you want.

You need to “feel” successful, to “feel confident.” Let these feelings be part of your vision.

Remember, all we have is the present.  Do not say, “I will have,” that puts it in the future. Please pretend it is real this very moment. You are living your dream. You are living with the life you want to live in your mind. Keep that thought as present not future.

In Mind Power, the author tells us how important affirmations are. He is reminding us that our statements and our constant belief in our achievements are important to us.

“Affirmations,” he says, “are simple statements repeated to yourself silently or aloud. You can do them anywhere, like, in your car, waiting in the doctor’s office, while you are walking, when you are lying in bed before you go to sleep.”

Affirmation’s Work!

With affirmations, you are influencing the thoughts in your mind and filling your mind with thoughts that support your goal.

John suggests when you’re doing your affirmations that you have to be consistent.  You want to keep your affirmations going until you have achieved what you are affirming.

I suggest that you use the powerful two words “I am” and start with things like:

  • I am an award-winning filmmaker.
  • I am fully funded.
  • I am having a lot of fun making my film.
  • I am getting weekly donations.
  • I am receiving surprise donations.
  • All the mental work that I am sending to the universe brings me money from sources I never expected.
  • I am fully funded.

He suggests you keep your affirmation short, and I fully agree.  Use things like:

  • I am healthy
  • I am wealthy
  • I am happy

I love these affirmations because they will get you through any day with lots of joy. 

“I Am the Greatest” Worked for Mohamed Ali.  It Will Work for You Too!

This is where we need to remember and not to make statements against ourselves like oh, I never do that right.

I’m so sorry I always get it wrong.

I’m a disaster.

These are things you should remove totally out of your vocabulary.

“I am” are the two most powerful words in the dictionary. Especially when used to create your future because they will bring you what you want.

Love Yourself.

We are very quick to see our failures and not our success. John says that when we get successes, we are happy for a few days and then we go back into forgetting our successes.

Let’s make a point of remembering our successes. Let’s reuse that success energy from past achievements again and again and expect very positive results.

For example, let’s suppose you wanted to get into a Film Festival and succeeded.  Even if it was three years ago, think about that energy that you felt when you received the notification you had been accepted. That’s the energy you want around you. You want to keep bringing that up that wonderful memory of acceptance and support.

When you get great compliments or when people give you wonderful feedback, please live on that for a weeks.  Take it inside you and feel it.  Enjoy it.

Let All the Positive Stuff You Hear Stay with You.

You need to be in the place where you feel that you deserve the donation. Be in the place where you know that you have a brilliant project.  Where you know that you will complete the project. 

By feeling these things and having them as part of your DNA you become the perfect person to give a donation.  That’s what people are looking for.  They want to support a winner, a creative, they want to support you. 

It’s your job to show them you are that creative, that brilliant artist and you deserve to be funded.

When You Are in My Aura; You are Reading My Mind!

People start picking up your thoughts when they get inside your aura and your aura stands 6 feet from your body.  When you sit next to someone to talk to them even if you had a table between you, it would probably still be within six feet.  You would be in a place where they can read you and they will know how confident you are.

That’s where they start making decisions.  They make decisions from their “inner feelings” about you. UCLA Professor Mehrabian, analyzing what makes a successful pitch, said in his research: that only 7% of what you say affects their decision making. 55% of the decision-making process is based on how you walk, how you talk, how you carry yourself, how much confidence you have. 

Did you look them in the eye?  Are you positive in your statements?  Do you sit up straight? Are you a happy person?  Are you excited and enthused about your project? Answer “no” to any of those questions and you probably failed on your pitch.

38% of the decision-making process is your voice, how enthusiastic your voice is, and this is most important because people are reading these signals.  If you show any depression and uncertainty or lack of knowledge, if your voice quavers, you are creating a feeling of uncertainty.  

Watch how you talk.  You do not want to say “you know” you do not want to use eeerrr  or ahhhhs.  These are the things that work against you. The voice and the things you say are 38% of the decision-making process.

You Can See that the Most Important Thing to Work on is You.

You are the film.  Shore up your belief in you. You need full self-confidence to close a donation, to get that discount or to hire that person you want.

Ok, you may be thinking, wow, Carole, this is a lot to do. Yes, I know it is but let’s look at the benefits.

Joseph Campbell says: “When you are on the right path, invisible hands will come to your aid.”  That’s the prize you get.  Don’t try to figure it out.  Don’t ask how, just know it will happen. 

This is the most important part of creating your future, faith.  Your faith must be relentless.

 

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

Recipe for Film Funding Success

As shown in the new HBO Max Julia Child Series, the ingredients to achieving your goals include a burning desire and belief in yourself

by Carole Dean

I love the film reviews in the New Yorker magazine. Recently they had a review on a new series on HBO Max on Julia Child. It told of her extraordinary rise from a humble housewife who had written a cookbook to the crown jewel of PBS programming slate.

film funding success

Every night my daughter Carole Joyce and our friend Tommy Adams and I watch a movie. I thought this film would be something they wouldn’t like so I started watching it by myself.  I found it to be lots of fun and now all of us are watching it.

What is clear from this series is that Julia Child created her future.  She wanted that television show. She made it happen.

And the tools she used are available to you to achieve film funding success and get your film made.

Cook Something Up.

It all started when she was invited to go on the PBS station WGBH in Boston to be interviewed for her cookbook.   At the interview, Julia walked on to the set with a shopping bag full of stuff and plopped it down next to her chair.  When the well-known book intellectual, who was appalled at having to interview her asked the first question, Julia started unpacking her bag. 

She promptly crawled on the floor with her rear facing us while she plugged in a hot plate.  Then, she began to make an omelet for everyone to see how simple it was.

By doing this, she stole the show.

Ask For What You Want.

This interview happened because a WGBH associate producer at the bottom of the production ladder somehow found Julia and invited her on the show.  After this interview, Julia took the initiative and wrote this producer and proposed a cooking show.  

That associate producer knew she could have a hit show with Julia.  After all, Julia’s impressive creation of a three-egg omelet on camera had generated 13 letters to WGBH from people saying they loved Julia. The associate producer took the letters into a meeting and began pitching a Julia Childs show.  She said that the mandate for WGBH was education, and a cooking show would be perfect for them. 

The head of WGBH liked Julia and asked the head producer to run the numbers for what it would cost to do a show with her.  The head producer did, invited Julia back, and told her it was too expensive for them.

“No, sorry,” she told Julia, “We can’t do the show.”

Julia replied, “Looking like I do, has taught me to never take no for an answer.” 

That “no” was the beginning of a negotiation for Julia!  What determination that shows us, right? 

That’s a good lesson for all of us.  Had she not sat there and talked this out with the top producer she would never have gotten that show.

Be Bold and Go for It!

When the producer explained that he said no because of the enormous cost of building a set with a working kitchen, Julia Child said, “I’ll pay for that set if you will do the show.  In fact, I’ll pay for the whole show.”

This changed WGBH’s mind.  She was set for one show.  Now, the problem was that when she agreed to pay for the kitchen set, she did not even look at the budget for the amount. 

Once out of the meeting, she saw the cost.  She realized that she did not have enough money.

Get Creative Finding Funding.

Even though her father was very rich, she had to do cooking classes on the side.  She had to use her cookbook income and still she was in the hole for money. 

She told her female friends how much she wanted to cook on TV, and they rallied around and helped her.

To achieve this show, Julia, like all of you found creative ways to get the money.  You do the same thing.  You find people who love you and love your film and they give you their heart and minds.  Right?

The astonishing thing is that Julia didn’t own a TV set.  When she went to buy one, the HBO Max series showed Julia standing in front of 20 television sets in a store.  Each TV had a different program on them. 

As Julia stood there, she began to see herself on TV.  Soon, every TV in the store had Julia Child on it.

Send Your Visions to the Universe.

This is the visualization that I discuss with our fiscally sponsored filmmakers in our Film Funding Guidance Class.  Our job is to teach you how to visualize to create your future. This is exactly what it takes to create your future.

Julia took the initiative.  She wrote the letter she saying she wanted to do a TV show to teach Americans how to cook like the French.  She did not take no for an answer.  This was her vision; and she was relentless in getting that first show made so much so that WGBH came on board.

Remember, she had to learn how to cook for the camera.  She had to learn how to stand in front of hot lights, be original, humorous, and keep our attention while she beat eggs or stirred her cakes.  Although she made mistakes, that was the best part of the show.  She was human! 

She captured us with her honesty.  Everyone quotes her for saying, “You are all alone in the kitchen. No one but you knows what goes on.”

We saw chicken parts flying across the room and flambés light up like a three-alarm fire.  We saw her cut herself and keep on going while she was bleeding all over the WGBH kitchen.

That’s when Dan Ackroyd began to mimic her on Saturday Night Live.  Her career took off like a NASA rocket to the moon. 

I found this HBO film, Julia, to be empowering.  It is a true representative of what it takes to be an independent filmmaker.

It takes talent and tons of guts.  Never give up is a good mantra for all indie 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

Think and Get Film Funding

Lessons on Woo Film Donors and Investors from Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”

by Carole Dean

Napoleon Hill, author of the bestselling self-improvement masterwork Think and Grow Rich, wrote brilliantly about how to use your mind to fund your film. 

Well, actually, he did not know he was writing his book with that purpose.  But the ideas and stories contained in his work, provide valuable lessons for filmmakers on how to achieve their goals of getting money for their films.

You will need to woo your potential donors for weeks or months. They need to know who you are because they need to like you and trust you.

Please read this with the thought in mind, “will this work for me and help fund and finish my film?”

Building on Outrageous Ideas for Success

The list of the chief sources from which power may be attained is headed by 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.

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 that idea to something even more outrageous and, before the night is over, you have some incredible new ideas. Edward de Bono wrote about this in his book Lateral Thinking. 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.

You Need to Pursue Money as Passionately as You Would a Relationship

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.

He says, “money 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.”

Well, he wrote his book in 1937 and stories of old-time maidens may have still been fresh then!  But the power used in pursuit of wooing of money is not greatly different from that used in wooing a lover.  That power when successfully used in the pursuit of money must be mixed with faith. It must be mixed with desire and persistence.

It must be applied through a plan, and that plan must be set into action. You need to use your faith to achieve your goal. Concentrate your desire is to reach the goal. You need persistent desire to achieve your goal and the persistence to go after your goal.  Never stop until it is achieved.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

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, a very successful independent film producer (and co-instructor in my Intentional Filmmaking Class), tells the story of a time when he had been wooing a potential donor for many months.  On a Saturday night, when he was all comfortable at home with his family, the phone rang. The potential investors said, “come over I want to talk to you.”

He got up from his comfortable couch, got dressed, drove over to the investors home, and 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?

A good investor would want to spend time with that person before they wrote a large check, and this is exactly what happens.

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. 

Money Goes to Money

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.  That truly is money flowing downhill right into your bank account.

“There exists a great unseen stream of power,” Napoleon writes, “which may be compared to a river, except that one side flows in one direction carrying all those who get into that side of the stream onward and upward to wealth and on the other side —-the river flows in the opposite direction carrying all who are 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. 

You Want to be in the Flow  

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

This is the same thing Napoleon Hill is saying, he is using river instead of “the Force”.  You want to get in the river that flows carrying all upward and onward to wealth.

Filmmakers are the most creative group of people on earth.  There is nothing they can’t do once they put their focus on their vision.

 

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

Unleashing the Power of the Film Crew

Why You Need to Create a Mastermind Group For Your Film

by Carole Dean

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

Mastermind Group

Organized and Intelligently Directed Knowledge Equals Power

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

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

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

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

Understanding the Power of the Mastermind

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

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

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

The Billionaire Behind the Mastermind Principle

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

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

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

How Hollywood Has Embraced the Mastermind Concept

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

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

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

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

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

Nature’s Building Blocks

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

Wow, that is quite a statement.

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

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

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

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

Presidents And the Mastermind Principle

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

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

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

Functioning in Harmony to Reach Goal

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

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

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

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

 

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

Tom Malloy, a Current-Day Cassavetes

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

by Carole Dean

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

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

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

Advice on Moving from Producer to Director

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips for Indie Filmmakers

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

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

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

Tips on the Editing Process

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

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

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

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

Any Tips on Financing Indie Films?

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

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

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

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

 

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

Going Global: Delivering Film “Content with a Purpose”

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

by Carole Dean

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

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

IndieFlix

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

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

Passion and Need Created the Education Division

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting Your Films to the Right Audience

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

IndieFlix

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

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

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

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

IndieFlix Group is Looking for Content with Global Topics!

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

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

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

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

Scilla’s Office Nickname is “Fortune Cookie”

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

Scilla believes the distribution of a film is a marathon.

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

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

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

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

 

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

Using the Mighty 990 to Fund Your Film

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

by Carole Dean

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your proposal needs to be a visual description of your film

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who is your audience?

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

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

What are your marketing plans? 

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

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

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

Using 990’s to find grants that match your project

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t be shy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t forget to write and never give up

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

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

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

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

 

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

How Your Film Team Can Become a Mastermind Team

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 

In Film Funding, Pleasant Persistence Pays Off!

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 

Sammy’s Love Note

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.