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.

Benefits of Hybrid Distribution and Virtual Screenings

July 25th, 2021

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 

Accelerate Your Video Editing with a New Program for Indie Filmmakers

July 3rd, 2021

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 

Using Your Subconscious to Create Your Future

June 17th, 2021

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

Tips on Winning Grants from a Grantor!

June 13th, 2021

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.

The Passionate Pitch

May 22nd, 2021

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.

Faith Funds Films

May 9th, 2021

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.

Trailer Tips

April 18th, 2021

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. 

Cinematographers to Directors: “Be Prepared”

April 17th, 2021

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.

Your Relentless Desire Will Bring Success!

April 11th, 2021

“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.

“26 Seconds” Wins Britt Penrod Award

April 10th, 2021

Documentary Reveals that One Child Every 26 Seconds is Trafficked Globally

From the Heart Productions announces that “26 Seconds” has been named the winner of the inaugural Britt Penrod Award.  Made possible by a generous grant by the award’s namesake, it is bestowed on an entrant for the Roy W. Dean Film Grant that is unique and that makes an exceptional contribution to society.   Director Kelly Galindo will receive $500 from the award to allow her to continue work on her documentary exposing child sex trafficking around the world.

Britt Penrod Award“Our Roy W. Dean Film Grants have for 30 years gone to films that are unique and that make a contribution to society.  ‘26 Seconds’ exemplifies that theme and goes beyond by making a monumental contribution to society in its documenting the underage sex slave industry from the United States to Asia and Africa.” said Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions.

“26 Seconds” is a two-stage film project that reveals the global epidemic of child sex trafficking. The first stage is a two-hour feature documentary that is currently in post-production. The second stage is a dramatic documentary miniseries. Through a captivating journey across the world, Galindo reveals the ubiquity of the problem and the gravity of the damage sustained by this evil, destructive trade.

In intimate interviews, the audience gets a raw, often shocking glimpse into the lives of children and women in various cultures and regions. The interviews include vivid details of how each victim was captured or lured into the sex trade, the horrors of their captivity, and the commitment of each individual, non-profit organization, crisis intervention team, and law enforcement in the fight to eradicate global sex trafficking.

Director Kelly Galindo’s vision is to spread awareness and create a call to action by educating audiences and giving a voice to those who have been silenced. Human trafficking is the fastest-growing illegal industry in the world. There are more slaves today than any time in history.

For the past four years, she has produced and directed 26 Seconds​; her mission of exposing these atrocities has taken her around the world. Kelly highlights the nonprofit organizations that have actively stepped forward to do something about it.

The 26 Seconds team is currently editing the feature documentary with three-time Emmy award winner, Mark Wilcken, as lead editor. The production will be making a strong push for top-tier film festivals, along with a PR campaign for the Academy Awards. Sid Ganis, the supervising producer for 26 Seconds, was the past president of the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts, and Sciences; he also served as chairman of the Academy’s International Outreach Committee up to 2017. Prior to this, Ganis has been on the board of directors at Marvel Entertainment until its sale to Disney. His film career in marketing and publicity includes working at 20th Century Fox, Lucasfilm, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, and Paramount Pictures.

Recognition for 26 Seconds

Kelly Galindo, award-winning director, writer, and producer of 26 Seconds, has won the prestigious Award of Merit Best Shorts Competition for Women Filmmakers; The Award of Merit for Liberation-Social Justice-&-Protest; Award of Merit for Women Filmmakers for the Accolade Global Film Competition; Outstanding Excellence of Social Issues for Docs Without Borders Film Festival; Award of Merit for Best Documentary Short for Women Filmmakers for the IndieFEST Film Awards; Best Short Cause-for-Change for AIFA Fest; Best Director for the International Independent Film Awards; Special Mention for Impact Doc Awards; and Special Mention for Global Shorts, One-Reeler Short Film Festival Competition and winner of Excellence for WRPN Women’s International Film Festival.

The 26 Seconds documentary short has also been officially selected for That Film Festival – Cannes, Dances with Films Festival, See It-End It Film and Arts Festival and Film-Com Packaging Financing & Distribution Market. Galindo’s vision is to spread awareness and create a call to action by educating audiences and giving a voice to those who have been silenced. Human trafficking is the fastest-growing illegal industry in the world. There are more slaves today than any time in history. Best Shorts Competition, the Accolade Global Film Competition,

The Impact Doc Awards, IndieFEST Film Awards and Docs Without Boarders Film Festival recognizes film, television, and new media professionals who demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity, and those who produce standout entertainment or contribute to profound social change. Entries are judged by highly qualified professionals in the film and television industry.

In winning these film festivals, 26 Seconds joins the ranks of other high-profile winners of these internationally respected awards. Entries are received from around the world from powerhouse companies to remarkable new talent, who demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity. And those who produce standout entertainment or contribute to profound social change and help set the standard as power catalysts for global change.

Best Shorts Competition Award winners have included Disney Interactive for “Vinylmation: A Love Story” and Oscar-winning production “Mr. Hublot” from Laurent Witz from Luxembourg.

Accolade Global Film Competition winners have included the Oscar winning production of The Lady in Number Six by Malcolm Clarke, the very talented Dave Bossert of Disney for his short documentary, The Tunes Behind The Toons, Hollywood industry veteran Ron Howard for When You Find Me and Highwire Films Australia for their popular ABC TV series twentysomething.

The Impact Doc Award winners include many Oscar-winning directors including Louie Psihiyos for his 2016 Best of Show–Racing Extinction, Oscar-winner Yael Melamede for (Dis)Honesty–The Truth About Lies, and Emmy-award winner Gerald Rafshoon for Endless, Corridors, narrated by Oscar winner Jeremy Irons.

The IndieFEST Film Award winners have included internationally respected Liam Neeson as the narrator of Love Thy Nature, A Path Appears Documentary featuring George Clooney and Blake Lively, Radical Grace executive produced by Susan Sarandon, a searing expose Davids and Goliath by Peabody winner Leon Lee, and Touched with Fire starring Katie Holmes.

About the Filmmaker

Britt Penrod AwardKelly Galindo is an American actress, director, and producer. Her work has spanned decades in television, theater, and film. She is currently in post-production for her first directorial feature documentary 26 Seconds, which is based on the horrific sex trade.

In addition, Kelly balances her directing and acting careers while passing her craft onto future generations of students as a professor at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts of Chapman University.

She has also taught at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television and at Orange County School of the Arts. Kelly is also a proud lifetime member of the Actors Studio.

About the Britt Penrod Award

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

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

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

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

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

Past winners of the grant include the Emmy winning Mia: A Dancer’s Journey,  2019 Sundance Film Festival selection Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, and the acclaimed documentary Kusama-Infinity which is now in distribution showing in theaters around the US and world.

About From the Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they offer film fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers.  This allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has helped independent filmmakers raise over $10 million through its fiscal sponsorship program.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts