Winner to Receive $30K in Cash and Production Services Including Film Score and Animation
For the first time in its 26 year history, a Roy W. Dean Grant has gone to a web series. “Triple Threat”, a comedy web series for women “of a certain age” has won the final grant available for 2018. Awarded 3 times each year by From the Heart Productions, the Roy W. Dean Grant goes to a film that is unique and makes a contribution to society. With the grant, writer, producer, and series co-star Gina Surles will now be able to complete post production of Episodes 3 and 4, as well as offset costs towards creating the next episode.
“We are honored to award our Fall Grant to this brilliant web series. Our judges found this to be a fresh idea for an under served audience.” said Carole Dean, president of From the Heart Productions. “The acting and technical skills in this production are excellent.”
About the Web Series
“Triple Threat” tells the stories of three mature women searching for meaning in their lives, who become undercover detectives despite having no prior investigative experience. The mastermind of their “missions” is Francesca Fortuna, an 85-year-old wealthy widow, philanthropist with a heart of gold.
Described by its creator as “a cross between “The Golden Girls” meets “Charlie’s Angels” (but, seriously, without the bikinis)” Triple Threat was a project in the 2017 Creative Lab Hawaii Web Series Immersive program.
“Mature women have been under-represented in advertising, TV, movies, as well as in other industries including science, technology, and business.” commented Gina about her project. “Enter ‘Triple Threat’, for girls who still wanna have frolicking fun after 50!”
Born and raised in Chicago and Oak Park, Illinois. Gina received her B.F.A. in dance from the University of Illinois, Champaign, Gina performed with regional ballet and modern dance companies. Gina has spent the last 35 years as assistant director of Hawaii State Ballet alongside her husband John Landovsky. She has helped train and produce some of Hawaii’s most talented professional dancers and ballet instructors.
She was elated to return to her first love, acting, and screenwriting. Triple Threat is her first project as a producer. She has worked as an extra on films and television shows shot in Hawaii and has had roles in several UH/Academy of Creative Media films that have screened at international film festivals. Gina was thrilled and extremely grateful to have Triple Threat accepted into the Creative Lab Hawaii Web Series Immersive program under the direction of Michael Palmieri, which she views as one of the most valuable of any learning experiences on her artistic journey to date.
About the Roy W. Dean Grant
Now entering its 27th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to independent films. The grant is awarded to films budgeted under $500,000 that are unique and make a contribution to society. It has been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers needing help to continue working on their film and to get it completed. Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made.
Do you want to just make money with your indie film or change the world? Hybrid Cinema’s Jon Reiss explains how different goals require very different marketing strategies
by Carole Dean
Seeking fame or just want to shake things up? Your goal will define how you market your film.
Jon Reiss is the author of Think Outside The Box Office and the creator and manager of Hybrid Cinema. Drawing on Jon’s 30 years of indie filmmaking experience, Hybrid Cinema works with filmmakers to help them connect with audiences and distributors who are right for their work.
The first thing he asks is “what are your goals for the film?” Knowing what a filmmaker wants to accomplish is key to determining a marketing strategy for their project. With this, he can make plans to achieve this goal.
The 5 goals he listed are what every filmmaker should consider before marketing or seeking marketing guidance for their film. Each requires a nuanced strategy.
Financial goals mean he will work with you to make sure you make as much money on the film as possible. You need to identify your audience and build it. So, that when you do your VOD release you are marketing and directing them to buy online. Jon will help with the entire social media and marketing for you.
Perhaps money is not foremost concern and the director and producer want a career launch from the film. Jon might advise getting a theatrical release with the main purpose being a review of your film.
He would create your marketing and social networking around you, your creativity and your career. Perhaps take you to Netflix as a sale because a Netflix Original would be good for career.
These are goals for films that often want to change belief systems and educate people with little known information. These filmmakers want their film to have an impact.
Jon worked with Sabine El Gameyal, past winner of the Roy Dean Film Grant for her film Generation Zapped. She wanted this information to be seen, it is about the health hazards of wi-fi, especially on children in schools, about cancerous effects and how to protect yourself. Jon found her 200 screenings in communities and schools.
Getting The Film Seen
Some filmmakers just want help getting through the maze of distribution. They need help finding their audience and bringing them to the film. “It’s important for you to have screenings to find who your audience is.” Jon Says this can be very helpful once the film is finished.
Jon also wants filmmakers to tell him “what the unique nature of the film is.“ That’s important for you to use for marketing and connecting to your audience .
Developing a Direct Fan Base
This can be another goal or a side goal with your main goal. Jon says, “this is where self-release or engaging some sort of direct-to-stand distribution will help you gain that audience.” It will also help filmmakers keep that audience for future crowdfunding efforts and for future films.
21 Filmmakers in Running for Grant That Includes Film Score and Animation
Roy W. Dean Grant Fall Finalist “Constant Fleeting”
Awarded to a unique film that contributes to society, 21 independent film projects have been chosen as finalists for the Fall 2018 Roy W. Dean Grant.
The grant is offered by the non-profit From The Heart Productions. The winner will receive $30,000 in a combination of cash and donated production services from film industry professionals and companies which support independent filmmakers.
“It is truly inspiring to see the personal, societal, and environmental challenges we face in the world today being addressed so passionately by so many talented filmmakers.” said Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions.
Finalists include documentary, feature, short films, and a web series. Films will now go to the judges to determine winner which will be announced in early February.
999 – The Extraordinary Story of the First Girls and First Jewish Transport to Auschwitz (Documentary)
Children of Concrete and Steel (Short)
America’s Other Irish (Documentary)
Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (Documentary)
Triple Threat (Web/TV Series)
Becoming Music (Documentary)
Constant Fleeting (Documentary)
Days Of His Life, Days Of Our Lives (Documentary)
Ghost Empire: The Forgotten Story Of Harvey Comics (Documentary)
Grey Gold (Documentary)
It’s Not Who I Am (Documentary)
Out of My Comfort Zone (Feature)
Power of 7 (Documentary)
The Future of Food (Documentary)
The MicroCosmic Cartoon Show (Feature)
Transmission – Roots to Branches (Documentary)
Wax Paul Now (Short)
The grant winner will receive $3,000 in cash provided by From the Heart Productions and donations of film services and products from film industry professionals and companies. These include $15,000.00 theme music and score written by well-known composer David Raiklen, $6,000.00 in animation from Emmy award winner Charlie Canfield, $500 in expendables from Filmtools, a G-Drive from G-Technology, and more from many heartfelt film industry donors.
About the Roy W. Dean Grant
Founded in 1992, the Roy W. Dean Grant is awarded 3 times each year. Grant seeks films that are unique and make a contribution to society. There is a Spring, Summer and Fall Grant. The Spring 2019 Grant is now accepting entries. Films submitted to the grant can be short films, documentaries, features, and web series from early stages of pre-production to those needing help in post.
The grant has been integral in helping talented artists with great stories get their films produced. Recent past winners of the grant include the award winning “Heist: Who Stole the American Dream”, “Kusama-Infinity”, and Emmy winner “Mia: A Dancer’s Journey”.
About From the Heart Productions
The 501(c)3 non-profit was founded by Carole Dean in 1993. She was prompted to act when saw how many filmmakers with important and often controversial stories were having trouble getting financing for their films. The mission of From the Heart Productions is to educate and assist filmmakers in getting funding. From the Heart offers fiscal sponsorship for films which allows donors to get a tax deduction for their donations. Their Intentional Filmmaking Classes which teaches filmmakers the tactics on how to get funded is now open for enrollment. Classes start in February.
As someone who has also raised over $25 million for his features and documentaries, Tom knows the value of a good pitch. He’s given quite a few and been on the receiving end of some good…and some not so good ones.
In our class, he talks to students about the three mistakes people make when pitching. With his permission, I share them now with you.
1. Low Energy.
Not showing enough excitement for your film. If you consider 10 as the top of the chart for a full energy pitch, then you want to practice and get to a 9 where you are loaded with passion and excitement. Because when you get in front of someone important, you will naturally be nervous and you lose a bit of your top energy.
Remember, you need to be full of passion for your film. You want to be super excited over your project when pitching or why should the investor/donor get excited? Your excitement is contagious and you want to excite your investor to close them.
2. Not Being Fully Prepared, Your Project Needs More Developing.
You think you have a great project and you don’t. Don’t get in front of someone with an unprepped project. You will be labeled an amateur and you will never get in front of them again. If you are prepped and do a good pitch, even if they don’t buy anything you can pitch them another time.
3. Not Knowing Enough About the Potential Investor.
This is when you have a great pitch and a dynamite film, but you are not prepared with enough knowledge about the potential investor. You need to know what their interests are, like family films or mystery films or the Dodgers. You need to have a general idea of what type of films they like.
If this investor came from a referral be sure to ask, “what do they like, what are they passionate about?” And, how do they act in a meeting? Do they sit quietly or do they interrupt and ask questions? You want to know if they like sports or like true crime movies so you can pitch what they like.
Be sure to Google and find all you can about them before the meeting. To really have a good meeting, you need to be aware of who they are and what they like. You can also use this research to create dialogue with them and they will appreciate the fact you researched them. Know everything about the investor possible.
Tom suggests you find some subject of interest to get the investor to talk to you before you start your pitch. Let him be part of the conversation. You need to get him to open up about who he is.
He says he will ask questions about things on the investor’s wall or on the desk to start a conversation. Or, he will use something he found on line about them. Ask about their company usually they love to talk about their business.
Roy W. Dean Grant Winning Filmmaker Jason Smith Shares The Advice He Gives Filmmakers That He Mentors
By Carole Dean
Jason Smith’s Documentary “I Voted” Was Selected to the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival
What makes a great film? Jason Smith, who directed the Roy W. Dean Grant winning documentary “I Voted”, has some definite thoughts on this. Jason has worked as a voice over artist on over 100 films including Avengers: Infinity War, Thor, and Deadpool. He also mentors’ filmmakers.
Nobody can make a film like you because they’re not you. Nor can you make a film like someone else. You will always be your own best advocate so you might as well be first in line for your own fan club.
“That doesn’t mean being egotistical, obnoxious and self-centered” explained Jason. It simply means having a sense of confidence in what you do. It also means digging deep in creating content that resonates with you – because if it doesn’t resonate with you, it won’t resonate with others.
Be Open. – Change is the Only Thing That is Constant
“The best laid plans usually turn into something else” Jason quipped. Sometimes change is fortuitous, frequently it’s not. But it is inevitable and it will impact your project at every stage of your endeavor. So, flexibility is paramount. The ability to adapt is integral to success.
Be Resourceful – In Independent Filmmaking One Often Has to Cut Corners Using Borrowed Scissors.
You will most likely be asking for favors and assistance. Pay people when appropriate (which is most of the time) and respect their value. You may not be able to pay market value to professionals but pay them something.
And if you cannot come up with the funds to make your film, ask yourself if you’re presenting the project in the best light. Maybe you’re not attracting others because you haven’t fully fleshed out what you’re doing.
Be Passionate. – Showing Up is a Big Part of Any Filmmaking Venture.
“If you’re convinced, you’re making the greatest film ever, figure out how to share your vision with others” he advised. By convincing others thru your passion, you will build a team and a community. Those are necessary components for the success of your film.
“Convincing people thru passion is necessary for any artist, especially when the art is in the conceptual stage.” You will need to convince others of the value of your idea. Then, you will need to convince audiences thru your execution that your great ideas are up on the screen.
Be Honest. – While Telling the Truth is a Good Way to go Thru Life.
“Yes, you want to be honest with others and not lie. However, we sometimes lie in life – it’s part of the human condition. And the most important human that we should never lie to is…ourselves.” Jason noted.
When we lie to ourselves about our film, we run the risk of making an expensive awful mess that will lose money and damage relationships. The list of lies we can tell others runs long, and the list of lies we can tell ourselves runs even longer.
Stephen said either of these can be #1. Both are complimentary.
In your pitch, you need to understand what is the unique compelling idea that will delight your audience that will cause them to promote or fund your film. Is it rewards? Is it the film’s story?
For people, you need to decide who is your audience for the film. Who will this project appeal to that can turn into donors.
If you know what makes your film unique, then you can find who your film will speak to the best. If you know who your audience will be for the film, you need to figure out what would be a good pitch to them to bring them on board.
You need to do as much research as possible Stephen advises. “In the evening or the weekend, lunch break, you noodle around looking at other crowdfunding sites that are trying to raise similar amounts, same niche, and same audience.” Figure out what is working for them and creating their success?
This is where you are building a team. Work out tasks for each member. “You are sort of building a machine which is your pre-launch engine. Think of it as pre-production.”
“This something that can be quite tricky for filmmakers” Stephen warns. Most filmmakers see themselves as artists and not salespersons. “But they do have to acknowledge that the projects that work are the ones that are promoted.” You should be the main salesperson for your film
If you feel you are not capable of selling your project, find someone else who can do it for you. Don’t expect when you put up your crowdfunding page that the money will just come in.
Stephen suggests that you pre-launch should take up no less time than the campaign itself. “It will take time,” he says, to get your 5 “P’s” done, “but, it will pay off.”
How an Award-Winning Filmmaker Got Her Subjects to Open Up on Camera and Reveal More Beyond Her Original Questions
By Carole Dean
Stephanie Howard was a news reporter before she became a filmmaker and created her brilliant documentary, The Weight of Honor. This Roy W. Dean Grant winning film is a tribute to the caretakers who dedicate their lives to our wounded soldiers.
Read, Research and Learn Everything About the Topic
Stephanie Interviewing for “The Weight of Honor”
Before you create your questions, know everything you can about the person and the subject matter. Write all of the questions you want and be sure to cover each of the topics you have chosen.
Do not write a yes or no question.
Write the same question in different ways to get the answers you want them to say. It’s often needed. You know what you want them to say to move the film forward so write several of these critical questions in the hope of getting the right answer for the film.
You do not want to be on camera. Normally, you want only the interviewee on the camera.
If they say “as I said” or “Like I was saying” …. Stephanie stops them and reminds them that this has to be new information just for the viewer. You need to answer in the first person. Plus, she reminds them to repeat the question in the answer.
The Most Important Part of Interviewing is Listening
When you are listening, you can maintain eye contact and you know what the next question is from what they just said. Keeping eye contact is important so they are focused on you. They could be giving you a real jewel in the answer and you could miss it if you are focused on your list of questions. You never know what answers you can get and how listening can open new threads of information about your subject matter.
One of our Roy Dean Grant winners was making a historical family film. When she was interviewing her subject, he answered her question, but then he also said something about “all those other Negros that were buried under the tree.”
The woman who was with him said, I don’t think you want to discuss that. Our filmmaker kept asking questions about this issue while she had him on camera and found that she was sitting on a film about scores of missing black people in the area. This created Lily &Leander: A legacy of Violence, a brilliant documentary film, just from hearing every word.
Ask Your Crew
Stephanie said one of the things she recommends is when you are through asking questions, say to your crew, “Do you have any questions?” This keeps the crew listening too. She finds that they have excellent questions.
The crew is listening because they know Steph will want their input. This really sets a co-creative situation. They know you appreciate them and they want to be part of the content of the film as well as the production.
Keep the Camera Rolling
Tell your crew that even when you say, “ok kill the camera,” do not stop filming. You can get the best information during this time. People relax when the camera is off. When your subject says something that you want in the film, Steph just says, “let’s fire up the camera and get that” even though it was on all of the time.
Because you have a signed release it’s all legal material.
I heard some wonderful comments in our fiscally sponsored filmmaker Jilann Spitzmiller’s film, Still Dreaming. She kept her camera rolling when people thought it was off and caught a conversation that added so much to the film.
When people think the camera is off then you can get some real jewels.
Winning Documentary Receives $3,500 Cash and Thousands More in Film Production Services
“The Love Bugs”, a warm and touching film about two renowned entomologists who, after 60 years of work, seek to pass on their knowledge and millions on insects, has been named the Roy W, Dean Grant Winner for Summer 2018.
Awarded 3 times each year by From the Heart Productions, the Roy W. Dean Grant goes to a film that is unique and makes a contribution to society. The 2nd grant awarded this year will help winning directors Allison Otto and Maria Clinton complete their project.
“The quality and passion behind the projects submitted by filmmakers around the world gave our judges a difficult task to choose a winner”, commented Carole Dean, president of From the Heart Productions. “We are very proud to have this film join our family of grant winners.”
“The Love Bugs” in the documentary are Lois and Charlie O’Brien. They are two of the foremost entomologists and pioneers in their field who have devoted their lives to science and to each other.
Over the course of 60 years, these two soulmates quietly amassed the world’s largest private collection of insects–a scientific game-changer with more than one million specimens and more than 1,000 undiscovered species. And now, after decades of research and the development of a parental bond with their collection, they’ve decided to give it away.
In addition to the $3,500 cash prize, the filmmakers of the Roy W. Dean Grant Winner for Summer 2018 will receive $500 in expendable, lighting or grip equipment from Filmtools, a hard drive from G-Technology, $600 in free closed captioning from Netcaptioning, $500.00 for a one-year Tier 1 subscription of Show Starter Scheduling & Budgeting Plus software.
Other donations include:
Sam Dlugach, one of LA’s top colorists, donor to the grant for 15 years, donates free color correction for fundraising trailers, free workflow consultation and camera tests. A 20% discount on final color correction services.
Jeffrey Alan from Alan Audio Works writes original music and gives the winner of the Roy W. Dean Grant sound mixing at a major discount.
Allison is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, cinematographer, producer, visual journalist and licensed drone photographer. Her clients have included National Geographic, BBC America, NBC, the Sierra Club, the American Alpine Club, Outside Television and Lonely Planet. Allison’s exclusive story of the discovery of a new invertebrate species was selected by National Geographic as one of their “Ten Best First-of-their-Kind” stories of 2016.
In 2013, Allison released her first film, Keeper of the Mountains, which was awarded a Telluride Mountainfilm Commitment Grant It won 15 awards, screened at over 30 film festivals around the world and was named “One of the Best Adventure Films of 2013” by Outside magazine.
Maria Clinton – Co-Director
Maria Clinton is a filmmaker, photographer and an Adjunct Film Professor based in New York. Her photography work has been featured in various exhibits. Maria’s clients have included NBC, CNN’s Great Big Story, About.com and nonprofit organizations. Her work focuses on complex characters, social constructs and the presence of diverse voices.
About the Roy W. Dean Grant
Now in its 26th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to independent films. The grant goes to films budgeted under $500,000 that are unique and make a contribution to society. It has been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers needing help to continue working on their film and to get it completed. Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made.
On the film fundraising platform offered by From the Heart Productions donors get tax deductions for donations. Filmmakers can have all their fees covered.
by Carole Dean
When you are accepted under the fiscal sponsorship program for From the Heart Productions, the benefits go beyond personal guidance and attention.
We give you a free web page for your project on our Network for Good (NFG) fundraising platform.
Maybe I’m prejudiced as I’m president of From the Heart Productions, but I think it’s one of the best film fundraising platforms available.
Short Film “Surrnder Heaven” Hit 119% of It’s Goal
For starters, NFG is a leader in non-profit fundraising. (They are the company Facebook uses to process donations). Created with the help of AOL and Yahoo, NFG designed their program with donor psychology in mind. They included behavioral economics, the concept around why people make certain decisions. To date, they’ve helped non-profits and their projects over $2 billion.
All of there features and technology aid you in raising funds for your film. As a filmmaker, without From the Heart Productions, NFG would charge you $60.00 a month for this same page. Its included when you are fiscally sponsored by From the Heart Productions.
Other great benefits of our NFG platform include:
Donors Can Pay Your Credit Card Fees
At the time of check out when someone makes a donation to your film, your donor is asked if they want to cover the filmmaker’s fees. This includes the credit card and fiscal sponsorship fees.
Over 70% of the donors are paying these fees for the filmmaker.
You Can Receive Monthly Donations
With this program you can create donation amounts with monthly payments that many more people can afford.
Let’s say that you have a gift on your page of a “Special Thank You Card” for anyone who donates $1,000.00. That may put the donation out of the reach for a high percentage of your crowdfunding list. With NFG you can allow them to donate $100.00 a month for 10 months and they can get that award.
Simple Process for Donor Sign Up
When we only had a Paypal button for donations to offer filmmakers, we would get phone calls daily asking us for help to complete the checkout. We’ve not received one call in 3 years working with NFG. Their sign up is much easier and especially for older donors.
Easy Set Up and Design
NFG has set up their platform with easy to use templates and great design tools. You can quickly create a wonderful looking and appealing page. You can add a trailer, productions shots, filmmaker bios, and pie charts.
I always say, “Touch my heart and I open my pocketbook.” NFG also knows that funding is all about telling a good story. NFG says that fund raising is about giving your donors visuals and a trailer with a heart-felt story that connects with another person.
Once you get that on your page, it will lead to stronger and higher donations.
Suggested Donation Amounts to Maximize Giving
NFG offers guidance some suggested giving amounts for you to consider. It’s important to set up amounts that are comfortable for your list of donors.
Everyone has a “comfort level” of giving. Think about this, when you get ready to donate to your favorite charity, I bet you give the same amount most of the time. That is your “comfort level.” Knowing that comfort level for your donors can benefit you when choosing these amounts.
People Can Leave Messages and Tributes After Donating
Potential donors when visting your page can see others who’ve donated along with the supporting messages they left. That makes future donors more likely to donate. This gets back to the behavioral economics. NFG incorporated this ability to leave a message because it can increase your donations.
From the Heart Productions assisted filmmakers in raising over $10 million for their films through fiscal sponsorship for over 10 years. We are always looking for new and better ways for filmmakers to increase their funding opportunities.
NFG is an exceptional fundraising platform. The best we’ve found to date.
If you are interested in fiscal sponsorship with From the Heart Productions. Please check out our Fiscal Sponsorship Page or email us at
Film Explores the Homeless Crisis in Los Angeles and Those Working to Transform it Through Compassionate Community Action
Oxnard, CA Sept 1st 2018 – From the Heart Productions, a non-profit dedicated to helping indie filmmakers get their films funded, has awarded the Roy W. Dean Grant for Spring to “The Advocates”. Awarded 3 times each year, the Roy W. Dean Grant goes to a film that is unique and makes a contribution to society. The filmmakers behind the winning project will receive $3,500 in cash and $30k in film production services to help complete their documentary.
“Watching ‘The Advocates’, you will be shocked to see how many people are living on the streets”, commented Carole Dean, president of From the Heart Production. “You can’t watch this film and not be moved by their plight and inspired by those working to make life better for them.”
Directed and produced by Remi Kessler, Roy W. Dean Grant Winner “The Advocates” goes behind debates and headlines about homelesness with real-life demonstrations of transformation from the trenches of the crisis. Sharing insights, skills and dedication, this emotive, revelatory film is driven by two unforgettable main characters.
Both are Los Angeles natives and Latinos who give tireless, highly skilled outreach and support to people experiencing homelessness. While experts analyze the underlying causes of the current Los Angeles homeless crisis amid a changing policy landscape, these two caseworkers win our hearts with their dedication and integrity.
President of KSA Productions, Rémi has produced shoots in locations throughout the globe. His expertise ranges from commercials to independent features to episodic television. He has produced and line produced countless commercials for clients such as Peugeot, Renault, Chrysler, Pontiac, Mercedes, Dior, and MTV.
He was a producer at Animatogrofo in Lisbon and Paris, one of the major European production service companies averaging 25 feature film and television productions per year. While at Atlantique Productions in Paris, Rémi line produced four television series over a period of three years and then went on to become a producer of Prime Time fiction at Protecrea, one of France’s major TV network (TF1) production companies.
About the Roy W. Dean Grant
Now in its 26th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to films. Grant is awarded to films budgeted under $500,000 that are unique and make a contribution to society. It has been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers needing help to continue working on their film and to get it completed. Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made.