Carole Dean – The Art of Film Funding Blog

Carole Dean founded From the Heart Productions 24 years ago 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.

Finding Support for Your Film Through Community Outreach

June 26th, 2019

Dealing with his father’s battle with Alzheimer’s, filmmaker Eric Gordon created a documentary to guide others.  He got help in finishing it by finding those that cared including his fiscal sponsor.

Over the past six years, award winning filmmaker Eric Gordon has produced, shot and directed the feature-length documentary, “When All That’s Left Is Love.”  It’s an emotionally gripping film about his aging mother’s determination against nearly impossible odds to care for her Alzheimer’s husband at home.

The film gives viewers an unprecedented behind-the-scenes understanding of a medical dilemma that currently has no cure, but has patients who depend heavily on the heroic tenacity and love of the Alzheimer’s caregivers.

 

community outreach

When All That’s Left is Love is the emotionally gripping story of a wife’s determination to care for her Alzheimer’s-stricken husband in their home. With unprecedented, behind-the-scenes access, the film reveals the toll that the disease takes on families coping with Alzheimer’s, while also showcasing the power of love that sustains both patients and caregivers.

 

Many times, Eric was on the brink of running out of funding.  Using his resourcefulness, belief in his film, and important lessons from his fiscal sponsor, Eric was able to find financial support and an audience for his film.  Through his community outreach, his film is now being shown to thousands who can learn from his mother’s and his experience caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. 

On The Art of Film Funding Podcast, Eric shared his story with host Carole Dean.  He offered advice to other filmmakers on how to rally others around your film by thinking outside the box, by believing in yourself, and your project.

“Eric, Something’s Going on Here, You Need to Start Filming”

It started with a call from his mother telling him his father was lost.  He found out his father had Alzheimer’s.  Realizing his mother could not care for his father by herself, he moved in and started helping his mother care for his father for about five or six years.

“Eric, something’s going on here, you need to start filming,” he thought as his film-making instincts kicked in.  His father was starting a research political trial program.  He approached Dr. David Watson from the Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment Center and asked if he could film the program.

The total project took six years to make. Eric filmed for about four years of the total filming and with editing alone the production did over 900 editing hours in an editing suite. “It turned out to be a lot deeper and a lot more heartfelt than I could ever have imagined because, unfortunately, we captured the complete breakdown of a caregiver.”

“And, because of the access that I had, I was fortunate to have other caregivers who are dealing with the same situation to allow me into their lives as well and we built an amazing trust together and that’s how the project began.”

Donors Like When Their Money Goes to One Specific Thing

Dr. Watson allowed him into his office to film.  Eric would keep him involved with the whole process of the film.  As he got closer to completing his documentary, he noticed money was running out.  “I started seeing the costs involved to finish the film because I was getting ready to hire a composer for the music score and I was a little shocked by the costs involved for a composer.

“So, because of my deep relationship with Dr. Watson, I shared with him.”  He had been following Eric’s  hard work and appreciated his dedication to bringing attention to the effect the disease has on families.  

“You know, I need help with getting money for the composer,” Eric mentioned.  Dr. Watson took care of the funds for the composer.

“Now that’s really what it’s all about,” Carole Dean pointed out.  “Donors are giving money to you and the guy saw how hard you worked and dedicated, and yes, he wanted to help you. And I think a lot of donors like it when they know that their money goes for one specific thing.”

Finding Guidance from Fiscal Sponsor From the Heart Productions

“I didn’t have a grant proposal or a budget and I said, ‘Eric, your funds are running out.’ I worked very hard at my day job and any extra money I had, I used for the making of this documentary.  My funds were running out because I had a lot of bills.  You start seeing these enormous costs involved with a documentary, you realize you better start doing something.”

Eric considers Carole Dean and From the Heart Productions pivotal in changing his thinking and making him get money.  He put together a budget and a proposal.  He reached out to her and her organization for their fiscal sponsorship program.  Their program offers personalized advice and film funding strategies. 

“I have to thank you from the bottom of my heart, because From the Heart Productions is why I’m where I’m at today.”

“You were giving me guidance and Carole Joyce, who is also part of From the Heart, mentioned to me to think outside the box.  I said to myself, ‘You know, my film deals with death, unfortunately, which comes with Alzheimer’s.’ And at the end of the film, we deal with the emotional distress of dealing with funerals and the death of a patient.”

He thought, what an important issue he could discuss with caregivers about pre-needs and the costs involved.  He realized  that a lot of people don’t realize how expensive it is when you pass away

“So, I reached out to various funeral homes to tell them, ‘My goal is to educate caregivers and I want to share this with the world and I would love for you to come in.’ Dignity Memorial, Melissa and Michael Tavers, were unbelievable. They have a foundation and the foundation vetted my film and they also believe in educating caregivers, not just about getting business, and they gave us a National Community Engagement sponsorship.”

 

 

Making A Screening an Event

Eric is a believer that any screening you have that you need to make your screenings like a show.  Even if you’re starting out with your first rough cut screening or you finally add music.

“I make it an event and an experience and I invite various different people that I think would want to be part of the film. I don’t think just money at first. I think, ‘How can we build a relationship together?’ And so, at these screenings, I would invite all of these different various organizations, whoever it may be.

“For example, I invited a few funeral homes.  Once they saw the film, I was able to take them to lunch, tell them my goals, and the importance of educating people in the community and nationwide.”

He told them how he could get them in front of thousands of people, their target audience.  From that, they vetted him. It took months, but they believed in his passion. “They believed in the project and I’m so grateful and humbled and fortunate to have them part of my team.”

Making the Most of Every Connection

Near the end of production, looking at the budget at the funds needs to finish, calculating the costs involved with outreach, Eric started to think “How am I going to fund this film?”

He was outside at the Center for Doc Studies.  It was 3:00 in the morning, freezing cold, and he was having a smoke when he met up with a gentleman who said he was here as an Alzheimer’s researcher.

“Are you going to the Alzheimer’s Summit?” he asked Eric. 

“What’s the Alzheimer’s Summit?” Eric responded

“It’s in D.C. You need to be there.”

“So, I went there and from that I found out about the Alzheimer’s Association Conference. I didn’t know why I was going there at first, I just knew I needed to be there. And somebody at the conference said to me, ‘Eric, you need to meet with these foundations. They have funding available and they love to support different various projects that would educate caregivers.’”

“And I was walking down an aisle five minutes later, incredible story, and I walked up to the Roskamp Foundation Institute booth and they say, ‘Hi, how are you?’ And they say, ‘What do you do?’ And I said, ‘I’m a filmmaker. I just finished a documentary on Alzheimer’s caregivers.’

“They looked at each other strange, and they turned to me and they said, ‘We were just talking about backing some type of media project.’”

Always Bring Something to a Meeting or Screening

“I called them a week later, drove over to Sarasota with a big heart cake, showed them the film, and from there it’s history.” Eric said.

“You never walk into an office without bringing something,” Carole added. “You always bring a gift of something, right? People love that. In my teaching class, Stuart Wilde talks about the fact that you give to people.  You open people’s hearts through your giving and they get to know who you are, so I bet the cake was something they loved, right?”

“They really loved it.”

“I took your advice and I’m making little chocolate hearts that say “love,” so anywhere I go, I think it’s really important that as a filmmaker, as an Indie filmmaker, any screening that we have … For me, if it’s one person or 10 people or 100 people, even one more person to watch my film is important.

“It’s crucial for a filmmaker to go to any screening they can, possible, and give something, hand something out. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it makes them a little curious. It makes them a little bit happier and they’ll show up to your films.”

“From my past experience, you never know what’s going to happen from one person watching your film. All the other doors that could open or just the fact that you’re impacting them, making a difference in their life.”

Getting Friends to Make Introductions

Eric wanted to get in contact with Brian and Steven from Senior Information Centers. His mother had visited them years ago, years before, because they help seniors with legal issues or finding nurses and doing their pharmaceutical drugs. 

He approached Arlene Rossman who was one of the caregivers who’s in his film. She had a really close relationship with Steven and Brian and she got him a meeting with them.  He showed them a few clips of the film.  They believed in what he was doing.

“They are one of our main sponsors now, as well. And without them, I don’t think I would have been able to finish the film because they paid for all the funds to get the documentary finished.”

Creating a Package for Community Outreach

When Eric started realizing the enormous costs involved with outreach, He decided that he needed to make a grand proposal.  He also needed to make a budget. “It was really was eye-opening for me.” Eric commented when realizing the enormous expense, he was facing in marketing his film.

“Thank God, that I met From the Heart Productions. Again, I go back to that because that was so pivotal for me focusing and really changed my life because I realized how important it was to envision and realize that the power of your mind is so important.”

“And so I made my vision board. I listened to those classes that you have on Saturdays. I listened to everything Carol Joyce and you told me and I followed those directions.  Plus, utilizing my own experiences and since I was the event coordinator and sponsorship development officer at Clear Channel, I knew the importance of branding and putting together a package.”

Find Your Target Audience

“People want to see that they’re going to receive value for what they’re giving. So, I started thinking outside the box and I realized, as a filmmaker, and I want to share this with other filmmakers, it’s really, really, extremely important to know your target audience.”

Eric remembered the lessons he heard during From the Heart Productions bi-weekly film funding guidance classes.  That your film “can’t be just for everybody.  You have to have your target audience.”

He started thinking about people that would want to get in front of this target audience.  They might be medical professionals, Alzheimer’s caregivers, people who have a loved one who have Alzheimer’s.  He started to develop a package for these people so they would get their logo on the website.  They would get announced at these screenings. They would get their logo on the film. He thought of all of these different ways that he could help their organization.

“I gave them my passion and love and told them how important this was for me to educate caregivers and they followed suit and they all came on board. Every single one of these organizations have gotten new business directly from our film.”

Calculate the Costs of Outreach

Eric found the costs for outreach rivaled the production cost of his film.

“Most of my production costs, people jumped in and devoted their time because they wanted to get a screen credit.  But when you run into outreach, you’re running into such enormous costs.

“Posters, press kits, graphic designers, trailers, festival fees, that can run over $5,000 for festival fees. Social impact producers. You need a DCP, which is a digital cinema package to project. Publicity, publicity stills, private screenings, traveling, broadcast cuts and they add up. 

“They could go over hundreds of thousands of dollars.  That’s what why it’s so crucial that you find people that believe in your project and show them the love, and they will see your vision and help get that project out into the world.”

Benefits of Working with a Non-Profit

“And another thing that I’ve learned is that I’m keeping it much simpler by going through a nonprofit, which I think is really important, not only for direction. Foundations love to give other foundations monies to educate people in the community, as I stated before.”

“They feel secure that the foundation they’re giving to will make sure that you follow through” added Carole, “because heretofore, there were a lot of films that got financed, but never got finished. So, nowadays, they want to make sure that you finish the film, so you’ve done all that. You’ve got a gold star, as far as most of your donors are concerned.”

“Carole Dean, I just love you and your organization” Eric responded. “I can’t think you enough for the guidance you’re giving me and the places you’re sending me to go to. You’re incredible and, again, I’m not just saying that. I really mean that from the bottom of my heart.”

Attracting a Team with Your Passion for Your Project

“Having an amazing team is really important. I hope filmmakers realize that and if you show the passion in what you’re doing, you don’t have to pay full fees.” Eric advised.  “You can get people to help consult on your projects. They’re more than happy to answer questions.

“For example, when I first reached out to you”, he said to Carole, “I was calling you … I Googled amazing fiscal sponsors, found you, and asked you a question and you had no problem answering and helping me and that’s how, for example, I built my relationship with you.”

“I wasn’t a brilliant grant-writer, so I found an amazing grant-writer to help consult. Normally, it would astronomical charges, but because I did a lot of the work, they jumped in and helped consult. So again, I want to thank, for example, Carol Rainey.

“I have an impact producer that has been crucial in guiding me. She’s amazing and she’s so brilliant. Christina Lindstrom.  And then I brought in a marketing team to help consult, and so I think these are key things to remember that, for outreach, that collaborating and building a really strong team is very important.”

Advice for Caregivers and Filmmakers

“One thing also I learned, and I hope this can help caregivers, is take a deep breath. You have this. You can do this. You need to believe in yourself. Believe in your project. Be passionate. You will do this. It will happen.

“And it takes a lot of time. It takes years, and years, and years, but look for giving programs from corporations. Think outside the box and I believe that all of us, as filmmakers, will succeed.”

Lessons for Indie Filmmakers from “Shot by Shot” Author Steven Katz

June 22nd, 2019

Teaching filmmaking to Michael Jackson, how let go of the fear of creating, and using your iPhone to create a storyboard

by Carole Dean

The classic book on filmmaking “Shot by Shot: Visualizing From Concept to Screen” is celebrating its 25th year in publication this year.  Author Steven Katz joined Claire Papin and Carole Dean on The Art of Film Funding Podcast

Lessons for Indie Filmmakers

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash – You can create storyboards by shooting photo boards using your iPhone or any other camera to shoot it.

He shared some stories and what he’s learned about filmmaking over the quarter decade since the film book was first published:

What He Taught Michael Jackson on Filmmaking

“At one point, I taught Michael Jackson and I had to be sensitive to the fact that he was Michael Jackson. But, a couple of times after I got to know him, I said, ‘Michael, you can pay for anything.  If you wanted to make a film for $35,000, you can do it!

“And yet, so much of what we’re working on together over these many months, we’re circling, coming to getting started to making a film, why aren’t we making a film every day? Why aren’t we making a film every week?’… And I’m talking about making a short of some kind, that’s how you learn.  

“For new filmmakers, if you’re at that age when you can take weeks off, months off, or use weekends and not have too much else to do except your love of filmmaking, then you ought to be doing that. Whatever is the gene that prompts you to be highly self-motivated and not fearful is good for filmmakers.”

How to Get Over the Fear of Creating

“When I was in China, it’s a very mimetic culture, they copy everything, and it was a difficult habit to break with the artist I was working with. I did bring 20, 30 people to the room and say, ‘Okay, let’s just talk about how you generate an idea, and where they come from.’

“I would just pull people at random out of the class and say, ‘Okay, well how did you get to work this morning? What happened?’ ‘Well I biked, and I did this, and it’s eight miles for me.’ ‘And where did you get food?’ ‘Oh, I did this,’ and out of that, I would start to pick little moments. I would say, ‘What if this had happened?’ And I would build a story out of the events they’d be telling me.

“And the whole point of it was, Hey, every day you do something. Go to lunch and something interesting happened, and if it didn’t happen figure out a place where it could’ve happened and then let your imagination run.

“I think a lot of the fear that people have about going out and just making something, is where their ideas come from and is the idea too big? You do get better at it. You get better by doing small ideas, that’s the first thing you have to learn is, you don’t have an unlimited budget.”

 

 

Creative Ways to Storyboard

You have a script. You’re a director, you get this (script) and you’re reading it and of course what’s happening is, you’re having all these pictures in your head.  If you want to say, ‘I want to start with a close-up and I want to pull back and then we’re going to cut to Nancy over here for a close-up. And then we’re going to go wide.’ Well that doesn’t mean very much. It has to be seen visually, so visualization is getting it from where it is in your head, where you see it, onto a new form.

“There are many different ways to do that and storyboarding is one of them. You can go out and shoot photo boards, like you can use your iPhone or any other camera to shoot it. You have a scene in a diner, well get your friends, you’ll buy them lunch and then you go around shooting them from all different angles.

“Now you’ve got all these shots, now you may not even be recording the dialogue, you’re not doing the video either. You’re just getting individual frames. Then you’ll bring back your shots and put them into an editing package. You’ll start to put something together and that’s a photographic version of a story. These are all things you’re doing to be able to present the material to other people, but it’s also for yourself.

“With a pencil and a sheet of paper and you can draw stick figures. So, if you’re a director and you don’t draw, you can make up this very primitive looking thing but believe me, that primitive thing when you write dialogue underneath tells you so much. And what happens is, people say, ‘Wow, I didn’t understand why this didn’t work. I got two close-ups in a row, that’s not good.’

How the Directing Greats Protected Their Work

“Alfred Hitchcock would design all his shots in a storyboard. He would go shoot those shots and he wouldn’t really shoot many alternative ways of doing things. And it was the way he could ensure the control of how he wanted to do his movie and the studio couldn’t step in as they often do today and take control.   So, say you shot 45 different shots, but you only at the end need eight of them. And you can endlessly try different versions of them.

And there was a story of John Ford, I forget what picture, it was with Maureen O’Hara, one of his later pictures. He was being asked in an interview about a famous shot where the Maureen O’Hara’s very close in a carriage, and very, very far away is one of the most prominent characters and they’re silhouetted in the distance and tiny in the frame.

“So, someone asked John Ford… ‘I remember that shot. It was so great, but it was done in such an unconventional way, why didn’t you go and get the close-up? Did you get that? Did you cover that in the shot in case the long shot didn’t work?’ He said, ‘No, I didn’t shoot it’ And he said, ‘Well why?’ He said, ‘Because the studio would have used it.’ “

Just do it!

“Look, you want to become a filmmaker? You’ve got to make films, that’s it. That’s the shortest answer. There are a phenomenal number of resources out there, YouTube, and anything online with courses.

“If, you don’t go to film school another option is to do something like the New York Film Academy. There are a number of those and many of the colleges are now offering shorter programs for people who just want to train to get the basics of filmmaking and they’re not looking for a degree.”

 

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

What is Your Finished Film Worth?

June 9th, 2019

I’m on mission to solve a mystery that is preventing independent filmmakers from fully realizing financial success. And, I need your help

by Carole Dean

It’s basic business 101.  When you start a business, you need to know how much money you will make from selling your product.  As an independent filmmaker you should know, before you even start, what you can expect to get when selling your film. Right now, that is nearly impossible. 

Let’s fix it.  

Selling Your Film

Photo ©Tokyo Lee Productions, Inc – Director Heather Lenz with artist Yayoi Kusama during production of Heather’s documentary “Kusama-Infinity”

Determining Your Profit

When I started my business, Studio Film & Tape, I knew exactly what to expect as profit.  I know because I set it. 

Back before the world of image capture went digital, you needed motion picture film to create a feature, documentary, or television series.  I bought back leftover motion picture film from studio productions.  I called that film short ends.  From buying millions of feet of short ends off of features and selling them at a discount to new film to independent filmmakers, I eventually created the one of the largest privately woman owned business in US. 

I decided that I could sell short ends of Kodak film stock if I put the selling price very low.  So, I set my purchase price accordingly.  I wanted a 45% gross profit and I was able to achieve that. Gross to me was the selling price less the cost of goods.  I had my books set up for this on a monthly basis.  If I did not see a 45% profit, then it was caused by one of two things: a mistake in the inventory or thief.  Believe me, I experienced both.

Filmmakers Are in the Dark

It is very simple to run a business with clarity like I just described.  Now, fast forward to today’s world with filmmakers creating budgets to make their features and documentaries.  As head of the non-profit, From the Heart Productions, we support hundreds of filmmakers each year.  I find most of them have no idea of what they can sell their film for. 

They are sure they will get into one of the top 10 film festivals. They are also sure that a distributor will take their film and pay prices paid at Sundance.  Some filmmakers think their film is perfect for Netflix.  But do they know the price Netflix will pay?  No.

They only know what they read in the papers when Netflix or Amazon makes a gigantic purchase at Sundance or Toronto.  Then, they use that number as a reference and believe that Netflix or Amazon will pay them the same price.  Please do not do this.  Anytime a selling price is in the papers, that means it is extraordinary.

Here is Where I Need Your Help

Filmmakers need to know what to expect from a sale of the finished product when preparing their budget.   How can you create a budget for a film when you don’t know if you will ever get that money back?  You can’t really or shouldn’t. 

I am asking every one of my filmmakers who has sold a project, “what did you get paid?” But I really want to gather as much information as possible.

This is where every filmmaker who reads this comes in.  If you sold your film, please, let me know the selling price.  You can be anonymous.  I just need numbers to create a data base for filmmakers to know what they can expect when selling their project.  Once I get enough reliable data then I can release it to everyone.  With this information, you can create a budget that will give you a profit.

What I’ve Heard So Far About Selling Your Film

Distributors that I’ve spoken with tell me that VOD (Video on Demand) will get you $3,000 to $5,000.  If you spend a lot of time and money marketing, you might make $15,000.00. 

What??? I thought VOD was the financial replacement of the DVD and that you could definitely get some of your $300K budget back.

Many filmmakers say to me, “I am sure Netflix will love my film.” That may be, but I am told by a reliable source that they pay $1,000 per completed minute for films with known actors and docs known actors voices or interviews.  That would mean your 90-minute feature or doc is now worth $90,000?   Since that is a buyout, how can you make back your budget if it’s over $100K?

One film distributor said that Netflix recently paid only $25,000 for a completed feature.  And that Hulu just paid $22,000 for a finished feature.  This is not good news.  I think it is interesting that both of them paid almost the same price.  How did that happen? 

Strength is Real Numbers

We need to find out what amount can be expected from a film sale.  Do you know? If not, please do some research.  Call people with similar films, ask them, “what did you sell your film for?” Please share with me. If they are reluctant, say, “Was it over $100K or under $100K?” Try to get an idea. You owe this to yourself so you can make a profit.

We must band together and find what are the current selling prices of films.  We have to be honest with each other and share this information. It’s not fair to those who are spending 6 years making documentaries or features who end up with a brilliant film and then ask, “Where’s the money?”  I find that It’s just not there for 90% of the filmmakers.

#WhatisYourFilmWorth

Together we can solve this mystery.  You can email me at  and give me your selling price or some general idea of what it was.  You can be anonymous.  We need a central organizing place for all of us to talk about the amount paid for films.  I want to be this place.  You can call me as well at 805 201 2080.

Don’t mind letting let others know what you got for selling your film?  You can also let me know via Twitter.  We are at @fromtheheartprd.   Let us know what you got for your film with the hashtag #whatyourfilmisworth You will be helping us and others as well.

I see hundreds of films going through my film grant.  There are so many talented filmmakers there are across America.  I want them and all filmmakers to know the potential selling price when they create their budget.

Your time and talents are too valuable to give away. 

 

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

What is Your Unique Selling Point?

June 2nd, 2019

In advertising and marketing, they call it your USP.  Finding your Unique Selling Point is what will set your film project apart and make it stand out from all your competitors.

by Carole Dean

Heather Hale is a film and television director, screenwriter, and producer with over 60 hours of produced content, including 20 brand new episodes of the television talk show Lifestyle Magazine.  She joined me on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast to talk about her brilliant new book, Story Selling: How to Develop, Market and Pitch Your Film & TV Projects

Unique Selling Point

“What are you doing that’s fresh and different, that we haven’t seen before, that makes this film stand out?”

Heather believes a great pitch is the key to raising money for your film and it must include your USP (Unique Selling Point) to be effective.  She discussed how filmmakers can define and create their USP then maximize it to win investors and an audience. 

What is the Unique Selling Point for Filmmakers?

For filmmakers and content creators, Heather says that ideally your USP is in your log line. “Simply elegantly, and above all quickly conveying what will compel your target audience to pay to view your film or TV show.”

How Do You Find Your USP?

“It’s what’s fresh and different about your film that we haven’t seen before,” she advises. It could be your unique point of view, your unique subject matter expertise that you bring, or your frame of reference.  It could be the way you’re telling the story as there are many non-linear story telling techniques now.

“What are you doing that’s fresh and different, that we haven’t seen before, that makes this film stand out?  Think of films like This Is Us with the two parallel story lines, and even Jane the Virgin.  It’s a telenovela, but we’ve never seen anything with that kind of fun, tongue-in cheek, campy style.  Ask yourself, ‘What makes your film fresher and more relevant to today’s audience?’”

Your USP is what bonds your film to your audience and builds rapport. She offers Game of Thrones as an example.

“There’s so much social media discussion over that, because people root for it, they get emotionally engaged.  What is your point of entry that makes for rabid fans? Viral is not a business plan, you can’t make something go viral, it has to catch on.”

How to Build the Spine of Your Log Line

A simple way to build your log line, Heather suggests, is to start with the six questions journalists have used since the beginning of news to tell a story.  “Sometimes they call it the five W’s, who, what, where, when, why, and sometimes how. It’s the inverted pyramid that inherently forces you to stick to the spine of your story. So, you start with the most compelling details first before funneling down to the rest of your pitch.”

“For example, who is the main character. It’s the protagonist. It’s also who stands in his or her way, the antagonist.  Sometimes this could be a what, like an antagonistic force, but you’re always better if that is personified as a who. Next is what happens to him or her? That’s your catalyst or inciting incident.

“’What’ could also refer to what he wants or she wants.  What is the protagonist’s goal and what is the problem? What’s the conflict? What are the obstacles and stakes?  The climax is the most important what. It’s the most important moment in the script. The where and when is where the story is set, the story world, the milieu or the backdrop. That should influence all the other elements of the script.

“How does the main character overcome all that adversity? Well, there’s your plot. How does your protagonist or other characters evolve psychologically?  There’s your transformational arc. How does he or she resolve the conflict?  That’s how your story ends, which drives back to your climax. Ultimately, the why is why should we care?  That’s the theme. So, I often think the plot is what a story is about, while the theme is what the story is really about, the undercurrent.”

“Why do we care? That’s the theme. Yeah, why? Why would I watch this? Why would the protagonist put him or herself through all that? That’s the why, the driving force, the theme. And typically, your plot, and your character arc are a metaphor for that theme.”

How Important is Your Log Line to Selling Your Project?

“It’s critical.  It’s everything boiled down to that one sentence and it’s sometimes all that anyone will hear. And it’s what gets pitched over the phone, across the credenza, across conference room tables. In markets and meetings, that’s one line that people will use to default to. So, you want to be the one who’s crafted that perfectly.”

 

 

Log Lines with Irony Create a Great Sales Pitch

When watching a movie or a television show, Heather notes, viewers like to proactively add two plus two for themselves, to try to figure out the mystery, to figure out who will end up with who, second guess the plot, and the antagonist’s plan.  

“So, just as you try to make the script an engaging fun read, you want to allow the story to unfold similarly for your pitch listener. So, when the log line is an intriguing puzzle to solve, and inherent in that conflict is the juxtapositions of irony, that’s the arc that launches this inevitable climax, and it shows what the character arc is going to be.

“Irony not only is fantastic in a log line, it’s a really terrific re-writing tool, because you can work backwards and forwards from log line to script and back again, minding the collision of sub-text to explore maybe missed creative opportunities, and where you could be pushing boundaries. It would be more obvious about what the character has to learn and overcome. It would be more obvious about the contrast between characters. That irony is a really critical.”

Your Log Line is Like a Great Reduction Sauce

“I don’t know if you’re a cook or a foodie, but a reduction sauce could be a sweet sauce drizzled over a dessert or a savory gravy dolloped over protein or vegetables.

“It starts with this huge terrain of raw ingredients, like your screenplay, like your documentary, like your reality TV show. Whatever it is, you have this huge amount that is slowly boiled down over time, reducing each flavor to its core essence. And then ultimately strained into this rich, dense, fully saturated, but completely original new puree, and that’s your log line.

“So, if you see a Broadway musical or an opera, the overture reveals snippets of all the music and moods to come, and the log lines are this alluring tease. It’s a synthesis of all the essential ingredients. So, writing that log line is like a microcosm of your script. Just as editing a moving piece of content. I think reverse engineering backwards and forwards enhances both. One informs and improves the other.”

The Importance of a Great Tag Line

Tag lines are understood within the context of the title and the log line, and when they’re accompanied by key art, they give you the whole picture.  Film is a visual medium and tag lines help viewers or readers understand the whole picture in an instant.

“If you remember the Social Network, about Facebook,” Heather gave as an example, “the tag line was, ‘You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies’. That sets up what some of the conflict is in the world. I had a bunch listed in the book. Chicken Run; ‘Escape or die frying.’ That’s a pun that also shows you the stake in the film.

Tag lines just allow you to give that extra angle or that extra twist.  Heather suggests to look on IMDB at a comparable project and look below the storyline and you’ll see plot keywords and tag line. And you can click to see what are the project’s tag line.

“What were the keywords that they used and then brainstorm using other people’s tag lines. Not remotely are you cloning or stealing or using someone else’s idea, you’re just looking at different angles to push it to see what’s been explored or not explored. It can be a really rich fertile territory for brainstorming.”

 

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

How to Bring the Crowd to Your Crowdfunding Campaign

May 12th, 2019

The more the merrier and rewarding when you identify your film’s audience because 98% of your donations will come from your database

by Carole Dean

One of the most important questions to ask yourself before attempting to crowdfund your film is “How do I enlarge my database of contacts?”  It’s crucial as 98% of the donations to your project will come from your contacts. 

Film's Audience

Our fiscally sponsored film “Saving the Rabbits of Ravensbruck” found their audience and surpassed their goal on Kickstarter

 

The first step in growing your database is to define and find the audience for your film.   How do you do that while you trying to make your film?  Here’s information from my book, The Art of Film Funding and Stephen Follows book, How to Crowdfund your Film

Who is Your Audience?

What is it that attracts people to your film?  Start by interviewing some of the people who already love your project.  This does not include family and friends (as the reason they love your project may just be you!). 

Some questions you might ask include:

  • What social media platforms do you hang-out on?
  • Where do you engage with people online?
  • What kind of news do you pay attention to?

Check out my blog, “How to Mine Your Audience for Gold” to get a list of right questions to ask.  Then, use the answers create a profile of your real audience. Remember, your audience needs to be motivated by the subject matter of your film.

Is Your Audience Big Enough?

Is your existing audience big enough to fund your campaign?  Gerry Maravilla, Head of Crowdfunding at Seed&Spark, told me filmmakers can expect to get 20% to 30% of their contact list to donate. 

The most popular donation is $25.  So, if you are lucky enough to have 500 names, that will be at most 150 donations.  Multiply that by $25.  That’s $3,750. Is that enough to reach your campaign goal?

If it is not, then you need to add more names.  This audience will need additional reasons to donate because they don’t know you.  To get their donations, you need to create likability and trust.

Locate Communities or Groups

What is unique about your film? Find that and be able to talk about how special your film is because of this uniqueness.

Start listing the various audiences that your film addresses.  For documentaries, it’s much simpler than features, but let’s just take an example of a documentary on organic food. Go online and start looking for organizations and groups who fit your film like vegetarians, vegans, organic consumers, benefits of organic food, etc.

Find those organizations through Facebook and Google. On Facebook, there are thousands of groups set up around nearly every topic imaginable.   You can find films or subjects that resemble closely resemble yours. 

Log into your Facebook profile. Enter a relevant keyword in the search box at the top left of the page. Then, click the Groups tab to see a list of groups related to your search term. Click on the name of the group to learn more, or click join to become a member of the group.

Make a list from your Facebook and Google results.  You want to find the top 40 organizations and set a goal to connect to at least 20.  Hopefully, they will have a minimum database of 5,000 members each.

Your goal is to get them to support your film. Get them to post about your film on their database, or newsletter, or ask them to tweet about your film.

Twitter and Instagram

Author Stephen Follows in “How to Crowdfund Your Film” suggests doing research and marketing via Twitter.  He advises to search for key people around the theme of your film and use tools like Socialbro or Rival I Q to understand more about that audience.

“Look at who is following these big people”, he writes “and look at who the big people are and find who is the most active with communicating.  Look specifically to see if they recommend other projects because if they do you want to contact them early to get them on board and promote your film as well.”

He recommends to seek tweets which motivate the audience to retweet and comment.  For example, “It might be that people are talking about dogs but it’s only when they get to talk about how to look after dogs that created a lot of people sharing and commenting this will help you understand the language and the sub topics that inspire action.”

Instagram can also be useful with the visuals answering questions like what are the common things with the images on your topic? How professional are they?

Capturing Your Audience

Ok, you’ve got a good idea who the audience is for your film.  You’ve socialized with them on social media, in their communities, and made yourself known.   Many seem really interested in your project and are likely to support it.

Sign up with an email marketing platform such as Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, etc.  Through them, you will get an opt-in link for others to sign up to get more information on your film in exchange for their email address.  We use Constant Contact at From the Heart Productions.  They have a text to join feature as well.

Don’t ask people to join a mailing list.  Ask them to join your community that revolves around your film as well as its subject.  No wants to be on a list. 

Include this opt-in link on your Facebook page.  Facebook has the call-to-action feature. This button appears near the “Like” button on your cover photo and is another great way to encourage email sign-ups.  Add the “Sign Up” button and link to your online sign-up form so your Facebook visitors can join your mailing list easily.

Add your opt-in link to your Instagram Profile and your website if you have one.  Also, make sure it is in your signature in your emails. 

You can drive them to your website where you can collect their email address is by giving them a nice gift, something they can’t live without.  Create short three-minute trailers.  Then, put them on your YouTube channel to drive people to your website.  Once there, they can’t resist your gift and will sign up to be part of your film community.

Reaching Out to Your Audience

By now you should have the audience profiled.  Try to list them by groups.

I always say when you ask for money you often get advice but when you ask for advice, this can sometimes lead to money.  So, with your first emails don’t ask for a donation.  They may still not be sure who you are yet.  They may not trust you even though they may be interested in your content. 

I’d ask them to give you feedback on your film. You might say, ‘I making a film about dogs and I wonder how you feel about these various topics and what information you would like to see in a film of this nature.” Do you like what I’ve written? If you have any suggestions for me, please let me know.

You might get feedback and it could be very good.  I’ve had a lot of filmmakers say they were impressed with the return information. And, you can find that as this person gets closer to the film through their relationship with you, they may eventually donate.

Remember, You Need a Lot More Than Money

Make a list of the things you need that could be donated other than money. Airline ticket miles, social networking, a PA for the shoot. Craft service on the shoot etc. etc.  Some filmmakers put this information on their website to encourage people to contact them to become part of the film’s community and donate their time.

Identifying, contacting and entertaining your audience is key to crowdfunding.  You want to take your crowd to the crowd funding.  They will follow you and donate and support you if they like and trust you and are interested in the subject matter of your film.

 

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

5 Ways to Exceed your Financial Goals

April 18th, 2019

How to Keep Your Environment and Emotions From Holding You Back

by Carole Dean

Breianne Pryse is an intuitive life strategist and business coach trained in many modalities. She specializes in helping people get beyond their limitations and create what they desire.  Born with many intuitive gifts, she excels at moving people and businesses into places they never thought possible. 

 

Financial Goals

Toss Your Past Traumas and Current Negativity Surrounding You Into a Bin and Take Back Your Energy

In my The Art of Film Funding Podcast interview with Breianne, she provided these 5 ways to exceed your financial goals.

Keep Your Energy Clear

If you’re working from your house and it doesn’t feel good, this can be a sign there’s too much energy there.   It could also mean there is too much negativity or it’s a sign you have not released your energy correctly.

“With all the political stuff going on, the weather, we are constantly bombarded with energy. We have to own that,” Breianne suggests.  “We say to ourselves ‘All right, I am really bombarded by the energy. Universe, I’m feeling crap today. All right, I’ve got to change this. I have life to live and more important things to do. I need to change it. I’m going to change it today.’”

She points out that there are very basic things that you can do to change the energy around you. “Spraying rosewater around an environment is really great.  Roses are the flowers of angels, so doing that is very good. I like to flood myself with white light as that really helps.”

“Putting boundaries on energy, changing your space. Think of going down to the beach one day and working, instead of sitting in front of your computer in your office. A lot of people have modalities, prayers, rituals that make them feel good and shift their energy. Salt baths and showers are really excellent, because it cleans out your auric field and it cleans out your skin.

“But, is really super important that you honor that you feel like crap and you can change it.  Because as we know, we can get caught up in the nastiness so much, and we forget that we can change it.  We really need to be in our power, and in our awareness and we can do that by changing the energy.”

Clearing Your Mental & Emotional Past

Breianne believes our past traumas not only affect who we are today. They also affect our thoughts and our feelings.  

“Most of us are energetically sensitive people,” says Breanne. “Sometimes when we go to create something awesome, we can feel like we hit a brick wall. Or we’re trying really, really hard and it doesn’t work.  Well, a lot of times that’s some sort of mechanism, some sort of energy within us from our past, that is preventing us.”

Start by Identifying the things that are limiting you.  She offers “one fun exercise that you can do is to imagine in front of you a bin of velvet white, or purple light, and it’s burning really, really bright. You want to find any past traumas stored in your body.  You want to ask, ‘All right universe, what stuff did I pick up from my mom that prevents me from having the money that I want to have right now?’”

“Feel into that energy, and you start picking it out of your body, and physically throwing it into the bin. You can do the same thing with your father.

 

 

“One of the things that was very helpful to me is, I had a lot of feedback and energy from people with old sayings from Oklahoma and Arkansas, because that’s where my family is from originally. One of those was, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.’ Well, that might really be affecting me now, and even though I don’t consciously buy into that, I can remember my grandmother saying that. So, I pulled that and I put it in the bin.”

She believes your ancestry plays a part in this, too. Usually by the age of two, where your parents were financially gets ingrained in you.  So, if they were struggling, and usually when they’re starting a new family, there is a lot of struggle, that energy can be in you and make it hard to make money.

To overcome that, Brieanne likes “talking to the traumas and saying, ‘All right, trauma. Thank you very much. I’m reclaiming my energy. I’m stopping you. I am choosing to create money to help me, my family, humanity.’”

“Throwing everything in the bin is awesome because that’s just saying you no longer need it, and you no longer want it. Now, with this, you need to go back to that magical word, truth. What I notice with a lot of people is that they did not get rid of it. What they did is, they just put it in a box. They did something else with it, so they can’t find it anymore, but it’s still there running the show.

“What I do is, I invite all the energy from all the things that I’ve ever thought I’ve cleared, all the things from all the modalities that I thought I’d zapped. I bring it all up, pull it up from inside my body and I just throw it in the bin. That helps clear it.”

Refine Your Ask

Before embarking on their project, Breianne advises filmmakers to ask “All right, universe, is it time for this film? Will this film have the impact that I want it to have at this point?”  

“It’s all about asking and refining your ask, but you have to remember to ask.” She reminds people that they’ve got to ask every day and ask consistently.  “Because the universe hears everything. Ask the universe ‘How can we make more money today? What can I do to make more money for my film today?’”

“Please don’t say ‘Oh my God, it’s so hard to make money. Things don’t work for me.’  You need to basically be asking daily, and you keep asking, as you refine your ask. Are we asking for the right thing? And just see what happens.

“One of the things that was explained to me was sometimes what you’re asking for is too small. Sometimes, things don’t show up because we’re asking for $10,000 for a film. Maybe we should be asking for $100,000 for two films. Back to that magic truth energy of what is working and what is showing up.”

Be Aware of What Shows Up

“If you’re asking for something, and something else shows up, pay attention,” Breianne warned me.

“Carole, I know that you’ve had this experience too. With me it’s like, I want new clients. So, I send fliers out in the west. Well, all the clients come from the east. Nothing comes from those fliers. It’s all about telling the universe that you want something, but not being attached to how it shows up. I’m sure you’ve had the stories from your filmmakers many times, they’ve spent all this time and energy trying to get money one way, but then it magically appears from somewhere else.

“We have to be aware of that, and say, ‘Wonderful universe, how can I magically receive more energy?’  We have to shift, because if we’re so ultra-focused on one way, we’re not going to see all the opportunities.

“What’s wonderful about this day and age is there’s a zillion and a half ways to make money, we just have to choose. We have to choose what works for us, and go with that, okay? Then that brings it to the fifth way.”

You Have to Put Energy and Action into What You Want to Create

That’s just how the universe works, regardless of what anybody tells you.

“Years ago, when the film, The Secret, came out, there were a lot of people who loved it.  I had a psychologist.  She said, ‘Oh yeah, we have The Secret Syndrome.’ I said, ‘Well, what does that mean?” She says, ‘Well, it means people said they asked for something, like they wanted a million dollars.  Then they went, and sat in their armchair for a year, and got mad because they didn’t get their million dollars!’”

“But the million dollars wasn’t going to find them sitting in their armchair, watching TV. So, it was such a phenomenon that they had to create a syndrome for it.

“It’s basically taking action. Now, sometimes that action can be going down to the local coffee shop, because you might meet the person who is going to give you the money.  Sometimes, it could be going down to the beach, spending some alone time meditating, contacting an old friend that you had, you know?  It’s all about just looking for energy, opening the energy, keeping it open and following it, because that’s how the magic happens, is just following the energy.

“Choose to be in the energy of a successful filmmaker, of a person who makes good use of other people’s money. Go back to number one about keeping your energy clean. You keep your energy clean, you keep your focus, and you keep yourself in that wonderful money energy.  Allowing yourself to stay there, regardless of what craziness people are doing around you, stay focused on your goals.”

 

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

 

Our Thoughts Are Trespassers: Interview with Lynne McTaggart

April 15th, 2019

Author of “The Field” Discusses Her Reasons for Writing it and How Our Thoughts Can Change Matter

by Carole Dean

Lynne McTaggart is a brilliant author.  I fell in love with her mind when I read her book The Field.  She has an incredible way of transforming difficult information from physicists so that we get it. 

We study The Field in our Intentional Filmmaking Class where we intend our future with the science found in Lynne’s book.  One filmmaker, Diane estelle Vicari, took my class and went on to study with her. 

Lynne Mctaggart

“A thought is a thing that affects other things…It’s trespassing into other people and things and changing them.”

Diane connected me with Lynne McTaggart and I was very lucky and honored that she agreed to an interview on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast.  Here are highlights:

On What Took Her on a Journey to Write The Field

“I was curious about why spiritual healing works.“ Lynne explained. “I run an international magazine called What Doctors Don’t Tell You, we look at the science of what works and what doesn’t work in conventional and alternative medicine. I kept coming across really good studies of spiritual healing and I kept thinking to myself, if that’s true, if you could take thought and send it to someone else and make them better, that undermines everything we think about how the universe works.”

“So, I decided to go on a quest to try to figure out what was behind all of this. Do we have human energy fields? What else do we have?  So, I began to speak to a number of pioneering scientists in consciousness research and I soon realized that each of them had made a small discovery that was revolutionary in its impact and its implications and together compounded into a completely new view of the world, a totally alternative view of reality where we are not separate entities as we’ve been told.”

How We Are All Inner-Connected

“We’re not these kinds of little billiard balls just independently operating according to fixed laws in time and space but we are one giant connected entity, thanks for a thing called “the zero-point field” and the zero-point field is essentially a quantum energy field that unites us all in its invisible web.

“But some of the other things they discovered are kind of an outgrowth of that too, that our minds may not be locked inside our heads but be out there in the field, that we are very interconnected with everything, that we have an enormous and vast human potential for extending well beyond our five senses and also the thing that tickled me the most, that thoughts are an actual something with the capacity to change physical matter. “

Thoughts Can Change Matter

“I’m at my heart an investigative reporter, very interested in fact-finding and evidence and so the reporter in me was sort of saying, well, are we just talking about shifting a quantum particle or are we talking about curing cancer with our thoughts? How far can we take this?

‘And also, what happens when lots of people are thinking the same thought at the same time and that shifted me to creating the intention experiment but it was really that kind of left-over question. It was an itch I needed to scratch, left over from the field that propelled me onto my other work.”

Our Thoughts Are Trespassers

“We’re creating all the time. One of the things that came out of my research is the idea that thoughts are trespassers. I mean, a thought isn’t just a thing; a thought is a thing that affects other things and it’s affecting all of the time. It’s trespassing into other people and things and changing them. So, we are co-creators essentially, every moment.”

One physicist proved this in his experiments. 

“The amazing Fritz Albert Popp was absolutely brilliant. He discovered accidentally, when looking for a cure for cancer, that there is a very subtle current of light that’s emanating from all living things and moreover, that other living things are beaming back synchronistically. 

“He found that this light was a communication system inside the body.  So, if something was going on in one place, it would simultaneously let the rest of the body know what was going on. It was coming out of DNA but also it was communicating with the outside and the outside was having a conversation back and so that is a huge, huge thing and may account, to some degree, for why thoughts affect us outside, why they’re affecting other things outside of us.  Popp found that highly cohesive light existed in living things.” 

Are we Vibrating Tuning Forks?

“I believe we may be a tuning fork resonating with other things at the same frequency.  Maybe through these ‘tuning forks’, we set a resonance frequency for what we want and we attract it to ourselves through our relentless focus and faith. 

“You see this all the time, where someone achieves something difficult and we often say ‘He willed it so.’ Or you may know people whose focus allows them to bring the future to the present so that doors open were there were no doors before. 

“People who move up rapidly and always seem to be in the right place at the right time, we have to wonder, are they highly functioning “tuning forks” bringing things to them to achieve their relentless vision?”

How to Make Use of Lynn McTaggart’s Lessons

I want filmmakers to consider using some of this brilliant science.  For example, you could see your film finished and envision yourself at the end of filmmaking at a major screening room and hearing a standing ovation for your film. This nightly vision could begin to attract what you need to make the film. 

That might be money, goods, services, connections, mentors, strategic partners, all of the things you need to make a film.  You attract them with your vibration that comes from your vision of the future as you want it to be.

Who knows?  I do believe that we are all vibrating strings, so perhaps it is all about finding those people and things who are vibrating with you by your relentless visions.

 

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

Are You Blocking Your Money Energy?

April 5th, 2019

Beware the Counter Intentions Keeping You from Realizing Your Dreams

by Carole Dean

Dr. Joe Vitale was featured in the film “The Secret” and he’s a bestselling author of many books including The Miracle, Six Steps to Enlightenment, Zero Limits, and the one I recently interviewed him about, The Awakened Millionaire

Counter Intentions

Are Your Counter Intentions Blocking Your Path to Success?

In this book, Joe says that mental blocks might be the cause of our inability to even imagine ourselves standing in awakened abundance. 

When he joined me on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast, I asked him what were some of these blocks and how they could be overcome.

Look Out for Counter Intentions

Joe refers to mental blocks as counter intentions.

“The whole concept of counter intentions,” Joe states, “is something I originated and I believe it is kind of my claim to fame. I think it’s an insight to why people say, ‘Well, self-help doesn’t work,’ or, ‘The Secret didn’t work for me,’ or, ‘The Law of Attraction doesn’t work for me.’

“It’s the idea that there’s two things going on at any moment in our mind. The first is we have intentions. Our intentions are usually good.  Our intentions are things like, ‘I want to make a movie that makes a difference.’ ‘I want to start working out and exercising.’ ‘I want to start dating.’ “I want to be healthier.”  “I want to make more money.’  Those are our intention. They are noble, they’re good, they’re positive and we all want them and like them.

“But, inside our subconscious mind are what I call counter intentions. The counter intentions are limiting, negative beliefs, most of which we’re not even aware of until we start to explore and look for them. It explains why in January there’s a rush to join the gym and by the end of January nobody’s in the gym. At the beginning the intention was there. ‘I’m going to join the gym. I’m going to get fit.’ That’s a great intention, but why didn’t we go back?

“Unconsciously we had things like, ‘Well, this isn’t going to work for me. I’ll always be this way. Working out is too hard. The gym is too far away.’ I mean there’ll be all kind of things. Those are counter intentions.”

Let Go of Excuses and Rationalizations

“With filmmakers, it’s very much the same with anybody that wants to write a book or some of the other people I hear from who have dreams. They’ll say, ‘I have a dream. I want to make this movie.’ I’ll say, ‘Great. Let’s make the movie. That sounds exciting.’ But then you’ll start to hear the counter intentions like, ‘Well I’m too old.’ ‘I’m too young.’ ‘I don’t have the connections.’ ‘I don’t have the money.’ ‘I don’t have the experience.’ Those excuses, rationalizations, as believable as somebody can rationalize them and argue for them, are actually counter intentions.

“Those are the reasons we don’t know what we’re going to do. There’s always going to be counter intentions. You can look at anybody at any time and they can stand there and say, ‘Well, I’m going to join the gym.’ Then they’ll say, ‘I’m too old.’ ‘I’m too young.’ ‘It’s my DNA.’ ‘It’s the weather.’ ‘It’s my whatever.’ Those are counter intentions. What we want to do is become aware of them and release them so we can achieve our dreams, including making films.

Awareness Can Instantly Release Negative Thoughts

Joe says that awareness is really a simple thing. When people read his book “The Awakened Millionaire” or his free book, “Attract Money Now”, a lot of the counter intentions disappeared because awareness of them alone helped blow the whistle on them.  They started to release their counter intentions when they realized those are just excuses and old beliefs.

“It is important to become aware of the beliefs because most of them aren’t even ours,” he explains. “We’ve downloaded beliefs from our family. I tell people, ‘Were your parents Mr. and Mrs. Buddha? Were they enlightened?’ No.

“Our parents came with their own limiting beliefs and they passed them onto us. Good-naturedly, I mean they were looking out for us. They weren’t trying to program us for lack and limitation or don’t go for our dreams or money is bad. They had those beliefs and just simply passed them on. We as little kids don’t know any better. We download all that information thinking, ‘Well this is the way life is.’ I’m here to tell you that’s not the way that life is.’”

When There is a Will There is a Way

“I teach people to expect miracles. I teach people to go for their dreams. One of my latest books is called ‘The Miracle: Six Steps to Enlightenment.’ Even the book you’re referring to, ‘The Awakened Millionaire,’ is all about the idea of breaking free of limitations. Another book I wrote is called Anything Is Possible and it’s from the philosophy that today, I don’t know that there’s anything we can’t have, do, or be.

“We may not know how to achieve it or create it but I bet there is a way or we can create a way. I come from the mindset that nothing’s impossible, nothing. You want to make a movie? You want it to be a blockbuster? You want all kinds of success from it? Why not? That’s the new mindset. This new mindset comes from eliminating those limiting beliefs, breaking free from the trance of limitation.”

 

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

Is Your Relationship with Money Working?

February 24th, 2019

The Key to Raising Money is Learning That It’s Ok to Have It

by Carole Dean

Dr. Joe Vitale was featured in the film “The Secret” and he’s a bestselling author of many books; so many in fact that Amazon has a Dr. Joe Vitale page!  Joe has taught people from all walks of life how to manifest miracles.

Dr. Joe VitaleI recently interviewed him for my The Art of Film Funding Podcast on his book “The Awakened Millionaire”.  All of the indie filmmakers with whom I work are trying to raise money.  One of the biggest roadblocks for them is accepting that it’s OK to ask for and receive money.  Dr. Joe was able to offer great advice on how they can overcome that obstacle.

Forget “Money is the Root of All Evil”

I questioned him if people thought money was bad because of the misquote from the Bible saying, “Money is the root of all evil.”

Joe responded “Well that’s a good one to start with. As I explained in my book “The Awakened Millionaire”, that’s the one that subconsciously, unconsciously is active in everybody’s mind including your young filmmakers because people want money. They need money. They have to pay their bills. They have to pay all of the different services they use and the vendors they use. So why is it so difficult for them to actually get money or keep money or acquire or save money? The reason has to be in our subconscious mind. We think money’s bad.”

“Because we think money is the root of all evil, we unconsciously don’t want it. We put it away. We sabotage ourselves. We think that money will taint us, money will ruin us, money will corrupt us. Because of those unconscious beliefs around money, we find ways to make sure we don’t have it.

“I’ve often pointed out to people, have you ever noticed that you do receive money just in the nick of time to pay a bill? The rent’s due, the phone’s due, whatever it happens to be, but it comes in at the last minute and then you’re broke again.”

Appreciate and Be Grateful for Money

A lot of that mentality of thinking money is evil, Joe noted, was created from that mangled biblical quote. “The longer quote, that even we don’t know today if it’s accurate or not because this is from thousands of years ago, but the longer quote actually says it’s the love of money that is the root of all evil.”

“If you go deeper into this, as I do in my book The Awakened Millionaire, you find out that the really balanced wealthy people of the world that I know, including myself, we’re not in love with money. We don’t love money. We use money. We leverage money. We appreciate money. We’re grateful for money. But we’re not in love with money.”

Money is Neutral.  It is Energy

“Money in and of itself is neutral. It’s just paper. It’s just coin,” he explained.  “When we take the emotional baggage off of it or the meaning we projected onto it or that we’ve acquired over the decades from family, and culture, and religion, and government, we strip all of that away and just realize money’s a tool, then you’re free.

“You’re free to have money, use money, acquire what you need for your films, your life, or anything else.

Think of Money as a Force for Good

“Because if you really want to improve the lives of others, which a lot of filmmakers do, you can do it must faster with money, right?  In fact, I think that’s one of the best reasons to acquire money is you have causes you believe in.

“Maybe it’s your movie project but maybe there’s a movement that somebody has going on that you care about.  Well, when you have money you are a steward for that money. You can aim it, direct it, and use it where you think it will do the most good.”

Make Peace with Money to Get Money

Joe tells people “Look, you care about homelessness, you care about your project. Make peace with money because you’ll be able to bring it in and then you can use it for that project or that homeless person or whatever it happens to be.

“Again, money is a force for good. You can use it for highly idealistic spiritual reasons, but you’ve got to make peace with money.”

 

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

 

 

“Triple Threat” Web Series Wins Fall 2018 Roy W. Dean Grant

February 14th, 2019

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.

Fall 2018 Roy W. Dean Grant Winner

“Triple Threat”

“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!”

In addition to the $3,000 cash prize, the project’s producers will receive theme music and score written by composer David Raiklen, animation services from Emmy award winner Charlie Canfield , expendable, lighting or grip equipment from Filmtools, a hard drive from G-Technology, one week DSLR camera package rental from Birns & Sawyer ,  and more from many other heartfelt film industry donors.

About the Filmmaker 

Gina Surles – Writer/Producer/’Rosie’

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. 

Past winners of the grant that have been completed include the Emmy winning Mia: A Dancer’s Journey, the SXSW Best of Fest Music Film The Winding Stream: An Oral History of the Carter and Cash Family, Official Sundance 2019 selection Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, and Kusama-Infinity which is now in distribution showing in theaters around the US.

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 films fiscal sponsorship which allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has raised over $3 million for crowdfunding films.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts

For More Information and interview requests, please contact:

Richard Kaufman

www.fromtheheartproductions.com