The Passionate Pitch

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

by Carole Dean

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

Pitch Your Film

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

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

Film Pitch Advice…From Gandhi?

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

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

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

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

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

Have Unwavering Faith in Yourself

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

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

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

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

You’ve Got Just 30 to 60 Seconds

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

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

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

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

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

People Give Money to People, Not to Films

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Calm Down, Chill Out and Be Your True Self

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Practice, Practice, and then, More Practice

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

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

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

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

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

Convince Your Subconscious That You are Living Your Dream

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

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

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

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

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

Mantras for Your Mirror

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

I am perfect at pitching my film.

I love myself.

People know I am dedicated to my film.

People see me as a talented award-winning filmmaker

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

Your future is waiting for you.

 

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

Faith Funds Films

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

By Carole Dean

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

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

Faith Funds Films

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

Faith Funds Films

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

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

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

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

Listening to That Little Voice in Your Head

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just Pretend Your Film Already Exists

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

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

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

Pay Yourself First

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

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

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

Make a Movie about Making your Movie

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

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

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

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

Use Your Emotions When Visualizing Your Success

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

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

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

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

Do Not Feel Helpless, You Are in Control

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Using Your Mind to Fund Your Film

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

 by Carole Dean

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

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

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

manifesting success

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

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

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

Filmmakers are Entrepreneurs. They are Business Owners.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just How Committed are You to Your Vision?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Manifesting; A Misunderstood Process

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

by Carole Dean

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

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

Manifesting

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

Levels of Manifestation

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

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

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

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

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

She Willed it So and it Happened

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t Get in a Spin Over Your Film

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

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

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

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

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

The Importance of Faith in Manifesting

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

His poem is:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Create Mantras to Pretend You Have What You Want

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Faith vs. Hope

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

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

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

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

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

Making this Film With, or Without You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Section 181 Reinstated: Good News for Filmmakers!

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

by Carole Dean

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

Section 181

Expense Production Costs

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

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

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

Cover Your Investor’s Money

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

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

Need Just One Day of Photography to Get Grandfathered In

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Using “The Conscious Universe” to Fund Your Film

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

By Carole Dean

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

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

conscious universe

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

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

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

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

I want to share with you an excerpt from the class as the information in it is important to all filmmakers trying to get their films financed and finished. 

Notes from Dean Radin’s brilliant mind

We are starting with the section on new metaphysics. This is Willis Harmon’s proposed wholeness science with the basic assumption that the universe is a single whole within which every part is intimately connected to every other part.

He writes that “The entire spectrum of states of consciousness, including religious experiences and mystical states, has been at the heart of all cultures. These states of consciousness may be an important investigative tool, a window to other dimensions of reality.

“The question is not; how can we explain telepathy? but rather, how can we explain why our minds are not cluttered by all that information in other people’s minds?

We need to think, not how can we explain this psychokinesis? But rather, how can we understand why our minds have such a limited effect in the physical world.”

We are all connected, to each other, to the stars, to the universe

“Human beings are part of the whole and there is no justification for assuming that drives such as survival, belongingness, achievement, and self-actualization or not also characteristics of the whole.

Similarly, since we experience purpose and values, there is no justification for assuming that these are not also characteristics of the whole. The universe may be genuinely and not just apparently, purposeful and goal oriented.”

I like this concept Mr. Harmon proposes because it tells us we have been doing the right thing all these years by setting goals and focusing on achieve them. We create our to do list and are daily working on it.

This also supports our daily visualizing our positive results.  Now our understanding that achieving success is interconnected with the universe which is even more empowering. Plus, realizing that the universe hears and supports us and perhaps actually helps make things happen.  This is excellent news for goal- oriented people like filmmakers.

I am sure you have found that sometimes when you were not able to achieve your goal, that too was part of the plan of the universe. Have you ever found that the times you did not get your desired goal was because it would have brought you problems or it was taking you off your path?

I bet you always found that not getting a goal was sometimes for your better good.  I know I have.  I always say the universe knows more than I do and if I don’t get this, I will understand that what I want is not for my highest good.

Metaphysics is shifting towards a mystical worldview

Dean Radin says that “Harmon’s information reveals the new metaphysics is shifting towards a mystical worldview.  Some scientists will be suspicious of this interpretation, and yet what else are we to make of the writings of Nobel laureate physicist Erwin Schrodinger who says: I have no hesitation in declaring quite bluntly that the acceptance of a really existing material world, as the explanation of the fact that we all find in the end that we are empirically in the same environment, this becomes mystical and metaphysical.”

Dean continues, “Some of the suspicions that scientist have about the concept of the mystical almost certainly derive from its close association with religious doctrine. But that is not what Schrodinger, Einstein, James, and dozens of other eminent scientists meant. They were talking about the nature and experience of interconnectedness.”

This takes us back to astronaut Edgar Mitchell and his Epiphany when he was returning home from Apollo 14 and he felt that “moment of connection” to all the stars in the universe, to all the people, to all life on the planet, to space its self and he immediately knew that we are all connected.

We need to thank Edgar for being bold enough to admit what happened to him.  He spent the rest of his life working with physicists to prove that we are connected. Dean Raiden is running the company that Edgar Mitchell started, The Institute of Noetic Sciences.  Dean has spent most of his life working with psychic phenomena which has been beneficial to all of us. He is working at the forefront of science in understanding our interconnectedness.

I think this information is most important to all of us.  For example, when you are in a meeting and start to pitch someone about your film with the intent on getting funding or production benefits, I want you to realize that you’re already connected to this person.

The Conscious Universe is connected by the Quantum Field which records everything

That’s what this book, The Conscious Universe, is teaching us, we are all connected to each other.  We are living in a conscious universe that hears our thoughts, knows our mind, knows what is in our hearts. 

So, please, keep this in your mind when you’re creating your pitch. Perhaps you don’t look at someone as a wealthy person or as the acquisition’s manager.  Perhaps you see them as another being on the same path as you with their own set of hopes, goals and dreams just like you. Perhaps you think of them as a mirror of yourself. Would this be a good move for them?  Is so, why?  Work, create, live knowing that we are all connected.  You are not separate; you are part of the whole and so is this person.  What is best for both of you?

Find what you feel are the most important parts of your film and outline what is extraordinary about your film.  What is the real essence of your film that this person will understand?  Tell them how it benefits society and share this information with great pride and sincerity from your heart of hearts.  Make it personal.  You are speaking to another human on a journey with goals just like you.

Live with the knowing that you will find the right person to fund your film and in fact you’ll probably find many people who will fund your film. You want to relax in the knowledge that “We are all connected.”

Dean goes on to say “Underlying the isolated world of ordinary objects and human experience is another reality, an interconnected world of intermingling relationships and possibilities.

This underlying reality is more fundamental in the sense of being the ground state from which everything originates.”

We are constantly sending and receiving information

Dean share the following: “The Buddha compared the universe to a vast net woven of countless varieties of brilliant jewels, each with a countless number of facets. Each jewel reflects in itself every other jewel in the net and is, in fact, one with every other jewel. Everything is inexplicably interrelated. We come to realize that we are responsible for everything we do, say, or think, responsible in fact for ourselves, everyone and everything else, and the entire universe.

“We are those jewels, each of us reflects out to others who reflect back to us and we are all in this net together.  We are not separate; we are all inner connected.

“The deep interconnectedness revealed by modern science and described in ancient doctrine suggest a racially connected network of physical variables interacting like a shimmering weavers loom as both modern physics and ancient Buddhist doctrine suggest, deep interconnectedness embraces everything, unbound by the usual limitations of time and space.  Sir James Gene said the universe begins to look more like a great thought then like a great machine.”

Dean goes on to say that, “the information about deep interconnectedness brings up the possibility that mind and matter in our action may have been misconceived. That we’re probably not dealing with interaction between two dissimilar entities but with the single phenomenon. Meaning then when we set a goal and focus on it that action is part of who we are and fully accepted by the universe because the universe is goal oriented we are goal oriented so when we visualize what we want it’s a natural thing to do, the universe is part of us and hears our thoughts and knows our hearts.  Perhaps even, that mind can cause matter to conform to mind’s vision.

Are we Co-creators of our future?

Perhaps we are creating our future on a daily basis.  This is what the physicists are telling us. I’m looking for everything I can find to support these statements so that all of us feel comfortable when we set goals and create our to do list.  When we achieve our success, perhaps the universe celebrates with us!  Perhaps it is as happy for us as we are for reaching our goal.  Wouldn’t that be nice to envision?

Science is inferring that the universe is goal oriented.  So, when we’re asking for something that is a natural expansion for us, something that takes us to our goal, then the universe sees and acknowledges this.  When we are working with the universe things should come to us as a natural event.  That is a given, we should be supported. 

Let’s use this information and start realizing that this is who we are, this is how the world works.  The scientists are trying to tell us this, in fact some of these men are spending their whole lives trying to prove that psychic experiences are natural, and we are the ones that are saying … really?  Well, I’m not so sure.

I am suggesting that we jump on board and say, “OK I can play this game, so, let’s give it a try. I’m going to interact with the universe, show them what I want, then make every effort to receive it and then relish in the delight of my success.”

 

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

 

How Donors to Fiscally Sponsored Films Benefit from Covid-19 CARES Act

In Creating the CARES Act, Congress Gave Everyone the Opportunity to Be a Little More Charitable

by Richard Kaufman – Guest Contributor

In crafting a response to the disastrous economic impact caused by the Covid-19 crisis, Congress created the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (known as the CARES Act).  Most of us are familiar now with its Emergency Small Business Loans, Paycheck Protection Program, and disaster loans.  (And most of us who applied for those are familiar with not getting a response to our applications)

Did you know the CARES Act also boosted tax incentives for charitable giving? 

CARES Act

Congress realized that the crashing economy needed help beyond what they could provide.  While millions have been thrown out of work, many others are still getting a paycheck working from home or at essential businesses.  And, there are others who need not worry about working.  So, they created a perk to get them to donate to charities.

The New Benefit for Donors

While charitable giving comes from the heart, there have always been tax incentives to encourage donations.  Recent changes in the tax law have made it more difficult to get a deduction for giving.  

Under the current tax law, if you itemize on your tax return, you can deduct donations to registered charities up to 60% of your adjusted gross income.  Most people, however, don’t itemize and claim the standard deduction.  Those who do this can’t deduct charitable contributions they make during the year.

But, now, as explained by in NPQ (Non-Profit Quarterly), the rules have changed temporarily under the CARES Act providing several benefits:

The stimulus bill also contains a one-time, above-the-line deduction for cash contributions of up to $300 made to certain qualifying charities. All taxpayers would be eligible to take the deduction, even people who use the standard deduction. The incentive applies to contributions made in 2020 and would be claimed on tax forms next year.

So, anyone, even if they itemize, can deduct up to $300 in charitable giving.

For the eight percent of individual taxpayers who itemize their deductions, the bill would suspend for 2020 the normal limit on deductions for contributions, ordinarily 50 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) or 60 percent for cash.

This means that charitable contributions equaling up to 100% of your adjusted gross income are now deductible on your 2020 tax return if you itemize on it.

Of course, most people can’t afford to donate 100% of their income.  But those HNI’s (high net worth individuals) will now have greater reason to part with their savings in order to help good causes.

Finally, corporate donation limits were raised as well. 

For corporations, the limit on deductions for contributions, ordinarily 10 percent of AGI, is elevated to 25 percent for 2020.

What the CARES Act Means for Fiscally Sponsored Filmmakers

Having your film fiscally sponsored means your project has been accepted by a 501(c)3 non-profit, like From the Heart Productions, into their fiscal sponsorship program.  This allows those making donations to those films to get tax deductions for their donations. Just like they would for other donations to any other charitable foundations.

And, under this new bill, donors can give more, get larger deductions, and get deductions where previously one had not been possible.   This will make it easier for these filmmakers to continue to get funding and get funded faster.

Why Donate to a Fiscally Sponsored Film?

Films that are fiscally sponsored must fall under the mission statement of the non-profit under which they fundraise.  For films fiscally sponsored by From the Heart Productions, these are films that are unique and make a contribution to society.  They are important, life-changing films, by filmmakers with a passion for their work. 

As Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions, says “Film is one of the most important art forms and it takes the longest to create.”  These independent films take years to produce from conception, through pre-production, to finished product.  A gap in their funding might mean some filmmakers would need to give up their projects.  Especially, when they are under the weight of having to make a living right now as well.

What Fiscally Sponsored Filmmakers Should Do Right Now?

Make these changes in the tax law known to your potential investors.  Include it in your pitch and on your crowdfunding pages. 

Focus on going after large companies and wealthy individuals in 2020.  This offer by the government for these new tax deductions is good for this year only. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to make the most of it

3 Expert Tips on How to Fund Your Film

Carole Dean, author of “The Art of Film Funding”, discusses her new class “How to Fund Your Film”.  Why you need a believable budget, a killer script, and a plan to capture HNI’s.

Carole Dean’s passion and mission is teaching film funding.  She found her love and calling after creating her revolutionary first business. Beginning buying left over film from studios in the 1970’s, she sold it to filmmakers at discount helping spur an explosion in independent films. Getting to know her clients, she saw how difficult it was for them to get funding. They were artists and dreamers and not savvy in raising money from investors.  So many great films, filled with incredible life-changing stories, from talented producers and directors, were going unmade and it made her mad.

 

Expert Tips on How to Fund Your Film

Carole Dean’s new class “How to Fund Your Film” is available now on Vimeo.  You can save $10 off the price until May 31st by using the code GetFunded. 

 

In 1993, she founded and is president of From the Heart Productions, a non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers find money for their films.  The organization offers film grants, film funding classes, and fiscal sponsorship for filmmakers.  Since its creation, Carole has helped guide filmmakers to raise nearly $30 million for their projects.  In 2012, she authored the best-selling “The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts”.  

Her new video class, “How to Fund Your Film”, has just been released and is now available on Vimeo on Demand. In it, Carole has created a detailed, informative, and fun course for filmmakers that lays out a step-by-step plan for funding their film.

On The Art of Film Funding Podcast, Carole previewed her new class with host Claire Papin.  

Why Did You Create the How to Fund Your Film Class?

I give a lot of consultations to filmmakers. I am lucky, I love what I do. I have the greatest job in the whole world. I get to talk to filmmakers who want advice on film funding.

And one day I hung up the phone from a consultation where the woman was very pleased with what we created together. It’s always a two-way street. It’s bouncing ideas and my sharing the knowledge.  I began to realize that I have a lot of information. You know, sometimes you get used to it, but this filmmaker was shocked at the knowledge I shared.

And I thought, I really have got to get all this down. I have so many stories to tell about people who were successful by doing unique and unusual things. So, I decided to start taking all of the notes that I give to filmmakers and putting them together so I could create a new book. It really started out to help save me time. But then I realized, that there’s a lot to learn I ended up with a three hour class!

Which is the Blink of An Eye Compared to How it Takes to Make a Film

The sad news is, it’s an average six years for someone to make a documentary plus two more for marketing and distribution. So, if you knew going into a film as a documentary that it was going to take you eight years, you might think twice.

My job is to help you make it a lot faster.  I want you to know where the pitfalls are and where to put your focus. And that’s what I put in this book. The idea would be that you get finished faster.  Then, for features, it can take from 3 to 5 years and of course that’s all about finding the money.

I spent a lot of time on finding money in the class for feature makers as well as for documentaries or shorts or webisodes. It’s all the same thing. It’s raising money for your art.

Where is the Power Point?

It is on Vimeo and from the current sales I find what people do is they will watch about 20 minutes and then they’ll come back and do another 20 minutes. It is in sections to let them do as much as they want at a time. It’s all created for filmmakers with current filmmaker’s success stories.

How to Fund Your Film Has 14 Sections?

You may remember Johnny Depp in Alice in Wonderland said, where, where do we begin? And they said, Oh, you start at the very beginning and you’re going until the very end.

So, the very beginning of the class is when you say:  I want to make a film and it goes until the end where you have lots of information on funding, marketing and selling yourself and your film.

You Begin with Stressing the Importance of Finding the Time to Create a Film

Where will you find the time to make a film? That’s what I want you to ask yourself first.  Are you willing to put in 15 to 20 hours a week?

Because most filmmakers have a job, a usually a full time or two half time jobs and then they have their family. They have to their health. They have to take care of their health and exercise, meditate. And now you have your precious film that you want to bring into that world.

You have to make some major decisions on where to find the time. In the very beginning, we cover how to schedule your time, how to find it, what to give up. I give you suggestions, but you make the decisions.  You really want to make a commitment to creating your film.

And You Need to Make Time for All Your Rewrites

That’s the most important thing about writing. My friend Jeff, who runs The Writers Bootcamp says, when you’re finished with your script, well congratulations, but you are only 7% finished because now you have the rewrites.

I helped one man with a mystery, a thriller film, and I read 52 revisions of his script. He was very successful, he raised the money, he made his film, he won awards for it. So, it takes a total amount of focus.

You have no idea how many times you’re going to have to rewrite your script. That’s for a feature for a documentary it’s such an organic piece that you’re always rewriting it because as soon as you turn on your camera, the film takes off and it often goes in a new direction.

You Mention in Your Class a Very Clever Method to Getting a Great Final Script

I want to see a script that is a dynamite script because a good script will not make a good film. It has to be a dynamite script.

So, when you finish that script, get some coverage, get people, not your friends or family. Don’t send it to anyone you know.  Send it to a professional reader for coverage.

You can find them on Craig’s list. Please, get some honest feedback and you have to continue to do that until you really have a strong, incredibly good script because your whole future depends on the power of that script.

And it is the same with the documentary. I say put some passionate in your proposal. Because when we are judging films, we’re sitting here, reading one proposal after another for the grant.  When we hit one with passion, we jump out of our seats with joy and want to share with the rest of the judges. I want passion that jumps off the page.

You Give Advice on Why Filmmakers Need a Believable Budget

Oh my gosh, yes. That’s when everybody freaks out, but the whole secret is that it must be believable. You want a believable budget.

And for the grant I get a lot of budgets that are even numbers and I know they’re guesstimates and I will accept them, but I don’t know about other grantors. I think that for your own self being and the peace of mind, you really need to know what your budget is.

And You Tell Them How to Get One

So, I have put in How to Fund Your Film Class people to call people that are donors to our Roy W. Dean Grants. I recommended David Raiklen for music,  Sam Dlugach for color, Jerry Deaton for sound and more people for the New York area.

These people are exceptionally talented, and their prices are reasonable. And they love documentary filmmakers and independent filmmakers.  Especially ones that come through From the Heart Productions.  

And that’s what you want, is you want someone who will love your film and take on the same passion you have for it.  And that I’ve seen that happen with all three of these people with sound, color, music and more. You always want to put a brilliant team together.

And, and I’ve explained to how to do that.  To get a believable budget, you really need to call people and say, here’s what I’m doing and what do you think this will cost?  Give me an estimate. And I know that,  as I get closer, I can get to the penny.

You want to get a believable number because you never know when you’re going to get in an office or at a luncheon with some person who says, well, really how much you need?

And you can say $56,000 is what I need on my budget and bring up the budget on your phone and say, here it is. And you can defend every line.

You’ve Also Mentioned the Importance of Networking for HNI, High Net Worth Individuals

Well, this is the next phase. You get your believable budget, your incredible script, your killer script and your brilliant outline impeccably done for your documentary or short or webisode. And you have the pitch, the proposal, the paperwork. Now what are you going to do?

Well, you’ve got to get out on the street and meet some wealthy people. And so how do you do that? Well, you’ve got to become part of their world.  So, you want to identify community organizations where wealthy people could belong.

And many of these organizations offer a low-priced membership that you could afford. And yes, they have some gala events, but that may be worth it at the end of the year.

But the main thing is that if you join and you really put in some time and give of yourself to that organization, let’s say that it was a for the humane society, that’s something that simple.

You might be walking dogs right alongside of someone who’s worth a couple of a billion dollars!

Carole Dean’s class “How to Fund Your Film” is now available on Vimeo on Demand.  You can save 10% if purchased by May 31st by using code GetFunded

Why You Need a Covid-19 Film Production Plan for Fundraising

The biggest challenge filmmakers have now in getting money for their project is proving to investors that they can make or finish a film during a pandemic

By Richard Kaufman – Guest Contributor

Your film investor is reaching for their Amex card after you’ve made your brilliant Zoom meeting pitch for your dream film project.  They like your experience, your passion, your story, but they are asking themselves what everyone asks who ever thought of giving money to a privately financed independent film project.

“Is this film ever going to get made?”

Covid-19 Film Production Plan

Will you be able to make sure everyone on set wears a mask?

In Spring 2020, that question has a new ominous twist fear behind it.  We are in the middle of a health crisis that has put a hold on all our lives and filmmaking.  Virtually no projects are being produced right now.  No one is sure when anyone will start filming again. 

Covid-19 Film Production Plan

Which is why, when you fund raise now for you film, you need Covid-19 Film Production Plan for investors and donors. 

You need to be able to show anyone who is willing to give money to you for your feature, documentary, short film or web series that it will get produced and completed.  If not soon, then sometime in the near future.  

This plan, or least the mention of it, should go in all fundraising materials, crowdfunding pages, and in your pitch. 

Pandemic Precautions May Last 4 Years

In a study published in the journal Science , researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have warned that, in the absence of a vaccine or an effective treatment of the coronavirus, social-distancing measures may be required through to 2022.  It’s possible, they say, that we may need do this until 2024.

If you’ve made a movie, you know that social distancing on a set will be a challenge.  Your investors and donors know how hard that is to accomplish social distancing in their daily live when take walks or navigate supermarket produces aisles avoiding others grabbing for the same avocados.  They also know they’ve not been back to work as the places of business may not be able to accommodate social distancing or other requirements needed for employees to stay healthy.

What will make your business, your film project, different.  How can everyone on it go to work, not become ill, and get it finished?    What steps will you take to insure everyone stays healthy?

Do Your Research

Fortunately, the entertainment business is filled with creative minds sharing ideas to get production started.   There are many plans and proposals circulating from producers, directors, and unions. 

Variety Magazine recently wrote about how Producers Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and Chris Ferguson — from the companies Automatik (“Honey Boy,” “Bad Education”) and Oddfellows (“Child’s Play”), respectively — have created a proposal titled “Isolation Based Production Plan.”

In their proposal, they raise issues that you will should think about address in production of making your film.

  • Quarantining Cast and Crew – The entire cast and crew would be in a two-week quarantine before they would begin production, and would be tested.
  • Quarantining Costumes, Props and Sets – Locations and sets would be dressed, and then sealed for three days (or whatever the most conservative estimate is) “to allow viruses on surfaces to die.”
  • Limited Hair and Make-Up Contact – Instead of working on multiple actors at once, the proposal suggests there would be a single person working on one actor at a time — and not on set. “Makeup application tools & supplies will be purchased per cast member and used only on that individual cast member.”

An article in Deadline called Reopening Hollywood, brought up other areas that need to be addressed including:

  • No More Cafeteria Style Craft Service Meals – Meals will only be doled out in single-serving pre-wrapped fashion. There will be no shared utensils. Lunch breaks will have to be staggered, to cut down on density.
  • Protecting Talent and Directors on Set – Below the line personnel coming into contact with actors or directors will have to wear masks and gloves at all times.
  • Eliminating Extras and Day Players – Perhaps cut out crowd scenes or if necessary, use green screen.

More Guidelines and Covid-19 Film Production Ideas

Production safety protocol suggestions from studios, trade groups, and film commissions.

Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Office at Netflix, offered his thoughts on How film and television production can safely resume in a COVID-19 world.

The Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) just issued their department specific production guidelines.

Film Florida released a list of detailed recommendations for safe sets.

Independent film crew members discuss what is on their wish list for a healthy and safe film set in Indiewire

What Covid-19 Film Production Plan Works Best for Your Film

The Covid-19 situation and what we know about the disease changes daily.  The production needs for every project is different as well.  Some require locations and some sound stages.  Maybe on your project, the director and DIT can work remotely. 

Whatever you feel is necessary to make your film under current conditions, write it down.  Modify your script if necessary, to accommodate safe working conditions. 

Let your investors and donors know that you have a plan.

 

Summer 2019 Roy W. Dean Grant Finalists Named

26 Films Selected as Summer 2019 Roy W. Dean Grant Finalists.  Winner to Receive Grant Valued at $30K in Cash and Production Services

From The Heart Productions , the nonprofit dedicated to helping of independent filmmakers fund their films, announced Summer 2019 Roy W. Dean Grant finalists. The second of 3 film grants awarded yearly, the Roy W. Dean Grant is given to a film that is unique and makes a contribution to society.  The winner will receive $3,500 cash and thousands more in donated production services from film industry professionals and companies.

Summer 2019 Roy W. Dean Grant Finalists

“The quality of work and commitment to it from all these filmmakers is wonderful.” said Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “All of the projects chosen to compete for the grant have the opportunity to become exceptional films in the future.”

Now in its 27th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant is open to documentary films, feature films, web series, and short films or a combination.  It is open to filmmakers around the world.  Applications were received not just from U.S., but from filmmakers in Canada, the United Kingdom, India, Lebanon, and the Ukraine.

All filmmakers who entered the grant are given the opportunity for a free consultation on their project.  Winner of the grant is expected to be announced in November.

The Summer 2019 Roy W. Dean Grant finalists are:

Title

Film Type

Submitting Filmmaker

Where Love is Illegal TV, Web or New Media Nick Fitzhugh
In Justice TV, Web or New Media Nikki Hevesy
Help Is On The Way Documentary William Nolan
One List One Life TV, Web or New Media Dillon Hill
The History Of This Documentary Leyla Rouhi
Beyond The Duplex Planet Documentary Beth Harrington
26 Seconds Documentary Kelly Galindo
The Vintage Voyageur TV, Web or New Media Allison Maldonado
An Elephant In The Room Documentary Katrine Sahistrom
El Cadejo Blanco Feature Justin Lerner
999 The Extraordinary Young Women Documentary Heather Dune Macadam
Swanson on Sunset Documentary Jeffrey Schwarz
Ready Or Not? Documentary Jenny Mackenzie
Acid Test Feature Jenny Waldo
Conscience Short Brandon Kelly
Sacrifice Zones: The 48217 Feature Ben Corona
Wali & Zuri Short Derrick Woodyard
Quantum Qi TV, Web or New Media Sharron Rose
Radical Landscapes Documentary Elettra Fiumi
Dawn Dusk Documentary Jason & Blue Gerber
Mermaids Against Plastics Documentary Sylvia Johnson
Crossing Market Short Brandon Kajewski
The Other Tribe Documentary Lydia Mangeni Stewart
40 Days & 40 Nights Documentary Taira Akbar
Busted Feature Rebecca Hamm
La Recua Documentary Trudi Angell

 

Each finalist is given the opportunity to post information on their contending film on the From the Heart Productions website.  You can view an image from the film, filmmaker info, and loglines.  If they have available, filmmakers can include a link to their film’s website, Facebook page, or relevant social media connection. 

In addition to the  $3,500 in cash provided by From the Heart Productions the winner will also receive $500 in expendables, lighting or grip equipment from Filmtools,  a G-Technology ArmorATD hard drive with case, $1,295.00 Scholarship to Writers Boot Camp, and more from heartfelt film industry donors that support independent filmmaking.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Founded in 1992, the Roy W. Dean Grant seeks films that are unique and make a contribution to society that, without it’s help, might otherwise not get made.  There is a Spring, Summer and Fall Grant.  The Fall 2019 Grant has extended its previous deadline and is accepting entries until Oct 31st.  

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

About From The Heart Productions

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