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

 

Changing Your Money Mindset to Fund Your Film

It starts by rewiring our money programming, removing money blocks, and igniting your money super powers

by Carole Dean

With over 35 years of vast experience in the corporate, government and entrepreneur sector, Olympia Hostler loves her work helping ambitious women who want to work less, make more, and live free.  Her “Mind Over Money Makeover” program is designed to help high-achieving women realize their wealth potential.

money mindset

Are you stuck with scarcity mindset that is sabotaging you and stopping you from seeking the funding you need?

“Once women ignite their money super powers, wealth shows up in a steady flow and in more ways than they could have imagined,” she told me when she was a guest on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast

She shared with me the secrets and methods she gives her clients to help them create wealth and thrive by changing their money mindset.

It’s Not Enough to Will It

She was quick to say that using will power or brute force does not work.  Change has to happen at the source to get the results and wealth you want.  The source of “money blocks” is our internal programming and usually that is imparted on us by our well-meaning parents, friends, family and the media.  We often take on what they believe.

Another change she adds that we must make is removing old conditioning that we did to ourselves.  When we have certain experiences and we draw conclusions and we make rules, that becomes our conditioning that we put on ourselves.  And most of us adopted our parents’ beliefs, thoughts and habits, because, it is a primal instinct. The question is, she asks, is are these conditionings working for you?

Unblocking Your Money Beliefs

Olympia says that money blocks come from a money programming process.  It is the programming we get from our parents, authority figures, society, media and friends. This programming becomes a self-sabotaging virus and affects all areas of our life. This feeds into having false beliefs, limiting decisions, unprocessed fears and faulty conclusions. 

These limiting beliefs exist on three levels of our being; our body, mind, and heart.  You must shift all three of these back to your “factory settings” to transform your well-being, your health and your wealth. 

Resetting Your Programming

“This is where you undo the years of dangerous programming and get to be yourself again.”

She says we need to realize that the mind controls our behavior, thoughts and emotions. That the heart is responsible for love, gratitude, receiving, connection and support, compassion and community with other people. That the body holds stuck emotions, traumas, stress and fear that affect our physical health.

“You remember that deep person inside who is full of joy, hope and love, that person for whom things come easily and naturally for sustainable wild wealth. It’s when the magic comes back to you and wealth shows up in your life in big ways and in ways that you could never have imagined.”

Changing the Scarcity Mentality

Money myths are lies that Olympia believes our scarcity mentality feeds us and we accept as true.  It’s your scarcity mindset that is your self-sabotaging, inner programming that is holding you back and keeping you small.

She explains that its our scarcity programming that feeds us & we accept scarcity as truth.  We think that there will never be enough whether it is success or money.  This keeps us stuck and holds us back from living our lives on purpose with passion.  It stops us from sharing our gifts w/the world and other people who depend on receiving our gifts to fulfill their purpose.

They are the basis for thinking and behavior that makes us say NO to a lot of opportunities and not even recognize some opportunities. We also say YES to things that do NOT serve us, keep us busy and distracted from our greatness.

Meditation

Another way Olympia advises that we change our thinking is through meditation, aerobic exercise, and novelty.

Meditation is super important to keep us mentally, emotionally and physically clear; relieve stress; improve our health; receive guidance; regulate our nervous system and so many more countless benefits.

“In meditative states, we go into our theta brainwaves which lowers stress and anxiety levels, as well as facilitates healing and growth.  Meditation is a single pointed focus, you can do it while walking, and at any time.  You are most productive when focusing on one thing. 

“For best results – it is imperative that we prioritize goals and tasks – then do them one by one.  We are so much more efficient, productive, happy and healthy that way. Twenty minutes is the ideal meditation.

“Novelty is learning and experiencing new things as well as doing the same things differently or changing your habits.”

Being a BFF with Money

Olympia teaches, “You can change your relationship with money to be your BFF.  In my online course, I call this section ‘For the Love of Money’. Changing your relationship with money begins with believing it’s possible.”  

What actions, thoughts, fears, … are standing in the way of being BFFs with money?  Olympia suggests asking yourself if you knew you would succeed beyond your wildest dreams, what would you do, be, or have? If you knew you could not fail, what would you be, do or have?

Would it be what you are doing now?  Something different?

She advises to give yourself permission to be wealthy right now. Commitment starts the snowball.

 

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

Roy W. Dean Grant Finalists Named for First Grant of 2019

25 Films Still in Competition for Grant Valued at $30K

From The Heart ProductionsRoy W. Dean Grant Finalists has announced the Roy W. Dean Grant finalists for its Spring 2019 grant.  One of the oldest grants in U.S. for independent filmmakers, the grant is awarded 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.

“It is always a joy and honor to review all the incredible projects submitted from such talented filmmakers.” said Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “It was not easy choosing finalists from so many life changing and world changing stories that all need to be told.”

Finalists include documentary films, feature films, web series, and a short film.  These finalists will now go to the judges to determine winner.  The announcement of the winner is expected in September.

List of Roy W. Dean Grant Finalists

TITLE                                                              FILM TYPE           SUBMITTING FILMMAKER

 

El Cadejo Blanco                                               Feature                        Justin Lerner

Pave the Road                                                  Documentary                Kelly Mason

Underdogs                                                       Documentary                Ashia Lance

Girls Are Strong Here                                        Short Film                     Scott Burkhardt

El Susto (The Shock)                                         Documentary                Karen Akins

Women Behind the Wheel                                  Documentary                Hannah Congdon

Made: Meet Me At the Assembly Line                  Documentary                Janette Chien

Scared to Debt:America’s Student Loan Scam      Documentary                 Mike Chamoin

Assisted Living                                                  Web Series                    Amanda Bullis

Perma Red                                                       Documentary                 Maya Dittloff

26 Seconds                                                      Documentary                 Kelly Galindo

Shway Shway                                                   Web Series                    Rachelle Hair

Lady Long Rider                                               Documentary                  Wren Winfield

Donnie                                                            Documentary                  Anna Augustowska

The MicroCosmic Cartoon Show                         Feature                          Prema Rose

Ground Zero: Ferguson                                     Documentary                  Partick Hamm

The Weeping Season                                        Documentary                  Alexandra Hildago

Lady Madonna                                                 Documentary                  Chris Cloyd

90291: Venice Unzipped                                   Documentary                   Colin K. Gray

Dawn Dusk                                                     Documentary                   Jason & Blue Gerber

The Sixty-Six Percent                                       Documentary                   Natalie Abruzzo

The Queen of the Lowriders                             Documentary                    Debbie Sanchez

Amara & Family                                              Feature                            Suman Hanif

Grounded: The Roots of the Revolution             Documentary                    Simon Geisker

La Recua (Saddling South)                               Documentary                    Trudi Angell

 

In addition to the  $3,500 in cash provided by From the Heart Productions the donations of film services and products include $500 in expendables, lighting or grip equipment from Filmtools,  a Glyph StudioRaid 6TB hard drive from Glyph Production Technologies, 40% deduction on color, editing, and sound & all production services from ProMedia NYC and more from film industry donors.

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 is now accepting entries.  Films submitted to the grant can be short films, documentaries, features, and web series from early stages of pre-production to those needing help in post. 

The grant has been integral in helping talented artists with great stories get their films produced.  Recent past winners of the grant include the award winning “Heist: Who Stole the American Dream”, “Kusama-Infinity”, and Emmy winner “Mia: A Dancer’s Journey”.  

About From the Heart Productions

The 501(c)3 non-profit was founded by Carole Dean in 1993 when saw how many filmmakers with important and often controversial stories were having trouble getting financing for their films.  The mission of From the Heart Productions is to educate and assist filmmakers in getting funding to create unique films that contribute to society. 

Under their fiscal sponsorship program, From the Heart Productions offers advice and guidance to filmmakers looking to fundraise.  It also allows donors to projects to get a tax deduction for their donations.  Their Intentional Filmmaking Classes which teaches filmmakers the tactics on how to get funded is now open for enrollment.  New classes start Sept 23rd.

How to Bring the Crowd to Your Crowdfunding Campaign

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

by Carole Dean

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

Film's Audience

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

 

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

Who is Your Audience?

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

Some questions you might ask include:

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

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

Is Your Audience Big Enough?

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

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

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

Locate Communities or Groups

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter and Instagram

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

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

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

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

Capturing Your Audience

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reaching Out to Your Audience

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

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

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

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

Remember, You Need a Lot More Than Money

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

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

 

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

3 Mistakes Filmmakers Make When Pitching

by Carole Dean

Tom Malloy teaches the Intentional Filmmaking Class with me. He’s a brilliant actor, producer and writer. He is a triple hyphenate and he has earned it.

3 Mistakes Filmmakers Make When PitchingAs someone who has also raised over $25 million for his features and documentaries, Tom knows the value of a good pitch. He’s given quite a few and been on the receiving end of some good…and some not so good ones.

In our class, he talks to students about the three mistakes people make when pitching. With his permission, I share them now with you.  

1. Low Energy.

Not showing enough excitement for your film. If you consider 10 as the top of the chart for a full energy pitch, then you want to practice and get to a 9 where you are loaded with passion and excitement. Because when you get in front of someone important, you will naturally be nervous and you lose a bit of your top energy.

Remember, you need to be full of passion for your film. You want to be super excited over your project when pitching or why should the investor/donor get excited? Your excitement is contagious and you want to excite your investor to close them.

2. Not Being Fully Prepared, Your Project Needs More Developing.

You think you have a great project and you don’t. Don’t get in front of someone with an unprepped project. You will be labeled an amateur and you will never get in front of them again. If you are prepped and do a good pitch, even if they don’t buy anything you can pitch them another time.

3. Not Knowing Enough About the Potential Investor.

This is when you have a great pitch and a dynamite film, but you are not prepared with enough knowledge about the potential investor. You need to know what their interests are, like family films or mystery films or the Dodgers. You need to have a general idea of what type of films they like.

If this investor came from a referral be sure to ask, “what do they like, what are they passionate about?” And, how do they act in a meeting? Do they sit quietly or do they interrupt and ask questions? You want to know if they like sports or like true crime movies so you can pitch what they like.

Be sure to Google and find all you can about them before the meeting. To really have a good meeting, you need to be aware of who they are and what they like. You can also use this research to create dialogue with them and they will appreciate the fact you researched them. Know everything about the investor possible.

Tom suggests you find some subject of interest to get the investor to talk to you before you start your pitch. Let him be part of the conversation. You need to get him to open up about who he is.

He says he will ask questions about things on the investor’s wall or on the desk to start a conversation.  Or, he will use something he found on line about them. Ask about their company usually they love to talk about their business.

 

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

Surviving the Stress and Succeeding on Kickstarter

How our Fiscally Sponsored Filmmaker Got Help from a Kickstarter Expert for Her Crowdfunding Campaign and Hit Her Fundraising Goal

by Carole Dean

Our fiscally sponsored filmmaker, diane estelle Vicari, feared her fundraising campaign was set to fail.   diane (both her first and middle names begin with lower case letters) is the founder of Dites-Moi and winner of the Pare Lorentz Grant for her film Sugihara, Conspiracy of Kindness.  

Kickstarter Expert

“SHADOW MAN: The story of Sammy Nestico”

Her new film, Shadow Man: The Story of Sammy Nestico, needed to raise money to finish her edit.  It had a great story.  It is a feature-length documentary film that explores the music, art, humanity, impact, and life of Sammy Nestico.  He helped mold the careers of many jazz greats.  Sammy recently turned 94 years young. His most recent Grammy nomination came only a year ago, at the age of 93!

But, she only had 3,000 names on Facebook.  You should only expect to get about 1% of your social media followers to donate.  So, obviously, that was not going to get her to her goal.  And, with Kickstarter, if you don’t reach your goal, you get zero.

Her non-profit fiscal sponsor From the Heart Productions came to her rescue.  We hooked her up with our Kickstarter expert.  Working with him as a team, she grew her social media followers, reached a larger audience, and surpassed her funding goal.  She asked for $61,500 and got over $75,000!

On The Art of Film Funding Podcast, she shared with me her experience and what she had learned.

Realizing You Need Help and Accepting It 

diane had 3,000 names on Facebook and knew she needed help to reach her funding goal.  She took the leap of faith to do a crowdfunding campaign with From the Heart Productions and our Kickstarter specialist.  

After speaking with the expert, diane realized he was right for the task as “he knew money and how to get it.”  To make this campaign work, she realized she was the artist and he was the money man. 

She began to feed him stories every day about the film and introduced him to the subject in the film.  He met Sammy and saw his loving, generous energy.  After that, the Kickstarter expert was able to help diane build the Facebook numbers up to 6,000 followers by the end of the campaign.

Facebook to the Rescue

Once she got Sammy on Facebook with the heightened energy from the campaign it was a magical time.  Sammy had never heard of Facebook.   diane had to drive hours to his home and do the postings for him.

Getting him involved on social media attracted lots of followers.   Sammy talked to people all over the world who love music and even some who had read his music books written for schools.  

This participation was the key to their last days where they raised over $10,000.00.   People are more likely to support you when they can chat with you online. 

diane posted a video of Sammy watching his trailer on Kickstarter and seeing the funds come in on the campaign.  People loved it.  She thinks he was the oldest person on Kickstarter.

Choosing the Right Amount for the Goal…Even If It’s Less Than You Need

diane knew from her Kickstarter adviser that she could not raise the full amount she needed for her final edit with her data base.  They set a goal they thought they could reach.  She did not get enough for the full edit. 

She thought she could get at least a few months of editing with these Kickstarter funds.  But after consulting with D-Word’s Doug Block, she realized that was not a good idea.  Hiring someone for 2 months and then terminating them to look for more money might mean you could not get that same editor again. 

He suggested she view all of the footage for the last 16 years and hire an assistant editor.  Then, raise the balance needed, hire the editor, and do the edit all at once.

However, now she has a successful campaign behind her.  She has lots of new donors and followers on which to build her next campaign.  Her trailer was the most watched on Kickstarter and a copy of it is on our crowdfunding page. 

Sammy was the oldest person on Kickstarter and people loved him.  There were featured by Kickstarter.  diane had 511 rewards to fulfill and she had to handle all that herself.

After 44 days of working 10 hours a Day on Her Campaign, I Asked Her “Would You Do This Again…Is It Worth the Stress?” 

Looking back over the ups and downs of the campaign, diane says “Yes, I will do this again, even with the craziness and the stress.”

“Look at the benefits we received.  We found and connected to our audience with Kickstarter.  We now have people all over the world who want to see this film made.   They stayed with us to the very end to see we hit both of our goals.  People are still finding us even weeks after the campaign and they want to donate.”

She and Sammy are dedicated to keeping their audience.  They are continuing to work on Facebook.  They are keeping their fans up-to-date on the progress of the film and Sammy is personally talking directly to his audience. 

This experience took him into a new world. He is writing again.  He has found how much people love and appreciate him. 

I believe this magic of connecting with people personally will insure another successful campaign.

 

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

How a Hawaiian Prayer Can Help Fund Your Film

Hoʻoponopono, the Hawaiian prayer of forgiveness and reconciliation, can release your creativity

by Carole Dean

Hoʻoponopono

Forgiveness is a higher vibration than love

“My enemy has come to ask me for forgiveness.” 

I was in the hospital with my father who had just had a stroke.  We did not know if he would live.  Dad was staring at the door to his room when he said those words.

I said Dad, you have to forgive him and let him go.  “Darling”, he said, “I forgave him long ago.  He must forgive himself.” 

That was one of the most important moments in my life.  Since then, I have learned that forgiveness is a higher vibration than love.  It is the vibration that we all want to reach while we are on this planet. 

Then, I found a wonderful Hawaiian prayer.  It has been an important tool for healing myself and forgiving others.  It brought balance in my life and I owe much of my success to its lessons.

I teach it to filmmakers in my Intentional Filmmaking Class.  It has helped them move past the frustrations and anger artists encounter. 

It’s allowed them to be heard, be creative, and get funded.

Hoʻoponopono

‘I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you’.

Those are the few and powerful words of the Ho’oponopono prayer.  The literal translation of the prayer from Hawaiian is ‘to put to right; to put in order or shape, correct, revise, make orderly or neat.”

Many people believe Hoʻoponopono to be a mantra of mental and spiritual cleaning that could be compared to Buddhist techniques for clearing karma.  According to the Hawaiian worldview, “errors of thought” are the origin of problems in the physical world.  The prayer begins the process of cleansing them.

When we forgive others, we are really forgiving ourselves.

Money Has Ears

Ok, how can this help you fund your film?  If you feel like you have a strained relationship with money, you can use this powerful meditation to break through personal blocks.  Creative differences, funding falling through, or family issues distracting you from reaching your goals?   This prayer can help get all of that behind you. 

With Hoʻoponopono, you take total responsibility for your own actions and everybody else’s too.   You must let go of your ego when using this prayer.  Connection, clearing, and forgiveness are much more important than ego concerns about who is right and who is wrong.

This will move you out of any feeling that you have been victimized.  It will release anger that is blocking you from moving forward.

Rejection is a Daily Occurrence for Filmmakers

Each of you has to deal with rejection on a daily basis.  Healing and forgiving are partners in this Hawaiian prayer.  When you have been rejected by a donor or a grant, this can help you accept it and move on. 

There is power in release of trauma, power in release of anger, power in the release of frustration.   All of this power you have is now being used to handle, to keep in place, all of these emotions. 

You can heal yourself and remove any unpleasant situations, rejections or loss, with Hoʻoponopono.  This is asking a lot from a prayer and I believe it works. 

Bring up a rejection of a donation to your film or bring up a confrontation with someone.  Then, say this prayer daily for a week or until you feel you are in balance with this person or issue. 

You will begin to heal that hurt and soon you can say their name without any hurt feelings.  That is when you know you’ve forgiven them.

Give it a Two Month Try Out

Those of you who want to try this, please join me and let’s do it for the months of August and September.  This would give us lots of prayers to forgive people including ourselves. 

You might use a memory trick to tie new things to some habit.  For example, like when you brush your teeth, remember your Ho’oponopono prayer! 

Give yourself time to start saying it before the day comes on you or when you go to bed.  Pick someone, some event, that you want to heal and begin your forgiveness prayer. Say it at least 5 times for one person. 

I will do it with you.  This opens up our creative forces.

Look Online for a Guided Ho’oponopono Meditation

There are prayers on line from 7 minutes to over an hour that you can use.  I suggest you find one that works for you.

I am a long-time meditator.  I put myself into a quiet place or I do this when I go to bed.  In my mind, I bring up the person or event.  Then I say Ho’oponopono, their name, and then I slowly and sincerely repeat these words:

I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you, I thank you. 

I suggest you do this 3 to 5 times for each person.  I send them forgiveness with each prayer, even when I think I am the wronged person! It does not matter, I know I must forgive them and I must forgive myself.

Forgiveness is the highest vibration on the planet and that’s where creatives want to live, where we are vibrating with the resonance higher than love.

 

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

 

How to Get Your Film Funded with New Tax Law

Hidden in New Tax Law are Incentives For Film Donors and Investors That Could Help Finance Your Entire Film

 

by Carole Dean

Get Your Film Funded

Did you know that when President Trump signed into law the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in January, 2018, new incentives for film investors were created that could help get your film funded?  I didn’t and I’m pretty sure most filmmakers we work with at From the Heart Productions did not know either (and since many in Congress had not even read the new law before it was enacted, they may be clueless as well).

Corky Kessler, Esq. is one of the top film attorneys in the US and he knows better than anyone how filmmakers can take advantage of tax laws.  When I interviewed Corky on The Art of Film Funding Podcast, he brought this incentive to my attention and revealed you can use it to get your film funded.

Bonus Depreciation

The part of the new law that relates to film, television and theater and is called “bonus depreciation, section 168.”  Bonus depreciation means when a film is first shown, at the end of that year, the investors get a 100% depreciation.

As a result, that means the investor can take a loss of 100% for the amount invested.  For example, say your donor invests in 2017 and in 2018 you have your first screening.  At the end of 2018, your investor can get his 100% depreciation for the total amount of his investment.

What a great way to attract major donors or investors to your project by giving them a massive tax deduction.

Take Advantage Before They Put Restrictions on This New Law

Before there was bonus depreciation, there was Section 181 of the tax code.  Enacted in 2004, Section 181 allowed you to eliminate your investor’s tax bill by what they’ve invested in your film.  

Corky says that, when section 181 was introduced,  it had no rules or regulations until February 2007.  Those first years were wonderful.  It was like the wild, wild west with lots of opportunities to help film investors.

This new law replaces Section 181.  And, just like the early days of that law, there are no rules and regulations for the new law.  So, the field of how to interpret things is wide open.  This is good for filmmakers.   

Putting Your Film “In Service”

Your film needs to be “put in service” to get the depreciation.  But, right now, there is no definition of what that exactly means.  We know it has to be shown somewhere.  The law just isn’t clear on where that somewhere needs to be.   A festival could qualify.  You could rent a theater, charge people a dollar, and the film is “in service.” 

But, wait.  The law does not say if it has to be shown in a theater.  It does not even say how long the film has to be shown.  

Corky says it could also be shown on YouTube or social media. The law is triggered when the film is “put into service” meaning the time that a film is first shown.   For television, it is the year it is first aired, for theater it is the year of the opening night of the theater.

The Sky is the Limit

Under  Section 181, said you could expense up to 15 or $20 million.  This new law has no limit. It could be $100 million.  Better yet, the law is retroactive and begins in 2017.   The law ends on Dec 31, 2020.

The New Law is Excellent for International Co-Productions

One carryover of Section 181 is that 75% of your service wages of the film have to be performed in the United States.  25% can be in any country you want.   

So, in theory, let’s say we have a $10 million movie.  You could spend $2,500,000 in service wages in Canada or England and take advantage of their excellent tax incentives for filmmakers. Plus, you could shoot in France with their 25% incentive or the Dominican Republic with a 25% incentive.

We can go any place that we want and spend the 25% and still qualify for the US incentive.

Bonus Deduction

Part of the new tax law is Section 199A.  It gives you a 20% deduction on taxable income for money coming back to you.  If I return a dollar to you, you pay tax on only $.80.  So, you make 20% on the incoming funds.   I believe you can write off a maximum of $350,000.

Get a Good Accountant and Lawyer

There are limitations on what you can do under this.  So, please make sure to talk to your accountant to understand them.

A good lawyer to guide you through this is advisable as well.  Corky Kessler works at Rubenstein Business Law with his partner David Rubenstein.  He can be contacted at ckessler@rubensteinlaw.com   From the Heart highly recommends him and his services for filmmakers.

He’s been in the business for many years and he is intelligent, creative and a lot of fun to work with.

 

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

 

 

How Does Seed&Spark Get an 80% Success Rate with Crowdfunding Campaigns?

No Other Crowdfunding Platform, Not Kickstarter or Indiegogo, Can Claim This. What is The Secret to Seed&Spark’s Success?

by Carole Dean

Seed&Spark

Web Series “One True Loves”

The films that get fiscal sponsorship at From the Heart Productions have consistently received the “green light” on Seed&Spark.  This means they hit their crowdfunding goal and get the funding they raised.  This occurs more often at Seed&Spark than other crowdfunding platforms.

Recently, I welcomed Gerry Maravilla, Head of Crowdfunding at Seed&Spark, to my The Art of Film Funding Podcast.  He revealed the advice they give to filmmakers on how to have a successful crowdfunding campaign. 

Goal Setting on Seed&Spark

This is a crucial part of the entire crowdfunding campaign.  Getting this right is a one of the keys to success.

It begins with a surprising statistic and comes down to simple math.

“There’s traditionally a 1% conversion rate from social media share to a donation.”Gerry states.   This means, if you have 1,000 Facebook followers, you can expect only 1% of them to donate! 

He says that you can get 20 to 30% from your email lists.  This must be a personal email to each person, not an email blast that would bring you much less.  Personalization is the key to getting the highest percentage rate from your list.

 

 

Gerry suggests you ask your crew for their email lists.  Ask your family too for any names they will let you use to crowdfund.  Put all your names together.      

So, how much can you can raise?  The most popular donation amount is $25.00.  So, consider that 30% of the list will give you $25.00 each.  Multiply the number of names on your list by 30% and then by $25.00.  This is a goal you know you can hit.

“But this is nowhere near my budget,” you say?  Yes, but setting a goal at $100,000 when you can only expect to raise $1,000 will result in a failed campaign and no money. 

Take what you can get from this campaign.  Use the money move forward with the film and begin expanding your email list for your second campaign.

Don’t Be Afraid to Make an “Ask.”

Seed & Spark recommends that you reach out early to your list long before you start crowdfunding.  Let them know that you are planning a campaign to fund your film and give them the start date.  Say you need them to commit to make a donation for you in the first few days as that is the critical time.   

“Once you hit that 30% in the first week you can easily hit 60% in the second week,” Gerry says. 

Get your list excited and committed.  Ask them, “Can I count on your support?”  Let them know how much you need them. 

Be sure that each email you send is full of gratitude.  Gratitude is a key word in crowdfunding.  Donors appreciate this and the energy in that email will be totally different with your heart on the page.

Creating interesting emails is key to keeping people motivate.  Even if they have donated, you want them to be involved and you want them to read every email because you want them to donate again.  Use creative titles in your subject line, that will get you a higher opening rate.

Seed&Spark

Our Fiscally Sponsored Film “Two Weeks” Hit Their Goal and Were Able to Start Filmming

Campaign Preproduction is a Key to Success

Sounds crazy?  Right?  Yes, you have to treat a crowdfunding campaign just like a film.  Gerry believes this preproduction work is another important key to their 80% success rate.

You need to prepare by building your email list and putting it on a mailing platform.  (We like Constant Contact at From the Heart Productions, but there are other good ones as well).   

Find the “uniqueness” about your film.  What makes it special?  Start marketing it with that in mind.  Send links to the film or your campaign video to your list.  Let them know you will be crowdfunding soon and ask if they can share this on social media to support you.

Contact Seed&Spark early and discuss your film with them.  They’ve got great instructional videos on their website.  Learn how to build your audience.  Get your social networks and your email list ready for your campaign. 

Give yourself several months.  Study successful campaigns and learn from other filmmakers.  Don’t rush into this, plan the campaign and it will bring you a greater return.

Give Your Donors an Immediate Tax Write-Off with From the Heart Productions

Our non-profit works closely with Seed&Spark.   We are a partner with them and offer the lowest fees of any fiscal sponsor when using their platformHaving fiscal sponsorship allows donors to the campaign to get tax deductions for their donations.   That creates a powerful incentive to donate.

Gerry says you want to be sure to mention your nonprofit name on your page.  This shows your donor that a nonprofit has reviewed your film and accepted it. 

Many donors like the fact that a nonprofit is involved to see that you use the funds for the film.  They feel that you will finish the film.  We believe that sponsorship gives you more credibility with donors. 

Gerry Maravilla is available for more information at crowdfunding@seedandspark.com.  Anyone wanting information on crowdfunding can email CaroleLeeDean@gmail.com

 

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

Creating a 2nd Successful Kickstarter Campaign for Your Film

Director Robyn Symon’s first Kickstarter campaign for her documentary “Do No Harm” reached it’s goal.  Could she make it happen again?

by Richard Kaufman

Documentary filmmaker Robyn Symon was told it was impossible for a film to have two successful Kickstarter campaigns.   Her Roy W. Dean Grant winning film “Do No Harm” raised over $100,000 on the first Kickstarter effort.   She needed to raise at least that much again to help get her film finished.

On The Art of Film Funding Podcast , she she shared with host Carole Dean tips on how she defied the naysayers and reached her goal the second time around.

Put Together a Team With Connections

“Do No Harm”, fiscally sponsored by From the Heart Productions,  reveals the sad shocking truth about physician suicides.  While their jobs are to serve as our healers , they have the highest rate of suicide among any profession.    

She knew on her second Kickstarter campaign she would need to reach new supporters and expand her followers to be successful.  To do that, she wanted to build a team who could connect with those in medical field.

She sought out those “who had vlogs, podcasts and they had like tens of thousands of followers.”  She didn’t want anyone just because they loved the film.  She selected 5 or 6 people  after “I looked at their backgrounds carefully to know that these people knew how to connect with other people.”

One of them, Dr. Pamela Wible, Roybn called her “secret weapon”.   She’s considered “the guardian angel to physicians and medical student suseptible to suicide.”  Her vlogs get 50,000 views and a Ted talk she did seen by over 380,000 views. 

With a team in place, they were getting word out about the film even before the campaign began.   

Have Money in Kickstarter Campaign Before it Starts

“You should have a few thousand dollars already committed.” Robyn suggested.   So, as soon as you pull the switch on the campaign, the money is already tallied for all to see.

“No one wants to be the first money in.”

Everyone on her team agreed to contribute $1,000 before the campaign went live. So, right at the start they already had momentum.

Robyn Raised $131,313 on Second Kickstarter Campaign

Don’t Have a Goal That’s Too High…Or Too Low

“If your goal is too high, you’re not going to be sucessful”, she said.  Conversely, you don’t want to have a goal that is too low and easily attainable.  

“Once you reach your goal its very difficult to raise more money.”   She suggests not to go for all the funding at once in one campaign.  Break it up into smaller asks. 

“You have to make it very clear what the money is being allocated for” such as pre-production.  So, when you go back for more funding, you’re not rejected by those who think you’ve already raised enough to make your film.

Consider Using a Kickstarter Campaign Expert

Because she was concerned about raising money a second time on Kickstarter and finding new supporters, she hired an Kickstarter expert.

From the Heart Productions has one expert they work with who has a fantastic track record of crowdfunding success with their fiscally sponsored films.   They hooked him up with Robyn to help her with her campaign.

“I think it was really helpful.”, explained Robyn.   “He has done so many of these campaigns that he really made the page look fantastic.”

She regretted not setting her goal higher as she reached it in a week!  Her goal was $60K, but she really needed $100k and thinks she could have raised $200k. 

“It’s tough, really tough, to go back and say “Yes, we reached our goal and we have 3 weeks left.’” 

Fortunately, she was able to refocus her campaign on raising funds for marketing and was able to get an additional $60,000. 

 

Richard Kaufman is a board member of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-profit that offers fiscal sponsorship and the Roy W. Dean Grant for independent filmmakers.  Richard has over 25 years experience in supplying filmmakers with discounted film stock and hard drives.  He is currently a Senior Account Executive with Filmtools