I’m excited to share a series of great guides with you written by my fellow filmmaker and co-instructor Caleb Negassa. Caleb is a film producer who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for personal and team video projects. We recently co-created an online training course on How to Fundraise for your Next Video or Film Project. Along with inspiring videos, Caleb has written a few guides that will help you in key areas related to fundraising a film project.
Today, Caleb gives you his top 5 places to find people who might give you money for your project. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing more guides on how to create a lookbook, a sample fundraising schedule, tips for pitching your project to an investor, and tips for successfully raising funds with a crowdfunding campaign.
1. Uncle ‘Richie’
Asking for money is not easy. It can also be tedious, embarrassing, shameful, and scary… and in most cases unimaginable. The first place to start looking for money is within the family. Family is always the first to give support so that is where you should begin. Every family is different, so your best bet is to write a personal email detailing your goal and individually addressing family members. Don’t forget to attach the look book that you’ve worked so hard on. A lot of people won’t understand your business and won’t respond but don’t feel bad. It takes a few more follow up phone calls to get them on your team. If you are crowd funding, the smallest donation can go a long way. So take whatever you can get. The most important thing to remember is that you can only ask family for so much. So plan accordingly. This means your first project has to set a high bar so that in the future, they have more faith in your when investing in you.
2. Your Own Network
Look through your own network of contacts to see who is doing what. You are more than likely to find people in your network that can directly help you or introduce you to someone that might be able to help you. Assess the situation and approach them in a professional manner to pitch your project. If they see a mutual benefit or believe in your project, they might be able to get you to the next step. Use public sites like LinkedIn, IMDB, twitter and other professional sites to see what their network is like as well. You may be able to identify someone in their network that can help you get to the next stage.
3. The Trades
Read the trades everyday to see what is going on in the industry. You will be surprised to find organizations and companies that are willing to award grant money to projects that have their affairs in order. It takes patience and research but you will be surprised to find there is a considerable amount of money floating out there for a deserving project. Some trades to consider are Indiewire, Deadline Hollywood, Hollywood Reporter, and Variety.
4. Original Platform sites and Companies
The game has vastly changed from what it used to be. There are now a lot of online digital platforms and independent companies looking to produce content for distributors. If you properly identify yourself within their branded guidelines and demographic, you can position yourself to being awarded money to do your project. Sites like Youtube, Snapchat, Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix are all examples of potential sources to finding money. You also have to identify other companies doing similar projects to see if they are willing to take on more projects that are similar to theirs.
5. Festivals, Equity Money & Advanced Payments
It is really hard to find free money that has little or no strings attached. Finding equity investors is hard, but it isn’t impossible. This is more advanced and you have to do diligent research, but festivals are a great place to find equity investors who are attending screens for others films they have financed. They could also simply be there to find the next project to produce. You can attend film festivals like, Sundance, Toronto, Berlin, and Cannes to meet equity investors or foreign sales agents who can sell your project for advance payments. Although this is hard and requires experience, it’s an alternative if you hit roadblocks on any other avenues you’ve tried.