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 a sample fundraising schedule. This is one of the first steps to holding a fundraising campaign. But you may not know where to start or how long different steps should take. So we’ve put together this sample schedule for you to follow. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing more guides on how to create a lookbook, top 5 places for finding money for your film, tips for pitching your project to an investor, and tips for successfully raising funds with a crowdfunding campaign.
A Sample Fundraising Schedule
Analyze your project and do a break down. You need to approach this with a creative mind and a business mind. For creative purposes, write a long-form synopsis and an elevator pitch. Draw from the script what other similar types of films exist out there. Identify key elements like the theme, tone, and style. Then gather visual elements that correspond with it. Pull out character descriptions and write character arcs. In week two, switch your game plan to the business side and break down the script to identify the financial needs of the movie. Extract information like intended demographic and formulate a distribution plan for the film. Start putting together the team that will help you make this film happen.
Now that you have all the resources you need, start assembling your look book. Start out by laying out the design of the look book. This comes from all the visual elements you have collected. Everything you lay out should be in line with theme, tone and style of the script. Once you have decorated your pages, start plugging in all the information and identify in your table of contents where one can find all the information they need. Break up the work into two segments, the creative information and the business information.
By the 4th week, if you have stayed on top of your game. Review your look book and polish anything that needs work. This is the week you create a calendar to set milestones for your project. By this week, you should have packaged the project for yourself and should feel good about everything. Start creating a list of potential people to send the project to. If you are crowd funding your project, start putting all the information you have online. If you have to, create a pitch video. This is the week to do it. By the end of the first month, be ready to go out with your project.
Start emailing the people on your list to gain awareness for your project. If you are crowd funding, you should be emailing people and marketing your project to get as many eyeballs on it. Be strategic on how you approach people. My favorite time to email and send out updates about your project is on Tuesdays. Many people are back from their weekend off, caught up with email and will be looking to get back in the heat of things. Besides reaching out to gain support from friends and family, this is the week to start researching and looking into getting information about other companies with similar projects and interests.
By now, most of your inner network should have an idea about your project. Now it is time to step beyond that and start sending queries to people and companies you think might take interest. Have confidence and faith and don’t let rejection or unresponsiveness discourage you, as this is only the first step. On top of being bold about reaching out, start gathering information about events and activities you can go out to to start networking like mixers and film festivals.
By now you should have had ample time doing the researching and pitching, so you should be able to gauge how well you packaged your project. If need be, adjust what needs work in the first part of the week and then start attending events. Example sevents include, premiers, festivals, screenings, conferences, and seminars that put you in the same room with other filmmakers. Network as much as you can to see who can put you in the same room with people that can help take your project to the next level.
If you are doing crowd funding, staying on top of your calendar, and marketing your project, you should be seeing rewarding results. If you have met interesting folks and have potential leads from queries, you should be sending out follow-up emails. Raising funds takes time so keep in mind that you have already come a long way with a packaged project and bigger awareness about your film. By this point, you should have gotten some experience doing what you need to do to keep on going out and looking for cash. This is the process, so keep riding on this train until you get to your destination.