“If you don’t have time to apply for grants, then you don’t have time to be a filmmaker,” Film Inquiry says.
Applying for film grants can seem like a daunting process but grant writing can help move your film projects and your personal career forward. Bigger grants allow for more collaborators as well meaning the final product will be much better.
1. Organize Your Project
Eugene Park says in this article for Film Inquiry that the primary benefit of writing for film grants is that it helps you start organizing your production. Before applying to grants, you’ll want to create a budget and fine-tune your proposal. Think of the film grant committees as potential investors that you’re giving a startup pitch to.
As much as you can, have an itemized budget that includes specific details. Investors like to know where the money will be going and that none of it will be wasted.
For any film that you’re pitching to an investor, you need to not only outline the process but also the end goal of the project. You should detail whether you plan to distribute the finished film via traditional channels or maybe another way like video on-demand online.
2. Find Those Grants!
Finding film grants can be as easy as an online search. Several blogs compile huge lists of film grants that have details on who can apply for each grant. Two of my favorites are KitSplit and NoFilmSchool’s lists.
While these are great compilations, they aren’t complete and many more grants exist if you’re willing to dig around.
3. Follow Up and Follow Through
After you’ve got your film organized, the production is starting to come together on paper, and you’ve begun applying to film grants, you need to follow through and keep the applications rolling.
Like Eugene says, you may not hit gold on the first try but part of being a successful, full-time filmmaker is putting in the hours to chase down opportunities. If you keep on failing even after you apply for smaller grants, join forces with other filmmakers and ask them to review your application materials and give feedback.
If all else fails, you can always scale back the budget or switch gears to another project for a while. Just make sure to keep making films!