Let’s get real for second. As much as the inner artist in us dislikes this, we’ve learnt (often the hard way) that if you want to create anything of “good” quality (and by that we mean clear sound, decent lighting and you know, some kind of production design), you are going to need a chunk of funding.
The great thing about micro-budget filmmaking is that it teaches you a whole load of tricks and bits on how to cut costs all over the place (something we will have a blog post on very soon!). It teaches you to be a boss, a snazzy ninja, and yes, you guessed it, a total #DirtyBadass.
So how on earth do you go about raising this money, we hear you cry? Well good question, because it’t one we’re sure even Speilberg asks (Okay, maybe not Speilberg. He’s like one of the five badasses who doesn’t have to worry about that stuff. I mean, the man basically sneezes and he makes money. But you know what, celebs like Kristen Bell still have to figure it out every time they want to put their own scripts on screen!).
What we’re trying to say, is that you will always be asking “How the frick do I fund this production?”. And the possibilities are endless. There is no right way of doing it.
What we do know though, is that you’ve got to get creative, get savvy and get out there! Get talking to people, get connected and know what is going on around you.
No one has ever gotten anything done by sitting on their couch (Okay, we lie! This blog post is totally done from the comfort of our couches!).
The list bellow has just a few avenues we recommend for micro-budget filmmakers to explore, but don’t stop here. Let it inspire you, and get creative!
(1) Crowdfunding Campaigns
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, or have been reluctant to engage in the world of social media (P.S. For the sake of your career, and our breaking hearts, change this now!), I’m sure your Facebook feeds have been cluttered with your friends’ crowdfunding campaigns . As over saturated and reluctant you may be to do this, they really are a wonderful way to raise a little, or a lot, of dosh. If done right, a campaign like this can solve all your financial problems. With sites like Indiegogo, Kickstarter, Seed&Spark, and many more, you aren’t short of options.
If you decide this route is right for you, take our advice and spend a little extra time really dedicating yourself to making your campaign ‘pop’. Research previous successful campaigns as well as unsuccessful ones. Understand effective phrasing, notice bits that stand out and see what tends to work best with the consumer. There are so many people out there who think that by throwing up a video and by blasting their camping on Facebook, that that’s all they have to do for it to be successful (Learn from our mistakes, its NOT!).
Maybe you have half the budget ready to go. You could have some savings, or an estranged aunt, or maybe even an obsessed stalker who is just dying to help you out in your career (Side Note: We highly recommend you second think the stalker one. No one likes rocks thrown at their window at 2am).
Either way, maybe you are in a position to foot half the bill (or check for our American friends). If so, it might not be a bad idea to search around and see if you can collaborate with someone else. Someone who just like you, is looking to get their hands dirty (pun intended) with a new production.
Maybe you have an actor friend who you’d like to play the lead, maybe you know someone who’s a bomb ass director who just “gets” your vision, or maybe you’re in touch with a producer who’s in a creative “rut” and really wants to find a project that they can nurture for the long haul. No matter who it is, you may very well find that if you “share” this production with them and develop it further together, that they’ll split the costs with you!
Ask around and open it up to your friends. If anything else, its good pitching practice for later on. Which leads us to…
(3) Private Investors and Production Companies
This is something we find unbelievably difficult, and frankly, if we’re honest, it terrifies the hell out of us. However, pitching to others is an incredible tool to learn for later on. I’m sure you know of a young and hungry producer who is looking to expand their film catalogue or establish their newly found production company with original projects (In fact, this is exactly what Dirty Talk did. It was a collaboration between us and the start up production company “MilkMan Films”).
So, what are you waiting for? Send an email to these people and get in touch. If you don’t know any producers currently “looking”, attend a bunch of networking events (there’s no shortage of these in any city or even online). If you can, set up a coffee meeting or a lunch date (opposed to just messaging over cyber space) and start planting your “production” seed in their head.
Stay tuned for our “Pitching” series coming soon, but for now, remember this:
- Be honest, open and direct at all times.
- Don’t make it “all about you”.
- Be genuinely (and we mean genuinely) interested in them, and what they’re doing.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want! (otherwise, you’ll never get it).
(4) Pitching Events and Festivals
These may be a bit harder to come by than we like (just you wait though), but they do exist. So many companies are hosting pitching events, and even well established film festivals are doing this; all seeking out new and emerging talent. Get your pitch package down, practice on friends, listen to podcasts, read books and even ask former tutors or mentors for advice. Take advantage of these opportunities because if you’re not, you’re missing out on a whole load of possibilities. If nothing else, its a wonderful way to network with other filmmakers. Remember, the worst thing that can happen is that someone will say no. That’s it. That’s all. Nothing else. So what do you have to loose, eh?
(5) Go BIG or go home
Amazon Studios, Seed & Spark and many other online platforms are constantly looking for the “next big thing”. They’re constantly asking filmmakers to submit their un-produced creations, offering large chunks of funding to help get your production off the ground, so what are you waiting for?
We remember speaking to one friend recently who, when we suggested submitting to these platforms, said “Yeah, but what’s the point? My chances are less than one in a million!”. And unfortunately, this is something we’ve heard too many times with fellow filmmakers. Let us just set something straight for you all:
It’s got nothing to do with chance!
This isn’t the lottery and it isn’t about luck. This is business! These people want you to pitch them the best concept ever. They want you to present them with an amazing, ingenious new story. They want your production to make them money.
These people are where they are today because they are constantly seeking out the next generation of filmmakers.
THAT. MEANS. YOU!
So really, what do you have to loose by submitting your work to these incredible and career building platforms? Why not share that production idea, that you love and believe in so much, with the people who can take it to incredible places. Why not imagine your production being produced by Hulu? Dream BIG – we dare you!
(6) Fundraising Events
Create a fundraising event! This definitely requires work and attention but it’s a great way to generate a bit of $$$ for your production. Contact your local bar and see if they’d be down to help you out in someway. Lots of places are always down if you can guarantee “X” amount of customers, and hell, they could even do a “one night special” where they have a cocktail named after your production
(Side note: The “Dirty Talk” is 1 part vodka, 2 parts cranberry and a whole big splash of crazy… by crazy we mean Champagne).
Think this is too small and that you’re up for one hell of a challenge? Throw a huge elaborate event all centred around your production. Got an important cause you’re production is promoting? Have a “B-list” celeb attached to your script? Why not find companies, organisations or charities aligned with you, to sponsor the event!
Don’t know where to start? Sites like “Sponsor My Event” help you to find people who want to, well, sponsor your event (their company name kind of gives it away, doesn’t it?). And better yet, by creating a fundraising event, you’re naturally generating a whole chunk of buzz around your project. Two birds. One very well thrown stone!
Frankly, the possibilities and avenues to getting your production funded, are limitless. So if you find the “usual” ways just aren’t working out for you, get creative, get your head out of the box and get your excited pants on. Because we can’t wait to hear you say “Our production’s green lit!”.
Have you got a fundraising campaign currently going on? Do you have a pitch package ready to show the world? Are you getting creative, coming up with unique fundraising ideas? We want to know about it! Get in touch or comment bellow. We may be able to help.