Give Me the Money and I'll Shoot!: Finance your Factual TV/Film Project
Give Me the Money and I'll Shoot!: Finance your Factual TV/Film Project

Give Me the Money and I'll Shoot!: Finance your Factual TV/Film Project

by Nicola Lees


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The must-have guide to the traditional, emerging and creative funding models being exploited by factual TV producers and documentary filmmakers in an ever-changing international market. Each chapter offers an introduction to a different kind of funder - from international broadcasters to ordinary individuals - and reveals their motivations for funding non-fiction films and TV series.

Advice from industry insiders - producers, buyers, media agencies and film funding bodies - is combined with a range of case studies that illustrate the benefits and drawbacks of each source of funding. Packed with practical, actionable tips, and examples of successful written proposals and grant applications, this book explains exactly what TV commissioners, grantors, brands and investors are looking for in a pitch.

Readers will also discover:

The important difference between TV co-productions, pre-sales and acquisitions

How to develop and pitch advertiser-funded programming and the pitfalls of product placement

Where to find foundation and grant funding, and how to fill in those fiendish application forms

The power of crowd-funding and why social media forms a vital part of a pitch strategy

Why corporations are keen to fund documentaries and the importance of retaining editorial control

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781408132968
Publisher: A&C Black Publishers, Ltd.
Publication date: 05/01/2012
Series: Professional Media Practice
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Nicola Lees has developed documentaries, docudramas, multiplatform and reality programmes for network and cable channels, including the BBC and Discovery, Travel Channel, National Geographic and TLC in the USA. Nicola consults for international clients and is editor of dedicated to factual development. She is author of Greenlit: Developing Factual/Reality TV Ideas from Concept to Pitch.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements xi

Disclaimer xii

Copyright xiii

Introduction (and a word of warning) 1

Part I The Idea

Getting Ready 9

What's the Story? 10

Why Does Your Story Deserve to Be Told Now? 12

Is Film or TV the Best Medium for Your Story? 13

Is There a Market for Your Idea? 14

How Are You Going to Tell the Story? 16

What's the Genre and Format? 17

Why Are You Making This Film? 18

Do You Have the Right Skills? 20

Do You Have Business Acumen and a Fat Contacts Book? 21

The Pitch 24

Write a Proposal 24

Anatomy of a Proposal 26

Pitch Tape 27

Additional Information for Grantmaking and Other Funding Bodies 28

Production Team 28

Schedule 31

Budget 32

Production Budgets 36

Finance Plan 38

Putting Together a Funding Application Schedule 40

Distribution and Outreach Plan 42

Building Contacts 42

Building Buzz 42

Sample Proposals: How to Re-establish a Vodka Empire (feature documentary proposal), The Rock (documentary series proposal) 46

Further Reading and Resources 49

Part II The Funding

1 TV Channels-Ratings Addicts 57

Fully Funded 60

How to Pitch to a TV Channel (or Independent Production Company) 62

Co-production between International TV Channels 64

Co-production between Two Domestic Channels 67

Co-production between International Production Companies 68

How to Pitch for International Co-production 68

Sample Treatment: The Guinea Pig Club 73

Jargon Buster 81

Further Reading and Resources 81

Festivals, Markets and Forums 82

2 Distributors-Traveling Salesmen 87

What Does a Distributor Do? 88

How Can A Distributor Help with Budget Deficit? 90

Development Funding 91

Presales 91

Distribution Advance 91

Securing Co-production Funding 92

Completion Funding 92

Increase International Appeal 93

International Market Intelligence 94

Credibility 94

Rights Protection 95

How to Pitch to a Distributor 96

Jargon Buster 101

Further Reading and Resources 102

3 Brands-Dirty, Sexy Mad Men 104

A Brief History of Brands on Screen: Back to the Future 106

The Future of Brands on Screen 107

What's in It for Brands? 108

Sponsorship 112

Advertiser Funded Programming (AFP) 113

Product Placement 117

Calculating the Value of a Product Placement 121

Prop Placement and Trade Outs 123

How to Pitch a Brand Funded Program 124

Pitch to TV Channels First 124

Pitch to Brands First 125

Sample Brand Proposal: The New York City Experience 179

Jargon Buster 133

Further Reading and Resources 134

4 Banks and Private Equity Investors-Masters of the Funding Universe 136

Banks 137

Gap Finance 138

Cash Flow 138

Private Equity Investors 140

Investment Funds 142

Pitching to Equity Investors and Banks 144

Business Plan Outline 146

Finance Plan 148

Jargon Buster 152

Further Reading and Resources 153

5 Government-Compliance-driven Box Tickers 155

International Co-production Treaties 157

Regional and Pan-regional Funds 160

Local Funds 162

Jargon Buster 164

Further Reading and Resources 165

6 Issue-driven Funders-Guilt Trippers and Global Reformers 167

Types of Issue-driven Funders 170

Brands with a Conscience 170

Nonprofit Organizations 171

Foundations 174

Do You Need a Fiscal Sponsor? 176

How to Pitch to Issue-driven Funders 176

Sample Outreach Plan: Donor Unknown 178

Grant Application Housekeeping Tips 184

Letter of Inquiry 185

Jargon Buster 186

Further Reading and Resources 187

7 Knowledge-driven Funders-Scholars and Educators 191

Universities 192

Government Departments 194

Knowledge-driven Grant Foundations 196

How to Pitch to Knowledge-driven Funders 198

Sample Grant Application: Here's Johnny 200

Jargon Buster 209

Further Reading and Resources 210

8 Film Funds-Movie-making Mentors 212

What Are the Odds of Getting Funding? 213

How to Apply for a Film Fund Grant 215

What to Do if Your Application Is Rejected 223

Sample Grant Application: Shakespeare Behind Bars 224

Jargon Buster 239

Further Reading and Resources 240

9 Crowdfunding-Couch Producers and Micro-patrons 242

Individual Donors 244

How to Pitch to Individual Donors 244

Crowdfunding 246

Is Crowdfunding Right for You? 250

Plan a Crowdfunding Campaign 251

Choose a Crowdfunding Platform 252

Set a Funding Goal 253

Set a Time Limit 254

Write the Campaign Copy 254

Create Perks 254

Make a Pitch Video 256

Engage with Potential Donors 257

Schedule and Launch the Campaign 259

Jargon Buster 263

Further Reading and Resources 263

10 Beg, Borrow and Negotiate-Local Heroes and Hopefuls 268

Cut the Budget 269

Work as a Gun-for-Hire on Commercial Projects 271

Pay for It Yourself 272

Think Laterally 272

Forget TV: Go Online 275

Get Businesses to Donate, Props, Locations and Equipment 276

Ask Post-production Facilities to Defer Payment 278

Ask the Crew to Defer Payment 279

Find Crew Who Will Work for Free 279

How to Pitch to Businesses and Individuals 281

Jargon Buster 282

Further Reading and Resources 283

Part III The Reality

Tales From the Frontlines of Finance: The Players and Producers 287

Players 287

President, Illiad Entertainment, New York City Véronique Bernard 287

Director of the Hot Docs Forum and Market, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Toronto Elizabeth Radshaw 292

Executive Director, Documentary Programming, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Toronto Mark Starowicz 294

CEO, Parthenon Entertainment, London Carl Hall 296

Head of Programming/Branded Content, MEC, London Chantal Rickards 302

Public Engagement Advisor, People and Broadcast Grants, Wellcome Trust, London Tom Ziessen 305

Executive Director, Women Make Movies, New York City Debra Zimmerman 309

Director of Education, The Edit Center, New York City Rachel Mills 311

Producers 315

Executive Producer, Bungalow Town Productions, England Rachel Wexler 315

Independent Executive Producer/Director, London Tom Roberts 319

Vice President Factual, Cream Productions, Toronto Jenn Kuzmyk Ruch 323

Managing Director, Furnace, London Lucy Stylianou 325

Managing Director/Executive Producer, Big Wave Productions, West Sussex, England Sarah Cunliffe 328

Independent Feature Documentary Producer, Brighton, West Sussex, England Leigh Gibson 329

CEO, Aquavision TV Productions, South Africa Peter Lamberti 332

Independent Filmmaker and Producer at Changeworx, New York City Jonathan Goodman Levitt 335

Company Director, Blink Films, London Dan Chambers 340

Independent Producer, England Francine Heywood 341

Producer/Director, Animal Monday, Brighton, West Sussex, England Kat Mansoor 345

Independent Producer/Director, Banyak Films, London Hugh Hartford 349

Independent Filmmaker, London Lindsey Dryden 353

Independent Filmmaker, Optimistic Productions, London Dan Edelstyn 357

Producer/Director, Philomath Films, Santa Fe, USA Jilann Spitzmiller 361

Independent Filmmaker, One Angry Woman Productions, New York City Samantha Farinella 362

Producer/Director, Break Thru Films, New York City Ricki Stern 366

The Final Word… 368

Appendix 369

Festivals, Forums and Workshops (listed alphabetically) 369

Sample Budget Template 371

End Notes (list of references for each chapter) 378

Bibliography 418

Index 425

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