Different organizations and companies offer grants to individuals who are attempting to create a film of some sort. Many of these are given for specific types of films, such as documentaries or short films, and some grants are available for a specific angle, such as films that highlight social issues. By understanding what film grants are and how to find them, you can take advantage of them for your next project.
Grants versus Loans
A grant is more beneficial than a loan because a grant does not have to be repaid. Also, many organizations that offer grants can provide exposure for the film after its completion. Loans don’t provide this kind of support and exposure, and you have to repay a loan. With loans, you will not only pay back the money that you borrowed to finish the film, but interest as well. The same goes for film investors who will expect their money back in addition to interest. Grants are extremely beneficial for the fledgling director or filmmaker.
Different Stages of Production
Some filmmakers think it’s impossible to get a grant if they’ve already started on their film project, but that’s not true. There are grants available for every stage of production, from pre-production to marketing and advertising. If you’re in a specific stage of production and need money to keep going, search for grants available that are specifically geared toward the stage of production you’re in.
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Finding Film Grants
There are a few different ways to find film grants, and one of the most beneficial is by joining a filmmaker association or organization. A few great associations include the Independent Film and Television Alliance, the International Documentary Association, the Independent Film Finance Group and the Western Filmmakers Association. There are associations in most states as well, so you should seek yours out and join that. While many charge small fees each year for joining, many others are free and can provide valuable information about grants.
Applying for Grants
Applying for film grants can be a little daunting at first, because it’s essential that you get everything correct and include exactly what the organization asks for. However, it will get easier after you apply a few times. It’s wise to apply for several different grants so you have a better chance of obtaining at least one. Some individuals hire grant writers to help increase their chances, but this is a personal decision. If you feel your best chances are by hiring a professional, then go for it.
Many great directors got their start by receiving financial assistance for a project they believed in. It’s important to keep an eye on the different grants available and when the deadlines for those grants are. Many filmmakers apply for all the grants they are eligible for, since there is such high competition for film grants. Take the time to read the application and submission guidelines thoroughly and if your project is great, you should be able to land a grant to make sure it is completed.