So you’ve got an idea, an amazing idea for a film or TV series. If only you had the money to get it created.
You need to get funding, but the world of creative funding can seem daunting with a million different options out there, all with a lengthy application process.
It’s ok, don’t stress! Go and make a cuppa, and come back to read our no-frills, no-stress guide to your film funding options.
Creative England Production fund
This funding option is targeted at feature films, and offers budget of up to £2 million for experimental or innovative filmmaking. Creative England funding particularly focuses on regional voices – taking a film that is set, shot and made in one area of the country. Usually Creative England looks to fund alongside other investors, but it is not essential.
They also have a West Midlands fund, which invests in projects (surprisingly) in the West Midlands, of up to £1m per project. They are also able to match funds from other bodies such as BBC, Channel 4, BFI etc.
Crowdfunding is different to traditional funding routes, as rather than applying for a set-aside pot of money, you must pitch and promote your project to the public in the hope of them donating money in return for a selection of perks.
This type of funding relies on your own marketing and implementation, but crowd funding can be a really effective method of funding your project if it finds the right people and there’s the added bonus that the funding comes with an invested fanbase for your concept. Obviously, getting your project to go viral is easier said than done! Make sure you have a really slick video to accompany your pitch and include perks people actually want and you can realistically provide, rather than just token gifts or pie in the sky promises.
National Lottery Good Causes
The National Lottery provides funding for organisations with arts, literature, performing arts, film, music and visual arts projects, as well as a whole range of other subjects and disciplines. The funders who decide on which projects go forward includes the BFI, arts councils, and the UK film council. The funding opportunities are posted on the site and have budgets from £10,000 and up into the millions. The programmes will vary so keep checking in to see if any suit you and your project.
Again, Innovate UK works on a briefed project basis, where you pitch your ideas for specific lumps of funding in which you must apply and detail how you will achieve the project, similar to a tender application. The funds vary drastically, and there are some huge pots of money out there – another to keep an eye on.
BFI Film Fund
BFI provides funding for feature film production, feature film development, talent development, feature documentaries, distribution and sales. They look to promote diversity, and will help filmmakers in any genre or style. Each year the invest over £26m of lottery funds into supporting film development. They are looking for original, well though out film ideas with at least part of the crew supplied.
Creative Skillset focuses more on delivering grants to train and developing and providing facilities for start-up businesses over traditional film funding.
If you are aged between 16 and 24 years old, you can pitch a 3 minute short as part of the Channel 4 Random Acts project. Each region has its own production company base which can be found through The Arts Council. Successful pitches are rewarded with a production budget to create the film, which are then delivered to channel 4 for first refusal both for online and broadcast.
So there we go, a whole bunch of funding options, with hopefully half of the headache. The application process can be tough, but just make sure you know all of the ‘why’s and ‘how’s and ‘who’s before you start. Nobody will fund an un-researched project.
Want some tips on a kick ass application? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Keep the focus. By all means, demonstrate your passion, but don’t lose sight of the important information you are required to include
- Avoid using negative words – can’t / won’t / don’t / not etc.
- Instead, pick up on words and phrases they have used. Underline important words used in the brief and sprinkle them throughout your application.
- If they are not versed in your industry, avoid using jargon. It may just be a procurement worker reading these, and if they don’t know what you are proposing, they will not read on.
- Pack it full of proof of concepts – how can you guarantee you can do this? Have you worked to a deadline successfully before? Have you worked to budget?
- Think your budget through – don’t undersell yourself, but remember that people are often looking for value for money.
- Stand out from the crowd and make your application visually pleasing. Use images and keep the design in keeping with the look and style of your project. Think creatively.
- Match all the criteria they are looking for and where you can, surpass it.
Now go forth and get funded, and never stop dreaming big.