Budgets are rarely considered part of the artistic process of filmmaking, yet fundraising for independent work, in particular documentary, requires a profound amount of creativity. Whether we like it or not, it is a necessary skill set in order to survive as media makers and artists. One unfortunate aspect of talking money is our society’s complex relationship with it, and many of us apply an on-guard or protective approach to the subject. As a result, open and frank sharing of information is lacking.
I’ve attended my share of budgeting and fundraising panels through various local organizations, which have offered valuable information. More recently, GETTING REAL, the 2014 IDA conference presented some unusually honest dialog about funding sources and how filmmakers are actually financing their projects. It was validating in a lot of ways, and a bit sobering. I believe the conference helped open the doors to the money conversation. It’s an issue that is only gaining importance, not only for filmmakers as individuals, but for the survival of the art form.
UnionDocs held an Art of Asking workshop this past weekend, hosted and organized by producer, Adella Ladjevardi. The two-day event included guest speakers Lana Wilson, Tracie Holder and Anna Rose Holmer. Participants were at various stages of production and the experience was rather conversational, which aided to a relaxed atmosphere. Discussion ranged from guest speaker project examples and case studies, to the review of budget templates (yes, you should pay yourself!), to how the grant selection process often works, as well as ways in which those individual supporters are cultivated.
Each attendee had the opportunity to show a piece of their work and/or talk about their project. Everyone received feedback and advise from Adella or one of the guest speakers. This was worth the price of admission and then some. It appeared to not only benefit each participant to hear seasoned professional’s reaction to their work, but it offered a sampling of the other types of projects currently being produced. It’s easy for filmmakers to work in a vacuum, especially while in the midst of a production, but I think it’s really important to also be part of the collective. Workshops like Art of Asking support that.
Below are just a few of the many pointers mentioned by some of the speakers. These samples from the weekend might appear obvious, especially in the grant section, but as someone who reviews preservation applications (and as a preservationist, may I encourage everyone to add a “Preservation” category to your budget. Your docs deserve a long life!), you’d be surprised at how many overlook the basics. I know I have.
Tags: Adella Ladjevardi · Anna Rose Holmer · art of asking · documentary · documentary art · Documentary Fundraising · documentary grant writing · funding documentary films · fundraising · IDA · Lana Wilson · The D-Word · Tracie Holder · UnionDocsNo Comments.