How to Generate Money To Fund Your Next Short Film Project

October 1, 2019
Are you looking to get a short film idea or production off the ground?

It’s not just a matter of getting audiences into cinemas. It also requires funding from the start to ensure your dreams come to life.

The reality you have to face before generating money for your short film project is that the entertainment industry is tough.

And while some filmmakers get lucky in terms of what it costs to get a short film made, the majority will require creative approaches to fundraising to get creative dreams in flight.

When a specific idea requires minimum expenses without having to compromise the vision of the film, it can be considered as lucky. Traditionally, the rest of the filmmaker community will most likely require a much bigger budget in order to get their films made.

The good news is that you have several options at your disposal for generating money.

All of the suggestions mentioned on this list are legit and effective. So, if you’re ready to yell ‘lights, camera, action’, here’s how to generate the funding you need.

1. Get Networking

If the short film idea is striking enough, you might be able to lock in small investors to help with funding.

And while there is nothing wrong with pitching investment opportunities to your friends and family, do not limit yourself to familiar faces. Put yourself out there and gain the confidence to start networking.

Do some research and rub shoulders with potential investors. More importantly, have a solid pitch in place. You never know when you will find yourself in the right company, so always be prepared to sell your idea.

When you do manage to attract investors, treat them well and make sure you have the same vision in mind. Remember they can pull the funding on the project at any time, which also means you need to treat them like VIPs throughout.

But use caution before making a deal.

For example, some investors can insist on being part of the project in some way. Or they might want to give the final approval. Either way, get clarity about the part any investor is going to play.

2. Utilise Crowdfunding and Community Support

Crowdfunding has become a very popular method for entrepreneurs and artists to gain financial support.

And as this support is coming directly from the public, you can drive a project that people are genuinely interested in. In such cases, there is a good chance you can get support from the public.

But just like getting a grant requires effort, people are not just going to throw money your way based on an idea.

You need to create a campaign that provides all the details and planning.

According to Sydney social media expert Michael May, at the same time, you want to think about ways to reward those that donate to your campaign. He explains that “there are many ways to connect with your audience without spending. Social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Quora, and Reddit can all be used at zero cost to create exposure. Once your community is engaging with you, you’ll need to keep in mind ways to thank them. For instance, each donator can get a free copy of the film before it is made available to the rest of the world.” 

3. Apply For Grant Applications

One of the most common ways to acquire funding is through a grant application.

Outside of the Australian government’s grant programs, you might be surprised to learn that several wealthy organisations stand ready to award filmmakers with a budget. And the best part is that you do not have to pay the money back. However, it is not a simple procedure.

Given the high level of competition and multiple applications, landing a grant requires a lot of effort.

Before you apply for a grant, learn what successful applications look like.

Speak to previous grant winners if you have to, read everything you can find on how to make a good impression, and make sure you have all the details regarding the cost of your short film. Because if you get the grant, it can possibly change your life.

Outside of grant applications, there are numerous innovative approaches to sourcing the funds you need. The fast business loans team from Max Funding say that the reliance on traditional lenders can blind filmmakers from alternate options. They go on to explain “new forms of credit have opened up options that were once closed off. With less focus on credit history, simplified application processes and turnaround times as short as 24 hours, you can now get the funds you need to stop your shoot from falling short. With flexible repayments these new avenues can be ideal for filmmakers.”

4. Incorporate Side-Projects

You can take it upon yourself to secure the funding for your short film.

In other words, you can undertake small side-projects that are able to generate a passive income. A good example would be posting videos on major platforms like YouTube.

These platforms offer the opportunity to monetise views, and if the videos are popular enough, they can keep making money without your constant supervision.

There is also the option to sell B-side footage you are not using, or to sell your skills as a freelancer. Doing so may also allow you to meet new and important people.

Make no mistake; securing funds for a short film project is not going to be easy.

It takes a lot of planning, networking, and creative effort.

But if you are serious about seeing the project through to the end, take the above-mentioned tips to heart and make the most of every opportunity.

5. Look Into Tax Incentives

In your mission to use every dollar wisely, consider exploring possible tax incentives to help curb expenses.

This can bring down the overall cost considerably. Hence the reason for hiring an accountant that is able to handle the books, while providing legal channels to save money.

The truth is that making a film will most likely be expensive.

And just like any other business model, you want to focus on keeping expenses low. Not only can this type of approach help to secure money for your next project, but it can motivate investors to stick with you.

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