Top Film Grant Tips | How to Write and Win a Grant, Beat the Competition

Film Grant Tips

How to Stay Ahead of the Competition
Film Grant Tips

Top Film Grant tips from an expert whose job is to review and evaluate film grant applications. Many filmmakers often believe an “easy” way to receive film funding is through a film grant, which is just not the case. There is a great deal of competition, as thousands of applicants apply for the same grant. Although it is a competitive process, below is some advice to help you stay ahead of the game and your competition.

Film Grant Tips

The first question a grant evaluator asks is, If I give this person money, will they know what to do with it?

Put Care into the Grant Application

Think of your film grant application as if it were your college application. Not everyone will be accepted and the application pool is filled with extremely talented people. Assume you are a small fish in an ocean of filmmakers and do not slack on any portion of your proposal. Grants are not hand outs to the most needy filmmakers - they are money given to filmmakers who are thoughtful and work hard to make their grant application stand out. The grant foundation is as staked in your film's success as you are. They are not going to give their hard-raised money out to someone who likely won't produce their film, as they won't be able to raise the funds again. They need your success to continue their fund as much as you want your success.

How to Make Your Application Stand Out

Start by covering the basics, and make sure you answer all the application questions with as much detail as possible. You want the reviewers to trust you know what you are doing with regards to film making as they read your application. Grant reviewers will not hand money over to just anyone, so sell yourself and your project in every paragraph. Like anything of importance, triple check for grammatical errors. A misspelled word could cost you a film grant, as everything is expected to be perfect.

Have A Strong Sample of Work

Sample footage (a reel, a short film, etc.) or a writing sample is a film grant game changer. You can have a well written proposal and a great idea, but if there is no sample work to back this, you will not receive the grant.

When choosing a sample body of work, know it is being evaluating on two things: production value and overall storytelling capabilities. Is it a good film? Was it well produced? Was the acting good? Did it appear to have a budget? These are all questions grant evaluators ponder while reviewing your application.  If you do not have a film or a reel, be sure to have a strong writing sample. This sample will be evaluated based on plot, characters and dialogue.

Have Strong Names Attached

Not only is your project being evaluated, but you, as a a filmmaker and producer, are as well. Much like independent film investors, the first question an evaluator asks is, “If I give this person money, will they know what to do with it?”

You must include strong filmmaker bios. Assume your competition is submitting projects with a solid cast and crew attached; and/or with letters of intent from notable actors and producers with strong resumes.

If it is early in your career, and you are not confident in your resume, be sure to attach a seasoned filmmaker to the project. Prove you have been working on the project for some time, with considerable effort, and make your grant application more appealing by securing a strong talent and crew.

The film grant evaluation process is grueling. Thousands apply and only a few receive these coveted grants. Film grant applications pass through many stages and multiple evaluators. Nothing about the film making process is easy, especially asking for money. However, by following our film grant tips, you will be one step ahead of the game and your competition.

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Documentary Funding Top 10 Tips

Documentary Funding Tips

No doubt, documentary funding is tough work. But here's the good news...You CAN raise documentary capital and it may not be as hard as you think.

Get the best Fundraising advice, from the Emmy-winning creator of Desktop Documentaries, at Documentary Funding Tips and check out the industry's best fundraising tools.

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NEW! Documentary Business Plan & Documentary Pitch Deck

FilmProposals is thrilled to offer help to documentary producers looking for investors, by enhancing our Film Fundraising toolkits to address the specific needs of documentarians. The highlight is a unique Documentary Business Plan Template included in all of our Film Financing Toolkits and Bundles. Much of the Documentary Business Plan is just like that of our narrative Film Business Plan Template, however, we've also done some major custom work to specifically highlight why documentaries are a great investment and how to best showcase your documentary to investors:

Documentary Business Plan Template
  • Documentary Business Plan Template - this new template is completely redone to focus only on documentary films. Recent successes, emerging documentary trends, streaming and studio deals, distribution patterns, audience statistics, revenue generated for sample films and much more. When did Docs become profitable and start selling for $5M or $10M at festivals? We lay it all out for you...
  • Documentary Pitch Deck - while our pitch deck template can be used for any type of film, you will use your business plan research to ensure the deck showcases your documentary as a worthy investment opportunity
  • Financial Projections/ Comparable Films - our custom database and custom financial projections flow seamlessly for both documentaries and narrative films

The new Documentary Business Plan Template is included in ALL of our Film Financing Toolkits and Bundles, so you can purchase any of them and be well on your way to funding any part of your documentary with private investments.

NETFLIX 2024: Selling Your Documentary To Netflix

Selling Your Documentary To Netflix

Netflix is in constant need of fresh content and their buyers are seeking outstanding independent filmmakers and documentary creatives who can deliver the stories that Netflix wants. Learn the ins and outs of getting your doc or doc series onto Netflix with SELLING YOUR DOCUMENTARY TO NETFLIX.

Desktop Documentaries offers the Documentary Fundraising Toolkit, which includes a 190-page full-color documentary fundraising guide, a 25-page documentary proposal template with instructions, two budget templates with budgeting guide, list of the top 100 documentary film grants, e-book with 25 specific fundraising ideas to start raising your first $10,000 and a fundraising check-list. All the best fundraising tools, templates and resources, including 20+ years of experience, combined into one comprehensive packet.

List of Film Grants

Do you have a Film Grant to share with our readers? Please post your Film Grant here.

Documentary Film Grants

Short Film Grants

Women in Film Grants

Feature Film Grants

Emerging Filmmaker Grants

Screenwriting Film Grants

Television Grants

Canada Film Grants

More Film Grants

See All: Full List of Film Grants

Film Grant Deadlines Rolling/Various Application Deadlines

Film Grant Deadlines Spring

Film Grant Deadlines Summer

Film Grant Deadlines Fall

Film Grant Deadlines Winter

While our FilmProposals Bundles & Toolkits will save you hundreds of hours with prewritten text and templates and speed up your learning curve by showing you how to complete complicated financial projections, there is still a lot of information to process. We designed this FREE Film Business Plan Course to be sent once per week to break the process of writing your business plan into manageable pieces, and to keep you accountable and focused. In case you can't see the sign up form, try here.

FilmProposals - 2024 Financing Toolkits & Bundles

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Gold Toolkit + Financials Bundle

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