How do I Fund my Documentary – Interlude

After having written about crowd funding, attending the Independent Feature Project week seminars for documentary filmmakers in September and reading anything and everything about documentary funding, outreach, sourcing, networking and ROI’s I’m a bit tired. I think I’m going to take a nap now. Oh right, I sold my sofa to fund the Kickstarter campaign – we needed a great video to launch. Well, then I’ll just go to bed – no pillows though – that was ruined on one of the late night working sessions to reach out to backers before the Kickstarter deadline expired. It’s actually quite comfy sleeping without my pillow – I just sometimes have a hard time adjusting my eye line at the computer screen now that I carry my head at a permanent 45 degree angle because I can’t pay for the chiropractor to set my spine straight, but it it’s well worth it – I raised another $25 by pre selling a DVD of a film I have pitched so many times I recite it in my sleep and I have done so much outreach work for it that I have to pinch myself every once in a while as a reminder that the film hasn’t actually been shot yet. Maybe I won’t nap after all. Sound familiar? Welcome to my world.
But how DO I FUND MY DOC? Find a sugar daddy. If that’s against your morals or you are too old for a savory sugar daddy, find some other outlet for your passion and creativity. I highly recommend blogging – cheap, fast, instant gratification, no help needed.
The above mentioned Independent Feature Week of seminars had two days of seminars geared towards independent documentary filmmakers. One of the seminars was titled How to Fund your Documentary. IndieWIRE’s Sophia Savage wrote a nice recap on the seminar. The recap is worth the read – the seminar itself was not so inspiring (I guess that’s when I found a Wiki entry called “death by Power Point” – need I say more).
Both days I heard a lot about pitching and three projects were pitched in front of an audience. Nothing new – just the good old points rehashed yet again: your doc should (must!) have an untold, character driven story. You need to have unique access or position to tell that story and you need a certain urgency to sell. Add a dash of salt et voila!
But as my friend Aideen would say: we’re excellent at what we do but we are not geniuses. And at my tender age I must confess – I know she’s right. If I had a genius I would imagine that by now it would have stuck out its head and asked for a drink. So where do I go without the genius in my back pocket? Work twice as hard or get a day job (yuck!).
The question of course is never answered: how do to fund your (that is my) documentary? I’d love for one of the panelists to look me in the eye and say: Nina, go to so-and-so and they’ll fund your film soup to nuts (or was it soup to desert?). Now, that would be a nice ROI for the $140 I paid for the seminars.
As Wendy Levy from Tomorrow Partners said: we have to be interactivists not just filmmakers. Amen.