written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/4/2011
Learn about an easy way to try and raise the funds to fill the holes in your digital video film's budget.
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Filling the Gaps
Though your main film funding should probably come from proper investors, grants, loans, and other forms of organized funding, the independent world is never perfect and getting all the money you need is rarely an ordered process. Luck and ingenuity play into the funding process quite a bit and it is up to you to use connections and creativity in a way that can get money to fill the gaps. For some of this you can look to past incarnations of financial acquisition, especially those that go along with fundraising. The political sphere has always been a haven for finding money where there is one and the funding party is a play directly from the campaign book.
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A funding party is a simple idea that looks much like a Tupperware party. You call a series of professional acquaintances and let them know of your practical intentions. Tell them about the project, why it is important, and what you would like to do with it. Then explain the money situation and how you are looking for funds to fill gaps in the production costs. Then tell them that you are having a dinner party with an expected large donation that they can pay to be part of the festivities. The dinner itself is not going to be actually worth the cost, but that is never the point of these intended donations. This way the participants can feel as though they did not give you a cash sum without reason, but at the same time you do not need to involve them in the entire funding process.
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Organize an event that is cheap in cost but has a certain amount of celebration to it. This can be at an actual foreign location or in your home, provided that you can make it have a certain amount of elegance. Try to see if you can get donations in the way of food from local locations in exchange for mention in your project. If you already have tax exempt non-profit status this is going to become even easier.
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Try to make each person feel as intimately involved as possible. This means things like creating a list.serv for news about the project and have every attendee to the party put down their email. Along with the donation offer a name in the credits, which often is the last thing needed to sway a potential donor. If you are providing a larger party then try to add additional funding options, such as a silent auction. All these things in concert will give you an extra amount of cash flow, but will usually not fund the entire production. You are still going to have to go through some of the more traditional channels to succeed and meet budgetary needs.