Gotta Get That Money
Funding is a complicated issue when it comes to filmmaking, but now that the entire field has opened up to new technology and distribution networks, the ability to find money has changed shape. Instead of just using the traditional avenues for grants, investors, and industry professionals you can use some of the same DIY ethic that has been employed by artists and musicians for years. The internet can be the most crucial tool for those trying to scrounge as much money together as they can.
One of the best things about the internet is the ability to get donations in a non-confrontational setting. Create a web page for the film you want to make with as much information available as you possibly can. MySpace ends up being a great location for this because it allows you to create a filmmaker page or a page for your specific project. Include as much information as you can, such as production photos, synopsis, and anything related to the production and why it is important. Try to add friends and promote it on other networking sites so you can get as many people as possible to view it. Create a Pay Pal drop location on there so people can then donate money anonymously or with a small message. This will not raise a ton of money, but if your project really cuts into a social issue or demographic you can end up getting a steady stream of money that you are in no way compelled to give back. If you end up getting a substantial amount of money you may have to pay taxes on it as though you were a private contractor, but consult an accountant about this.
The website itself will also help for gaining funding in more traditional settings. It adds an air of professionalism and responsibility and will show that this is not just an amateur production. If this is the case you may also want to create a page for your production company and put any video material up that you can. Keep all contact information on this as well and try to get it designed professionally if possible.
There are enough give aways, loans, grants, scholarships, and other types of fellowships to fill up dozens of websites. What you need to do is begin making lists of these websites, both for academic and non-academic settings. Begin narrowing down which ones you could possibly be applicable for and what their application requirements are. Then making a collection of materials that could be sent to more than one location, such as the same statement of purpose or letters of recommendation. This way you can begin spamming them remotely. If you are applying for grants as well you should consider hiring a grant writer.
Internet Broadcast and Sale
Online distributors are going to be more inclined to sponsor films that are already making their presence online. Try getting a hold of digital distributors or small niche websites that have film departments. Creating a connection and synergy with them will end up helping you persuade them to give a certain amount of financial backing. Do not expect this to be near as much as you might get from conventional distributors.