Film proposals are a packet of written documents used to gain financial backing for filmed projects, including documentaries, music videos or films in any genre. The more complete the proposal, the better chance you have of finding support for your film. Film proposals are much like grant applications, since in many cases you are asking others to risk their money for your project.
Write a treatment for the story you wish to tell on film. A treatment is a short story about your film. It can be as short or as long as necessary to tell the story.
Create a budget for your film. Include everything, from salaries of talent and crew to equipment costs, location costs, props, costumes, catering and food costs. Be as specific as possible.
Compile a full list of cast and crew. If any known actors have signed on to the film, emphasise their names.
Include a copy of your script. If you're shooting a documentary and don't have a concrete script, include the subject of the film and your angle or perspective of the subject.
Include a page or more relating to how you plan to shoot your film. Include separate paragraphs for your expected time frame, from preproduction to final cut of the film, and a description of your intended audience. If part of the film has already been shot, include a DVD of the edited footage as a "reel," so possible investors can see your style.
Create a cover sheet, which functions as the cover sheet of the script. Center "Film Proposal" on the page, add the film's title and the writer or production company name. Add your contact information to the lower right-hand bottom of the page.
Assemble the documents together, placing the cover sheet on the top. Your proposal is now complete.
Add as much detail to your proposal as possible. Investors want to know what they are getting for their money without having to ask a lot of questions.
Tips and warnings
- Add as much detail to your proposal as possible. Investors want to know what they are getting for their money without having to ask a lot of questions.
- Writing with Video: Writing a Proposal + Treatment
- University of California Film & Media Studies: How to Write a Documentary Treatment or Proposal...
- University of North Carolina: Media Project Proposal Guidelines; J. S. Lee; 2000
- "The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age"; Steven Ascher and Edward Pincus; 2007