While many aspiring filmmakers have ideas that are inspiring or creative, many struggle with getting funding to make their projects become a reality. Putting up the money to purchase the necessary equipment, set pieces and other costs associated with filming can be difficult and risky. If a movie does not succeed, then the cash will be lost. One avenue to get your project funded is to try and find sponsors for your film. Getting your movie sponsored will involve a lot of time and likely some initial rejection, but the funds gained can allow you to make your movie a success.
Make a list of groups that you could approach to fund your project. Large companies are often required to distribute funds to the arts. If you are shooting your film in a local area, see if businesses around your shooting location would be interested in funding at least part of your project. There are also many film organisations, like Women Make Movies, that are looking to help new or creative talent get sponsored.
Draft a letter that you can send to potential sponsors that tells them about who you are and the project that you hope to create. It should outline what your movie is about, your experience as a filmmaker and a description of what you hope to achieve by creating this film. The letter will allow the potential sponsor to become comfortable with you. This first impression can also be made in person, but you will still need materials to leave with them.
Collect data about the potential viewers of your film. A sponsor will want to know that they are reaching the demographic that they are targeting. Analyse statistics from other films that are like yours; or the typical attendance of any film festivals you plan to show your finished project at. This data will be helpful in convincing the group that they are maximising their money investing in you.
Create a budget that will allow the sponsor to see how you intend to spend the money. Some groups have restrictions on what the money given can be used for.
Provide a presentation to interested groups that will specifically explain what the group should expect to receive as a result of a sponsorship. Some groups will not need anything in return, while companies may ask for you to add product placement or to pair their product with your movie. Offer banners and signs at film-related events to smaller sponsors.
Write a thank you note to any group that takes the time to consider your presentation. Hand-write the note instead of typing it, to make it feel more personal. Let the group know that you are anxious to hear from them.
Be honest in what you can offer the group. Remain organised and professional. Realise that rejection is part of the process. Groups will be more likely to reject you than take a risk on a film project, but remember than sponsorship is possible.
Tips and warnings
- Be honest in what you can offer the group.
- Remain organised and professional.
- Realise that rejection is part of the process. Groups will be more likely to reject you than take a risk on a film project, but remember than sponsorship is possible.
- Sponsorship Strategist; The Greatest Sponsorship Film I've Ever Seen: Morgan Spurlock's "POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold"; Gail Bower
- Women Make Movies: The Fiscal Scholarship Program
- Documentary Tech; Is Sponsorship a Worthy Idea for Funding Documentary Films?; Edward J Delaney