Your WorldView is looking to support five short films from the wider world at an Open Pitch at Sheffield Doc Fest 2013 on the theme of ‘HOME’. A £5,000 funding grant will be split between the winning pitches and each of the five filmmakers will have their short profiled on the Your WorldView website as [...]
The Mini-Meetmarket is a unique opportunity for new and emerging documentary filmmakers to meet Executive Producers and pitch their idea in an intimate roundtable environment. This pitching and steering session will take place on the morning of Friday 14th June 2013 at Sheffield Doc/Fest. The aim is simple: to enable you to get feedback on your documentary idea by industry execs and to help you move forward. You’ll get a response on how you pitched it as well as pointers on how it needs developing, where to go next, and how to improve your chances of getting funding. They're open to submissions from new and emerging directors and producers with a documentary or factual project for any or many platforms. Getting the right executive producer on board is for many filmmakers the first big step toward getting their film made. If your project is selected, you will attend a one-hour plenary session with a top pitch trainer, followed by a two-hour roundtable session with two execs who have been matched to you and your idea.
Orange County Choppers (8 x 60′) – The show follows Paul Teutul Sr. (“Senior”) and his team as they reach new extremes resulting in mind-blowing bikes and, of course, state-of-the-art drama. Production is slated to begin this Summer. In each episode, viewers get to see a completely different side of the OCC crew. In addition [...]
“I thought it was going to be a documentary, but it was great!” (Cannes Film Festival audience member after screening of Seduced and Abandoned) Seduced and Abandoned is a documentary by writer/director James Tobak and actor Alec Baldwin that explores the world of film financing; the film also doubles, in the words of Baldwin, as [...]
It is generally accepted that the industry-wide pitch to commission rate is ten to one, and for some people even that’s optimistic. Here are some of the tried-and-tested tricks that will help you get your idea gets commissioned. (Photo by Hub☺ CC BY SA 2.0)
"The more idealistic you are about your work the more cunning and savvy you have to be about the business side" of it says, Ira Glass, presenter of NPR's This American Life. In this lecture to journalism students he describes what makes good journalism, and how to tell important stories in a way that does them justice. Some of his other observations include: Don't wait for permission to make the work you want to make... just start Be super-ambitious - keep trying things until luck kicks in and you find your story Amuse yourself - it's not enough just to be idealistic, you have to love your work if it's going to move the audience and ultimately make a difference to the world. Provoke a reaction - and humour is a good reaction. It should be your goal to make memorable work - people remember things that make them smile (Photo by JD Hancock CC BY 2.0)
The world seems to be split into two: Twitter Evangelists and Twitter Rejecters. Although I think it might be fairer to say that the world isn’t so much divided, as at the two ends of a continuum. Most people start as a Rejecter, but given the time and opportunity, will become an Evangelist and will [...]
When you pitch a TV show you have to be able to describe it so that potential funders know what you are talking about. One way of doing that is to use short-hand words, such as format, reality competition show, or more recently occu-reality (shows based in the work place) and comedy-reality (real characters in real situations, cut for humour). One of the most contested genres is documentary with purists insisting that it is one thing (pure observation with no intervention from the director, perhaps) to others playing more fast and loose with the term, happy to include biopics, essay-films and character-driven narratives. Here, Asif Kapadia, director of Senna, one of 2011's best documentaries, explains why he doesn't consider it to be a documentary (and why I think it might be a super-hybrid-documentary).
All filmmakers have ideas. All filmmakers want to see those ideas realized. But not all filmmakers will do what it takes. Why not? Fear. A quite rational fear, as it happens, but fear nonetheless. Here are some of the objections you might be using to comfort yourself as to why no-one will help you make your idea and so what's the point in trying? I've added some suggestions of how to overcome these stumbling blocks whether they are practical or psychological. Add your own tips in the comments or via @tvmole on Twitter. (Photo by dryhead CC BY 2.0)
If you are gearing up for doing business at MIPDoc, MIPTV, orHotDocs in April, Cannes Film Festival in May, or Sheffield DocFest in June, you’ll want to make sure your project is in the best possible shape to attract potential buyers, funders or production partners, so here are some top development tips: 1. Develop your [...]
It's tempting to believe that getting your idea commissioned begins and ends with a good idea. YOUR idea. But sadly, that's not true. What gets your idea commissioned is a relationship. More specifically a relationship with a commissioner. Even more than that, a relationship with the RIGHT of commissioner, that is the one with whom you have good chemistry. So what if you aren't fortunate enough to have fostered the right relationships? The best way might be to move house and get your kids into the same school as the target of your desires and nobble them at sports day. Failing that, there are some things you can do to make yourself more attractive to a commissioner during that all-important first meeting/reunion (should you be lucky enough to engineer one). (Photo by PV KS CC BY 2.0)
Realscreen Summit 2013 has wrapped. This year it was a sell-out with more than 2,000 registered delegates, which should perhaps be no surprise as it is one of the world's key industry conferences for those working in non-fiction television. A packed schedule of panels and workshops means that you can keep up-to-date with new programming trends and hear first-hand from some of the main gatekeepers. But with everyone from commissioning editors to acquisitions executives, financiers, distributors and producers in attendance it's a also a great opportunity to make new contacts and reconnect with old ones. Meet the right person and you could form a new production partnership, find funding or successfully pitch your new idea.
Building on the success of Greenlit, this book is the most accessible guide to the traditional, emerging and creative funding models being exploited by factual TV producers and documentary filmmakers in an ever-changing international market. It introduces you to ten different kinds of funder - from international broadcasters to ordinary individuals - and reveals their very different motivations for funding non-fiction films and TV series. Advice from industry insiders - producers, buyers, media agencies and film funding bodies - is combined with a range of case studies that illustrate the benefits and drawbacks of each source of funding. Packed with practical, actionable tips and examples of successful written proposals and grant applications (along with tales of caution), this book explains exactly what TV commissioners, grantors, brands and investors are looking for in a pitch.
In 1970, a young British director Michael Grigsby made one of the first films about veterans returning home from the Vietnam war - the critically acclaimed and award winning I Was a Soldier. In forty years the funding landscape has changed enormously. I Was a Soldier was made for Granada Television in an era when films could be pitched with one sentence and funded by one broadcaster. One glance at the credits of We Went to War shows just how different things are today. (Photo (C) Rebekah Tolley 2011)
“When demo, pitch and proposal don’t mesh well, the Holy Trinity becomes the Bermuda Triangle, into which you and your project can disappear forever, never to be seen again,” says Fernanda Rossi, documentary consultant and author of Trailer Mechanics, the industry bible on how to create a compelling pitch tape (or demo, as she calls [...]
Crazy, misguided, annoying and just plain wrong things people say about development. (Photo by arhanghel200 CC BY 2.0)
The three key elements of your pitch are the paper proposal, the trailer and the verbal pitch. In this panel, which took place at Sheffield Doc/Fest’s DFG Day in 2011 three experts talk about how to hone your pitch materials: Andrea Paterson, Development Producer, Fresh One describes an effective written proposal. Fernanda Rossi, Documentary and [...]
At the recent BVE North (November 2012), I chaired a panel featuring Hugo Heppell, Head of Production, Screen Yorkshire and Lynne McCadden, Head of Development, Creative England. I had been expecting them to talk about TV and funding quotas for regional producers and to hear about the development and production grants that they had to [...]
For me, IDFA 2012 was the opportunity to watch wall-to-wall documentaries but it turned out to be neither as blissful nor as uplifting as I'd hoped or anticipated. After watching documentaries of varying genres, narrative style and visual effects it was hard not to come away with the feeling that the world is a bad place. A very bad place indeed. (Photo: Charles Bradley: Soul of America courtesy of IDFA)
Following on from an earlier post in which I revealed some of the most common concerns and comments given by commissioning editors during documentary pitches, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of my favourite films from IDFA 2012 to see what makes them work. But first to recap: buyers like to see the following in a pitch: Unique access to a person or place A narrative, preferably unfolding New light shed on a familiar subject Passion and/or expertise in a subject on the part of the filmmaker Unique approach Topical hook or timeless story Universal themes that audiences around the world can identify with (Photo: Smash and Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers courtesy of IDFA)
At Sheffield Doc/Fest in 2012 Barbara Truyen, Commissioning Editor, VPRO in The Netherlands gave delegates some tips on how best to network and soft pitch your project at the festival without being a nuisance [click through to read her tips]. She also said that she was looking for films that "make me cry with joy" and cited Searching for Sugar Man by Malik Bendjelloul as a good example. The film went on to win The BankGiro Loterij IDFA Audience Award at IDFA 2012. (Photo: Searching for Sugar Man courtesy of IDFA)
IDFA (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam) is, besides being a great place to watch a wide range of documentaries, one of the key places where filmmakers can pitch their films to buyers from around the world. There are a number of ways to do this, via one-on-one meetings (whether privately arranged, brokered via the festival team or the unexpected encounter where you are asked about your project on the fly - as I write this in the festival cafe someone is pitching to HBO Europe on the next table), via The Forum (where you pitch in front of a large industry audience), or in the more intimate round table format. Each situation presents its own pitching challenges but the commissioning editors' responses more often than not remain broadly similar. Forewarned is forarmed, so if you know what issues preoccupy the buyers you can preempt them and make sure that you develop your project in a way that will give it the best chance of survival in the sometimes brutal gladiatoral arena of the pitch forum.
Increasing numbers of filmmakers (and other types of entrepreneurs) are turning to crowdfunding platforms such as IndieGoGo or Kickstarter in an attempt to find funding for their films and some are being extremely successful. For example, Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie raised $325,927 on IndieGoGo and Save Blue Like Jazz raised $345,992 on Kickstarter. But for every successful campaign there are many failures (one survey found that 65% of crowdfunding projects fail to raise even one single dollar). So what are the ingredients for a successful crowdfunding campaign? It's easy to imagine that putting together a crowdfunding campaign might be easier than pitching a project to a traditional funder such as a TV broadcaster, but that would be to grossly underestimate the amount of sustained effort that a successful campaign requires - it's not enough just to post your project and hope that people will fund it. They won't. Jonathan Goodman Levitt, a NYC-based filmmaker, has been making his documentary, Follow the Leader, for seven years. The film is "a real-life coming-of-age story of three traditional American boys with Presidential dreams. At sixteen-years-old, high school Class Presidents Ben, D.J. & Nick are all conservatives who plan to continue leading their peers as President someday. Over three life-changing years, they split into Republican, Democratic and Independent camps as each reconsiders his lofty ambitions." Jonathan has had a hair-raising fundraising journey so far, but has managed to secure most of his funding from foreign broadcasters (read a candid interview with Jonathan in Give Me the Money and I'll Shoot! about all the trials and tribulations). He's now on the final straight and he needs to raise $27,000 to complete the project and to raise awareness of the film ahead of the US presidential elections in late 2012. Here we use his Kickstarter crowdfunding page as a case study to examine the key elements you need to include in your campaign pitch. (Photo courtesy of Changeworx)
Industry intelligence, how-to articles and international pitching and funding opportunities – everything you need to get your factual TV programme commissioned.