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4 Tips on How to Get Film Grants

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You’ve got an awesome idea for a film in mind, have everything planned out, but you don’t have the budget to actually make it happen.  At this point, you may be wondering how to pull together the funds to bring your project to life.  In fact, you may ask yourself, ‘How are films financed, in general?’  Here are some ways filmmakers get the money they need to start production, and where to turn for film grants.

The first thing you should know is that most films are financed in more than one way.  It can take a lot of money, obviously, to get a project off the ground, and oftentimes, you’ll have to pursue several different avenues to see your project through to the end.  You may have to pitch to investors, look into available tax credits and film grants, beg your friends and family, or look into a number of other funding sources. 

That is, of course, if you are unable to get fully financed through a studio willing to invest in your idea (which, by the way, needs to be in solid screenplay form before you pitch).  If you secure the ‘okay’ from a studio, congrats!  You’ve eliminated a major hurdle in moving the project forward, and the studio will do the majority of the leg work to secure film grants and other funding.

It goes without saying, this is difficult to do with your first big idea.  Usually, newbie filmmakers will produce their first film independently – a project often referred to as an “indie” film – and the work is up to you.  Perhaps the best way to get started is to research available tax credits and film grants.  There are a number of government-based, non-profit, festival, and film institute grants willing to disburse funds for a standout concept.

Government film grants are usually lottery-based while others are merit-based and tend to require certain criteria to be met.  In other words, like scholarships, the project might need to fall into a particular category (i.e., filmmakers from a particular state, women in film, documentaries, etc.).

Search for film grants that you may qualify for online.  If there is anything specific about yourself or the project that might give you a better chance, input this info.  Some out-of-the-box thinking may be required to figure out all of the unique factors you have to offer, and the inputted data may not turn up results, but you never know unless you try.

While you’re searching for film grants, you may also want to consider using crowdfunding, in which you present your idea online and ask for others pitch in if they’re interested in supporting it.  This is a great way to help ensure your budget is padded a bit to cover any miscellaneous costs during the course of production.

If you know you’ll have to independently produce your first masterpiece, finding funding sources online is fairly easy.  Searching specifically for film grants and tax incentives can cut costs and help you see the finished product on the big screen as soon as possible!

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