I am in the midst of writing a business plan for investors and a international sales agent, just having finished the first draft of a budget for my film project, "TV MAN: THE SEARCH FOR THE LAST INDEPENDENT DEALER." The sample plans I've come across are either geared towards the non-profit sector or, if profit focused, appear to have more information than I believe is necessary for my project. Has anyone come across a good for-profit documentary business plan?
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that isn't fiction? docs that make a profit are rare happy accidents.
Listen to Robert. I asked a similar question 3 years ago. He gave a similar answer. I chose to ignore him. I have been kicking myself ever since. Anyone who gives you money should be looking for a tax deduction, because a profit will probably never come.
In the business plan draft I'm working on I've also included a fiscal sponsor fee in the budget and refer to it in the plan to allow the film's supporters to either make tax deductible donations or investments. I will have the final draft of the plan reviewed by experienced advisers, but feedback from this blog's readers will be helpful. Has anyone else used a similar hybrid plan to raise funds and, if so, what were the results?
you can't solict donations for a profit making enterprise. There's no way for the donor to take a tax deduction and that ends a lot of them.
my name is jd and i am an american living in budapest hungary – i recently bought a canon legria/vixia hfs100 to make mini-documentaries or a political nature. You can see my progress in learning the little camera at http://vimeo.com/redjade
there are many many ideas i have for such mini-docus, but step by step i will get there :-)
Just did a show of original music bookended by a Gesualdo piece and a Rahsaan Roland Kirk tune in South Pasadena. Have done a bit of soundtrack music for a couple of documentaries and I really enjoyed it. Someone told me to check this site out so here I is.
I am a 'creative' from India with a quest for learning and acquiring knowledge about creative expression and zeal to contribute to the art of STORY.TELLING, by utilizing my skills and expertise to the fullest.
I'm a passionately social artist and documentary filmmaker that believes the best way to make a difference is to go out of our "established" ways of seeing and experiencing the world. I agree with Wade Davis that story telling and content that offer broader perspectives can create a difference. History has not been written, we make history with the choices and the stories we choose to tell. I'm the product of TED and Herzog, to me, if you have lived the world in a way, you would try to try to tell our story. I worked for TV and entertainment for more than 10 years, and I'm refusing my self to continue to produce garbage and meaningless programming.
Greetings from Helsinki, I'm a California-born photographer based in Helsinki. Tomorrow I'll begin a 3-country journey that will land me at The Lemesos International Documentary Film Festival in Cyprus. There, a project I'm producing based in New York, entitled THE MUSIC NEVER DIES
has been chosen to be a part of Docs Talk Cyprus, a 2-day pitch forum held within the festival. I'm three planes away, but am definitely looking forward to the project getting to take some meetings – we're now pulling for a co-production as we are ~40% funded with a budget of ~$250k.
JD, Rich, Yogesh, Ana and Jason, a warm welcome to you all. You're coming here so fast and furious it's hard to keep up with the greetings.
In reply to yogesh 's post on Wed 28 Jul 2010 :
What Doug said. Hey Yogesh, be sure to fill in your profile with your full name – D-Worders like to know who they're talking to.
A little about me:
I’ve been making documentaries in Los Angeles for the last 13 years – mainly films about a dying breed of old Hollywood art directors and cinematographers who I find inspiring as people as well as artists.
Some of my credits include, “Something’s Gonna Live,” which world premiered at the 2009 AFI FEST and is a follow-up to my first documentary, “The Man on Lincoln’s Nose" (2001 Oscar-nominated, Short Subject). Currently, I’m in post-production on a new film that will complete the trilogy of docs on old-Hollywood filmmakers.
Ross McElwee and Abbas Kiarostami are some of my cinema heroes. One of my favorite quotes from Kiarostami is something along the lines of: “Try to make your documentary like a fiction film, and your fiction film like a documentary."
Thanks to everyone who helps maintain this wonderful website. I look forward to meeting new folks on The D-Word!
Greetings and welcome to The D-Word, Daniel. Ross McElwee has been a huge influence on my work, as well.
Thanks, Doug. Great to be here! Any word on a release date for Ross McElwee's new film, "In Paraguay"?
No. I'm afraid there are complications that are holding it up indefinitely. Which is too bad, I'm very eager to see it.
Thanks for the update, albeit not very good news for us Ross McElwee fans. Are you at liberty to explain what the complications are holding up the film?
I posted in the Hidden Section a synopsis I found on Fandango – looks really interesting!
I wish I could but I told Ross I'd keep it to myself. But we're getting a bit off topic here, this is basically for intros and greetings. We can continue any discussion of Ross, In Paraguay and the unique challenges of personal docs in the Documentary Film topic.
Hello everyone, I'm Indrani Kopal, a documentary filmmaker from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. And, I also work as a full time video journalist with Malaysiakini.com, an online news agency here in KL.
I just returned from Washington DC after being part of the 2010 International Emerging Documentary Filmmakers Fellowship program by The Documentary Center, at the George Washington University. I was really privileged to meet many experienced filmmakers during the 6-weeks program. And I really enjoyed SILVERDOC Festival.
indranikopal.blogspot.com/ is my blog. And, D-word site was a big buzz among many filmmakers I came across in US, so here I am :)
And we're very glad to have you, Indrani. You couldn't have gotten better training than from the Fellowship program. Hopefully The D-Word will keep the spirit alive. Welcome aboard.
Greetings from New Zealand.
I live between New Zealand and New York, where I started in the late 1980's as a videographer for downtown independent dance companies. Subsequently I focused on independent film and video work in the experimental genre. These short works have been screened in festivals and galleries in the States, Europe and New Zealand; I also have worked as a video designer, focusing again on the downtown theater projects. More recently I completed a multi channel video projection for the Govert-Brewster Art Gallery in New Zealand – titled: There Are Snakes in Paradise. It is an experimental documentary that looks at effects of living in the shadow of the largest international owned chemical plant in New Zealand (Dow Chemical) in the 1960’s –70’s which produced 245T in great quantities and was spayed in the mega tons from the top to the bottom of New Zealand – (The NZ brand: Clean and Green?). Previous to that I made a 32min Doc. about a painter Chuck Bowdish that was screened in various festivals in the US. My most recent doc. I have just completed with funds from the NZ film Commission is a film chronicling the lives (from 1996 to 2009) of three residents in a home on the Upper West Side in Manhattan who are blind and mentally challenged tilted: Not Everybody Can Do Everything. It is a 102min in length and now just beginning to send out to festivals.
Welcome to The D-Word, Peter. And feel free to register for "Professional" status to give you access to all the discussion topics (50, as opposed to just a few).
My name is Gustavo, I am a recent college graduate. I have been thinking about making a documentary (shocking and ill-advised, I know) about illegal immigrants and their path to college. I have a few people lined up to interview, some stuff about policy, a few contacts in some immigrant organizations, and would probably include some stuff about myself in the project as well.
I am a COMPLETE novice to filming! For now I have been watching some documentaries (including Doug's) and thinking about the arch that the project might take, I envision it being about 30 minutes long.
Does anyone have any advice in terms of literature or other informational material that might be useful? I am particularly interested in what you would think a good camera would be for my purposes. I've looked around a bit and like the Canon T2i. I don't have a mac, but I have a PC and access to the adobe suite.
I appreciate any help or advice you guys would have!
Look forward to hearing from you,
My Name is Blake Adams, and I have been in LA for twenty years, acting, writing and occasionally producing (my best...an award winning short film titled "Silent Radio") I have never thought about doing a documentary film until now. I was struck with an idea that I can not let go, and need some real guidance on how to put together the pitch. This is an area very strange to me, so any help on what kind of Package to put together...what are 'people' looking for in a documentary pitch.
welcome, blake. feel free to post more specific questions in the Mentoring Room section of the D-Word. for now, the quick answer to your question is that people in the doc industry are primarily looking for intimate access to your characters. secondly, people are looking for subjects that are timely and reveal universal truths. celebrity involvement always helps to get a doc off the ground, but that is certainly not a prerequisite in the way that you need an A-list celeb to get a fiction film greenlit.
In reply to Gustavo Rosa's post on Tue 3 Aug 2010 :
Gustavo, your idea sounds interesting and timely. This issue isn't limited to the US, Europe and in particular Greece struggle with it.
Greetings, Gustavo and Blake. Gustavo, you might want to try a site like DV User, which has more technical topics on cameras. As for your approach to your film, it seems pretty spot on to me, so I'd say trust your instincts. If you're intent on reading a book, though, Michael Rabiger's Directing the Documentary is a classic. And glad if my film has been a help.
I am Chithra Jeyaram an MFA film production student at University of Texas, Austin. I used to be and still am a Physical Therapist and now an emerging documentary filmmaker.
United states is the only country in the developed world with no law requiring PAID PARENTAL LEAVE BENEFITS. Having a child is treated like a life style choice. Most parents lives changes dramatically not only because of the addition of a new life but because of the poor support systems.
I want to make a documentary about tag-team parenting, where parents who can't afford child care stagger their work shifts. For example – one parent works night shifts and the other day and exchange babies at parking lots. In the process, they barely see each other and such marriages or partnerships eventually end.
The situation is worse for single parents or those of the LGBT community. Currently, I am in the research phase of this project. Any suggestions or tips will be appreciated.
Also, I have wanted to make a film using both my skills – Physical Therapy and Filmmaking. Over the last three years, I have noticed that most filmmakers have bad postures and really bad backs. I have be toying with an idea for an animated/doc film on that topic. Any ideas?
Welcome, Chrithra, and feel free to join The D-Word as a full member . I'll be doing an Austin Film Society screening of my new doc THE KIDS GROW UP on Oct 13. Hope to meet you there.
My name is Kemuel Deaula, I grew up in Alvarenga, Brazil. I've been living in the United State for a long time now, i love it here. I am a graduate of Full Sail University. I am editing my second Documentary and things are going well. D-Word is a great website, i am new to it and still learning how to get around. Check out my resume at www.itsgrita.com/films i am also going to attach my Resume to this post. Have a good day!!
- Kemuel DePaula
Welcome to The D-Word, Kemuel. We sure are getting folks with great names here.
haha, that is true, when i was born they spelled my name wrong, so my parents kept it.
In reply to Doug Block's post on Wed 4 Aug 2010 :
Thanks. I missed your documentary at Silver Docs. Would love to see the film and meet you in Austin.
Same here, Chithra. Please make sure to introduce yourself at some point.
I am new to the blog. I applied for full membership and hope to gain it!
I am currently finishing a 6 month project, which is set to finish tomorrow.
During these last 6 months I have made two short documentaries a week. They premiere every Wednesday and Sunday and are based on randomly drawn words. The project is called MINICONCEPTDOCS. It has been the single best documentary filmmaking learning experience of my life. They can be seen here http://robertemmons.blogspot.com or my Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/raemmonsjr
I would love to hear comments from other documentary filmmakers.
I would consider myself a folk filmmaker interested in local culture and history, usually within the area I live in.
I teach film and media studies at Rutgers University in Camden.
I have written about ethics in documentary particularly the ethical responsibilities of the audience and the face of the Other. I look forward to the insights of the diverse group of filmmakers on this blog.
In reply to chithra jeyaram's post on Wed 4 Aug 2010 07:21 PDT :
Your line below cracked me up!
"Over the last three years, I have noticed that most filmmakers have bad postures and really bad backs."
Yes, there should be a physical therapy and yoga class for cinematographers and editors. It's hard enough to remember proper posture and ergonomics at a keyboard, but almost impossible to not hunch terribly while holding a heavy camera and staring forward into a viewfinder all day. Ugh!
In reply to Robert A. Emmons Jr.'s post on Sat 7 Aug 2010 :
You're welcome to join us, Robert. Even though it started as Doug's blog, The D-Word is better described as a community of documentary professionals these days with over 3,000 members from some 80 countries. Some of us teach docs as well, so there is a dedicated topic in the Member's area.
Really like the sound of your two docs a week, will check out your link.
In reply to Robert Goodman's post on Sat 7 Aug 2010 :
Ah, Mr. Goodman! We share many a student! The Digital Documentary production class at AIPh has been the best teaching experience I have had. I absolutely love it.
I suppose we'll actually run into each other at some point. Odd to meet here first...Hope to meet you in the flesh at Aiph.
My name is Ali and after being in the film industry as an AD and coordinator, I finally wrote my first documentary that will take me and my DOP to South Africa in October!
I am stoked and scared all at the same time. I feel overwhelmed. Does anyone have some good tips for a first timer?
The best tip I can think of offhand is to sign up for member status! (Though I'm not in charge, I'm guessing your work as an AD should qualify), and you'll have access to a lot of the more technical and various forums wherein you can ask much more pointed questions. I'm not sure if there's any one tip to make it seem less overwhelming except to expect that feeling and not pay too much attention to it! Oh, and welcome to the D-Word...
I'm in South Africa right now working on my first doc, I have worked as a photographer for the past 17 years and this is my first doc.
I will be around in October so depending on the area you are working in, we could certainly meet up. I'm living in Joburg.
In reply to Alison Barnim's post on Thu 12 Aug 2010 :
I'm Iris and I'm new to the field of documentary filmmaking. For the past 2 years I have been working and shooting in the States and South Africa. As you may imagine, I'm running very low on funding and have not found a funding source that supports first time independent filmmakers. It anyone has suggestions of funders I should contact, please send info to me. All info will be greatly appreciated.
I've made some short docs in the past, but took some time off to start a career. I freelance PA for network news. Now I'm working on a film about children who are head of households taking care of younger siblings. This website seems to be a really good resource, so I'm hoping I can turn to it when I get stuck.
I'm wondering if anyone has had any recent experiences traveling on airplanes with camera equipment. How much are they going to harass me if I have a lot of equipment that I will be carrying on?
airlines and equipment...the rules are very strict because there are none of old flexibilities left in the system. People I know who used to tip the skycaps and get 20 cases on a plane are now shipping them fedex.
Whatever fits into a carry-on is okay. But you are limited to one and a small handbag – laptop, purse, whatever. If you travel business class you can bring a second carry-on. My advice pack light or ship it ahead. The bag fees get expensive if you do multiple hops.
In reply to Robin Rowley's post on Sat 14 Aug 2010 : I routinely squeeze as much equipment as I can carry on---on. Get yourself a good smallish camera backpack. I have a KATA bag that I love--holds a laptop, a small handycam or a DSLR and a couple of lenses and some external drives--all the cords, etc. and counts as your "purse or briefcase". Then figure out how to pack the rest of what you need into a rolling carry-on. Tripods are what kill the deal. And yes--the baggage police will just make you check--no way around it--if you've got more than 2 carry on items.
Good morning/afternoon, y'all. It's Ken here, spending a typical day editing a short piece for another producer, promoting our upcoming PBS broadcast of "Speaking in Tongues," our last film, working on a proposal and trailer for our current film, "Got Balz?", and juggling the filmmaker/parenting thing. And enjoying life.
Yup, that'd pretty much describe a typical day here, too. Nice to have you aboard the good ship D-Word, Ken, with all the other workaholics.
In reply to Ben Kempas's post on Tue 29 Jun 2010 :
Hi Ben, I would love to get in contact. My name is Peter Berulf Johnsen – so both. I started my production, been to Alaska and am going to Croatia and Mongolia for the next month.
I just joined, and am hoping to be able to help documentary filmmakers finish their post production sound.
I have mixed about half a dozen documentaries in the last several years, as well as other films.
Hi, I'm Marcia. I work with Ken Schneider, (who introduced himself above) on social issue docs. Our most recent is on PBS this month--a piece about kids growing up bilingual called SPEAKING IN TONGUES. I've spent the past 18 months working on a national engagement campaign for it. And now we're back in line fundraising for a new project. That's the life.
Great to have you here, Marcia. Looks like a great campaign and a powerful film. All the best with your broadcasts.
Hi, I'm Kerrin, and I'm currently working on a documentary about sexism and gender roles as portrayed by the media. I hope this website will help me get ideas for my topic. If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to comment.
Hi there, I'm working for an acclaimed documentary filmmaker and we are looking for interns who can log footage in Santa Monica. The documentary will be released within the next year.
More details to follow once a dialogue is started.
Documentary filmmaker in Austin, Texas. I'm currently working on a documentary about a woman whose brother is on death row in Livingston. Always looking for collaborators. Willing to help out on others' projects as well.
Documentary filmmaker based in Dublin and at the moment I'm working on a feature doc about coffees, baristas, coffee farmers and a quiet revolution that could change the world.
Looking forward to collaboration and contact via this site.
New D-Worders arriving from around the globe – welcome Kerrin, Eliabeth, Erik and David.
I'm Helkin René Díaz. Photojournalist and DOP from Colombia.
I've just finish to shot the documentary film "Jala, a journey through the senses of water" in India. Shot with the RED ONE camera.
If someone need something in Colombia, don't hesitate to contact me.
All the best!
I am searching for a copy of the documentary film Jack Johnson, nominated for an Academy Award in 1970. Jim Jacobs, director. It has a Miles Davis soundtrack.
I'm self releasing my first doc "The Evangelist The Hitman & The ACLU" so please stop by the website and then the Facebook page to let me know what you think.
I am an expat living in Tel Aviv, Israel working on a satirical documentary exploring the reasons why there will never be peace in Israel between the Israelis and Palestinians. You can watch a clip from it on YouTube here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=279oAQQzTZI
I am also working on a more personal documentary/home video documenting the ups and downs of a young couple (my wife and I) as we have our first baby.
I would love to hear from you. And that's a picture of me.
Welcome to The D-Word, Jason. Some folks here have been known to point a camera in their family's direction, too. Lots of luck with that.
Hello folks! I just joined and am a Virginia based filmmaker working on a few projects! I am excited to join and hopefully get advise about some of the issues coming up w/ some of my pending projects.
Greetings fellow filmmakers. I've been making films since my grandfather handed me the family 8mm camera, decades ago. Worked in television news for eight years, then fully believing that Truth is Stranger Than Fiction, I opened my own documentary production company. Joined the Directors Guild on the basis of my work in network broadcast television. Finished my own feature-length documentaries in the early 1980s :"With Eyes Wide Open", the story of a blind autistic painter, and "D.O.A.", the story of the Sex Pistols' disastrous first and only U.S. tour. Did several projects for National Geographic TV: "Passion for Pythons" and "Out of Control". Currently doing my best to avoid working for crappy fake-reality series on network television by producing docs for ABC and PBS. Open to collaborations. Have gear, will travel.
Hello everyone. I'm a graduate film student in North Carolina currently working on a short, personal documentary about a lesbian couple for whom I donated sperm. Kind of like Lisa Cholodenko's new film, The Kids Are All Right, except real.
Only two more semesters to go before I graduate and begin the transition from student to independent filmmaker. Looking forward to exploring the site!
Sounds really interesting, Rick. Good luck with it and welcome aboard.
hello,everyone. i'm high school student in south korea. i'm interesting documentary. l'm happy to find this site and exploring it!