5 Tips When Applying for Film Grants

5 Tips When Applying for Film Grants

Feb 3 2019

5 Tips When Applying for Grants

by Jillian Hartman

Young flimmakers are always seeking ways to fund their next project and there are a number of grants out there to explore. But applying for grants is time consuming and can be a whole job in and of itself. Here are a few tips to help you make sure you are applying your time and energy the right way toward getting the grant that is right for you.

  1. Do your research:

When seeking out grant funding find organizations with missions that match your own. What about your project and your own identity makes you a unique candidate for specific grants?

For example: If your film covers LGBTQ themes or you’re a member of the LGBTQ community you should seek out grant opportunities involved with making a social impact for this demographic.

Once you have researched these grants, make a document with a description for each one, their website, and due dates. This will keep you on track and can help you during every stage of application.

  1. Write Directly to the Funders:

While researching each grant, gather an idea of what these organizations are looking for. An application for an arts grant will look different from a community grant which will look different from an educational grant. Your application should vary depending on the type of grant.

Think outside the box. There are grant opportunities that may not be directly for filmmakers, but you can receive any arts or related grant if you can persuade a funder that your project fits the parameters. Figure out what it is about your project that gives you a competitive edge and how that will speak to the funders mission.

  1. Show Exact Numbers:

When you are creating a budget for your film make sure you are using REAL numbers. A budget for $12,456.98 looks more believable and thought out than a budget for $12,500.00. Your budget should be as close to the grant’s amount while still using exact numbers and in almost every circumstance the funder will round up to the full amount. For more information on creating a budget and a free budget template go to:


Most grant applications will also want to see marketing plans, distribution plans, and target audiences. When creating these, precise numbers are crucial. The funders don’t only want to know how you plan to reach your audience, but how large your audience is. In order to figure this out, make sure you are providing numbers of attendees, subscribers, viewers, etc. and including links to that data. An appendix that provides sources for your target audience data can be a wonderful addition to your grant application.

  1. If you’re not an expert seek out those who are:

Let’s face the facts, we’re not English majors. However, when you are creating a grant proposal spelling and grammar are key. As students, grant proposals are the perfect opportunities to take advantage of Temple’s Writing Center. They accept scheduled meetings or walk ins and you can perfect your proposal with a writing expert. For more information on Temple’s writing center go to: https://www.temple.edu/class/programs/writing/index.html

There are also a number of grant writing workshops to look out for in the Philadelphia region. For example, on Tuesday February 4th, there will be a grant information session through the Leeway Foundation. This is the perfect opportunity to get connected with experts and funders to learn how to put together a winning proposal. For more information on this event go to:


  1. Be prepared for rejection:

The key to successful grant writing is being able to continuously write them. You will want to apply for as many as you can because rejection is part of the game. If you’re lucky you may receive one grant for every ten applications.

Hopefully, these tips will help you not only with your grant applications, but with project funding in general. So, keep in mind, if at the end of the day you are not getting much luck in terms of grants, this is not the end all be all of your fundraising strategy. Make sure you are staying up to date on scholarship opportunities, fiscal sponsorships, donors, angel investors, and crowd funding options. The more avenues you take the more successful you will be with your overall fundraising.


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