Winning Grants By Carole Dean

Grant funders like me read scores of proposals at once so to win grants you need to hone your writing skills and knock me off my seat with your first two paragraphs. Tell a compelling story, that’s what I am looking for and that’s what funders and investors really want. Leave the history for its section and forget about the technical information. Don’t tell me who you are, leave that for the bio. Just tell me a good story.

In the beginning of your proposal I want to feel your passion for the project, I want to know you are totally connected to this film and that you will be there for the long term. This confidence comes from your connection to your film.

Reach out and touch my heart, that’s what funds films, touch my heart and I reach for my pocketbook. I believe we communicate through the heart chakra so I want to “feel” your film, hear your words and see your images as they will appear on the screen. That’s a tall order but that’s what funds films.

To sum it up we want a visual description of your film. If you can’t tell me what it will look like, then you need some “daydreaming time.” You need to sit and meditation on what your film will look like when it is finished and then sit down and write about it.

Even documentaries where filmmakers don’t have any idea of the outcome of the film can still be visualized. You know the style you want in the film and you think you know the direction of the film, so tell us that. If the film changes in mid flight we don’t come back to you and ask you to return the money, instead, we will applaud you for finding the heart of the film.

When you can become the film, like the characters in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 became the books, then you can write a compelling proposal. I want your proposal to tell me you are so close to the material that you are the film.

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