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Writing a Video Prospectus to Get Funding for your Documentary

In order to get money for your documentary, a well planned prospectus is essential. It not only shows you've done your research and know your target market, it also shows that your documentary will make money. We'll give you some tips on how to make a prospectus that can impress your investors.

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Video Transcript

It's one thing to know where to find funding sources, but getting even one to invest can seem nearly impossible. That's where the prospectus comes in. Knowing how to write one can help investors to safely believe in your project so that it can get the funding it needs.

Like all of us, investors want to make sure their investments will make money. That it is why it is good to write up a prospectus before going to even the smallest of investors. To help you write one we will look at how to write a cover letter, what goes into a compelling film description, how to make a budget, which production personnel to include, and how to put together a flattering demo reel. With this knowledge, you can make sure that your documentary is well planned and well funded.

The first thing to include in any prospectus is a cover letter. A cover letter is a one page description of the film, its budget, the money that you need, and what you are looking to get from the organization. This letter needs to be incredibly precise for the organization you are presenting to. Make sure it matches their mission statement, purpose, and funding levels. Though it takes time to write a different letter for each potential investor, the effect it has on your chances of getting funded makes this one of the most worthy tasks in the funding process.

The next part of the prospectus should be your description of your film. The film description should include items such as a thorough synopsis, who your target is for the documentary, and the schedule of when your investors should be able to expect production to start and be completed.
i.Synopsis - The best place to start with any film description is by writing a quick synopsis. A synopsis is typically a simple one page account of what your film is about. Keeping it colorful yet short is the best way to show investors that you know what's important in your film and that you have a good knowledge of your story.

It's also important to show investors that you know what kind of audience will be targeted for your project. Doing so shows them that your project fits with their cause and that you have focus.

A great way to convince investors that your project will be able to succeed is by having a realistic schedule already made. The schedule should include your shooting periods, when editing will take place, and an approximation of when the documentary will be complete.

An incredibly key part of every prospectus is the budget. The budget is where you will show the expenses and income that you expect your project will have. Budgets are not only complex, but are also very important so you should make sure not to underestimate how much your project will cost. This way you can make sure you won't run out of money and help your investors believe in your competence with finances. Lastly, it's important to make sure that you have set up a non-profit agency through which your investors can donate money. This way they can write off any donations they choose to give you.

One of the few ways that investors can be sure that you can hit your schedule in time and that your documentary can make money is by including the names of your key production personnel. Positions such as the director, producer, camera operator, sound operator, and editor are important to a documentary. As such, you should include detailed resume's of their past work. Also, any important subjects in your film or key experts should be explained to investors.

After impressing your investors with all of the hard work you've put into planning your documentary, you;ll need to convince them of one more thing: that you can put together a good story on screen. That's why providing a demo reel of your past work is so important. These demo reels should be less than 2 minutes long and should include short snippets of all of your best work so far. Lastly, if you have any footage to show of the documentary you are working on, that can go a long way in assuring the investors that their investments will pay off.

A good prospectus is key to getting funding for your documentary. Though it may take a lot of planning, making sure you get it right can help you to not only plan your documentary but get the money you need to make your project happen.