So many grants …So little time.
While there are many grants that could be a potential match for your film project, you should always start small – or local. You need to build up interest in your project where you work.
Try for a research grant in the city where you live. Every state has their states’ equivalent of the National Endowment for the Humanities. In Florida, we have the Florida Humanities Council.
What about a local community foundation? In Tampa/St. Petersburg, we have the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay.
If you locate a private foundation that you think might be a good match for your project, go to their web page and see if their year-end report is on line. Look to see if they include a listing of recently-funded grants. If they have already funded projects like yours, it could be a good match.
Once you have local support for your work, look toward a state-wide funder. In Florida, the National Endowment for the Arts is the funding partner for the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.
National arts and humanities grants are highly competitive. But the NEA is always looking for fresh approaches – remember they have mandates to fund all fifty states. While the National Endowment for the Humanities is a gargantuan grant application (80-130 pages), the NEA application is not as mammoth a task.
Get in touch with a grants manager at the NEA or the NEH. Ask them to give you a successful application so you will know what is expected of yours.
One way to elevate a project is to attach others to the project who have the skills you lack. Attach people who are more accomplished, more known. Your project then becomes a collaboration. Enlist them as consultants and get letters of support to back up your project.
Budgets are complicated. Every organization has their own particular way to do a budget, particular line items they require. Be realistic that you can do the project with the funds you are requesting.