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September 02, 2011 – Documentary Tips Newsletter

Issue #5 – September 2, 2011 –

A couple of quick news items. has a new look! Pop over to our site and let us know what you think.

Desktop Documentaries Announces Partnership With Documentors

DocuMentors Jilann and HankWe've just announced a new partnership with the Documentors team at

Jilann Spitzmiller and Hank Rogerson are an award-winning documentary team and top-notch documentary filmmaking instructors.  They have created a wonderful collection of documentary filmmaking how-to's and tutorials that we believe are a great asset to the documentary community.  We have just released on our site their full set of documentary budgeting tools (they are excellent) and we will be adding more of their filmmaking products in the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned!

Get The Funding You Need

Documentary funding is one of the biggest challenges for documentary filmmakers. It can derail the most talented producers and best documentary ideas out there. So how do you FIND funding and how do you GET funding? I've been spending a lot of time on this lately. In fact, I'm working on an e-book right now on documentary fundraising and have been scouring every resource I can on the topic. As a documentary filmmaker myself and going through the fundraising process numerous times, I know exactly how you feel and what you're going through.

Step-By-Step: How To Raise Money For Your Documentary

  • Create a Documentary Proposal - An absolute essential item for fundraising is your documentary proposal which includes your treatment, crew bios, budget, partners and distribution plan. This is basically the blueprint for your documentary -- outlining not only your creative vision, but it's also your business plan. Learn more..

  • Produce a 3-7 Minute Trailer - There is no substitute for showing your funders exactly what you're asking them to support. Having a trailer can be the difference between fundraising success or failure.

  • Fiscal Sponsor - Find a non-profit organization to represent your documentary and handle all the donations. This not only makes the donation process easier for you, it adds credibility to your project and gives donors a way to get a tax donation.

  • Create a Fundraising Team - Gather together 2-4 people, preferably people in the business world who have done fundraising in the past and have connections, and strategize your fundraising plan.

  • Low Hanging Fruit - Start your fundraising with people you know and connections you already have. Don't start with the Gates Foundation if you have no connection with that organization. Know a local business person who can relate to your cause? Ask them to be a sponsor. Have a good network of friends and family? Send them a letter asking for their support or ideas on who you could contact.

  • Fundraising Houseparty - This is a great way to have fun, create buzz for your project and raise money. I highly recommend Morrie Warshawski's book The Fundraising Houseparty which takes you step by step how to organize one of these events, including sample invitations.

  • Crowd Funding- This is a fantastic new option for filmmakers to raise money online. Try IndyGoGo or KickStarter.

  • Documentary Grants - This is a tough nut to crack if you're a new filmmaker, but there are millions of dollars available for documentary film projects if you're willing to do the research. Learn more..

  • Documentary Fundraising Tools

    Documentary Budgeting System

    Documentary Budget System - NEW!

    This is a fantastic set of tools from You can purchase the entire 5-Part Budgeting System or buy the System elements separately which include a Going Rates Table, Sample Budgets, Budget Templates and an 85-minute Tutorial.

    5-Part Budgeting System - $77.00
    SAVE $70!

    Documentary Proposal TemplateDocumentary Proposal Template -


    This is BRAND NEW 12-page template documentary proposal I've created that has everything laid out for you to plug in your own information. This shows you exactly what to include in a proposal and how to present the information in a way that will grab the attention of your funders and help get you the funding you need. I'm offering this as a FREE download for just a few days. I simply ask for a quick review in return.

    Instructions for Free Download:
    Click here to go directly to the Documentary Proposal Template (submit a review at the bottom of the page). For your complimentary copy, click the PayPal button and use the following code on the check-out page:

    Discount Code: DOCS244

    What's New at Desktop Documentaries? has a new look! -- Visit our homepage and let us know what you think by leaving a comment at the bottom of the page.

    Free Film Clips and B-Roll Footage -- Thousands of public domain free movies, films, audio and photos are available on the internet if you just know where to look. Tons of great resources here.

    Documentary Film Festivals - Browse our new section on documentary film festivals and even add your own festival to the list!

    Documentary Budgeting, Documentary Budget Template, Budget Samples, Going Rates - These are all the great tools we've just added from

    Documentary Fundraising: "Ask Without Fear" Book Review -- Marc Pitman loves helping connect people who have money with great causes they believe in.

    Documentary Idea: Amateur Boxing - Tons of great documentary ideas continue to come in, including this one from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

    GoPro HD Review | Mini Video Camera -- One of the neatest gadgets for filmmakers, read this review of the GoPro HD posted this week from a video producer who just came back from using it on a two month shoot.

    Coming Soon! Documentary Fundraising Guide Book

    Documentary Fundraising Guide

    Documentary Fundraising Guide -

    COMING SOON! This is a 40-page detailed fundraising guide designed specifically for documentary filmmakers and helping you get the funding you need for your project. Set for release in Fall 2011.

    Helpful Tools and Resources:

    Animoto – Edit gorgeous videos without any experience whatsoever. This is a fantastic tool for creating a documentary trailer or any other short video.

    Site Build It! – Need a website for your documentary? This "all-in-one" website builder will give you everything you need to build your website from domain name, to building traffic and growing your audience.

    B&H Photo Video - Every filmmaker has probably purchased equipment from B&H at some point in their career. Whatever equipment you need for your next documentary project, these guys have it.

    Stay Up To Date:

    Catch the latest documentary news on our Desktop Documentaries Facebook Page. Make sure to stop by and "Like" us!

    Until next time,


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