Met Film School Shoot
8 October 2015

How to get funding for your film? – Metfilm School

By Cassio | Categorised in News

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There’s a common misconception that is unwittingly perpetuated by film studios.

Films cost a lot of money.

You have a great idea, perhaps a script and eager crew alongside, but need some funding or advice to help you to get started.  In the UK film industry there are a number of bodies who offer various programmes and development schemes to help filmmakers at every level but it can become a minefield to navigate. At this years Edinburgh Film festival, we heard from the likes of Film London, the BFI Film Fund, Creative England and Film4 productions to find out exactly which schemes they offer and their advice for the filmmakers of today.
Friends and family
If you’re as passionate as you say you are about filmmaking, you’ll find a way to make films. It may be that you have everything in place to make a short film, but just need a few hundred pounds to rent that lens, or that external audio recorder that will make all the difference. Start with the people around you, not just financially either – practice pitching your idea to them. The help from those around you in order to figuring out how much money a film can realistically be made on. You could get together a low budget version of your film for pitches and crowd funding.

 Film London


The Microwave Scheme

Microwave is Film London’s ground-breaking feature filmmaking scheme. It has helped to produce Hong Khaou’s critically-acclaimed Lilting, BAFTA-nominated Shifty and Plan B’s directorial debut, iLL Manors.  This unique scheme doesn’t just fund films; it offers the next generation of filmmakers a proven programme of training-through-production, as well as distribution support.

This scheme aims to find and nurture the next generation of filmmakers. This is no small feat, but with a budget of up to £100,000 for your feature film, it’s easy to see why they have confidence. Microwave funded the Ben Whishaw film, Lilting, which was nominated for a BAFTA in 2015. With a modest budget of £100,00 it’s not easy to create a feature film worthy of accolades of that standing. Having said that, it’s also not impossible.
A feature requires far more time and energy than a short, and your pitch needs to reflect that you’ve thought about funding thoroughly. We’ve mentioned a few times about a producer knowing where the budget will go, but consider the following aspects;- What camera system will you shoot on? What is the cost?
– What lighting have you and your DOP discussed using? What are the financial implications?
– What locations do you want to use? Are they expensive?
– What about other crew and cast costs for the duration of the shoot?
They may seem like basic questions, but you have to have a rough idea of how long your shoot might last and what the costs might be. As you get further along the funding line, more and more help will be given by Microwave, but it doesn’t hurt to have an idea of what you think your film might cost.


London Calling

London Calling and London Calling Plus are Film London’s short film funding schemes aimed at giving more opportunities to London’s new and emerging talent. Building on more than a decade of experience, the schemes are funding 24 new shorts from teams across the capital.

These two affiliates are some of the most well known when it comes to obtaining funding for short films. They focus on 15  London based filmmakers who need funding of up to £4,000. Critically, they offer funding, as well as mentoring and workshops, to filmmaking teams based in the capital. If you and your team need £4,000, your producer will need to outline exactly where the money will go, and why you’ll need it.

Think long and hard about why you’ll need the funding. Your story might be captivating, you may have ironed out all the kinks in making a low budget version, but if you can’t justify why you need the money or where it will go, you’re likely to be overlooked by people who can justify what the money will be spent on. That being said, Film London are great at providing free workshops and roadshows, where they answer any questions that people may have about applying. They are also great events to meet fellow filmmakers, and they’re free. (

London Calling Plus is a slightly different proposition, focusing on giving funding to black, Asian and minority ethnic writers and directors. They award 5 short films up to £15,000, but the rules are still the same with needing to know where the money will go.


BFI Film Fund


Lizzie Francke from the BFI film fund urges filmmakers to really focus their funding applications and only apply for the funding relevant to you:
  • Think about who you are applying to- which organisation is more suited to the kind of film that you want to make?
  •  Read the guidelines!  Each funding body has different pots and you need to apply to the relevant one otherwise your project can be lost.
  •  Use social media to create an immediate two-way conversation with your audience.  What do they think of the project?
There are a whole array of funding available from the BFI, which very different specifications.  Visit their website to find out more.


Crowd Funding


Is crowd funding for you?  If you’re looking for funds to finish a production (i.e. not development) it can be the very thing.
However, you must make sure that you have raised as much awareness to the project as possible before you start your campaign.  Build ambassadors and the audience early on, and make sure that you aren’t being unrealistic in how much you ask for.
Often, to get strangers to invest money into your idea, they’ll want to see that you’ve created your idea or scenes from your idea already. The film Whiplash, was given funding by major studios, once they’d seen the short form version, entered into Sundance. Made on a modest budget, it depicted once scene from the film, however, the directing, writing and story shone through, and enabled the studios to see exactly what it was they were buying into.

The same will be the case for your project. Regular people will not part with their money on a project that they don’t believe will be worthwhile in funding. Make sure your script and your high concept for your story are solid. You can then make your short, low budget version of your film. From there, you can use that as a great tool for attracting investors and convincing people that what they’re getting involved in is a solid project. Think of it as a try before you buy.

Kickstarter also helps you to practice pitching your idea, a key element of attracting funding. You’ll need to make your story come across as interesting, and you’ll need to convince people that you need money. Whatever the amount is, you’ll need to justify it.


Other film funding bodies to note:


Try the following funding bodies to see what developement advice, schemes and training they offer which may be right for you and your project.
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