How to write a good proposal for funding

This document is intended as a brief outline of what makes a good proposal. There is no single way to do it and the most important questions you need to answer are: What is this film about? Why am I going to make it?

• LENGTH

Keep your pitch between 50 and 150 words – In your pitch you need to identify what your film’s strong points are and essentially what it is about. Try to limit your extended proposal to 800 words.

Be concise with your introduction to the proposal: Summarise what the film will be within the first line – detail can be included once you have aroused the reader’s attention.

• STRUCTURE

Outline - What is your film’s subject (person, group, environment, social issue etc.)? What style of film will this be? Is it character driven? Who are the main characters in this film?
Access – Do you have access to characters / organizations included?
Personal Interest - What is your relation to this film? Why do you want to make it?
Direction – What do you want to do with the film and what do you want the film to do?

• NARRATIVE

Make sure your proposal allows your film to come to life – if you write a dry proposal you are asking a lot of the reader; if your proposal has a strong narrative or aesthetic and describes the depth of its characters your film will come to life.

Where is it going?

Making a documentary is an unpredictable journey. If you have some idea of where your story will go – possible narrative trajectory, conflict, likely outcomes and events that may occur along the way, then include them in your proposal. Again this information helps the reader to visualise your
project as a completed film.

Testimonials

Your film proposal was extremely helpful, it gave me the skeleton I needed to move forward and conceptualize my film idea. Thanks so much! For a young filmmaker like myself, tools like this are invaluable! Matthew Actor, Director from Los Angeles

As a new filmmaker I have to say there is a lot of valuable information in the Film Business Plan. I am eager to put to use as we continue on our journey. I shared with our DP and he thought it was fantastic. Alex Photographer from Washington DC

I am so pleased with the Film Business Plan. It took the guess work out of this aspect of producing a film. I found all of the material easy to understand, at the same time gave the paper work a professional quality to it. I originally went to the site to research grants, but found that you offered so much more. Lean Actor, Writer, Producer from New York City