Here is an except from my interview with Bill Einreinhofer about how to fund your dream documentary. I wanted to know how a successful documentarian gets money for his/her productions. I figured others might want to know as well so I ask Bill, who has a very good track record, to share some of his secrets. Bill is a National Emmy-Award winning producer, writer and director with over 20 years of television production experience. He shared a lot of useful tips about how to raise money to produce a documentary. In this excerpt, he discusses how to approach potential funders.
SYDNYE: Before you introduce yourself and how fabulous you are and how fabulous your idea is, you need to know why and where and how much they give?
BILL: Yes. This is where you start looking at the giving history. This is where these various reference libraries, whether you go to the actual library or whether you view it online line, find out where the money has gone in the past. What are their interests if they are a foundation? Of if they are a corporation, who they are trying to reach? Corporations, I've gotten corporation grants to do public documentaries television programs, and it's because those particular corporations wanted to reach the audience that public television gets. You have to figure out what the grant maker wants. And then be able to tell them, "I can deliver what you want to you." It only makes sense. I mean obviously, it these people are going to be making grants or if they are going to be making advertising buys, they have certain needs. You have to understand what those needs and be able to tell them "this is how I can help you meet those needs."
SYDNYE: So we'll talk a little bit more a little bit later about documentary distribution because that is part of it.
BILL: And this is probably the biggest mistake that many people make. In that they'll put together a wonderful proposal. They've got a great theme. They've got colorful characters. A really, really good story, they've figured out exactly how to shoot it and edit it. They know what the look is and they don't put anything about how they are going to distribute it. And if no one is ever going to see this program, this film, then why fund it?