It's no use being the world's greatest filmmaker if you can't get your film funded. In an expensive medium, you have to be a businessperson as well as an artist. You have to find a sponsor or you're dead. By sponsor, I mean anyone with money who will support your film. This can be a university department, a television station, an industrial corporation, a government agency, a church, a film distributor, or even friends.
You can interest people by telling them your idea, sending letters, sending proposals, and so on, but one thing is vital: showing them your previous work. Sponsors want to see your track record. They want to assess what you promise in the future by seeing what you have done in the past. This means you must have some work to show them, which is very hard if you are a student. Film diplomas are fine if you want to teach; otherwise, the more films you can finish or participate in while you are at the university, the better your chances of landing a sponsor.
As a filmmaker, you have various possibilities for jobs. The television station and the industrial corporation with its own film unit offer the safest bet. They need films, they have the money to make them, and they can sometimes offer a degree of permanence in the notoriously unstable film world. In reality, though, most of us end up as independent filmmakers. How do we raise the money for our films that will change the world?
Abe Osheroff got his fifty thousand dollars for Dreams and Night mares through the backing of enthusiastic political supporters. Emile de Antonio picked up the one hundred thousand dollars for Point of Order while having a drink with a wealthy liberal friend. Antonia, by Jill God-milow and Judy Collins, was backed by the latter's concert earnings.
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