Cross Platforms And Funding

“It is such an inspiring time to be a storyteller and it would be crazy not to tap into the powerful tools that cross-platforms have in social media,” said Ingrid Kopp, speaking during “A Road Map for Financing and Getting Your Cross-Platform Documentary Made” panel discussion at the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival.

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Kopp – Director of Digital Initiatives at the Tribeca Film Institute – is a frequent speaker on the intersection between storytelling, technology, design and social change.

“Get excited about the possibilities and what the tools can do.”

Filmmakers have an extensive list of platforms to use in order to help them build a community for their film and to obtain a greater understanding of their audience such as Indiegogo, Seed and Spark, Yekra, Kickstarter and Crowdfunder.

Liz Nord, a documentary filmmaker and multiplatform producer, recommends using cross-platform tools that already exist in order to create a fan base for your work.

“There are ways to make them look unique without wasting any money.”

If the project is a documentary that is due to begin shortly and you want to avoid wasting time and money then WordPress can come in handy and the use of templates can give personality to a project.

James Mullighan, CEO of Transmedia Next and COO of VODO, gave an insight into how a project can be successful by understanding the target market and knowing how much time to invest in each platform.

It is important to decipher which platforms a certain target market and age bracket use, Do they tweet? Do they use Vine? Do they blog?

“Once you start working on your audience, make sure they’ll engage with your work through the platforms.” – Says Jordan McGarry, Vimeo’s lead curator.

One of the most important messages for filmmakers demonstrated through the panel discussion was to be as bold as possible and to develop a financial plan, a plan that is honest to the needs of the project.

“Really sit down, break things down and be strategic about the financial budget you need, really be honest about it. Have you thought about the options?” stated Kopp.

“Don’t just come up with how much money your film is going to be. Do the right finance budget for your film and only ask for really what you need.” – Mullighan added.

Filmmakers should look for as many options as they can before drawing up a financial budget by exploring sponsorship and investment opportunities from organisations that could possibly take an interest in the project.

“You can find foundations for pretty much anything. That’s how most U.S documentaries get funded. It’s very interesting not only because of the money you raise but the audience you get.” Said Kopp.

It is important for the production team to know what their impact goal is by asking themselves whether they will make a meaningful impact on the community

It helps to know that the filmmaker not only has the passion for their project, but also has an understanding of the various funding streams available to them.

“People fund to outreach projects and its media rather than the documentary film itself.” said Liz Nord.

Kopp recommended Crowdfunding as a website tool that aids filmmakers in the funding process and is essential in the search for supporters, donors and sponsors.

“Crowdfunding websites, like Indiegogo and Kickstaters, are valuable tools to start testing your audience and to discover marketing options, but it is also important to look for other opportunities with regards to where to get the money.”

A wealth of opinion emerged from the discussion featuring some of the figureheads of film and a consensus was met on four key elements in the planning of a project.

Know your audience, be strict on finances, explore every funding avenue and use every platform you can, only then can you provide yourself with the greatest chance of success.

See Film Futures student Yossuana interview Ingrid Kopp at the “A Road Map for Financing” event.


Words, Pictures and Video by Yossuana Aguilar

Classes Vs Masses

Dubbed as “The New Voice of Indian Cinema”, Abhay Deol is bucking the Bollywood trend with his offbeat movies that he claims demonstrate Hindi cinema with “A ‘real’ element”.

Famous for his roles in Dev.D, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, Shanghai and Six Feet Under, among others, Deol is part of a new generation of Bollywood actors and actresses who are keen to portray a true message within a contemporary style that doesn’t fit the traditional Bollywood mold, often tackling edgy subjects that others tend to avoid.

photoThe Nephew of Hindi Cinema legend Dharmendra, Abhay has this week been in Birmingham to take in the Bollywood 100, a month-long festival that is celebrating 100 years of Indian Cinema. We were lucky enough to catch up with him at a screening of Dev.D at Millennium Point.




”Media was a part of life, I was exposed to it younger but it wasn’t until later in my life where I decided upon to make it a career.”




The offbeat nature of Deol’s films can sometimes be of detriment to their overall commercial success. He was keen to speak of the importance of distribution and marketing of films in order for them to be enjoyed and appreciated by the target market, whether it be for the classes or for the masses, terminology Deol was eager to explain.

“You need to work with the right people, one that knows if they are making a film for the classes or for the masses. You should be clear as to who your audience is, in India you classify it as ‘is it a mass movie or a class movie?’ that’s the lingo I hear back at home, if it has songs, dances and is happy it’s for the masses, in a movie for the classes the actors and actresses are unlikely to sing.”

Deol stressed the importance of working with the right directors and producers when taking on a role and feels that it is important for the film to have a clear direction.

“An important part of the game is to know how to distribute and market your film, when producers cannot distribute nor market it right, then it doesn’t matter how good your film is, it really kills it.”

An important rule before making a film is to have an understanding of who the audience is. Sometimes it takes years after the film is completed to realise who the real audience is and therefore the wrong kind of target audience means the marketing and distribution lack direction.

Deol also spoke of the difficulties new unproven producers face when selling their film to a studio and the problems they can face with regards to control and freedom. When they do not yet have a proven track record in the industry, they are open to being exploited and dominated by studios who are reluctant to give up control of a film.

“When you are new producer working on a new subject, I’m not sure if you can have any control or say in what the studio wishes to do with your film. Sometimes a studio can bully a producer because the producer is new. You don’t want to be stuck with that.”

The Bollywood 100 in Birmingham continues throughout June and will capture the glitz, glamour, music, dance, drama and style of one of the biggest film industries in the world through screenings, events and workshops.


Words, pictures and video by Film Futures student Yossuana Aguilar

Hi Everybody!

So, in the infamous words of Dr Nick, ‘Hi everybody!’ For yes, this is a freshly minted blog created with the sole purpose of sharing the things we care about on our Film Futures: Pro course – AKA ‘MA in Film Marketing & Distribution‘ – at Birmingham City University’s NTI Birmingham.

So, what do we care about? Well, much like the masters degree we run, we like to concentrate on the start and end of a film’s life, albeit from the slightly less glamorous, but vastly important, perspective of a film Producer, Marketer or Distributor.

But of course, for those outside the film industry, such job roles can be somewhat more alien and mysterious than that of a Film Director or actor. Yet these are the roles that many film industries, such as the UK’s, are desperate to fill in order to truly build a successful and sustainable sector.

So, in a nutshell, that’s what we intend to use this little Film Futures blog for, demystifying the film industry with blog posts all about the distribution and marketing of film amidst the backdrop of ever-changing patterns of movie consumption by a increasingly cine-literate public.

Wish us a luck.