Raising Money

My biggest flaw (but possibly my biggest strength) is my impatience. I want things to happen now. Right now. This very second.

I hate reading manuals as I get frustrated and try to rush through to the page where it says “How To Turn On” .

About a month ago I was asked to sit on a panel talking about how to get a documentary film funded.

The lovely documentary film-maker I was sitting next to was talking about how it’s taken her two years to finally get the first little bit of funding for her next documentary film (about bears) and she’s hoping to shoot her project at the end of next year or even the year after. That means she’ll begin filming three or four years after she had her orginal idea to make the film.

I’m the opposite. I can’t wait to get going. I use the energy of my own impatience to drive the project forward. For me,  a project starts with an idea then I develop the idea and come up with a plan, put together a budget, schedule and then I start filming.

Quite honestly, it might be that I haven’t raised all the money I need when I start filming – but it’s this blind faith and courage of conviction that I’ll be able to raise the money somehow because I believe in the project so much.

That’s how I feel about my next project (a global feature-length documentary on the problems with birth today). I’ve been applying to all the various national and international documentary film funds where you wait 4 -6 months for an answer and then you are one of literally thousands of applicants with a very small chance of success (the film fund I applied for yesterday had 1,600 fund applications fighting for less than 10 fund awards.)

I can’t wait that long. In 6 months time, I want to be half-way through shooting, perhaps filming a wonderful home birth in Australia, or filming at Ina May Gaskin’s The Farm in Tennessee or wherever my filming journey takes me!

Sure, if I hear in 6 months that the film has been allocated some funds then this would really help fund the next stage of the film (editing & finalising the film and securing distribution).

The traditional film-making manual is to wait until you are fully financed before you start shooting. But for me life is too short to sit back and wait. You’ve got to take the plunge, you’ve got to take risks. If it’s something you truly honestly believe in then you have to find a way to raise the money yourself and use your own initiative.

So that’s what I am going to do. I will raise the money I need to make this next documentary film because I have to. I believe in this so much that I need to make it happen so I will make it happen (is it power of positive thinking or just my refusal to take no for an answer!!!)

Very soon we’re going to be launching the campaign fund-raising website and it would be fantastic if you could help me raise the money I need to get this film going – because together we can help change the world and make birth better.

Thanks for listening!

If you want to contact me, then email me at info@altofilms.com

Toni Harman, Producer, Alto Films





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