So you have decided to shoot a film. But wait, you don’t have all of the gear you need? No problem, just ask a company to sponsor you right? They’ll send you boxes and boxes of whatever you need.
That may sound like a silly idea but here at Letus we receive “free stuff” requests like this on a daily basis. We certainly aren’t opposed to sponsoring aspiring film makers. In fact, we sponsor many people in all areas of the film and television industry.
If you are looking for a sponsorship, here are a few tips that may increase your success rate. There are no guarantees but approaching a company well prepared certainly helps.
1.Have a plan
The number one thing we look for when someone asks for sponsorship is if they have a solid game plan in place. Do you have a shoot schedule? Script? Storyboard? The more legwork you have done up front to show you are serious about your project, the more likely a company is to take you seriously.
2. Outline the benefits of sponsorship
Do you have 30,000 twitter followers? 1 Million views on YouTube? 15,000 unique blog visitors a month? These are numbers that peak the interest of sponsors. This shows a company that you know what you are doing and have a large group of people who believe the same.
This is not to say you HAVE to have a massive fan base to be eligible for sponsorship but it goes a long way when you approach a company for sponsoring. Having a clear outline of the benefits you can offer a company is a key component of a sponsorship request.
3. Show your work
It’s one thing to claim you are a great film maker; to show that you are a great film maker is another. Having samples of past work is a huge benefit when looking for someone to back you. It’s about quality, not necessarily quantity. Pick out your best work and include links when you are submitting a sponsorship proposal.
If you have a blog, portfolio site, YouTube or Vimeo page, be sure to include those links as well. Companies look for people who are “out there” and making a name for themselves.
4. Get your project on indiegogo.com or kickstarter.com
Having your project listed on a crowd funding site like this is an indication that you are a serious contender. IndieGoGo.com was one of the first crowd funding sites out there and was originally intended for indie film makers. KickStarter.com is another site that may carry even more weight as they must first approve your project before being listed.
If your project is listed on one of these sites, be sure to let the potential sponsor know. If you already have a substantial amount of backing from others, it will carry even more weight when we research your project.
5. Don’t ask for too much
I can’t stress this enough. If you are looking for sponsorship, be reasonable. Don’t send in a sponsorship proposal asking for $40k worth of gear. Start small. Better yet, don’t even ask for free gear. Buy the gear and simply ask for promotion from the company. This will get you a lot further than asking for a bunch of free stuff straight out of the gate. This will also set you apart from the crowd who are simply looking to get something for nothing.
Smaller companies who do not have a lot of margin (like Letus) don’t hand out sponsorship gear like candy. It’s a significant investment to send someone equipment so the less you ask for, the more likely your success. Even if you have a fan base of 100,000 people, asking for a $300 item instead of a $3,000 item will go a long way with impressing the sponsor.
6. Be polite and professional
This shouldn’t have to be in the list but you would be surprised how many people miss this simple ingredient. Please and thank you go a long way when looking for help. Demanding and cocky attitudes don’t fly when you are looking for sponsorship. Just ask nicely and be professional. If a company tells you “no”, say thank you and ask again later. Sometimes it’s just a matter of timing so don’t take a “no” personally.
Those are just a few tips to aid you in your sponsorship requests. If I think of any more, I will add them here. If you have any other suggestions that you have found to be successful, please share them in the comments.
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