Kelly Jo Brick Attends the Sundance Institute Film Financing Intensive


by Kelly Jo Brick

With research showing that film financing and going out to ask investors for money are big challenges for female independent filmmakers, Women In Film and Sundance Institute have teamed up for a Female Filmmakers Financing Intensive. Contributing Editor, Kelly Jo Brick, was one of the filmmakers selected to participate in this event. She shares these takeaways from her experience with the Financing Intensive.

1.  Creating opportunities: As part of a small group selected to workshop our current projects with Sundance advisors, I was quickly caught up in the energy and enthusiasm of those around me, both advisors and participants, real examples of people who aren’t waiting to be chosen, but are going out and making things happen, which is something anyone can do.

If you have an idea for a feature, short, documentary, television show, get to work. Research, outline, write, get your friends together and film. People are filming shorts with their iPhones. Develop a proof of concept and go out and raise money through crowdfunding or seek out investors. Look at projects you admire and reverse engineer, see how those projects were put together, learn from those and use them as a roadmap. There’s nothing holding you back.

2.  If you don’t know, ask: If you don’t know how to do something, seek out those people who do know and ask for advice. You’ll find that people are generally very willing to share advice.

3.  Don’t be afraid of the no: Don’t walk in to a meeting with a Plan B. This is something that women do a lot more often then men, but no matter who you are, stop going in with a backup plan. All this does is set you up for failure because you’re presetting yourself for a no. Energetically you’re cutting yourself off by thinking in advance that it won’t work.

Be positive, believe in your project and give your best. If someone doesn’t like it, want it or connect with it, that’s okay. They’re not your people. Learn from your experience and get ready for your next meeting.

4.  Leverage your success: When you’ve had success of any kind, use that momentum to keep moving forward. A completed film, selection to a festival, an award, getting funding, whatever it is, don’t stop there. Build on that success for your next project.

5.  Always be worthy of being looked at: Make any and every opportunity count by working hard and being authentic. When it comes to a project, let people see your tie in and passion for what you’re working on. If you’re not connected, how can someone else connect?

6.  Don’t hyper focus: When it comes to financing independent films, funding comes from all kinds of sources. Don’t lock in on one stream. Most projects find the most success by reaching out to multiple sources including grants, private equity, donations and crowdfunding.

7.  If you’re not doing it, someone else is: Go out and do it. Build on your strengths. Get help from people in the areas that are your weaknesses. Ask for funding.   Make your film. And don’t settle for a no. If you believe in it, go find a way.

Kelly Jo Brick is a Contributing Editor at TVWriter™. She’s a television and documentary writer and producer, as well as a winner of Scriptapalooza TV and a Sundance Fellow. Read more about her HERE.