Ways to Write a Documentary Proposal for Film Fundraising
by eguaogie-eghosa Jan 28, 2022 Views (1.5K)
Follow these guidelines for researching and writing a documentary film proposal if you're a first-time documentary filmmaker.

What Is a Proposal for a Documentary?
A documentary film proposal is a detailed description of all aspects of your proposed film, including its history, target audience, storytelling style and approach, biographies of key collaborators, and a plan and budget for completion.

What Is a Documentary Proposal's Purpose?
Making movies costs money, and a documentary proposal is required for pitching your project to investors and obtaining production finance. Even if you don't pay yourself, you'll need to budget for equipment, licensing, and salary for your staff, which necessitates the use of fundraisers. Your documentary proposal, like any other film proposal, is the most crucial instrument you have to raise the cash you need.

A Documentary Proposal Has 9 Parts
A general structure for writing a documentary proposal is outlined below.

1. The abstract, a one-page summary that a reader can extract and share separately from the full proposal, should be the first page of your proposal. Because it is the opening page of your proposal, it will provide a potential investor with their first view of your project, so compose it carefully. The length of an abstract is longer than that of a logline, but it is shorter than that of treatment.
2. Table of contents: Your multi-page proposal should have a table of contents on the second page that gives you a large picture perspective and breaks down each component.
3. Treatment: The treatment is a brief story that describes what you want to happen onscreen in your movie. Documentary film treatments can be many pages long and should include vivid descriptions as well as particular details about potential characters and story beats that will appear in the final film. Aim for a two-to-five-page lengthy lively but realistic description.
4. Start monitoring the germination and evolution of your project's idea, even if it's just a glimmer at this time. This should include things like what piqued your interest in the subject, your personal connection to the subject matter or the characters, how long you've wanted to produce this film, and so on.
5. Consider how the audience will react to the story you're telling. Who will want to see your movie? What distinguishes your film from others on the subject, and what makes it unique or fresh?
6. Your film should have a distinct style and approach. Think about the cinematography's aesthetic approach. Make a note of whether your film will feature reenactments or heavy reliance on pictures and found footage, for example. Consider the editing style: will it be fast-paced with unexpected juxtapositions, or will it be slow-paced with periods of beauty and calm? Describe the main style characteristics that will distinguish your approach in one page or less.
7. Participants and advisors who played a significant role: Consider whom you'll work with to make this video, including whom you'll cooperate with, interview, and consult. Include brief biographies with basic information on each of these people. Make this section as short as possible, no more than two pages.
8. Work-plan: What will your project's various phases be like, and how long will they last? What strategy do you have in mind for crossing the finish line? Outline your pre-production, research, scriptwriting, hiring, shooting, editing, music composition, and sound mixing goals. A one-to-two-page completion timeline should result as a result.
9. What will each stage of your project cost? Itemize every line item that will be required in a spreadsheet.
Once you have your proposal in hand, you can approach the government, corporations, charities, and people for a documentary film grant. When you do secure funding, keep in mind that one funder will almost certainly not suffice. Prepare to splice your budget together from many sources.

Consider approaching local groups and individuals that are familiar with your topic, interact with it daily, or are aware of its importance.

4 Documentary Proposal Writing Hints
It takes time to write a documentary proposal, but it's well worth the effort because it's your passport to funding for your project.

1. Make sure you've covered everything. This is not the time to make broad statements. When preparing a proposal, every detail, no matter how minor, should be taken into consideration. In one document, the proposal provides producers and funders with all of the information they need about the film.
2. Keep your movie budget in check. You'll also need to come up with a budget for your documentary, in addition to a documentary treatment.
This does not have to be a difficult chore to complete: Begin by scribbling the big-picture pieces on a single sheet of paper. Consider the number of days you'll need to shoot, the cost of renting a camera and sound equipment, and the cost of hiring personnel for that period. What are your editor's, sound mixer's, and composer's rates, and how many weeks of post-production will you need?
3. Make a plan to raise funds. More than anything, fundraising necessitates perseverance. Write a rough draft of the content that will make up your proposal to get a jump start on fundraising. Because no two grant applications will ask for the same information, you should create a "menu" of parts that can be accessed as needed and customized for each application.
4. Keep your faith in your project. Filmmaking is a competitive industry, and rejection is an unavoidable part of it. Continue to do what you need to accomplish. Finally, the difficulty of persuading others to support your film will help you hone your enthusiasm and focus on how your tale should be delivered.

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