2016 INDIE GRANTS FUNDING CYCLE NOW OPEN
There was a public Indie Grants informational meeting on May 3 at Trident Technical College, including descriptions and discussions on Indie Grants selection process and production process. Click here for a video of the seminar.
Since 2010, the South Carolina Film Commission and Trident Technical College have funded and produced over 24 short films through their Indie Grants program. Fulfilling the program's goals of supporting indigenous South Carolina filmmaking, creating effective training environments for TTC film students, and showing off South Carolina storytelling to the world, these films have been honored by the likes of Sundance Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, FantasticFest, LA Film Festival and DragonCon.
NOW WE'RE DOING IT AGAIN.
To apply, filmmakers and writers must submit a short film script and resume, following detailed submission instructions on the application. Please read the application and FAQs below thoroughly, to ensure you adhere to all guidelines and understand the program's process.
If your script is selected for funding, Indie Grants staff will work with you in selecting a Producer and Director to oversee all elements of production.
Projects with a script and Production Team in place (e.g., Director and Producer) are also eligible. The funding application includes instructions on how to include that optional information, with that existing development coming into play in the selection process.
This year, we're also considering finishing or other smaller supporting funds, in amounts ranging from $1500-$6500. If your project best fits this level of support, please provide the following in a one-page document with your application: current stage of the short film; the amount requested; what you would specifically use the funds for; link to footage or rough cut of the project in its current stage, if applicable.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
How are projects selected for funding?
An independent panel of evaluators read all scripts and optional supporting materials and select projects to fund based on the quality of the screenplay and story and feasibility within the Indie Grant's funding parameters. The process is fair and anonymous.
How much funding can I receive?
There is a limited pool of funds available to finance short films through the Indie Grants. As part of the evaluation process, independent third-party evaluators will determine the reasonable amount of funds needed to produce each project, and the feasibility of each project's execution within the program's parameters. (If an optional, existing production budget is submitted with the original application, it will be part of this consideration.) That determination will be used by the evaluators and the South Carolina Film Commission (SCFC) to determine the number of projects funded and the funds each project receives, within the available funding pool.
So we're looking for good, creative scripts that can be produced realistically. That's broad and opens it up to a lot of possibilities, but that's the goal: What would make the best film, among all comers.
What if I have a script and my whole production team in place? Shouldn't my project be considered above someone else's with just a script?
Rest assured that all the great work you put into developing your project past the script stage will be seriously considered by the evaluators. There's nothing we like more than to support a project that's greenlight-ready. But we also want to give all South Carolina filmmakers an opportunity to produce a project, including writers. So both project types are considered carefully.
What kind of projects are eligible for the smaller supporting or finishing funds?
If you're narrative short film project is currently in any phase of production, and you don't necessarily need funding and support for full development and production, you may be eligible for smaller grants, in amounts ranging from $1500-$6500. This should be used for specifiic production or post-produciton expenses (practical effects, notable talent, special equipment, visual effects, score, color grade, etc.).
If you're applying for this type of Indie Grant, please include the following with your application in a one-page document, in addition to the script:
- Current stage of the short film
- The amount requested
- What you specifically would use the funding for
- Link to footage or rough cut of the project in its current stage, if applicable.
- Link to rough cut, if seeking finishing funds.
Contact producer Brad Jayne at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions related to these smaller grants.
What if I've never made a film before but I have a short film script I've been working on. Should I apply?
Yes. Writers and filmmakers of all experience levels are encouraged to apply. We are looking for strong scripts and stories. If the selection panel picks your script for funding, we will provide staff and resources to get your film made.
What if I wrote my script with a writing partner or team?
Love it. Collaboration is great. Please apply, and feel free to include your writing partner or partners as co-applicants.
Can I submit multiple projects/scripts for funding consideration?
Only one project may be submitted by a single applicant. However, that same applicant may be listed as a co-applicant on other projects submitted.
When will I find out if my script is funded?
Funding decisions are tentatively scheduled to be made in August, 2016. Once the independent selection panel makes their decisions, all applicants will be informed of their project's status.
How would I receive production funds, if funded?
The Indie Grant is a partial reimbursement grant. Filmmakers selected for funding sign a contract with Trident Technical College, outlining all the terms laid out in the application. After signing the contract, filmmakers will receive 50% of the to-be-determined funding amount. The remaining 50% will be provided as reimbursement. Funded filmmakers must provide all receipts and other documentation showing the funds were spent in the approved manner before the final 50% reimbursement is provided. But don't worry, it's not as complicated as it may sound. And Indie Grants staff will work with funded filmmakers to make the process as simple and seamless as possible.
If my project is funded by the Indie Grants, can I raise additional funds for the project to increase my budget?
Projects selected for funding by the Indie Grants are more than welcome to pursue and acquire additional funding, through other grants, contributors, crowd-sourcing, etc. (We've had several projects do this successfully in the past.) As long as those sources and their specific requirements do not conflict with Indie Grants procedures, including marketing and credits acknowledgments.
What type of short films do you typically fund?
All types. Past projects have ranged from an experimental paper puppet animated short to a coming-of-age story set in the 1980's Greenville punk scene to a narrative about a nine-foot tall creature made of old silverware. Creativity is king. Bring your best idea, and develop it into your best script.
I have a horror script. Could it be funded?
A conventional slasher flick? Probably not. But an original idea with an unconventional approach to genre? Now we're getting somewhere. As long as it falls into broadcast decency standards.
What about those broadcast decency standards? Why should that matter?
Based on relationships with South Carolina Educational Television and other broadcast entities, Indie Grants films need to be available to be broadcast on public television. So be sure your film takes into consideration the public broadcast audience, using sensible discretion for plot elements such as violence, language, and sexual content. But don't fret. Having elements that potentially exceed that in the application stage won't automatically disqualify you, as long as you agree to make adjustments as needed before funding.
I don't have a short film script but have been working on a feature. Could I submit part of that as a precursor to the feature?
If you can take a section of that feature and turn it into a 15-page script that works as a free standing story, then yes. And if you are funded, and are able to use your completed short to help develop the feature version, that's great too. We love to see Indie Grants filmmakers and projects go on to bigger things.
Why do we have to use Trident Tech students on our crew?
The Indie Grants program is one of several programs funded by the South Carolina Film Fund, a legislative initiative created to provide training to South Carolina crew and professional development for South Carolina filmmakers. As part of those efforts, these projects are used as real-world training exercises for TTC students. These students are skilled in all departments (especially camera, grip, and electric), and have proved to be valuable contributors to past Indie Grants productions. Typically Indie Grants shoots employ professionals in all departments, with students working under them.
Does it matter who I use for below-the-line crew?
You will be expected to use professional, qualified, South Carolina crew across the board. As a community of crew that takes pride in our work, this ensures high production value and a professional set environment for TTC students to learn within.