This is the FAQ section for the 2013 AFS Grant application.
If you still have questions after reading this ENTIRE page, call the AFS office at 512-322-0145 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Can I submit multiple grant applications for different projects?
- Do I have to be an AFS member to apply?
- Do I need fiscal sponsorship to apply for this grant?
- How long has this grant been around?
- I am a resident of Texas, but my film has nothing to do with Texas and I'm not even shooting in Texas, can I still apply?
- I don't live in Texas but my film is all about Texas and I'm shooting in Texas and using Texas talent, can I still apply?
- If I get a grant, what are my obligations?
- Is there an application fee?
- What are my chances of receiving funding?
- What types of projects does the grant fund?
- I want to make a trailer to raise funds for a feature. Can I apply?
- When do we find out about the grant awards?
- When is the deadline?
- When would I get the money?
- What are the eligibility requirements?
- If I've previously received a grant, can I apply again?
ABOUT THE APPLICATION
- Do I have to apply online?
- Do I have to register on your website to apply?
- Can I save and come back to my application later?
- What are the required attachments?
- I'm shooting this summer, after the deadline. Should I apply for production funds or post-production funds?
- What is the difference between the project description and the
- What additional support material should I include?
- What are acceptable forms of proof of Texas residency?
- How do I submit my budget?
- Will the Blank Budget Form do my math for me?
- What are all of those line items anyway?
- What does in-kind on the budget mean?
- Should I include an in-kind salary for myself?
- The in-kind stuff makes my budget seem really high, is that ok?
- What if my budget is over $500,000 with the in-kind costs included? It says the grant won't fund projects with budgets that high.
- How should I reflect deferred payment on my budget?
- Why do the Total Resources have to equal Total Expenses?
REQUIRED WORK SAMPLES
- What should I include in the work sample?
- This is my first project, what should I submit as a work sample?
- How long should my video sample be?
- What formats do you accept for the video sample?
- I have several video clips I'd like to submit. Should I break them up and make a DVD menu for my sample? Or submit separate DVD's?
- Can I change out my work sample if I finish the film before the
- panelist review applications?
- What is the Kodak filmstock grant?
- Can I use it for any kind of film?
- What if just a portion of my project will be shot on film? Can I still apply for the Kodak grant?
- When would I get the filmstock?
- Will asking for the Kodak grant make it more likely that I'll just get the filmstock and not the money?
- If I receive the Kodak grant and later decide to shoot on video, can I sell the stock and use the money towards my project?
- I'd like to shoot on film, but if I don't raise enough money I'm going to shoot on video. Should I still apply for Kodak film?
ALPHA CINE GRANT
- What is the Alpha Cine grant?
- What kind of services could I get with $5,000?
- When would I get the grant?
- If I receive the Alpha Cine grant and later don't need it, can I sell the certificate and use the money towards my project?
- How does the review process work?
- Who are the judges?
- Will the panelists read my feature-length script?
- How can I find out about the grant workshops?
- What is covered at the workshops?
- Why aren't you doing a workshop in my town?
- Where are you doing workshops in 2013?
CONSULTING, SAMPLES AND ADVICE
- I'd like to have a one-on-one consultation before the deadline, what do I need to do?
- Hey, no fair! Only Austinites get to do these one-on-one consultations! What about the filmmakers who don't live in Austin?
- What other funding sources are out there?
- Can I get a sample application?
- I didn't get funding last year, should I bother applying again?
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Can I submit multiple grant applications for different projects?
Yes. But, be aware that part of the panelists' decision-making process is the likelihood that the project will be completed. So if you submit six applications for six different projects, that might create questions about your commitment to each project. But if you are in post on one project and are in pre-production on your next project, by all means, submit proposals for both.
Do I have to be an AFS member to apply?
Do I need fiscal sponsorship to apply for this grant?
How long has this grant been around?
Since 1996, the grant has awarded over $1.15 million in cash goods & services to over 313 film and video projects.
I am a resident of Texas, but my film has nothing to do with Texas and I'm not even shooting in Texas, can I still apply?
I don't live in Texas but my film is all about Texas and I'm shooting in Texas and using Texas talent, can I still apply?
No. To be eligible to apply you must be a current resident of Texas and have lived here for at least one year prior to the deadline. We are interested in supporting Texas-based artists, be they shooting here or elsewhere.
If I get a grant, what are my obligations?
Applicants must notify AFS immediately of any significant changes in their project that occur after they have submitted their application.
Grantees are expected to carry out a project that is consistent with the proposal that was approved for funding by the grant. If changes in the project are believed to be necessary, the grantee must send a written request to AFS prior to the expenditure of grant funds. Approval is not guaranteed.
If requested, you must provide receipts detailing the expenditure of the sum granted.
If you have not already produced your titles by the time of the award, we ask for acknowledgment in your end-credits. We also ask for:
- a DVD copy of the finished project
- publicity materials and press clippings pertaining to the project
- notification of project completion
- the possible use of your application materials as an example for future applicants.
We also ask that you keep us up to date on your contact info.
Is there an application fee?
What are my chances of receiving funding?
This is a highly competitive grant program. Last year we received 183 applications and 24 received funding (that's slightly over 10%). To put together the best grant application possible, we highly recommend that you look over the examples of past successful applications on our website, attend one of the workshops we do around the state and take advantage of the one-on-one consultation appointments we offer prior to the deadline and review the sample applications that we make available.
What types of projects does the grant fund?
We fund all genres (narrative, documentary, experimental, animation) and hybrids thereof. We do not fund multimedia projects, web series or television series. Since we have different panelists every year, the number and types of projects funded vary from year to year. While there is no typical project per se, our panelists are usually working filmmakers who have come through the film festival circuit. Accordingly, projects selected for funding are usually the types that play at film festivals.
I want to make a trailer to raise funds for a feature. Can I apply?
No. The Fund is designed for stand-alone films, not fund-raising trailers. However, if you are interested in making a stand-alone short film that could be expanded into a feature, that would be acceptable.
When do we find out about the grant awards?
Award announcements will be made on our website at the conclusion of the Panel Session in August. Follow-up letters will be sent to all applicants.
When is the deadline?
June 1, 2013. The application must be submitted June 1 or earlier. The work sample must be postmarked by June 1 at the latest. We strongly encourage you to send your work sample "return receipt requested." Without proof of mailing from the delivery service, the grant will not accept work samples that are lost or missing a postmark.
If you send your work sample via FedEx, UPS or some other shipper, we will go by the shipper's "postmark" and not by the date you fill in on your shipping label. We do not accept drop-offs at our office; all applications must be shipped. And a final warning: any work sample with a postmark of June 2 or later will be rejected outright, no exceptions.
When would I get the money?
What are the eligibility requirements?
You must be a Texas resident and have lived in state for at least one year prior to the June 1 deadline. Applicants must be the principal creative author of the work. This is usually defined as the director. Producers, editors, crew people, and writers who are not in creative control of the project are not eligible to apply. Awards will not be made to organizations.
All genres of film or video are given equal consideration.
Projects must be independent productions. Independent production means a production under the artistic, budgetary and editorial control of the individual owning copyright. No consideration will be given to industrial or promotional pieces or works-for-hire. We are unable to consider multimedia projects at this time. Primarily episodic work (television shows, web series) also will not be considered.
Application must be for the production, post-production or distribution stages. No consideration will be given for applications requesting pre-production or development funds.
AFS staff, Board members and interns are ineligible to apply.
Previous AFS grant recipients are eligible to apply only if they are in good standing on their contract.
If I've previously received an Austin Film Society grant, can I apply again?
Yes. Previous AFS grant recipients are eligible to apply only if they are in good standing on their contract. AFS requires a finished DVD copy of completed films; notification that the project is complete; and press materials related to the completed film. You cannot apply with a new project unless the previous project has been completed.
In an effort to keep the process fresh we've decided to limit AFS grants to a maximum of 2 awards to an individual project. That means you can potentially receive AFS funding twice (in different years of course) for the same project at the same or different stages of production.
If you are applying for a second round of funding with a project that has already received an AFS grant, you must include a status report that details how the grant funds were used and where the project is on its road to completion - that will go into your file from the previous grant.
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ABOUT THE APPLICATION
Do I have to apply online?
Except for the work sample, the entire grant application is online. Applicants must upload the required attachments to their form when submitting. Please follow the naming conventions for your PDFs. If you prefer to send in a hard copy of your grant application, please contact email@example.com.
Do I have to register on your website to apply?
Yes. If you are already a member of the Austin Film Society, or you have previously registered for our site, be sure to use your existing log-in information. If you are not registered, create an account - it's free.
Can I save and come back to my application later?
Yes. You will have the option to "Save & Exit" as you are filling out your online form. To return to it, just click through the grant section of our website to the application form and you should find your previously saved version.
What are the required attachments?
The following must be submitted as PDFs. You must submit: a full project budget, project description, project timeline, project personnel, proof of TX residency. The work sample must be mailed in as a playable DVD. We must receive 3 (THREE) DVD copies of your video sample; online submissions are not accepted.
You may also (but are not required to) submit a treatment or script, additional support material and a self-addressed stamped postcard for notification of receipt of your application. Also, if your project has previously received a grant, you must submit a project update detailing how the grant funds were spent and the current status and completion date of the project, which will go into your file from the previous grant. Make sure your applications are collated.
Applicants requesting $10,000 or more must provide two letters of support from people familiar with the filmmaker's work or who are closely associated with the project. Additionally, applicants requesting this level of funding must include a sample of their current or previous work as part of their required video sample.
I'm shooting this summer, after the deadline. Should I apply for production funds or post-production funds?
You can apply for funds for either, or for a combination of both phases. It is ultimately a judgment call on your part.
What is the difference between the project description and the treatment?
In the project description, we are looking for information about your project, including: the story, your production plan, the intended audience and distribution plans, how grant funds will be used, etc. Consider it a 3-page summary of your entire application - the additional material should fill in the details of what you talk about in the project description. Refer to the Grant Writing Tipsheet in the application instructions for more information.
The treatment should be entirely about the story--it is a prose version of your film. A typical treatment runs anywhere from 1 to 10 pages and can be as specific as a plot-point-by-plot-point description of your story, or a general description of the characters (like for a documentary that you haven't started shooting yet).
What additional support material should I include?
Press clippings for previous films, letters of support, letters of interest from festivals or broadcasters, etc. Something visual might be nice, too - storyboards, location photos, promotional images.
Remember if you are requesting $10,000 or more, you must provide two letters of support from people familiar with your work or who are closely associated with the project.
What are acceptable forms of proof of Texas residency?
A copy of your Texas driver's license, a voter registration card or a copy of a utility bill in your name.
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How do I submit my budget?
Either you can download and fill in our Blank Budget Form or you can submit your own budget. If you do submit your own, please keep it to 3 pages maximum and use the format of our Blank Budget Form - specifically, remember to include the Budget Summary.
Will the Blank Budget Form do my math for me?
No. It's just a form where you can plug in numbers. You will have to do the math on your own.
What are all of those line items anyway?
The budget in our application is a guideline. Not every line item will apply to your project. Leave them blank. Remember, you can also submit your own 1-3-page budget if that's better suited to your project.
What does in-kind on the budget mean?
This is anything you don't have to pay for outright. If someone loans you a camera or their editing system, find out what you would have to pay if you had to rent it, and use that figure for your in-kind amount. If you own your own camera and intend to use it for future projects, then still count your own "rental" of it as an in-kind cost.
While these aren't hard costs, they do demonstrate your ingenuity and craftiness as a filmmaker who will get his/her project done by any means necessary. Panelists tend to like that sort of thing.
Should I include an in-kind salary for myself?
Yes, we encourage applicants to value their contribution to their own projects. Choose what works best for your budget. That may mean choosing a flat rate for the entire project, it may mean choosing a weekly rate or a monthly rate in scale with the rest of your budget.
The in-kind stuff makes my budget seem really high, is that ok?
Yes, a strong in-kind budget reflects positively on your project. It shows that you've been working hard towards the completion of your project and that you've been able to communicate your passion and enthusiasm for your project to other people who are then willing to give of their time and/or resources.
What if my budget is over $500,000 with the in-kind costs included? It says the grant won't fund projects with budgets that high.
While it's true that we typically don't give money to projects with budgets over $500,000, that applies to the cash out-of-pocket costs associated with the project. If the in-kind component makes the budget higher than $500,000, don't fret.
How should I reflect deferred payment on my budget?
First up, remember that you can submit your own budget in lieu of the one we have included in our application booklet. That said, the easiest thing to do might be to add an additional column, so that in addition to showing your cash and in-kind costs, you can show deferred costs. Another approach might be to show deferred costs as in-kind costs. I'd hesitate to show them as a cash cost simply because so few independent projects make a profit. But it's your project, your budget, your call. Do what you think most accurately reflects your project.
Why do the Total Resources have to equal Total Expenses?
We ask that your Total Resources equal Total Expenses to show that, even if you don't have all the funding in place yet to make your film, you do have a plan of how to get it. That's what the "Anticipated" column on the Budget Summary is for - a place to list out the Resources you hope/expect to get.
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REQUIRED WORK SAMPLES
What should I include in the work sample?
The video sample is oftentimes the most important component of the application, so choose carefully. In previous years, the panelists had an easier time assessing projects that had work samples from the proposed project. But, they also have responded well to previous works, especially if they relate thematically or stylistically to the proposed work.
If you only have raw footage from your proposed project, you can submit this. But, try to cut together a rough assembly at least or choose a particularly strong segment of your footage to show. You may also follow the raw footage with a sample of a previous work.
If you are requesting distribution funds, you must include footage from the proposed project - the panelists will want to see what they are giving money to distribute.
Whether you choose to include raw or roughly assembled footage and/or show an example of a previous work, take advantage of the section in the online application to describe the video sample submitted. Be as specific as possible about any technical quality issues with the piece. If it's a completed previous work, highlight any ways in which it relates to the proposed project.
This is my first project, what should I submit as a work sample?
You can submit a sample of a previous work from someone on your crew, preferably someone who will play a large part in the proposed project--i.e. producer, director, writer, director of photography. You cannot request more than $10,000 cash though.
How long should my video sample be?
There is no time limit to your video sample, but keep in mind that the panelists will probably only watch the first 5-10 minutes (they have a ton of projects to go through). So, it might be a good idea to put your best stuff up front. If you are submitting a feature film, perhaps pick out one of your best scenes and give it context by describing it in "Description of Video Sample" section of the online applcation.
What formats do you accept for the video sample?
We accept DVD for work samples (remember, 3 copies). No mini-DV, no Beta tapes, no 8-tracks, no cassettes, no CD's, no VHS - DVD only, mmmkay? And, no video files burned onto a DVD - we need discs that will play in a regular machine.
A word of caution to you about the whole DVD thing. If you are burning this DVD at home, be one hundred and ten percent sure that your DVD will play on regular standard DVD decks. If we can't play your DVD at panel session, we can't give you any money. And if you call or e-mail the AFS office after you've submitted your application to see if your DVD works, you will be given a pinch on the arm.
I have several video clips I'd like to submit. Should I break them up and make a DVD menu for my sample? Or submit separate DVD's?
It's always best if you make just one video sequence on a single DVD, with each video clip playing in your desired sequence, one after the other. Otherwise, the panelist may choose to watch your director's reel, be unimpressed, and not watch the great short film you really wanted him or her to see. Control the viewing experience for the panelist as much as you can.
And, please just send us 3 copies of a single DVD - we get so many submissions as it is, it's impossible to keep track of multiple copies of multiple video sample DVD's.
Can I change out my work sample if I finish the film before the panelist review applications?
No. You may not resubmit a sample video. The one sent in with the application is the one the panelists will view. We receive too many submissions to switch out samples.
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What is the Kodak filmstock grant?
It is a credit from Kodak to be used for motion picture filmstock. Awards will range between $1000 - $6000 in Kodak credit. To be eligible to apply for the Kodak filmstock grant, your project must originate or be distributed on film. You will also need to make a minimum purchase, of at least 1 roll of film, to redeem the stock certificate.
Can I use it for any kind of film?
You can use it for any motion picture stock Kodak film, including: Super-8, 16mm, Super-16, or 35mm.
What if just a portion of my project will be shot on film? Can I still apply for the Kodak grant?
Multi-format projects are fine. Just make that clear on your proposal and your budget so there's no confusion.
When would I get the filmstock?
You would receive a gift certificate from Kodak in early September. The gift certificates MUST be redeemed within a year. Kodak will not honor them after that point, so be sure you redeem it in time!
Will asking for the Kodak grant make it more likely that I'll just get the filmstock and not the money?
No, they don't cancel each other out. Monetary and stock requests are given full consideration by the panelists.
If I receive the Kodak grant and later decide to shoot on video, can I sell the stock and use the money towards my project?
No! You must return the unused gift certificate to the Austin Film Society. If you receive the Kodak grant you must use the stock on your project and are not allowed to resell it.
I'd like to shoot on film, but if I don't raise enough money I'm going to shoot on video. Should I still apply for Kodak film?
Probably not. One of the things the panelists take into account is the likelihood of completion. If there's doubt about your project really being shot on film, you will not get the Kodak grant. Plus, the Kodak grant comes in the form of a gift certificate. These gift certificates expire within a year of being issued.
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ALPHA CINE GRANT
What is the Alpha Cine grant?
It is a credit from Seattle-based Alpha Cine Labs for up to $5,000 in services. Alpha Cine is a full service digital motion picture lab offering services ranging from 35mm, S16mm, 16mm, S8mm color, B&W, reversal processing, telecine, printing, color timing, digital to 35mm transfers, HD color correct and mastering. If you apply for the grant, be specific about what services you would use.
What kind of services could I get with $5,000?
First of all, check out their website. You can download a rate card to get an idea of what their general costs are. If you have a short project, you might be able to do all of your film processing there, or do a full digital to 35mm transfer. If you have a feature, the $5,000 may only cover a portion of the services you'd need from the Lab, so budget accordingly.
When would I get the grant?
You would receive a certificate from Alpha Cine in early September. The gift certificates MUST be redeemed within a year. Alpha Cine will not honor them after that point, so be sure you redeem it in time!
If I receive the Alpha Cine grant and later don't need it, can I sell the certificate and use the money towards my project?
No! You must return the unused gift certificate to the Austin Film Society. If you receive the grant you must use the services on your project and are not allowed to resell it.
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How does the review process work?
There are three rounds of review. In the initial round, a group of about 20-25 pre-screeners review and rate the materials according to:
- the quality of the proposed work based on the description, a realistic budget, and supporting materials
- the likelihood that the work will be completed
- the applicant's demonstrated ability and creativity as seen in the representational work submitted
The pre-screeners are made up of current and former grant staff, AFS board members and local film professionals unaffiliated with current applicants. Each application is viewed by at least 2 different pre-screeners and the top-scoring applications move forward to the second round of review.
In the second round, each panelist receives an evenly distributed third of the applications. Within each third is an even blend of the different types of projects submitted, so each panelist receives approximately the same number of documentary features and animated shorts. We ask each of them to narrow down their list of applications to a list of about 15 to 20 applications, meaning about 45-60 go on to the final full panel review.
It is in this final round of review that the panelists meet as a group in Austin to review the remaining applications and make their funding decisions. The panelists make all funding decisions - they decide which projects receive funding and how much each receives.
Who are the judges?
Typically, we have three panelists each year - usually working filmmakers or other film professionals (like festival programmers, museum curators, etc). We choose people who are not from Texas and who come from different backgrounds. We tend to have a narrative and documentary filmmaker each year, with the third panelist being an experimental filmmaker, animator or film programmer. The panelists aren't usually determined before the deadline, so expect an announcement in mid-summer.
Will the panelists read my feature-length script?
Not likely, but it's happened. If you bore them or confuse them in your project description, there may not be much incentive to read your script. You should focus most of your attention on the 1-3 page project description, the 2 page budget and the video work sample.
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How can I find out about grant workshops?
Call the office at 512-322-0145 or check our website starting around late March.
What is covered at the workshops?
A descriptive overview of what to expect when applying for the grant and how to complete all elements of the application. Also covered is the review process and how panelists assess projects. Workshops also typically include a viewing of work samples of previous grant recipients. There is also a Q & A session to satiate all your concerns and questions regarding the grant.
Why aren't you doing a workshop in my town?
We try to hit the major population centers like Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Corpus Christi, where it's most likely filmmakers will be congregated. But, we know there are many Texas filmmakers outside of these cities. If you would like to see a workshop done in your city (and can get a few of your friends to attend as well), send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be especially helpful if you could refer us to a local film organization or film festival in your town to partner with on the workshop and help get the word out.
Where are you doing workshops in 2013?
The Austin Film Society hosts grant preparation workshops in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Fort Worth. Our Houston session took place on April 4th at the Aurora Picture show. The schedule for upcoming workshops is the following:
May 2nd 7PM at the Austin Film Society screening room.
May 8th 6:30PM at San Antonio College, Jean Longworth Building
May 9th 7:00PM at Red Productions
Our Dallas workshop will be announced shortly.
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CONSULTING, SAMPLES AND ADVICE
I'd like to have a one-on-one consultation before the deadline, what do I need to do?
We will be conducting one-on-one consultations up until a week before the deadline, in person and over the phone. Call the office at 512-322-0145 to schedule an appointment or email us at email@example.com.
You must submit a draft of your application and the sample video at least three days in advance of the scheduled appointment. We don't need to have the entire application for review, but the more we have to look at, the better feedback we're able to give.
Hey, no fair! Only Austinites get to do these one-on-one consultations! What about the filmmakers who don't live in Austin?
We do one-on-one consultations over the phone, as well as in person. Just call the office at 512 322-0145 to schedule an appointment. The same rules apply though - we need a draft of your application as well as the sample video at least three days in advance to review.
What other funding sources are out there?
Check our website under Other Grant Resources.
Can I get a sample application?
Yes. You can download budgets and applications from previous grant recipients directly from our website. They are on the front page of the grant section.
I didn't get funding last year, should I bother applying again?
Of course. We have different panelists every year, with different ideas of what makes a "good," grant-worthy project.
Be sure to ask for feedback on your application if you were not awarded a grant - it may give you guidance on what to change for next year. Remember, if you don't apply, you definitely won't get a grant.
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Our offices are open from 9:30am to 6pm every weekday. You can call us at 512-322-0145 and ask general questions or ask for Holly Herrick, Associate Artistic Director. You can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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