AFS Grants FAQs

This is the FAQ section for the 2018 AFS Grant application.

If you still have questions after reading this ENTIRE page, send an email to artistservices@austinfilm.org.

OVERVIEW

  • 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 treatment?
  • What additional support material should I include?
  • What are acceptable forms of proof of Texas residency?

THE BUDGET

  • 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 on my 6-minute reel. Should I break them up and submit separate online links?
  • Can I change out my work sample if I finish the film before the panelist review applications?

AFS KODAK FILM GRANTS

  • What is the Kodak filmstock grant and what is new for 2018?
  • 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 and do I need to use it by a certain date?
  • 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?
  • If I am awarded  the 35 mm print, can I screen it anywhere?

STUCK ON ON DCP IN-KIND GRANT

  • What is the Stuck On On DCP In-Kind Grant?
  • Can it be used for the creation of a DCP for a short film?
  • What other restrictions are part of the grant?
  • When would I get the grant and by when do I need to use it?

MPS CAMERA AND LIGHTING AUSTIN GRANT

  • What is the MPS Camera Austin grant?
  • What kind of services could I get with the $10,000 In-Kind Grant?
  • If I receive the MPS Camera Austin grant and later don’t need it, can I sell the certificate and use the money towards my project?

REVIEW PROCESS

  • How does the review process work?
  • Who are the judges?
  • Will the panelists read my feature-length script?

WORKSHOPS

  • 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 2018?

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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OVERVIEW

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?

No.

Do I need fiscal sponsorship to apply for this grant?

No.

How long has this grant been around?

Since 1996, the grant has awarded $1.7 million in cash and over $300K in goods & services to over 500 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?

Absolutely.

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.  You cannot be a student originally from Texas and attending school out of state.

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 in the form of the AFS logo, and you must contact AFS for an approved logo. 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?

No.

What are my chances of receiving funding?

This is a highly competitive grant program. Generally, we receive about 200 applications and about 20 receive funding. Over the past two years, approximately 10% of applicants were funded. 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, projects selected for funding are usually the types that play at film festivals. 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.

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 fundraising 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 and when do the winners receive the funds?

Award announcements and disbursements will be made by early September. Follow-up emails will be sent to all applicants.

When is the deadline?

Monday, June 4, 2018. The application must be submitted June 4, 2018 at 5pm CST or earlier.

When would I get the money?

September.

What are the eligibility requirements?

You must be a Texas resident and have lived in the state for at least one year prior to the June 4th 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. AFS staff and board members are ineligible to apply.

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?

The entire grant application is online. For the video sample, applicants must submit a password-protected link. We are no longer accepting DVD’s. Applicants must also upload the required attachments to their form when submitting.  Please follow the naming conventions for your PDFs. Hard copies will not be considered.

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, AFS’ budget cover sheet, project description, project timeline, project personnel, treatment OR script, and proof of TX residency.  Students applying for the Harrison McClure Film Fund must also submit proof of full-time enrollment in a TX college or university. The work sample must be included
on the application as a password protected online link.

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?

Vimeo links to additional work samples (usually a full feature or short), 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 are welcome to but NOT REQUIRED to 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 voter registration card or a copy of a utility bill or receipt in your name.

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THE BUDGET

How do I submit my budget?

We require that you submit AFS’ Budget Summary form in addition to your full project 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? 

While most of our grants go to projects with budgets under $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.

How long should my video sample be?

We require that work samples are 6 minutes or less. 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 application. If you are submitting additional supporting material, you can submit a short or a feature via an online password protected link.

What formats do you accept for the video sample?

A password protected Vimeo Link is our preferred method of receiving work samples. The link can also not be password protected–up to you. Your online link must be active until September 2018. If your link suddenly expires in the middle of the review process, we can’t fund your film. Please triple check that you have provided us with the proper link and password.  WE WILL NOT ACCEPT REPLACEMENT LINKS.

I have several video clips I’d like to submit on my 6-minute reel. Should I break them up and submit separate online links?

It’s always best if you make just one video sequence, 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.

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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AFS KODAK FILM GRANTS

What is the Kodak film stock grant and what is new this year?

As part of the AFS Grant, Kodak is offering $5,000 in-kind film stock on either 16mm or 35mm. Applicants must indicate that their project is shooting on film in order to apply. Stock must be redeemed within one year of the grant announcement. Kodak will create a 35mm exhibition film print for one film project of any length. AFS will work with the filmmaking team to secure a public screening in Austin of the 35mm print when completed. This grant is non-transferable and must be used for the applicant project.

Can I use it for any kind of film?

You can use it for 16mm or 35mm film stock.

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 film stock and do I need to use it by a certain date?

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!

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.

If I am awarded the 35 mm print, can I screen it anywhere?

The Austin Film Society will work with you on securing a venue in Austin in order to screen the print.

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STUCK ON ON DCP IN-KIND GRANT

What is the Stuck On On DCP In-Kind Grant?

The grant awards one theatrical digital cinema package (DCP) for two different feature films. The grant includes one 2K DCP creation and a 20% discount on a CRU formatted hard drive. Prices may vary on the hard drive depending on time of request. All other fees will be waived.

Can it be used for the creation of a DCP for a short film?

No. The project must be a theatrical documentary or narrative feature up to 100 minutes each.

What other restrictions are part of the grant? 

Stuck On On must be acknowledged in the film’s end credits.

When would I get the grant and by when do I need to use it? 

Early September is when you would receive the grant. You must request the DCP creation within a year that you receive the grant. Please allow ample turnaround time during January to April, which is film festival season when requesting the DCP creation.

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MPS CAMERA AND LIGHTING AUSTIN IN-KIND GRANT


What is the MPS Camera and Lighting Austin grant?
It is a credit from Austin-based MPS Camera for up to $10,000 in production services. This includes camera, lenses, lighting/grip and electrical, among other services.  The grant does not apply to post-production services.  Please visit the MPS Camera Austin website for more details about what they offer.  Grantees must meet MPS’ minimum insurance requirements, and rentals are subject to availability. MPS must be credited in the project credits.

When would I get the grant?

You would receive a certificate from MPS Camera Austin in early September.

If I receive the MPS 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.

REVIEW PROCESS

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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WORKSHOPS

How can I find out about grant workshops?

The grant workshops are listed here. 

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 will be covered. Also coveredis 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 El Paso, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin, 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 artistservices@austinfilm.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 2018?

We will be conducting workshops in Austin, Dallas, and Houston.

AFS Grant Workshop – Austin
Saturday, April 14th at Austin Public, 1143 Northwestern Ave, Austin, TX 78702

Thursday, May 24th at Austin Public, 1143 Northwestern Ave, Austin, TX 78702

AFS Grant Workshop – Dallas 
Tuesday, April 17th at the Texas Theatre, 231 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208

AFS Grant Workshop – Houston
Sunday, April 22nd at the Aurora Picture Show, 2442 Bartlett, Houston, TX 77098

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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?

Beginning in mid-April through May 25th, we will be conducting one-on- one consultations, in person and over the phone. To schedule an appointment email us at artistservices@austinfilm.org. We require you to send a draft of your application and sample video in advance (usually a week) to review.

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 email artistservices@austinfilm.org to schedule an appointment. The same rules apply though – we need a draft of your application as well as the sample video a week in advance of your scheduled appointment 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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CONTACTING AFS

Our offices are open from 9:30am to 6pm every weekday. Please email artistservices@austinfilm.org if you have any questions about the AFS Grant.

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