Making a film is definitely a process of total dedication, and without the financial support, it is just impossible to complete the production stage. So, one of the most prominent parts of the work is gathering funds from different sources to get the film done. Then, when you are ready with this part, you can start shooting your masterpiece devotedly.
However, the situation with funding documentaries differs from financing feature films. It is considered that documentary films play a unique role in filmmaking, but being profitable isn’t something they’re commonly known for. They are usually made to impose a social or educational influence, and thus, finding investors for documentary films may sometimes be rather complicated. Nevertheless, if you’re passionate about the idea, confident in its potential and ready to lead your documentary from the beginning stages of production to its distribution, how can you fund a documentary film? Here’re a few ideas that may help you find an answer.

Think about public interest

So, you generated an idea for a documentary film. You understand that documentaries don't always become box-office films, but some of them are definitely watched all over the world and discussed by millions of people. Thus, when thinking about the plot, consider what the audience is really interested in. It's a well-known fact that some scientific issues have been holding people's mind for over the centuries, while others are considered to be too dull to be studied by a wider audience. So if you have already decided that your film should have an educational or social purpose and want it to generate substantial earnings, think about real issues that matter to people and will attract their interest and attention. Once you draft such a plan and polish it to perfection, it will be definitely easier to find an effective approach to investors.

Prepare yourself thoroughly

Nowadays, the film investment sphere is fierce. The competition is intense and finding investors might be not easy at all. So, having a brilliant idea is not enough. If you want to invite investors and make sure that your project appears worthy of sponsoring, think about it from investors' point of view. You won’t get anything only by describing your ideas. To have your documentary financed, you have to make a real financial plan to present it to the funders. They have to understand why you have chosen this particular idea, how you are going to realise it, what kind of help you will possibly need, what are the deadlines, how you are going to promote your film, and, most importantly, what profit they will receive.
Your primary goal is creating an economically proved project, which will serve as the best evidence of your professionalism, your understanding of the subject, the audience you're targeting and the financial aspects of producing a documentary. Also, a good idea for attracting investors' attention might be a creation of an inexpensive, yet modern-looking and informative website with the presentation of your future film.

Remember about investing options

To find an investor for a documentary film, you can apply a number of financing methods. First of all, search for film finance companies that specialise in producing and gathering funds for documentary films. If you’re based in the UK or seek British film investors, Red Rock Entertainment Ltd may be your best option. Enlisting the assistance of a company that focuses on financing indie and documentary films can be one of the most beneficial solutions. If your project is approved, such film financers will help you to find investment opportunities while you will remain in the total management of the film. And, the investors will most likely be offered a satisfying profit. Take a note that finances for a documentary can also come from companies or organisations that are more interested in a social benefit rather than a monetary return. Moreover, you can apply for different public programs provided by local councils, various foundations, grants and, of course, individual donors. In some situations, uniting your forces with other directors operating in the same genre and having a similar idea, so that you can make your project bigger and approach investors with a more extensive foundation.

Know your investors

It doesn’t matter what way of funding your documentary you will choose, financing a documentary demands putting great efforts in finding the principal investors. Taking into account that there is a significant choice of possibilities you can apply for, it is more than essential to understand the differences between the funders and approaches you can use to interest them. It’s difficult to predict what investors are looking for, but if you take time to get to know them as much as possible, read all the information about their previous projects and plans, and talk to different people, the result will overcome all expectations.

Use any possible help

Sometimes the opportunities are much closer than you can even imagine. Being really obsessed with the project, get all your family, friends, colleagues and fellows involved in the process. Someone can help you with management, others may provide the necessary equipment or introduce you to people engaged in the film production industry, and the rest can promote your film among others. In this case, instead of finding investors for your film, convince everyone that your documentary should be put into production as soon as possible and in exchange, you will offer them a percentage of the profit so that their contribution will be rewarded. If everyone is involved in the process, they will have an opportunity to grow personally, feel like a part of the film creation and will definitely work harder to reach the mutual goal.
Yes, nobody said that it would be easy to fund a documentary film, but there is a ton of options you can try out. If you are really passionate about your idea and sure that it is successful, then the game is worth playing.

Author's Bio: 

Elena Sheplyakova, independent writer, blogger.
Concentrates her attention on small business issues, online marketing tips, home improvement and organization, healthy eating habits, family living, personal finance management, self-confidence, self-improvement ideas, useful life hacks and beauty tips.