Hear ye, hear ye!!! The VCK (aka Jared Cicon Films), applied to MOFILM for a production grant to help offset production costs for a video to be submitted to one of their contests, and the award was granted! Pretty cool huh? Although it makes me feel pretty special (and it surely does), the truth is, it happens all the time at MOFILM.
MOFILM issues up to 10 production grants per assignment (ranging from $500 – $2,000.00) to creatives who demonstrate the talent, will and track record of producing quality content, as they pitch/propose to MOFILM.
These Production Grants are intended to raise the quality of the assignment submissions by increasing production values. The grants may be spent for items ranging from, paying for pro talent, buying/renting legit props, buying/renting equipment, etc. Basically, most anything that ensures the brand can get a better, more ‘usable’ video at contest conclusion.
Why didn’t I do this earlier?
It’s funny how comfortably self-sabotaging we allow ourselves to be in our daily/weekly/yearly routines. Never reaching out, rarely willing to truly explore and try and apply new things. Case in point: Over the last several years I’ve seen countless adverts and articles for the MOFILM brand, and never took the time to ‘really’ check out their offerings. It actually took one of MOFILMS’s representatives, (Kerry Gaffney), to finally spur this royal clydesdale into drinking at the watering hole. I didn’t realize how dehydrated I’d become.
What caught my attention?
Kerry Gaffney (MOFILM) posted a comment in a recent VCK blog:
“It can be easy for the people organising the contests to forget that entering isn’t free, even if there is no ticket price to enter per se, making a decent entry costs time and money for [a] result that isn’t guaranteed.“
These are courting words for any ‘available’ freelance creative, and they definitely got my attention. I can’t understate how important it is to the freelance creative to hear from the crowd sourcing portal, that they understand the financial plight of the spec-producing freelancer as we regularly and repeatedly create and give away the life blood raw material of the business model…for free.
OK, back to my particular dealings with MOFILM.
What’s cool about the grants is, even if my submission is not chosen by the brand, as long as I faithfully follow the script/pitch I submitted to the grant committee, deliver the video as promised by deadline, and can produce reciepts for my expenses, MOFILM will still honor the grant and pay me the $2,000.00 grant to help minimize my losses.
How’s that for a crowd sourcing portal shouldering some of the risk of speculative content creation? It makes me feel like MOFILM is a ‘real partner’ in what I am trying to accomplish in my filmmaking career. Please, anyone, correct me if I’m wrong here and offer an alternate to MOFILM that provides equal or better risk-sharing. I hope, sooner than later, there become many.
NUTS AND BOLTS:
Just so you know what we’re talking about here. I originally submitted a grant request for $3,500.00. I read the creative brief, provided a 3 or 4 sentence synopsis and a fully fleshed out first draft of the script (though a fully drafted script is not mandatory to pitch a project, I would suggest you do it. It will say a lot more about you and your ability to get an idea across.) I provided a list of items the funds would be allocated for: props, wardrobe, talent, craft services, labor fee for editing hours, etc..
MOFILM countered with a grant offer of less than what I requested. The reduction was primarily the result of disallowing payment for labor hours spent at the editing bay. It was explained that these hours are part of the ‘creative’ what will be awarded if the brand finds value in the content. It is one of the assets I must be willing ‘risk’, as I create on spec.. MOFILM did however approve of compensating for talent fees, crew fees, craft services, props, etc., all of which will markedly increase the realism of the finished spot. In the end, MOFILM agreed to a $2,000.00 grant. I accepted the terms. Though this will not pay me for any of my time or creative (editing/writing), it will surely allow me to employ tangible elements during production that will assuredly help to create a more polished national quality message.
This is good for me. This is good for MOFILM. This is good for the Brand.
This is good for the future of freelance film creators everywhere.
NOW CHECK THIS OUT!:
Let’s say I win the assignment and mine is the video purchased by the brand. Along with winning the top prize level $8,000.00 (in addition to the $2,000.00 seed money – $10,000.00 total), MOFILM will fly myself and a guest to Chicago, put us up in some nice digs for 4 days, and treat us like VIPs as we are shuttled to special events associated with the Lollapalooza Music Festival. Events will include a screening of our commercial (along with all other MOFILM awardees’ videos), where we will personally meet the brand representatives who purchased our content.
How’s that for making immediate and direct connections with brands as we grow the roots of our commercial production careers? I’d say it’s more than just a bit awesome.
WAIT! THERE’S MORE!:
And this ain’t no cheesy infomercial. After being purchased by the brand, if the commercial airs on television, MOFILM is starting a program that will provide for substantial additional residual payments for the creator of the content, and also for the talent that acted in the spot. If you want to read more, and you should…click here.
SIDE NOTE #2:
As of today’s date there remain contest opportunities relative to the Lollapalooza event at MOFILM. Brands associated with the contest include: Chevrolet, Walmart, Campbells Soups, Play Station, and Sovereign.
IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND:
Similar to sites like poptent.net, you needn’t receive grant money to enter a contest at MOFILM. In fact, the best thing that could probably happen is for you to win a MOFILM contest without a grant. From that point forward, you would definitely be a big blip on the MOFILM sonar, and getting future grant money would likely become a whole lot easier.
I apologize for sounding like a commercial for MOFILM, and it is not lost on me that I am in the throes of the Honeymoon period of the contractual relationship between them and myself. As there is no perfect crowd-sourcing model, there will likely be stumbling blocks that need to be navigated, but so far I am sold on the the MOFILM structure/model.
I’ll be blogging about my experience with MOFILM as it unfolds over the next few months and my gut feeling tells me I’ll have more good things to report than bad. On it’s face, IMO, MOFILM represents the best opportunity for our community, relative to compensation, risk-sharing and freelance career advancement. If it’s not already, MOFILM should be included in your crowd-sourcing rolodex as a strong option when you embark on spending your most precious creative assets.