How to write a good proposal for funding

This document is intended as a brief outline of what makes a good proposal. There is no single way to do it and the most important questions you need to answer are: What is this film about? Why am I going to make it?

• LENGTH

Keep your pitch between 50 and 150 words – In your pitch you need to identify what your film’s strong points are and essentially what it is about. Try to limit your extended proposal to 800 words.

Be concise with your introduction to the proposal: Summarise what the film will be within the first line – detail can be included once you have aroused the reader’s attention.

• STRUCTURE

Outline - What is your film’s subject (person, group, environment, social issue etc.)? What style of film will this be? Is it character driven? Who are the main characters in this film?
Access – Do you have access to characters / organizations included?
Personal Interest - What is your relation to this film? Why do you want to make it?
Direction – What do you want to do with the film and what do you want the film to do?

• NARRATIVE

Make sure your proposal allows your film to come to life – if you write a dry proposal you are asking a lot of the reader; if your proposal has a strong narrative or aesthetic and describes the depth of its characters your film will come to life.

Where is it going?

Making a documentary is an unpredictable journey. If you have some idea of where your story will go – possible narrative trajectory, conflict, likely outcomes and events that may occur along the way, then include them in your proposal. Again this information helps the reader to visualise your
project as a completed film.