Film festivals, grants and funding, writing a film budget, creating a cv, maintaining a website, internships

Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival

Film Festivals

Below is a list of film festivals and websites that have additional lists of film festivals. Almost every major city has a film festival. They are all looking for films and videos.

As a filmmaker, you want to make sure that the festival you’re sending your film to for consideration is one that makes sense in terms of your work.

For example, there are many topic- or demographic-specific festivals such as LGBT, Jewish, Native American, Documentary, Experimental, Black, Asian, African, Indian, Short Films, Animation, etc. Too numerous to list here, but easy to find online.

Tribeca Film Festival submissions overview

Brooklyn Film Festival

Mono No Aware Festival

Sundance Film Festival

International Film Festival Rotterdam

Ann Arbor Film Festival

Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival

Independent Film Festival Boston

Coney Island Film Festival

Austin Film Festival

Video Art and Experimental Film Festival

LA Independent Film Festival

SXSW (South by Southwest) Film Festival, Austin

Seattle International Film Festival

Toronto Independent Film Festival

Provincetown International Film Festival

Mix New York Queer Experimental Film Festival

American Black Film Festival

Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival, Chicago

International Film Festival Rotterdam

Berlin International Film Festival

Black Maria Film and Video Festival

MovieMaker Magazine guide 2017

List of festivals with approaching submission deadlines

you send in your film,

  • Make sure the festival is geared towards the work you want to submit
  • Read the festival submission guidelines carefully
  • Send exactly what they ask you for – nothing more, nothing less
  • If you have a question, email them
  • Don’t waste money on sending your film to the wrong type of festival
  • If it’s already past the festival deadline, make a note of the festival for next year and add it to your list of festivals and deadlines
  • Remember, some/most festivals have an entry fee of $25 – $75

Grants and Fellowships for artists and film/videomakers

Read the application guidelines carefully. Full-time and degree students are often not eligible for grants outside of schools and universities. If you’re not sure, call or email the funder.

Do a search. Google “grants for artists” or “film grants” or “film video residencies” or “grants for media” to find both government and non-government funding sources.

Sundance Feature Films Program – Screenwriter’s Lab, Director’s Lab, and more  – Development Track

The Jerome Foundation, grants for emerging artists/filmmakers

New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), grants to individual artists/filmmakers
Apply for a NYFA grant and also follow the Resources link > NYFA Source for lists of grants, including scholarships for students

New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA)

Guggenheim Foundation

Roy W. Dean Grant

Assets for Artists

German Academic Exchange Service – scholarships and fellowships for research, study, and creating new work

Res Artis – listing of international artist residencies

List of Fellowships, Grants, Residencies on the CalArts Website

Grantspace, The Foundation Center NYC

Documentary Film Funding, POV, PBS

Film Grants Directory,
This site also has a link to info on how to write a film proposal

University Film & Video Association, Grants & Scholarships

College Art Association, Opportunities

Film Festival, Funding, and Job Applications to-do list:

  1. Keep all of your videos/films on the same external hard drive so you can easily access them
  2. Keep your entire Digital Editing Project Folder for each of your films.
  3. Create a high quality, high res version of each of your films (export as Apple Pro Res 422HQ)
  4. Create lower res (H.264) exports for YouTube, Vimeo, Dropbox, Google Drive etc.; also for handing out to people and sending to film festivals and granting agencies
  5. Sign up for a free Vimeo account and upload your best work to a Vimeo channel. Write short clear descriptions for each project and include credits for anyone who participated, including music credits
  6. Sign up for YouTube and upload work
  7. Create a web portfolio, embed your YouTube and Vimeo films on a ‘films/work’ page, include brief descriptions for each, list any other kind of creative or tech work you do, and add links to your cv. Update your portfolio site regularly
  8. Create a cv/resume and save it in a folder on your external drive; keep it updated; upload it to your site. Keep personal contact info limited to websites and email addresses – don’t include your street address or phone number on your online cv
  9. Write an artist statement and save it in a folder on your external drive. This should be about one page long and should describe your general interests (film/video, cultural, topical, thematic), what genres you create work in, any maker’s who’s work you feel an affinity towards, what your current specific interests are. You’ll be updating this with a few lines about what your current project is every time someone asks for it
  10. Create a demo reel (.mov or .mp4 file) and keep it handy (on your external drive). Put only the best moments of each project on your demo reel – excerpt a minute max from each film, with lower-third text showing the title and year over the first five seconds of each new excerpt
  11. Keep a file folder of film stills (jpegs) so that you have them handy in case a festival asks for stills for their catalogue. Put these on your website, too. They make good header images and can liven up your site
  12. Send out an email to let people know you have a new website showing your work
  13. Put links to your site on Facebook, Twitter and wherever else people will see it
  14. Put links to your YouTube and Vimeo channels on your website
  15. Submit your film to film festivals. Read the descriptions that film festivals put on their websites and make sure the festival is for you. Some festivals are topic-oriented, some are for/about specific groups or interests
  16. Create a separate website for any film you are submitting to festivals. Include info about yourself, your cast and crew, description of the film, and a trailer or clip. Don’t spend money on a new website – use WordPress or another free platform. Link this to your regular website and to your YouTube and Vimeo channels
  17. Start visiting local independent screening venues to see the kind of independent films that are getting screened.
  18. Attend film festival screenings to see what goes on at film festivals, what kind of work is being shown, and to pick up all kinds of tips, lists, leaflets etc. Attend panel discussions and see films where the director speaks before or after the screening
  19. Start showing your work. If you can’t find a venue right now, create one and invite others to participate, publicize it on social media and via email, and invite people to come. Get someone to write about it and post it.
  20. Put each screening on your cv. Put the review post link on your website and put the review on your cv.

Funding: How to Create a Budget for a New Film Project

Sample budget templates & sample budgets:

Budget Template

Film budgets list costs of pre-production, production, and post-production, and are based partly on reality and partly on fantasy. The reality part is that for every item you list on your budget, you must have a reasonable need for it and you must list a reasonable proposed cost. The fantasy part is that you don’t actually know everything you’ll need or where you’ll get it from, so the budget presents a best-case, yet common sense, scenario.

When asking for funding, you may be seeking funds for only a small part of your production. You may be asked for an entire budget amount, however, so it is best to work out a complete budget before you look for funds.

That said, gear your budget to the kind of project and the kind of funding you are seeking. Do not ask the New York State Council on the Arts, which may give grants of about $15,000 to selected media artists, for funding on a $100,000-budgeted project. It will not seem realistic, and will actually not be realistic.

Gear your budget to both the project at hand, i.e. don’t ask for too much or for too little, and the funder. If they say they have grants for $3000, give them budget items that total $3000. – not more, and not less. A few dollars makes no difference, but a few hundred will make a difference. This smaller budget would reflect only a part of your costs. The funder may ask for a total budget, or they may leave it at that, and ask for a budget of what their funds would cover.

Tailor your budget to your project.
Sample Budget items – you’ll have some of these items in your budget, but not always all of them:

Movie rights
Music rights
Salaries/honorariums: Producer, Director, DP, Cameraperson, Sound, Gaffer, Grip, PA, Cast
Travel costs: car/truck rental, gas, airfare, etc.
Hotel & Lodging
Camera kit, purchase or rental
Sound kit
Location fees, shooting permits
Props and wardrobe
Hair & Makeup
Office supplies
Media – film or digital media
Lab, if shooting film
Production insurance
Editing – rough edit
Stills, photos
Web Developer
Final post-production, final cut, color correction, titles, audio sweetening, audio mix
Contingency (10% of costs of above)
Marketing: festival fees, social media, cards, posters etc.

Note:  As producer/director, it is expected that your own salary will be part of your budget if you are asking for a substantial amount (over $10,000). Pay yourself a salary of 10% of the total amount requested.

How to write a budget
Divide your costs into two areas: Production and Post-production
List preproduction (script, rights, music) and salary costs as “Production” expenses
List editing, final cut, marketing, festival fees etc. as “Post-production” expenses

Production expenses can be further divided into “Above the Line” (Script, rights, salaries) and “Production” (all other production costs)

Post-production expenses can be further divided into “Post-production” and “Distribution” (festival fees, marketing, shipping)

Divide your budget costs into three columns:
a. Category  (such as Camera, Sound, Lighting, Locations, Art Dept, Production Stills, etc.)
b. Specifics (such as Fees and Permits, Wardrobe, Photographer, etc.)
c. Costs (e.g. Camera – 1 week @ $675/week)

Add up and list a Subtotal for the Production Budget
Add up and list a Subtotal for the Post-production Budget

List a Total, or Grand Total amount of the entire budget, Production + Post-production
List total of funds already raised/received and in-kind amounts (things – such as loan of camera – and services – such as use of a car – you got for free that have a market value)
Translate in-kind services to a monetary value based on what any of those things or services would cost if you were to pay for them


Where do I find the costs to enter into my budget?
Visit the websites of places in or near the locations where you will be working. If you’re in New York, find a few places that rent equipment and compare prices for the kinds of equipment you will be listing in your budget. Use an average amount for each item based on the range of current rates. Do not put the highest or the lowest amounts in your budget – either of these will seem unrealistic. Choose the middle path, always, when writing a budget.

For example, Hello World Communications in Chelsea rents light kits on a weekly basis from between $275 and $525. They also rent expensive individual lights that may cost about $450 per week. Go for the light kit and not the individual light, and list $400 as the item cost for a light kit, so that you’re listing an amount that falls between the lowest and highest amount for equipment.

For each item, find a couple of local suppliers, see what their prices are online or call them and ask. This goes for car rental, catering, a stylist – every item on your budget list.

Production Insurance
You can buy short-term insurance for your production shoots. If you’re shooting in NYC with a permit, you are required to have insurance. Here is the page on film project insurance, including a list of insurers:

For student films, this quote is from the site:

“Student Films: Students must obtain a letter from their school, on the school’s letterhead, stating the student’s name, their status as a student (i.e. full-time, in good standing) the date(s) of the shoot and the signature of the appropriate representative from the school. For students whose schools are located outside of New York City, please check with our office to see if your school’s insurance is on file with us.”

Fractured Atlas is a not-for-profit organization that has services, including insurance, for freelancers, including artists and filmmakers. You have to join to get their services. Fractured Atlas is at

Production insurance can be purchased for just the amount of time you are shooting – a few days or a week, for example. It is basic liability insurance that covers equipment and people as well as locations.

In-kind Funds, Services & Other Sources of Funding
If you’re applying for a grant or public funding for your film project, it’s important to include in your budget any funds or services you’ve already received. This makes it clear that you are pro-active about finding what you need to create your film and shows that other interested parties are already involved in the process.

Look for in-kind services from talented friends. If you know a stylist or designer, offer them a credit in your film. Their service gets listed in the budget under “Funding Secured.” The amount of this type of secured funding would be whatever your friend would normally charge for their service or skills, or whatever the going market rate is – remember, choose the middle path, not the highest and not the lowest amount.

If you receive funding or any offers of free assistance from any source, list this in a “Funding Secured” row, after your budget totals have been listed. The dollar value of in-kind assistance is the same amount you would list for the item’s cost if you were paying for it.

For example, if your editing budget is $4,000, and you were given a week to edit for free from an artist’s residency program where you will edit your film, list the value of that residency as $4,000 under Funding Secured.

Funding Secured includes any grants, funds from crowd-sourcing, residencies that have supplied space for screenwriting or pre-production, or equipment for shooting or editing, contributions from individuals, any in-kind offers of equipment, the loan of a car or truck, waiver of location fees, free food for production shoots etc.

Crowd-sourced funding

“10 Best Crowdfunding Sites for Movies”

“4 Top Crowdfunding Sites for Film, Video & Web Series”

Kickstarter Tips for Sharing Your Project

“Six Tips from Kickstarter on How to Run a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign”

“Essential Tips for Running an Indiegogo Campaign, Part I” (with a link to Part 2)

Local Places & Opportunities to Know About and Visit

Filmmaker’s Cooperative, 475 Park Ave South, 6th Floor NY, NY 10016

Millennium Film Workshop, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY

Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue (at 2nd St.), NY, NY 10003

Union Docs, Center for Documentary Art, 322 Union Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
NY 11211

Microscope Gallery, 1329 Willoughby Avenue, #2BBrooklyn, NY 11237

Mono No Aware, Brooklyn


The New School
Contact Lisa Romeo <> who handles internships for the university.

The New School’s Internships web page is at

Some internships are unpaid. Don’t accept an unpaid internship unless the jobs or assignments given are in actual production or post-production. In other words, don’t accept a film internship where you are going to be placed in an office if what you want is to work on a production.

If you are asked to provide a letter of recommendation, ask a recent teacher or employer who is likely to give you a good recommendation. Make sure you give them all the details: name and address of the company, proposed internship title or position, and application deadline.

Login to The New School and check The New School Daily Digest at, which lists jobs and internships. Occasionally, there is a listing for production or post-production.

If you know a place and are interested in working there, contact them – email, call, visit – and ask if they are looking for interns. Make sure the internship is for some aspect of production, and not working in the office, if what you want and need is experience on the production team. lists local film and TV production internships, some of which are paid:,-NY-jobs.html

Viacom lists internships as well. These include positions with BET, MTV, Nickelodeon, comedy Central, VH-1 etc.



More from Viacom

Others include:


From NYC,gov:

Reel Jobs NYC

PA Training Program


Pledge Music Internships

CBS Internships




HD Cinematography

Cinematographer iris Ng
Cinematographer Iris Ng

Video sensors

The video sensor is the element that picks up the image so that it can be converted to data. There are two types of sensors in general use: CCD (charge-coupled device), which is a surface containing millions of capacitors that convert light to an electrical charge, or electrons. CCDs are measured in mega-pixels, which refers to the number of capacitors they have. CMOS sensors (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) use transistors at the level of each pixel to amplify the electrical charge. CMOS sensors use less power than CCD sensors. CCD sensors tend to have higher quality pixels.

Three-chip (using 3 CCDs) cameras have a separate chip for each of the video primary colors. They take separate readings of red, green and blue values for each pixel and produce a higher resolution image.

Bayer filter systems are CCD systems that detect only one-third of the color information for each pixel. The other two-thirds must be estimated using an algorithm to ‘fill in the gaps’, resulting in a lower effective resolution. One-chip cameras use bayer filters in their sensors.

Interlaced vs. Progressive Video Signals

Video compression can be interlaced or progressive. Interlacing was a created as a way to reduce flicker on cathode ray tube displays. The horizontal scan lines were divided into two fields, odd-numbered and even-numbered. All of the odd-numbered fields were scanned first, and then the beam returned to the top of the frame and scanned all of the even-numbered fields. This double-scanning of the image occurred 30 times per second, or 60 interlaced half-frames per second. This resulted in a smoother, crisper image, but that image can reveal the interlacing if you put your video online. Interlaced video produces a freeze frame with interlacing artifacts, called “combing.”

Progressive video is scanned line by line in order. The frame is not broken up into separate fields. It creates one complete uninterrupted image. The image is recorded more slowly than an interlaced image and has a higher vertical resolution than interlaced video. Slightly slower scanning results in a softer image that many feel more closely resembles a film image. Progressive video produces a clean freeze frame.


This term can refer to a couple things: type of camera – SD or HD, the aspect ratio (4:3? 16:9?), the compression, or the file-type created (.mov, .avi, etc.), type of data container or codec.

Here’s a link to good information about file formats:


NTSC is the television system used North America and the western countries of South America, with 525 horizontal scan lines. PAL is used in Brazil and other eastern countries in South America, Europe, Iceland, Australia, India, Japan, and western African countries, with 625 horizontal scan lines. SECAM is another system used by France, eastern African countries, and Russia. SECAM processes color information differently from PAL and NTSC. Many countries are migrating their formats from SECAM to PAL.

Professional digital editing software accepts either PAL or NTSC formatted footage for editing. You cannot mix these formats in the same project.

Standard Definition and High Definition

Standard definition video has 525 scanned lines from top to bottom of frame (625 for PAL video).

High definition video has at least 720 scanned lines from top to bottom of frame.

Digital formats are defined by how many scan lines and vertical lines of pixels there are in a frame. “1080 x 1920” refers to 1080 scan lines x 1920 vertical pixels per frame. The expression of resolution would be “720” or “1080,” or, by the number of scan lines.

Formats such as 2K, 4K, 8K, etc. refer to formats higher in resolution than 1080. The “K” refers to 1024 pixels across the frame horizontally. A 2K image has 2048 pixels across the frame. 4K has 4096 pixels across the frame, etc.


Digital File Types

Container files: Quicktime/MOV, MPEG-4, AVI, AVCHD, Divx. Each of these container files contains the video and audio data.

Codecs: Codecs create the data files and different containers have different codecs that they are compatible with. The cameras we use in the class are AVCHD cameras that are compatible with the H.264 codec.


When you shoot video, the data is compressed so that the data travels quickly. Video compression involves reducing identical information within a sequence of frames and storing only the information that is different. Lossless compression enables the original image to be restored. Lossy compression does just that – loses some of the information in the image. The image quality difference is often hard to see.

In order to create smaller files of your footage, the camera will do “chroma sub-sampling,” which means that it gets rid of some of your color information to allow for more efficient file storage.

RAW video is a sequence of files captured at whatever frame rate the camera is set at and stored as raw data. The files are uncompressed and are very large – about 7GB per minute of footage/ over 400GB per hour. The files need to be processed by the computer before you can see them on the computer and edit with them. Most RAW cameras will have built-in processing so you can view your images in the camera.


Bitrate is the rate of the stream of computer bits representing one second of media. Bitrate matters most in terms of output, when you’ve finished editing and want to output at a high bitrate. The higher the bitrate, the less compressed the file is because more information is streamed per second. Computer systems as well as compression codecs may determine the limit on bitrate.

Waveform Monitor and Vectorscope

The waveform monitor and vectorscope are each another way of looking at your image. They represent your image in terms of brightness and hue & saturation. They look complicated but are surprisingly easy to understand.

Waveform Monitor

A waveform monitor is often part of the camcorder’s software and is always part of digital editing software. It allows you to monitor your scene for exposure levels including black level, white level, and the amounts of contrast in your image. In video, a waveform monitor is more accurate than a light meter for determining how much light you need in your shot. The waveform monitor only measures luminance (brightness) and not chrominance (color). It will measure the luminance (brightness) of any color, black, grey, or white pixels in your frame.

The X-axis on the monitor represents the entire frame from left to right. The Y-axis represents the exposure levels from black (0 on the monitor) to white (100+), measured in IRE (Institute of Radio Engineers) values, representing the intensity of the signal. “Legal” levels, in terms of broadcasting levels, are 7.5 for black, and 100 for white. Your entire image signal should fall between 7.5 and 100.

Crushing Blacks and Clipping Whites

If your waveform shows that a lot of your signal is at 0, this means you are crushing the black values in your image. “Crushing blacks” means that all of the detail in dark parts of your image is being lost. The correct value for black in a broadcast-legal image is 7.5 rather than 0. Any part of your image that is black should appear at the 7.5 point on your waveform monitor.

If your waveform shows a concentration of signal at or above 100, your whites are being clipped. “Clipping whites” means that all of the detailed information is lost in the over-exposure. Only the darkest parts of your image, whatever is actually black in the image, should approach 0. Only the brightest parts of the image should be at 100.

Try to get the best exposure while shooting rather than depending on correcting your image in post-production. If you have difficulty with exposure, it’s best if your image is under-exposed rather than over-exposed. An over-exposed image loses information that cannot be located in post-production by merely toning down the white values in the image. But in an underexposed image, some of the information in the darker areas is still there, in the pixels. Working with luminance values and contrast/black values in post-production via color-correction may bring some of those details back into the image.


The vectorscope measures chrominance, or color values in the image and shows you where each pixel in your image lands on the color spectrum. This includes hue as well as saturation. The vectorscope appears as a circle, marked with boxes indicating the correct values for video primary and secondary colors, as represented by color bars.

When each color is correct, it appears on the vectorscope as a dot of light in the center of the box. If one color is not correct, it is said to be out of phase. If one color is out of phase, all of the colors are out of phase. White is represented on the vectorscope as a dot of light in the center of the circle. If the center dot is off-center, then your camera needs to be white-balanced.

Saturation is represented by the distance of the signal to the edge of the circle. The more saturated an image is, the more the signal will reach towards the edge of the circle. A less saturated image will show the signal being closer to the center of the circle.

Video Latitude, or Too Much Brightness

Video that is too bright loses most of the information of the details in a shot. This information cannot be recovered in post-production because it is simply not there. In video that is too bright, the brightness of the image exceeds the maximum brightness level that the camera can handle and the information available stops there.

Digital Video Encoding

4:2:2: This number represents the ratio of luminance and color components of the video signal.

The Y-channel (the ‘4’) of the signal carries the luminance information. The total value of Y is equal to the value of the Red, Green & Blue signals combined. To encode digital video for television or monitoring, it’s necessary to separate the Y (luminance) from the RGB (chroma) signals.

The 4 in the 4:2:2 ratio represents the sampling frequency of the Y channel. The 2’s represent the sampling frequency of the B-Y (blue minus luminance) and R-Y (red minus luminance) color difference channels. The RGB signal is being sampled to convert it to a television/video signal, allowing for chroma sub-sampling for output to a monitor. For every 4 samples of luminance, there are 2 samples of B-Y and R-Y color difference. This is the sampling standard for digital video. The G-Y (green minus luminance signal) does not need to be measured – it’s value can be deduced from the B-Y and R-Y signals.

What this means for you is that on exporting your finished film from digital editing software, you will get the highest resolution file from an Apple Pro Res 4.2.2 codec. A PC equivalent codec is DNxHD. If you are not editing on a Mac, you should do a little further research online. Different editing platforms will have different high-res output codecs available for non-Mac based projects.

Frame Rates

24fps is really 23.98fps, and 30 fps is really 29.97fps. If you are given a choice between 23.98 and 24fps for shooting or editing, choose 23.98fps. If you are given a choice between 30fps or 29.97fps, choose 29.97fps. This is because the tiny fraction of a second between frame rates eventually may result in your audio going out of sync if you’re using 24 or 30fps rather than the actual video frame rates of 23.98 and 29.97fps.


Timecode is an eight-digit number representing hours:minutes:seconds:frames of recorded video. Timecode values range from 00:00:00:00 to 23:59:59:59. If you are shooting continuously longer than 24 hours, your timecode will begin again at 00:00:00:00. Timecode is recorded onto a separate track or digital space. Each number represents a single frame of recorded video, giving each frame of video a unique number, or “address.” Because of the unique address given each frame of video, timecode is also referred to as the “address track.”

Drop-Frame vs. Non-Drop-Frame Timecode

In drop-frame time-code, the frame address (timecode) is adjusted once per minute to make up the difference between frame rate (e.g. 24fps) and real time (e.g. 23.98fps). Drop-frame timecode is important where you need exact timing. Otherwise, the minute differences are neither visible nor audible. In 24P HD video, there is no drop-frame timecode.