Last week I met with the Director of Filmmaker Services for the SF Film Society, Michele Turnure-Saleo, to talk a bit about the rough draft of the fiscal sponsorship application that I cobbled together.
A rough draft is a really good exercise, and serves as a starting point from which discussion and suggestions can branch from. As I put together the draft I was pulled in a million different directions—I so much want to go back to Perú and wanted to fit that into the grant. However after much consideration I am going to focus on a movie I can make near me in northern California, which is the movie that I have been filming for over a year about ten fava beans I brought back from the Andes. Because of the rough draft exercise I now have a working title for the bean film: Habas. Habas is what the beans are called in Perú, and is the only name I knew them by until farmers here confirmed they were fava beans.
As for the critique of my rough draft:
My logline was voted ‘too dry’. For those of you who might not know, a logline is the subtitle of a film. Currently it is “ten fava beans and their genetic significance”. We’re supposed to go for more ‘ten fava beans’ and less ‘genetic significance’.
The background section was a little rocky, though there are nuggets of good stuff. The important thing in this film seems to be to keep it contemporary—history is all well and good but ‘what does it mean for us now’ should be more of the focus. In the new version I will talk more about crop diversity, seed banks, what is growing now (12 crops account for 80% of the world’s crop tonnage—name the crops), farmer’s markets, seed companies—that kind of thing.
My synopsis was just Okay. I am to rewrite it after I tackle the Treatment, which I admit I left totally blank. I don’t know what a treatment looks like, not coming from a film background. Michele says, “Beginning, Middle, End.” I’m to balance the whimsy of my ten bean crusade with the weight of our loss of crop diversity and other more serious subjects.
Target audience—I thought it wasn’t specific enough, but it turns out I need something in there about the broader appeal of the subject. Yeah! Distribution and marketing, my funding plan, current status and timeline should all be prose rather than lists. Go for specialty niche film fests and audiences, use words like “we will, we intend to, we will apply to…” For the timeline write a sentence or two about the status and then a list of dates and action items. This I’m very much looking forward to. Lists! They are the way to go.
In the key personnel category, I am underselling myself. Gah. I have to be the Head of something and nothing need be chronological. And all the people who are working on this with me—however far in the future that may seem—I’m hitting you all up for equally awesome bios.