GUIDELINES, FAQ’s and BEST PRACTICES
TO BE USED/READ BEFORE APPLYING TO CHICKEN & EGG PICTURES
CE = Chicken & Egg Pictures
STEP #1: Take your time. Make this process work for your project.
Review the application thoroughly and evaluate how much time it will take to complete. How much of your material can be easily consolidated into our form/questions? Write down anything that is confusing (note the due date so you can go back to it in a timely manner; we are strict about the deadline). Please note that our program does not let you save and return to your draft work. We suggest that you prepare your application in another format, like Word, remembering to factor in the CHARACTER SPACE limitations, and then copy and paste your material into the online form. The character space allowance on the form is actually a little less than Microsoft Word allows for, please be prepared to cut content.
We know how it is and we know what deadlines do for busy folks. That said, we hope you can get started on this application way before the due date so that you give yourself a grace period to write, ponder, pause, and consider what kind of material you should, could and do send us (ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE APPLYING FOR DEVELOPMENT) and still have plenty of time to re-read, spell-check, do a word count before you are faced with getting it in the little box at the last minute and panicking. We suggest you also ask a trusted colleague to look over your proposal with fresh eyes. Strive to do all that before you hit send. You will be glad you did. We write this from a place of experience, from writing applications both ways -- with time on our side and at the very last minute. The latter is painful.
Drawing from our collective knowledge and experience of fundraising [for over the past twenty years] we designed this application with you and your valuable time in mind. Our BIG HOPE is that your “take-home,” regardless of whether you receive funding or not, is that you are able to harness the original thinking & fresh writing you did for this application and use it in the development of your film and your fundraising moving forward.
In fact, we designed this application so that you should you wish to use this application to create an all-purpose proposal.
STEP #2: Please go to our site: www.chickeneggpics.org,
BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE FILMS WE HAVE FUNDED THUS FAR, THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF GRANTS THAT WE PROVIDE AND OUR STATED INTERESTS/THEMED-FUNDS.
Note: we only fund films directed or co-directed by a woman – but being a woman filmmaker is only half of what we are looking for:
- Does your project fit well within CHICKEN & EGG PICTURES’ stated mission?
- Are you balancing the story with issue?
- Are you as committed to craft, experimenting with style, storytelling and tone as you are to justice and the issues you are exploring on screen and with your engagement?
- Are you striving to go beyond the standard formulas to explore and offer your story in a unique way?
- Are you thinking about intent, audience and how your film will be USED IN THE WORLD concurrently with your understanding of the story and the development of your film?
- Are you interested in mentorship—both in receiving it and, when appropriate, offering it?
- SHORTS are the new tall and we, like many, are interested in how multiple platforms/social media can be used vs. just the long form feature). Are you considering different ways to use your storytelling, the medium and the media itself?
- Do you like the idea of being part of a community of women filmmakers that are primed to give back to the field, help the next one “up” and when possible, useful or necessary meet/work as a group?
Read through our blog. We strive to update it regularly with useful information, reports from the field and community building opportunities. Especially useful during the application process is the blog we posted after our very first “Best Practices” workshop.
We hope this content offers you enough up-to-date information about Chicken & Egg Pictures,-- what we are looking for in our grantees and what we are striving to create as an organization -- to inform your decision in how you apply, what you apply for, how you let us into your world and story and the materials you decide to include with your submission.
Some information about our specialized funding programs:
THE MOTHER WIT HUMAN RIGHTS FUND is dedicated to supporting women filmmakers and courageous human rights activists — be they men, women or youth — who together from both sides of the camera take on critical human rights struggles in the global south and the U.S. These films are meant to inspire, enrage and catalyze collective the belief and will needed to insure civil rights, reproductive health rights, environmental, racial and economic justice, education and literacy for all — and especially women and girls. The films must lead with a story and help expand and extend the definition of human rights to mean all the basic rights needed to THRIVE — live, work, play, eat, learn and love — in peace. Examples of films we are supporting under this banner are: A SMALL ACT, BUDRUS, AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY, GIRL MODEL, CALL ME KUCHU and GRANITO.
THE WHICH CAME FIRST Environmental Film Fund: We're open to a broad interpretation of "environment" and in the spirit of our good friends at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, offer this expansive definition: where ever people live, work and play is "the environment." We are interested in helping the public (via the films and projects we support) understand how knowledge, beliefs, political economy, and culture have shaped, been shaped and continue to be shaped by the environment. We want to support films that explore how human interactions with the natural world are always mediated by institutions, economics, politics, ideas, values and even mushrooms (THE VANQUISHING OF THE WITCH BABA YAGA). We are interested in the changing relationships between people and environment over time - from where people get, produce or harvest their food (WHAT’S ON YOUR PLATE) to where their garbage goes and/or becomes (GARBAGE DREAMS).
We strive to support women filmmakers who are taking on challenging, time-sensitive and serious environmental-justice issues (LAND OF OPPORTUNITY) who have a clear passion for translating the science, data and impact of past and current "crises" (ATOMIC EPILOGUE, URANIUM DRIVE-IN) into compelling, human and visual stories. We are interested in out-of-the-box story-telling skills and a commitment to community engagement. We also appreciate a good sense of "humor."
STEP #3: OUR PARTNERSHIPS SUPPORT & STRENGTHEN THE WORK OF OUR FILMMAKERS
Please go to the website of our partner, WORKING FILMS. Check out what they do and what we mean by Community Engagement. WORKING FILMS www.workingfilms.org
Before tackling the Community Engagement section in our application, we suggest that you read through some useful sections on the Working Films’ website. We have been collaborating with Working Films since we launched in 2005. Their Filmmakers Services section is bursting with resources that can help you think about audience engagement throughout the life of your film. Good examples of successes are covered in their Campaign Spotlights. No matter what stage you are at the time of application, including development, it is never too early to think about community/audience engagement. Watch Working Films' IMPACT video Assessing Impact: A Funder’s Perspective, featuring The Fledgling Fund, to gain an insider’s look at how to assess the impact of a film, distribution and related campaign. They also offer a series of free webinars with the National Center for Media Engagement, focused on developing and managing engagement campaigns; go to their home page to sign up.
Chicken & Egg annually offsets our carbon footprint. There are a number of websites that help individuals, non-profits and companies calculate and then offset their carbon footprint as part of a nationwide movement to support cleaner energy. At Chicken & Egg Pictures we are striving to offset our travel (land/air/ground), postage/courier and energy costs. We try to support our grantees to “green” up and offset their productions and are making this Open Call process as environmentally efficient as possible (with online applications extremely preferable, discouraging extra materials at the initial stage and request paper cases for DVDs). As part of this effort we encourage you to calculate your carbon footprint through companies like Brighter Planet and Native Energy.
- Character count includes spaces, please note the character count on the application form is slightly less than what is on Microsoft Word.
Film Genres that Chicken & Egg Pictures Supports
- Non-fiction feature, Non-fiction Short, Hybrid, New Media/Multiple Platforms, Other.
- The director must be a woman; we also fund co-directing female/male partnerships.
501(c)3 Status & Geography:
- We only fund filmmakers who have a 501(c)3 status or who have fiscal sponsorship with a U.S.-based 501(c)3 non-profits. (See FAQs below for more info.)
Do I need to have a fiscal sponsor to apply?
- No, but you must have a fiscal sponsor to receive a grant from CE (and most other granting organizations). We urge you to start your 501(c)3 application process early in your fundraising.
- Examples of 501(c)3 organizations include: Women Make Movies, Fractured Atlas, Center for Independent Documentary, San Francisco Film Society, Kartemquin Films and others. *Please check with your fiscal sponsor agreement before applying as some require that you share your application with them before submitting proposals.
What we DON’T support:
- Outreach and community engagement funds for projects we have not already provided funding to unless otherwise solicited
- Fiction, unless otherwise solicited.
- Student projects.
- If you are a current grantee of CE and wish to apply for more funding, there are specific questions for you on the application.
- If you are a current grantee of CE you are not allowed to apply for funding on a different project. Please feel free to discuss with your Chicken & Egg representative.
How does CE find the work it supports?
Chicken and Egg acquires projects in three ways:
1. Open Call.
2. Active solicitation and outreach by CE co-founders, staff, and advisors.
3. Recommendations by other artists/filmmakers, arts professionals, arts institutions, foundations and festival programmers.
4. Traveling to film festivals and “markets” where projects have been vetted and selected for pitching forums, markets, meet & greets with funders.
How many applications are actually funded per open call?
CE is only able to fund approximately 8-10% of submitted projects.
How big are your grants?
CE grants range from $5,000 to $25,000 for non-Executive Produced projects. The average grant is around $10,000.
Can I apply to be Executive Produced?
CE takes on executive producing roles on a case-by-case basis, out of existing relationships with current grantees.
Can I apply for a particular grant (ie. I BELIEVE IN YOU vs. LIBERTY)?
No. We ask lots of questions about the phase of your project over the course of the application there is ample information for us to identify the production phase of your project.
Do supplementary materials have to be postmarked or received by the deadline?
All materials for projects must be received by the deadline, June 29th.
Does my proposal have to be in English?
Will the fund return my paper materials, DVDs or tapes?
Unfortunately CE is unable to return your materials.
When will I be notified if my project has been awarded a CE grant?
Filmmakers will be notified of a CE grant in the Fall, 2012. You WILL receive an email, either way. Please keep checking our blog around this time for up-to-date information and news.
If my project has been declined, will staff provide feedback?
Due to the limited capacity of CE staff and resources, we are generally unable to provide one-on-one feedback. However, because we know how important feedback is, we are constantly re-assessing our capacity to be able to accommodate giving out more individual feedback.
What we can commit to is feedback via group workshops, which are also open to past and future CE applicants. These workshops will focus on what makes an effective CE submission utilizing examples of previously funded projects. On a first-come-first-serve basis filmmakers will have the opportunity to screen their work-in-progress excerpts and trailers and get on-the spot feedback. On a case-by-case basis we are open to giving feedback to applicants who are unable to attend a CE best-practices workshop because they live in remote regions of the USA and have little access to a filmmaking community. We are striving to be able to utilize the web to create and/or carry out a best practices workshop via a webinar. Stay tuned to our blog for more on this in the future.
Within some of the questions (“Storytelling Style,” for example), you ask multiple smaller questions. Do I have to answer every question in my application?
This application was written with the practical side of fundraising in mind, hoping that the practical questions we asked would inspire the kind of authentic, simple, descriptive, visual, specific, story-driven prose necessary to push your proposal to the next step. We hope you will use the new fresh language you write and out of the application create a base template for a general proposal that "sounds like you.” These multiple questions are meant to help you find an authentic and descriptive way to offer your story to us (“Storytelling Style,” for example). You don’t have to answer all of the points raised, just use the ones you can answer best to find “your voice” and give your reader the access to hear it.
Do I need to submit a prior work with my application?
You only need to submit a prior work if you are a) a first-time director, b) are in development and don’t have any other material to show, c) are only submitting a trailer, d) a combination of a-c. By prior work this could also mean excerpts from a project you worked on in other ways than directing (see 2 below).
If I am a first time director and have not shot anything yet for the proposed project, but I have a great idea, a character, and access, what should I do?
- 1. YOU MUST submit SOMETHING for your proposed project. Even if it is a “sketch” with a small digital camera or “phone,” a collage of photographs, a storyboard. We need to see what you see. For example; we have been moved to support projects that needed development funding based on selects from interviews they shot themselves with a small digital camera and no crew. Be bold. Be creative.
- 2. You must submit an example of "prior work." In the case of a first-time director, “prior work” is experience gained working on other people’s projects. We accept excerpts from films where you served as A.D, cinematographer, editor, sound recordist, producer, including: co-producer, consulting producer, line or coordinator or even as an outreach/audience engagement coordinator. Please be sure to describe your role in the creation of the completed work submitted.
If rejected can I reapply?
You can reapply if your project has evolved and developed since your last submission and that is clearly evident in both your proposal and work-in-progress.
1. Submit via our website an online application.
2. Please submit a work sample (“trailer”/rough-cut/selected scenes and (if appropriate) excerpts from your “prior work”) via one of two ways:
1. Paste an URL link to your work sample in the appropriate field on the application. The video sharing website needs to be the quality and size of Vimeo and Youtube. We encourage you to submit via this method. Consider that yousendit.com links run out-of-date before we have a chance to review them.
2. If an internet link is not possible, mail 3 copies of each DVD (in paper cases) to our NYC office at 24 Union Square, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10003. Please don’t include any extra materials other then your 3 DVD copies.
NOTE: Every DVD submitted should be labeled with the following:
o Name of Proposed Current Project (even on your prior works),
o Director’s Name,
o Type of Sample (trailer/rough-cut, selects, prior work etc),
o and total running time (TRT).
If you are sending us a completed “prior work,” be sure to identify a chapter or ten-minute scene and link to your proposed project.
DVDs should be submitted in paper cases.
3. Your overall budget if you are in development, pre-production or production. A post-budget is acceptable if you are applying for completion funds/Liberty Grant.
You can attach this to your online application. Try to include a line item which addresses your carbon offsets.
Please note: If you are submitting a trailer but have selects or are at a rough cut stage, consider submitting the longer materials and/or using the storytelling and work sample description areas to give us a sense of where you are and how your story will evolve. Our reasoning: trailers can be slick, very fast, a montage with lots of energy and without spaces that slow down enough for us to get a sense of your film’s real tone, of how you work a scene etc… this has proven to be useful to the panel and the filmmaker.
DO NOT include other materials at this time, we will ask for these when necessary and usually via email.
If you have any additional questions, contact us via email at email@example.com. ALWAYS include your project title name in the subject line of any email sent to Chicken & Egg Pictures.