Filmmakers and creatives! What ways do you raise funds for your passion projects?

I have always wondered how so many amazing projects get made by freelance creatives, often with no huge following and without the support of a production company.

I know grants are a big one… but is there a secret I’m missing? Or is it really just plain and simple: apply apply apply for grants!


  • @Michelangelo Torres Hi - we've currently got a Short Film Fund running - check it out at
  • Hi - we've currently got a Short Film Fund running - check it out at
  • Lots of great answers with excellent info below. I would also add that you can get a lot for free, if you ask.

    I have a production company and we produce commercial and social content with an array of creatives in front of and behind the camera. As I have paid them all for their time, I find that they are often happy to give me a day of their time to work on something wacky and fun that isn't a branded video. Of course not everyone can do this but if someone likes you and how you work, it's worth asking for their help with your personal project.

    This extends also to equipment, locations and other non-monetary aids for a video production that you can get for free or for very little if you have the right relationships in place. I have found in the past that if I make a list of the things I have access to already and write a script around those things, it makes the production process much easier.

    Remember, if you don't ask, you don't get! ;)

    Good luck!
  • I’ve personally done it through crowdfunding and then saving up for the rest. However this has only been for a project under £5,000 - I’m yet to try for a bigger budget.

    The bonus of doing it through crowdfunding is you now have an audience who all are excited to watch the film before it’s even released, because they all have skin in the game.

    And then if the film turns out well enough, you have fans for your next film!
  • @Daniel Hawley-Lingham thank you for this response! I have a lot of experience (3 years) of both fully producing and directing commercials, fashion films, and music videos as a freelancer, so I have dealt with a mix of small and medium (couple k) budgets as well as building the crews and executing the projects to completion, I think in terms of providing evidence I should have enough history so far to be able to show that I can handle budgets etc, I guess the next step is to apply to as many as I can! Thanks again :)
  • It's a hard question to answer. It is quite rare to get money with no strings attached. Even most grants recquire evidence that you might know what you are doing, can manage the amount of money being given, and report full financial forecasts, budgets, activity plans, risk management and actual spend reporting when you wrap up - as well as some form of project evaluation.

    As such, new passion projects are going to be difficult to get any backing for as you need a track record (catch 22 you're thinking)... so you can demonstrate that you have built up experience to this point, have the appropriate creative drive and vision to carry it off. For any organisation or funding mechanism to hand over significant amounts of money you need this (or the perception of it) to proceed.

    I don't where you are in the film industry, your career, or relevant experience so it is hard to picth a response.

    There is no secret - just a lot of determination.
    Your options are:

    1. grants
    2. personal savings (don't do it)
    3. loans (not advised)
    4. crowdfunding
    5. sponsorhsip
    6. patrons/benefactors
    7. friends/family
    8. investment partners

    In every case you will need to convince people that you can deliver - what you need to deliver may differ from funder to funder. Undoubtedly it is a combination of several of these that will pave the way to making your passion project a reality

    Good luck
  • Depends really and who know backing you. If for example you work at an agency “studio or agency” more likely if you pitch your idea i.e. short film/music video the studio or agency likely fund you with certain agreements.

    Example Mother London helped funded a HighFocusTV ( music video which was done with because one of the employees (editor) ( ) worked at Mother. — Reason for this to be funded was their was agreement to feature a food brand in link with the music artist featured.

    Most agecnies (due to awards give them the credentials) have investors and good turn over from projects works to fund their personal OOH or short films. This is ONLY possible with connections and inhouse team to help make this happen.

    Other is getting online funding such as Kickstart as mentioned Arts grants, again no one will give you money, have to pitch a concept and short edit and also helps if you have exact budget to produce what your making.

    Recap if you work or know people at studios/agecnies then more likely they’ll help you or you go independent knocking on doors.

    I should know as I’ve ghosted on a few as a designer “unpaid” but to build my connections for future “paid” projects. I can DM you personal contacts if you like.

  • @Alice Elizabeth Yep, the same goes for some famous YouTubers, it's clear that they have a rich family behind them, good for them.

    Since I am in a similar situation to yours, that is, I have a project in mind for some time and I am struggling for the budget, I leave you a couple of links that may be useful to you:

    Smash |
    A platform through which you can create a pitch document for your project and, at the same time, bring it to the attention of producers or production houses that may be interested, like in a marketplace.

    Creative Europe |
    A platform managed by the EU that acts as an aggregator for specific European funds for the cultural sector.
  • @Michelangelo Torres definitely agree RE: rich parents.. it’s just mind blowing to me seeing some of the great filmmakers of our generation and tracing back to their early work.. seeing them put on such huge productions with set design and cast etc and just imagining, from my experience working solely with clients, and how much they’ve put into productions I’ve worked on, just how much that must’ve cost..! I have a project I would love to execute, but know it’ll cost a lot. I guess the way forward is savings and grants 😂 thanks for your reply!
  • Interesting question. Sometimes it can happen that the creative has access to specific programs for up-coming filmmakers, other times the professional simply saves money and other times they are rich family people for whom money is not a problem.
  • Sometimes you can put together sponsorship packs and reach out to companies that have history of supporting young up and coming people/brands. This is what I'm planning to do to fund my fashion show. Hope that helps!

You must sign up or log in before you 
add a comment.

Post reply