For a long time I had the naive notion that a film grant was a prize bestowed by a non-profit organization for the general uplifting of the community at large.
I believed art grants were a way for disenfranchised voices to become "discovered" and given a proper chance at showing the world a perspective held down by the, otherwise, oppressive forces of society.
Boy-o-boy was I wrong.
Here's the real reason why non-profits give out grants:
A non-profit gives out a grant to act like a mosquito net.
Except, they're not trying to attract talent, rising stars, or oppressed voices... nor mosquitos.
Non-profits give out grants to attract PRESTIGE.
The prestige a non-profit organization attracts massively helps with their ability to fundraise, recruit help, and market their agenda. It's simply the rules of the game.
So in order to win a grant, you must first work on your prestige.
Your shots of winning a grant are equal to that of winning the general lottery if you enter it with no prestige under your belt.
However, there is a loophole (there's always a loophole).
The loophole is: become friends with the people who administer the grants.
Not just one-off friends. I mean developing real bonds with these people. If they're lovers of film, it means going to their events consistently, being a part of their lives, and just shooting the shit with these folks. Then, loophole activated, you have a great shot of winning the grant.
If you don't meet these two conditions...
- Personal and/or professional prestige.
- True friendship with the grant administrators.
...then the likelihood of winning a grant, for you, becomes near random.