Frequently Asked Questions: MN/NYC Film, Video, and Digital Production Grant Programs

Does this program fund films of various budget sizes? Is there a minimum or maximum budget size?

Any budget, large or small, qualifies for the programs. Applicants with budgets exceeding $30,000 must submit a fundraising strategy for their projects. For larger budget films, it is helpful to reference the funding levels for past films as a demonstration of your ability to secure the funds needed to produce the project.

How many grants does this program provide?

It depends on the panel, the amounts requested by the most competitive filmmakers and the number of projects it wants to support. Another consideration is the total amount of money available. Generally, six to nine grants are provided each year in both the Minnesota and New York City programs.

How many film, video, and digital artists apply to the program?

In 2016, 51 individuals applied to the Minnesota program. Seven grants were awarded. 359 individuals applied to the New York City program. Eighteen grants were awarded.

May an applicant submit more than one proposal per year?

No. An individual may submit only one application per year, regardless of the number of films she/he may be working on in the potential grant period.

What do I need to include in my resume?

Resumes should contain dates for film, video, and digital credits, running times, and clear indications of what the applicant’s responsibilities were on each credited project. Separate your director credits from other roles (editor, director of photography, animator, actor, etc.) Since the eligibility for this grant requires a minimum of two non-student films directed by the applicant, your resume should clearly list at least two films directed by you. Staff will rely entirely on the resumes as presented in the screening stage and will not do additional research to determine an applicant’s role. Any applicant whose resume does not clearly establish her/his eligibility will be eliminated for further consideration at the prescreening stage.

May I receive support more than once for the same project?

No, the program will only provide one grant per project.

May I email or fax my application materials to the foundation?

No, your application materials must be submitted through our online system.

The application seems to have numerous separate components. Why so many?

Each part of the application has its own unique value in helping the panel understand why you deserve grant support. These include the following:

  • The resume. The resume is your chance to present your credentials to the panel and assure them that you are an emerging film/video/digital production director (as defined earlier in the guidelines) with a history of ultimate creative control over projects. For that reason, you need to be specific about film/video/digital production titles, year of completion, and your specific role on each project. “Representative filmography as actor/director/editor” without listing your specific responsibilities on each film will leave the panel uncertain about how many projects (and which ones) you have actually directed.
  • The narrative information in the film proposal allows you to describe the film/video/digital production you hope to make with Jerome support. It is your chance to excite the panel about your upcoming work.
  • An artist statement gives you the opportunity to explain a number of things:
  1. Your own personal aesthetic
  2. Why you want to make this film/video/digital work at this point in your career and the impact you think it might have on your work
  3. Why you consider yourself an emerging artist
  4. The relevance of the work samples you have provided to the work you propose to do, if applicable
  5. The degree to which you have developed relationships with the subjects of your proposed work or how you intend to do so (for documentary makers)
  6. Your process (if you do NOT work from a script)
  • The video work samples are your best chance to demonstrate the quality of your work to the panel. You will provide excerpts from two non-student works you have directed, totaling no more than 10 minutes (not 10 minutes each). If you have already begun shooting on the proposed project, you may submit footage, but you should feel confident it represents a level of finished, polished work.
  • The screenplay excerpt must be the first 10 pages. This allows the panel to gauge how far along in the process you are, and to assess your ability to create character, structure, rhythm, etc. If you do not work from scripts as part of your process, you have the opportunity to explain your process in your artist statement. Please be sure, however, that the video samples you provide are from works similarly created without a script.

The spaces for text seem limiting? Can I exceed these limits?

No you may not exceed them. Past panels have often interpreted excessive explanations as an indication of lack of focus. Additionally, in a discipline where the ability to present “the pitch” is an important professional skill, the application seeks to encourage condensed, precise presentation as a way of increasing applicant skills.

What if I want to do a kind of work in my next project that is substantially different than my past work?

The challenge for panels in such a situation is being able to appreciate your work sample and understand why it should give them confidence that you can move into the kind of work you hope to do. Your Artist Statement is a chance to explain this to them—to “connect the dots” by helping them appreciate what in your past work should inspire such confidence.

What factors are considered in determining “artistic merit”?

In their preliminary discussion in 2016, the panelists listed the following factors they considered in assessing artistic merit:

  • Creativity
  • Originality
  • Uniqueness
  • The presence of a distinctive artistic “voice”
  • Innovation
  • Craft
  • Clarity of intent
  • The use of film to convey substance and meaning
  • Memorable content
  • Established relationship with or connection to subjects or subject matter
  • The ability to structure a narrative over time, including such issues as rhythm

What format is acceptable for work samples?

To standardize the work sample review, the Foundation only accepts Vimeo work samples. The total time limit for panelist review of film/video samples is 10 minutes. Applicants may submit up to two (but no more than two) separate samples for viewing as part of the 10 minute total. Applicants submitting more than 10 minute of work must explicitly direct the panel in the notes field to the specific 10 minutes of footage to be watched and reviewed.

Applicants may comment in the work sample notes field about each sample’s relevance to the proposed work, and provide any contextual information necessary for the viewing of segments of longer pieces.

Screenplay samples, which are required for all applications under the narrative discipline, can be in .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .pdf format but must not exceed 10 pages in length.

Can I submit my work samples via YouTube or another video streaming service?

No. We have chosen to use Vimeo, since it is already used by the vast majority of applicants, and staff and panelists are able to view samples without the interruption of ads.

A Vimeo account is free and uploading videos is simple and straightforward. You may also choose to password-protect your samples from the public. If you have issues creating an account, please contact Jerome Foundation staff.

What if I’m a narrative filmmaker and am still storyboarding, or I don’t work with scripts?

Narrative directors who ultimately work with scripts are expected to provide a sample (the first 10 pages) of the proposed project script. Panels discuss issues such as character, rhythm and structure, which are not possible to gauge from story boards per se. Applicants unable to provide a script sample have been uncompetitive in the past. Applicants still in storyboarding phase without a script sample are encouraged to apply in a subsequent year when more work has been done and a script has been fashioned.

Panels do understand that not all narrative filmmakers work with scripts at all but may rely on an improvised process. Such filmmakers should explain their process in their artistic statement, but must be able to provide video samples that allow the panel to assess the applicant’s skills in directing unscripted work.

Are materials not mentioned in your application form accepted with the application?

No, the Foundation does not accept materials not mentioned in its application form.

How long do I have to complete my project?

We expect that you use our funds within two years of the start date but are happy to work with you if there are special circumstances that require a time extension.

You must however start the project and receive all of your grant funds within 18 months after receiving a grant. We expect you to make steady progress and, unless approved by the staff in advance, to use all of your Jerome funds within two years. We require yearly updates to keep the Foundation informed of your progress until the film is completed. We also require a final report and a copy of the film upon its completion.

Until the final report is submitted and film completed or until the film is formally abandoned, you cannot apply for support from other Jerome programs.

Does this program fund retroactively?

No. Eligible costs must be incurred after the grant is awarded.

Does this program fund pre-production, distribution, marketing, tape to film transfers, mass duplications, entry fees for festivals, etc.?

No. This is strictly a production and post-production grant.

Does this program fund radio or photography?

No. This program’s exclusive focus is moving image media, which includes narrative, experimental, documentary, and animation.

Is it okay to apply with a co-applicant?

Yes, if and only if the co-applicants are all responsible for directing the film and have completed at least two non-student projects together as a directing team. Co-applicants are all individuals sharing the responsibility of directing the film. Complete resumes, contact information and work samples must be submitted for each co-applicant.

Co-applicants must meet the geographic eligibility requirements stated at the outset of the guidelines. If the co-applicant team includes both Minnesota and New York City applicants, the application should be filed in the state where the majority of the team lives. If the co-applicant team is evenly split between Minnesota and New York artists, the application should be filed in the state program where the team will spend the majority of its working time together. Other individuals associated with the film (e.g. in producing, writing, crewing, or acting but not in co-directing) will not be recognized as a co-applicant.

Will you consider projects from applicants living in other parts of the United States?

No, these programs are only open to residents of the five boroughs of New York City or the state of Minnesota. Applicants who are not New York City or Minnesota residents will be deemed ineligible. Grantees who are not still Minnesota or New York City residents when the grant is awarded will be denied support. After—but only after a grant is awarded—an artist may relocate to another area without the grant being rescinded. In this case, please remember to let us know where you are. You must continue to submit annual progress reports.

Is it okay to apply if I have just moved to Minnesota or plan to move there before the next panel review?

If, and only if, you have moved or will move to Minnesota from New York City and all of your time as a resident for the last year was spent in a combination of Minnesota and New York City. Otherwise, you are ineligible.

Is it okay to apply if I have just moved to New York City or plan to move there before the next panel review?

If, and only if, you have moved or will move to New York City from Minnesota and all of your time as a resident for the last year was spent in a combination of New York City and Minnesota. Otherwise, you are ineligible.

What if I split my time between two cities?

We understand that artists often travel for work and frequently are on the road. You are only eligible for these programs if your legal residence for more than a year has been and continues to be within the state of Minnesota. When in doubt, be guided by the state or city you declare as your residence when you file your taxes.

Does this program fund artists from other countries?

Yes, as long as you are a current legal resident of the United States, live in the state of Minnesota, and have lived in New York City and/or Minnesota for one year before submitting as noted earlier.

Does this program fund actors, producers, writers or crew people?

While funds may be used to support productions costs that include fees to actors, producers, writers and crew, the applicant must be the film director(s). Actors, producers, writers and crew may not submit their own applications.

Does this program fund organizational, commercial, or industrial work?

No. The programs only support independent work directed by the applicant. Jerome Foundation considers music videos to be industrial or commercial work and therefore are not eligible for support or appropriate for submission as work samples. If you submit music videos as work samples, they will be removed from your application before the panel.

Will this program fund projects containing controversial subject matter?

Yes. The panels have shown a great willingness to take on controversial subject matter and recommend grants to the Foundation's Board.

What criteria are used to determine support?

  • The artistic merit of the applicant, as indicated by the work sample, resume and artist statement
  • The feasibility of the film project, as indicated by the film budget, specific details around logistics (including but not limited to anticipated shooting schedule, identification of collaborators, and viability of location(s)), and sources of additional potential and/or secured funding
  • The potential impact of the film in contributing to artistic development and career of the artist

The merit of the proposed work and the quality of work samples carry the most weight in the panels' deliberations. The production background and eligibility of the applicant as an emerging artist are also major considerations.

Do you have a preference for a certain genre of work or subject matter?

No. The Foundation is committed to supporting a variety of genres and subjects. Its main subject areas for support are animation, documentary, experimental, and narrative work.

Do I need a fundraising plan if I'm requesting my entire budget of $30,000 or less from Jerome?

Yes. It is rare that a Jerome grant will be able to cover all production costs, and panels will be anxious to see evidence that you have thought about where the remaining income will come from.

Does having secured funding from other sources of support have an impact on the panel's decision to recommend funding?

Panels recognize that Jerome funding can, on occasion, be the first confirmed funding for a project and can then help secure or leverage additional funds. Secured funding therefore is not required. At the same time, panels are charged with investing grant funds in viable projects that are likely to move forward. Providing a list of other secured and/or potential funds gives the panel an indication of how realistic planning for the project has been and how likely the project is to move forward. Projects with no backup funding sources or with inflated or unrealistic expectations about other contributions are unlikely to fare well in the review process.

May I reapply with the same project if I do not receive a grant the first time around?

Absolutely. That said, an applicant with a project that has been rejected by three or more different panels is strongly advised to seek feedback and counsel from staff before applying with the same project yet again.

May I substitute the project for which I received a grant with a different project?

No, substitutions are not permitted. Doing so without the Foundation's permission constitutes a violation of the legal contract between the Foundation and grantee. Such an action may result in the Foundation recalling the grant. Any major changes to the nature, location or scope of the project must be approved by Foundation staff.

May I change or add work samples after submitting my application?

No. The panel review process begins immediately after the deadline.

The Program’s name has been changed to Jerome Foundation Film, Video, and Digital Production Program. What does that mean?

The program now supports work created using non-traditional hardware such as mobile devices and computers. This provides artists who prefer to work in non-traditional film and video formats an opportunity to receive support from the Foundation for their narrative, documentary, animated, and experimental projects.

Will the Foundation support work designed to be exhibited in venues other than theaters, television, or film festivals?

Yes, non-traditional venues are not an issue for the Foundation. Just keep in mind that this program does not support installation work.

May I call you if I have additional questions?

Yes, please call 651.224.9431 or email either Program Officer Venessa Fuentes (vfuentes@jeromefdn.org) if you have questions about the program intent or guidelines, or Andrea Brown (abrown@jeromefdn.org) if you have questions about the application process and online system.

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