The Big One

The Big One

Do you know what a fundraising trailer is? A work sample? What about a work in progress. Funders will throw out these terms a lot….and it is your job to figure out what it means.

For example, a fundraising trailer isn’t really a trailer at all!! Who KNEW!!

Let me save you some time trying to figure this all out–A work in progress, a work sample, a fundraising trailer are all pretty much the same thing. And you will need this before you apply to a foundation for funding. This work-in-progress, fundraising trailer, work sample—from here on out called “THE BIG ONE”—is one of the most important parts of the fundraising process. The BIG ONE will show funders whether you can tell a story and whether you story has merit. It took us a really long time to figure out how to put the work in progress together for The Way We Get By. We had to spend a lot of time analyzing our story and talking with advisers to get it just right.

Aron and I recently finished what we consider a strong work in progress of our film. We introduce our three characters and provided two additional scenes with each of our characters to show the funders that there is a story with each character and there is a larger story arc as well.

Aron and I have been showing our BIG ONE to our advisers–at WGBH and outside. We showed it to a group of Northeastern college students and to other documentary filmmakers–most recently the Connect the Docs group at Coolidge Corner.

This tends to be a nervewrecking process. You want people to see your vision and connect with the characters–like we connect with them. If you don’t get it just right–these sessions don’t go well.

I have to tell you–we’ve made a number of cuts of what we thought was The BIG ONE….and none of them compare to what we’ve completed in March. We are very proud of it and the response from students, our advisers, and other documentary filmmakers has been great. They CONNECT with the story like we do…they care about the characters like we do…and they get the STORY and the importance of it.

Of course, all of the credit goes to Aron….he’s the mastermind behind putting it all together, finding the voice and developing the story. But I have to admit, it’s a great feeling to sit in a room and watch it on a big screen and know that after all of these years, yes, people do see what we see.

The big test will come in the next few months as we continue to submit this with grant applications. But it has given us tremendous confidence moving forward that we’re on the right track…with our film and with our funders.

And that’s why it’s called THE BIG ONE!


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