How to work with a film company, with a template

18 June 2024
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This is part of our collection of resources aimed at small fundraising teams, individual fundraisers and small charities. Produced by the Chartered Institute and our expert partners.

Emma Bracegirdle
Emma Bracegirdle
Founder of The Saltways

Small charities need to make the most of producing film and animation to support their fundraising campaigns. Here's a guide of what to think about when working with a film company to maximise your efforts.

Finally, the budget has been approved for you to get a film or animation professionally produced for your charity. The next step is to put together a brief for a production company, but where do you start?

To make sure that your small charity gets the most out of your film investment, it is important to have a comprehensive film brief. Not only does this make sure that you get an accurate quote from production companies, it also makes you really think about what it is you want from the project. Here are the most important things to include in your brief, plus a template brief for you to download and use. 

1. Your core objective

Answering this question before any others will help you shape the rest of your brief. What do you want to achieve with your video? Is it to fundraise, recruit volunteers, raise awareness or is it a ‘all-rounder’ that needs to achieve a few of these? Decide what your core objective is before anything else.

2. Who is your target audience?

Is the film going to be shown at event to thank donors? Is it going to be used to raise awareness with potential service users? Who is it that you are trying to reach? Can your charity video production company help with defining your audience? If you need help with refining your messaging Steve Allman is fantastic!

3. Tone of voice

Depending on the core objective and target audience, what should the tone of voice be? Is it empowering people to make change? Is it informative? Is it something more light-hearted?

4. Key messaging

What pieces of information absolutely have to be included? Making this clear from the start will help the production company when they come to do the edit. It will also ensure that the film achieves your core objective.

5. What do you want the audience to feel, or do?

Is the film meant to be uplifting? Emotive? Do we want the audience to sign a petition? After they have watched the film, we want them to say “it made me feel so…”

6. Period of use

How long is the film going to be used for? Does it need to be timeless or is it for a specific campaign? This will dictate the content and whether references can be made to things that are happening now.

7. Locations

Where will the film be shot? Will the charity video production company need to travel? Can they shoot it in one day? This will have an impact on the cost.

8. Deliverables

How many films will there be? How long will they be? Do you need a shorter version for social media? Will you also need stills? Again, this will have an impact on the total cost and the time it takes to edit.

9. Timings and deadline

When do you need to have the finished film ready for? What is the timeline going to be from the initial meeting, through to feedback on the edit. Think about your availability and whether you will have the time to work with the production company during the process.

10. Which team members will be involved?

Who will be the main contact for the production company? Who will sign off the final edit? Do you need approval from the wider team and how long will this take? It is helpful to let the production company know this before starting the process, so that they can factor it into turnaround time.

11. Examples and inspiration

Include examples of the style of films that you like and also include examples of films that you don’t like. This will be helpful in making sure that you have something that reaches your expectations and will also influence the cost.

12. What is your budget?

It can be difficult to give this but it really does help the charity video production company to pitch the right level of quote by having a rough idea of what your budget is. It doesn’t have to be an exact amount, something like ‘around £3000’ is a great help.

Putting together a brief can seem daunting. This process will help you, as much as it will help the production company. Good luck!

You can download a free template to write film brief using the link below. 

To speak to The Saltways to ask any questions please contact us.

Members can access an on-demand webinar on the topic of using your phone to create a film, access it by logging in to your member account, selecting Member Benefits and then Member events. 

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