Monday, May 14, 2012

Pro Bono or No No?

My cousin sent me a call for help from a friend of hers that said the following...

"wishes filmmakers and programmers worked pro bono for amazing causes. I have an amazing cause that needs this type of talent! If you know anyone who wants to do good in the world and will film things, edit things, or make computery things for free (even in bits and pieces) send them my way .... We can have student interns do the programming *or* the video, but not both... I just wish the grant we were working on could pay for what we need done."

So, some thoughts.  Yes there are solutions but first something about the "pro bono" thing.  That's a term that comes from lawyer-land, where the salaries are generally six figures, low to hi.  Independent filmmakers generally make four figures, low to hi :-)  They a are generally passionate people who have their own interests they went into filmmaking for and they are almost always asked to donate their time to worthy causes, which they would love to support if they didn't have that pesky need to eat. 

Programmers are generally either full time employed, in which case they may be making lawyer $ but working 60-80 hours a week.  Or they are unemployed or indies and then see the reference to independent filmmakers above :-)

Of course there are always exceptions to the statements above and I hope that people find those selfless volunteers.  If not, there are the following options.

1.  Class/thesis projects.  Student projects that are funded in credits, not $.  Especially in a university environment, as this writer is, these are options that often serve.

2.  Barter.  The program this writer wants documented/supported is theraputic in nature.  Perhaps some trade of therapy hours for filming or programming might be an option.

3.  Crowd-Sourced Funding.  Kickstarter is the 800 lb gorilla at the moment, but there are others  Find programmers/filmmakers, spec the costs of the projects, make a pitch and see what develops.  Reaching out to professionals to work together to get a project funded (much faster and with much less pain than by writing a grant) is something that will likely be better received and allow you to find a more dedicated and more professional partner.

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