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Advice to Mediamakers

Joan Shigekawa of The Rockefeller Foundation offers this advice to makers: “I know it sounds rudimentary. Working really hard on your work sample is key. Making sure that you've really thought about having a work sample that speaks to your work and is a first-generation dub, a high-quality representation of your work.” She also emphasizes having a clear project description and articulating your passion for the work.

Cynthia Gehrig of the Jerome Foundation recommends that you make sure that your budget is understandable. She also advises that makers “do really good research on the grantmakers that you're contacting. If you're going to certain foundations that have strong arts programs and have the ability to respond to you as an artist/maker, then you write your proposal from that point of view. However, there are lots and lots of foundations that would not offer the maker the opportunity to come in through the arts program and therefore the appeal has to be the content… and then media becomes simply a vibrant way of communicating information that speaks to the interests of a certain foundation.”

For new media, filmmaker Toni Dove has discovered that “there is not a large pool [of funders]. For this kind of work, it's very important to get people to the studio for a demonstration. When people actually see it or experience it, it seems to improve our chance of being funded by 100 percent.” Makers should never forget that “it's always a bit of an uphill struggle to be working in an arena where profit is not your goal.”
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