Good Pitch

December 2012: BRITDOC ran its first Impact Producers course, to train producers to take film campaigns from strategy through to execution and evaluation.

Over the last five years more filmmakers have had the ambition to create impact with their work. Their success - Supersize Me, The End of the Line, Age of Stupid, Burma VJ - has created more interest and excitement in the unique role films can play in social change.

Both in the US and UK more funds are now available to pay for 'outreach and engagement' to ensure films hit their target audiences. However there is a shortage of professionals to handle this work. Just as films have producers to manage the creative and financial process from script to screen, some films now need specialised impact producers to take the film from completion to impact.

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We spent four days thinking, talking and doing with our wonderful partners including Cara Mertes from Sundance Institute Doc Program, Rebecca Lichtenfeld and Jen Robinson from Bertha Foundation, Jon Alexander from National Trust, James Sadri from Greenpeace, plus Tricia Finneran, Liz Manne and Sandi DuBowski and 14 eager participants drawn from the worlds of film, documentary, campaigning, science and management. The course covered everything from change theory to budgeting, power analysis to team building and we also found time to go on coastal walks, re-enact the Battle of Maldon around the bonfire and release Chinese lanterns.

The fruits of everyone's work will be gathered into a series of free online modules to be released in 2014. 

Check out our Facebook page for atmospheric photos.

Areas covered in the course

  • Strategy - identifying appropriate scope and goals, theory of change, assess strength and weaknesses
  • Devise - detailed bespoke plan for outreach and engagement, including media, PR and partnership plan
  • Budget - realistic costs for short and long term impact work
  • Fundraise - identifying potential financing options, how to apply and what different funders want
  • Execute - guide to team building, execution of partnerships and collaborations with distributors; online and social media as well as live events
  • Evaluate - choose or invent most appropriate way to measure and report impact achieved

Application & Selection

The course runs from November 30th - December 4th 2012

We are looking to work with established professionals from the worlds of film, campaigning, journalism, politics and marketing and PR. A diverse mix of experience and expertise of the participants will enhance the course.

If you are interested please click on the button on the right and put in a very short application, which will ask you to:

  • Tell us why you want to be considered
  • Upload your CV
  • Upload a short film about you - we want to know a bit about you, how you've come to where you are, and what you want to learn from us

Don't panic about the video - you can film it on your phone, on your computer, on a flipcam. It's not production values we're after, we just want to get to know you!

  • We will interview a shortlist of the best candidates and select 12 people to take part
  • Successful candidates will be required to contribute £400 (inc. VAT) towards the course costs

Course Structure

  • Participants will be sent required pre-reading and films to watch before the course begins
  • The course is residential over four days in Southern England
  • This is not classroom teaching but highly interactive and participatory combining keynote presentations with discussions, teamwork and group analysis of case studies
  • Invited leaders from law, human rights, activism, campaigning, social media and film will join the participants; the calibre of the group will mean that by sharing experience the group will build new models of best practice
  • The course culminates in the group creation of an Impact Campaign for a real film; equivalent to a 24 hour ‘hackathon’, the entire cohort will divide into teams to create a strategy and campaign paper, draft budget and fundraising and evaluation plan and pitch

This programme is supported by The Bertha Foundation

The programme is funded by Creative Skillset as part of their 3-year Film Skills Strategy, A Bigger Future 2
 

"Film distribution businesses and the way in which Producers approach their distribution strategies are continually evolving through a competitive marketplace and changing technologies. Documentary feature films with defined target audiences can hugely benefit from DIY distribution, and BRITDOC have quite rightly highlighted the need for advanced project and event management and PR skills, stemming from a sophisticated and often time-consuming strategy to reach maximum impact. This programme will provide the opportunity for marketing and film professionals to pool their individual strengths and examine what works best and why, lending itself as an innovative model of best practice."
Dan Simmons
Head of Film at Creative Skillset