Sponsorship is one of my least favorite parts of film making. I was lucky that Donna from Moonlighting Marketing Services Ltd helped construct a letter to approach companies who might be interested in sponsoring Penny Black.
In retrospect Donna’s ideas were all very creative and logical, but marketing is not an intuitive process for me so i needed it explained in intricate detail. Here’s a brief summary of her advice:
- Think of a catchy subject heading that will encourage people to click open rather than delete. Me and Joe have the fortunate last names of Jackson and Hitchcock so we put them in the subject heading.
- Briefly talk about the project.
- Imbed photos of your key creatives (don’t attach). We procrastinated about this for quite some time, but people like to see who they are sponsoring so we did it.
- Be clear about what you need and why. We are requesting products and services rather than financial sponsorship, so we might ask for, ’20 cases of drink for the cast and crew while we’re on the road’.
- Tell them what you can do for them in return. We love to spread the good word about our sponsors, and we take photos and footage of us enjoying their products, and of course we will list them in the closing credits. You can offer product placement, ask them to be extras in your movie, distribute their product, or whatever you think might appeal to a particular company.
- And lastly, add a contact number in case they want to talk to an actual person for more information.
Then make a list of potential sponsors that suit your project. Look at their website to see who they already sponsor and if they might be interested in your project, then cross your fingers and start mailing.
We only approach companies we feel a particular affinity with (for example we’re crazy about Hell Pizza and Burgerfuel, our first two sponsors), so we are genuinely excited about promoting their product or service.
I find it really hard to ask for sponsorship. Companies are inundated with sponsorship requests every day, but when they say ‘yes’ it helps stretch our film budget and reminds us that people really are keen to support independent filmmakers.