My First Grant, Thanks RACC!

Last month, I took a trip to Santa Monica to attend American Film Market. This was made possible by a Professional Development Grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council. Hooray, my first grant! Here’s a short Audreality episode about the trip, as well as the answers to my RACC exit survey.


In terms of your original goals, evaluate the successes of this Professional Development opportunity.

My goal was multi-faceted. I wanted to pitch a film, but also wanted to learn more about the ins and outs of the business-side of filmmaking, and grow my network of industry connections. The overall experience was a raging success, and I am happy to share details for whomever might be curious…

Before the trip, I prepared some colorful marketing materials. It provides a bio and a brief overview of Audreality. It also incorporates some of my paintings, quotes, photos, and the title of my manuscript, “Welcome to Audreality: 30 Years of Trips, Slips, and One Major Faceplant.” It further summarizes my current endeavor, a screen-adaptation of the book (above), called MONTAVILLAINS.

Meanwhile, I wrote, memorized, recorded and submitted a 2-minute pitch for AFM‘s on-stage pitch conference. These activities were valuable in-and-of themselves.

What were the unforeseen challenges and lessons learned from this Professional Development grant?

The first official goal took a major hit at orientation. That’s when the man at the microphone called for everyone who came to AFM with a “prime-for-screen-adaptation manuscript or book.” My hand, along with about fifty others in the room, shot up proudly.

“You all need to go home and adapt that script yourself.”

That it didn’t stop me from achieving the secondary goals of learning a few things, and expanding my network. Plus, it put gas in my tank for a tertiary goal, to get past a mysterious creative blockage. I even had someone pretty to point my camera at! We had oodles of fun, often laughing until tears streamed down our faces, but the person was – at times – challenging to deal with.

Apart from all that, it turns out much of the effort that goes into “working the AFM” happens once the market is over. That’s when the follow-up discussions happen. I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of my AFM-related due diligence.

If your final expenditures differed significantly from your initial budget, please explain.

Looking back at my original application essays, I set out on this mission as a solo endeavor. I ended up bringing a friend aka “social security blanket,” which meant the airfare was twice as much. However, since this person paid for half of our Lyft rides throughout the week, my net cost for this decision (in dollars) was under $50. While my financial expenses were predictable, the additional work/emotional labor of bringing a friend was not accounted for.

Feedback on overall grant process:

I’m thrilled with the outcome of the Professional Development Grant, the trip, and grateful for the experience and knowledge gained along the way. Plus, in the week that followed, I made zippy little Audreality episode about the adventure, busting through my so-called creative blockage. I’m also looking forward to making continued professional use of the marketing materials. For now I’ll be finishing my script, and it will be the ONLY thing I’m bringing along with me to AFM next year. Thank you, RACC!

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