Filmmakers and funders need each other more than ever. Filmmakers spend years of their lives creating powerful stories that let viewers slip into the skins of people they don’t know but come to care about, and these filmmakers need support to tell such high-impact stories. Funders bring tremendous knowledge, networks, analytical skills, money and other resources to social change efforts. They need powerful stories to put human faces on the issues they work on, because doing so helps influence public will.

When the conditions are right, a successful partnership can blossom. But if the conditions are wrong, and funders and filmmakers don’t understand each other and haven’t communicated their expectations in advance, the results can be disastrous. Active Voice has found that most sources of friction between filmmakers and funders revolve around three essential areas:

 Visions and Expectations
 Roles and Participation
 Business and Legal Issues


We didn’t choose the term Prenups accidentally. We’ve learned that both parties need language and guidelines in order to understand each other’s goals, standards, values and expectations—before they tie the knot. There are many kinds and levels of collaboration possible. Whatever role you play in a funder-filmmaker relationship, the Prenups can help to establish whether you and your partners see “eye to eye.”

Download The Prenups

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