10+ Film Proposal Templates for Your Project

Writing a proposal for a movie, documentary or feature film almost always holds the goal of attracting sponsorship from investors or various recognized organizations. If you are an aspiring filmmaker hoping to attract film grants, then an organized well-written 8-10 pages of the proposal is your best chance at scoring the funds, because let’s get real. Without funds, there is little chance of showcasing your talent in film-making, among many others who have the same goal and dreams as you. No money, no movie.

Sometimes film students, especially those who opt to go for the documentary aren’t always sure who their intended audience is. They tend to struggle with what a proposal should contain, or how far or long they think the whole process would take. You may also see Event Proposal Template.

How to Write a Documentary Proposal


Screenplay and Structure

A good story can only take you so far. Vision is good but it isn’t enough to get an investor because you also have to show them that you are more than capable of structuring a good screenplay. You can have your screenplay written in a condensed form, giving the reader a general idea. It doesn’t have to be the whole thing. If they are interested, you can always give them the complete version, moving forward. You may also see Film Budget Template

Film Proposal Production


Keeping a strong sense of structure and firm vision is very important. It helps you keep your film always on track and makes for a visually compelling, believable proposal. In short, you need to have that distinct voice to separate you from the flock. In an interview of one film school with the Sundance Institute, a member said: “The secret to a good application is to somehow be able to translate that cinematic voice into the language of the application.”

You have to remember that there are thousands of other applicants submitting these proposals templates. Treat this as your college application. A make or break run for the stars and a great shot, all pun intended, to the film industry. Your storytelling should also be transformed into words because like it or not, you’re selling yourself and a project in the proposal you’re about to submit. You may also see Film Movie Budget Templates.

Film Proposal


Preparatory Writing

This is a stage and your proposal where you’re still actually figuring out what theme, what character, what type of people, who they should represent, their fight, the whole context. Allow yourself to explore them all and where, why and how you are going to approach this. It will also help you determine the techniques you would want to use and adapt. You may also see Screenplay Outline Template

Ask yourself the right questions. Who are your subjects? What type of situations do you aim to cover? Ergo, preparatory writing is brainstorming and you don’t have to go into the specifics before you can even begin to write. Just try to let your vision flow and hold that picture and your head so that you have something tangible to start on. Let it take shape on its own and do the mathematics later.

Film Proposal for Grants



Many writers because of what may be a lack of experience, often confuse synopsis with treatment. They actually serve different purposes and therefore, are different tools. A synopsis is a short telling of what happens on screen, in a written form. The important elements, like your characters, reactions, actions, and storyline are described here, from start to finish. It must be written chronologically which is to say, which events are occurring in your story. Even though your synopsis should only be 200-250 words tops, it should already have a cinematic appeal, because, above all, this is your selling point. It is important to get the reader hooked from beginning to end, in reading your complete script.

Documentary Film Proposal Checklist


A synopsis should be long enough to fit in all the good in your story, but short enough to be finished reading in five minutes’ time. If it is too short, you’ll leave the people hanging and if it is too long, you will lose out on their interest. Keep tabs on the length of your synopsis. Like your screenplay, this should also be written in the present tense and in the third person. Be consistent and don’t keep switching or you’ll confuse the reader. Tell, don’t show or explain the story. Start from the beginning until you reach the end. You don’t have to use cinematic transitions. Just try to connect the narrative as to place, time, character and tie it in a compelling sequence.

While brevity is good, don’t sacrifice the juice.



Treatments which some also refer to as outline, map out the film story, mostly as a prerequisite before writing the full screenplay. Hollywood filmmaker James Cameron is known for writing what he calls “scriptments” which is made of up over seventy pages or more. The length isn’t necessarily more important than the purpose, in the hopes that the writer would spot the errors early on, to have a better, more polished script. If you were trained or if you prefer to write your treatment in paragraphs like most do, rather than screenplay form, it should be okay because there really are no hard and fast rules as to how you should present it.

Video Project Film Proposal Form


Think about the strong points of your film. If it is aesthetically appealing, then use it to your treatment’s advantage. Emphasize all important access you have gained in the whole application and treatment process. It is also very important to present your sample footage with the tone and mood intended on your film. Even in the early stages of the proposal, make sure that you show them your knack and art for storytelling.

Writing a Film Proposal


Know your audience and do your research. Oftentimes, a proposal. This is also the case with those wanting to submit to a specific investor or producer. Try to read about what the kind of work they have already done in the past because this would help you with the material. Screenwriters and fledgling filmmakers often forget who they are writing for. In this case, writing a treatment will help you analyze small problems and determine which ideas are worth developing into something tangible and which ones are hopeless cases.

Tell the story but focus on the highlights. The goal is to tie up these stories with a sound understanding of what your audience wants to see. Even if you are not really looking to start a career in screenwriting, as someone who wants to be a full-fledged part of the film industry, your skills in writing a good treatment will be an advantage to any point in the creative process. This is also as good a marketing tool as your screenplay.

Documentary Film Proposal about Women


Check Errors

As usual, it is important to double check or even triple check for grammatical errors. A misspelled word, a misplaced comma could cost you your chance of a film grant. In this situation, you cannot afford to even miss a single thing, no matter how little. Your manuscript won’t be bothered with if it is also too long. Remember that it could be the tenth or even the hundredth one hat they are checking. It is important to keep the reader in his seat, reading and going over what you have submitted early on. It takes seconds to hook a reader into a story. Don’t lose that chance.

Be your own judge at first. If something doesn’t look right, this is no time to second guess so you should go right ahead and correct it. If it doesn’t look right to you, what makes you think the one you will submit it to would even waste their time? Fix anything while you still can but don’t over analyze. It should help you weed out what’s unnecessary.

Video and Film Proposal


Do Your Pitch, Sell Your Project

Do your thing. If you aren’t ready for this, no amount of rewriting can fix it. You have to believe in your vision to make it believable to others. Tell the story to yourself over and over again and while you’re writing that proposal, bear in mind that every paragraph is an opportunity to assert yourself and your story. Make it memorable while you’re at it.

Should you make your proposal general even with the highlights of the story included? Maybe. Should you reveal your ending? Absolutely. People remember first and last lines of movies and novels. You are writing your proposal. Make it unforgettable while you’re at it.

Film Proposal on Music


Don’t forget that you have to make a pitch. Make your pitch but do not align or relate your project to the most iconic films in history. While it’s a good thing to show your recognition and respect for the likes of Coppola, Hitchcock, Burton and so many other Hollywood filmmaker royalty, it’s still better to shy away from the pack and stand by your own vision. Selling yourself and your project is the idea. Not selling yourself short. Make sure you know the difference. You may also see Advertising Budget Templates

Sell yourself and your project in every paragraph because you’ve got competition by the thousands.


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