GRANTS: STUDENT PRODUCTION GRANTS
Gold Circle Award Winners 2015 Past Recipients  

Grants are now open to all students enrolled in an accredited school:

Purpose of the Grants: To assist worthy students in completing their student thesis film, TV program, video or interactive projects. The award will provide completion money after other means of fundraising have been exhausted. This program is intended to combat the lack of diversity in content and creative people in our industry.

Rationale for the Grants: The Caucus recognizes its responsibility to take action to promote diversity behind the camera in our industry. We look to the accredited film, television, media programs at our universities and colleges as the source of the talented writers, directors and producers of the future. While scholarships are becoming more and more plentiful, support for students in completing their portfolio project is scarce. These projects serve as a calling card for entry in the industry. Further, the selection and identification process will, of itself, validate and recognize young talent and provide a source of mentors as they make the transition from student to industry professional.

Eligibility: Applicants must be registered in an accredited undergraduate or graduate degree program that requires the student to complete a thesis film, television program, video or interactive project for their degree and must be either the producer or director of the film. Applicant must also be a US Citizen.

Submissions: May be a structured film as currently understood, or TV Program of any genre i.e. game show, reality program, situation comedy, variety program, documentary or any commonly produced form in contemporary broadcasting including webisodes.

Criteria for selection for an Award:

  1. Demonstrated financial need. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds will be given extra consideration.
  2. The creative strength of the project as determined by the selection committee.
  3. The completeness and feasibility of the production plan.
  4. The completeness and reliability of the financing plan. Additional weight will be given to students who have demonstrated diligence in fundraising from other sources including in-kind contributions.
Amount of Award: The award can range from $1,000 to a maximum of $10,000 based on the completion needs of the individual project. However, no one grant can amount to more than 40% of the amount awarded at that session.

Timing of Awards: Awards will be made twice a year in Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter.

Application Procedure: Students must submit all materials by May 1st for a Spring/Summer grant and January 15th for a Winter grant. Apply online at http://goo.gl/forms/qkDISJPfFE. Information necessary to apply online will be:
  1. Application
  2. Storyline Synopsis or Program Idea (2-3 sentences)
  3. A Final Script, TV Production Script or Treament for Documentary
  4. Final Budget
  5. Current Expenditure & Costs to complete budget
  6. Financing Plan
  7. Shooting/Post Schedule
  8. Crew list and Student Status of each
  9. Rough Cut on a video file (H.264 format). Since the grant is to assist in completion monies for your film, a rough cut is required.
  10. Applicant Statement of Intention
  11. Proof of Financial need
  12. Faculty/Mentor Letter of Support on letterhead
Transfer of Funds: Funds or in-kind services will be transferred to the student based upon certification by the teacher/mentor that agreed upon markers have been reached (i.e. start of principal photography, completion of photography, locked cut or delivery of answer print or program status, pre-production, post production, editing, sweetening, mix).

Prints: Award winners must supply the Caucus Foundation with three DVDs of the completed/final project AND a video file (H.264 format) which the Caucus will be able to screen at Caucus or Caucus Foundation events.

Credit: The Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors Foundation and any other Endowment/Named Fund will have a credit on the film as a financial supporter in size and prominence compatible with its contribution to the total funding.

Application Information: http://goo.gl/forms/qkDISJPfFE

Compression Guidelines for Rough Cuts: Codec: H.264: Caucus accepts most major video codecs, but for best results we recommend using H.264. If you're uploading High Definition (HD) video, choose the High Profile H.264 setting instead of Main Profile.

Advanced H.264 settings: To make your uploads extra smooth, choose the following advanced settings whenever possible.
  • Closed GOP
  • CABAC (to reduce your file size)
  • Codecs that will not work: G2M2, G2M3, Canopus HQ
  • Frame rate: 24, 25, or 30 FPS (Constant): frame rates of 24 (or 23.976), 25, and 30 (or 29.97). It's best to encode your final video at the same frame rate as your footage. If there is an option for key frames, choose the same value you used for frame rate. Important: Always choose "constant" frame rate instead of "variable" frame rate.
  • Bit rate: 2,000 - 5,000 kbit/s (SD) / 5,000 - 10,000 kbit/s (720p HD) : Bit rate (aka data rate) controls both the visual quality of the video and its file size. In most video editors, this is measured in kilobits per second (kbit/s). When you have the option, choose a "variable" bit rate and set the target to at least 2,000 kbit/s for standard definition (SD) video or 5,000 kbit/s for HD.
  • Resolution: 640 pixels wide (SD) or 1280 pixels wide (HD): Common resolutions for SD video include 640 x 480 px (4:3 aspect ratio) and 640 x 360 px (16:9 aspect ratio). The most common setting for HD video is 1280 x 720 px (16:9 aspect ratio). 1920 x 1080 px is the most common resolution for 1080p video.

Audio Settings:

Audio Codec: AAC-LC (Advanced Audio Codec) For best results, we recommend using AAC-LC (low complexity) for the audio codec.

Data rate: 320 kbit/s For best results, encode your audio at constant rate of 320 kbit/s.

Sample rate: 48 kHz For best results, set your audio sample rate to 48 kHz. If your working setting is already less than or equal to 48 kHz, leave it as is.

Inquiries: For speed of response we strongly urge that questions or inquiries be directed to the Foundation at foundation@caucusfoundation.org.


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