Mediamaker FAQs

What is the timeline?

  • 2021 Applications Open: Monday, January 4, 2021
  • 2021 Applications Close: Sunday, February 14, 2021
  • 2021 Fellows announced: April 2021
What is the commitment required during the fellowship?

BAVC MediaMaker Fellowship is a ten-month-long program. Applicants must commit to being an active participant in all five in-person or virtual convenings Under normal cirumstances this would be two convenings in the Bay Area, one virtual convening, and two industry festivals or conferences. Fellows are also encouraged to participate in the five informal convenings furin interim months. Receipt of the $10,000 in funds is contingent upon attendance at all ievents, except in cases of emergency or when prior permission has been obtained. More than two unexcused or unannounced absences may result in a reduction of funds.

In-person or virtual convenings will each be three full or 6 half days long respectively. The bi-monthly informal check-ins will be two to three hours.

Please note that in light of the pandemic, the Fellowship schedule has had become more fluid, and flexible, to accommodate the ever-changing needs of the Fellows, adapt to the changing festival landscape, and adhere to best practices for the health and safety of our communtites.

Additionally, applicants must commit to citing BAVC Media along with other major funders of the project that they develop through the Fellowship (such as in project credits or in any “About,” “Funders,” or “Sponsors” page of a project web site) with BAVC Media logo and link; and may also be asked to participate in the production of a short promotional case study video about their project (with assistance from a BAVC Media-trained filmmaker) or contribute to a blog post. These commitments are all designed to “help us help you” as a Fellow, and we frequently use these materials to gain exposure opportunities for your project at conferences, public forums, funder presentations, and other events.

Do I have to complete my film during the year of my Fellowship?

Not necessarily. We hope that the Fellowship will help you make great progress with your project, and that what you learn, as well as the relationships you form, will help guide not only your current project, but also your career and future creative work. At the final culminating event in San Francisco, participants share something of what their trajectory has been over the course of their Fellowship: where they began the year, how the project changed through the MediaMaker, how the Fellow’s creative process has influenced where the project is now, where it is headed, and what support is still needed to reach that next stage.

Can more than one person from a team participate?

No. BAVC Media only has the resources to support one person from each project accepted to the program. This person should be the applicant to the Fellowship and should have creative control over the project. We ask applicants to identify additional project partners in the application to get a better sense of the team the applicant has surrounded themselves with or of possible future collaborators and supporters of the project.

How will travel and lodging be managed for traveling participants?

BAVC Media will provide all traveling participants with stipends in advance of events to cover airfare and/or other transportation costs but Fellows are responsible for making their own travel arrangements. BAVC Media will make arrangements for lodging and will secure registration to industry events as needed. Lodging will be provided for Fellows for all events; Bay Area-based filmmakers will have lodging provided at industry events.

Please note that at the moment, due to the pandemic BAVC Media is abstaining from travel and in-person gatherings. Going into 2021 we plan to follow best practices and make decisions that center the safety and well-being of our Fellows as well as the communities we are a part of.

What will happen at the industry events?

Fellows will be provided with all access passes to all programming. They will also be provided with an itinerary that balances pre-arranged networking and workshop opportunities with unscheduled time to experience the events.

What are the geographic limits for eligibility?

There are no geographic limits for eligibility save that applicants live in and are residents of the United States. The cohort will most likely consist of five Bay Area-based Fellows and five Fellows from outside the Bay Area.

Are previous MediaMaker Fellows participants eligible to apply?

No. In the past we have allowed Alum working on their second major project to apply but we have decided to definitively make room for more Fellows and instead support Alum through extended programming and other support.

What stage of the project should an applicant have attained before submitting?

A work sample of some kind is expected and it is preferable that projects have 60 to 80% of their production completed, but there is no requirement that you have a film at a rough cut stage before applying for a MediaMaker Fellowship. During the COVID-19 pandemic, BAVC Media is relaxing these suggestions and considering projects that may have been forced to stall production or are otherwise further from completing production than we would normally prefer.

The application suggests that I have some funding secured for my project before applying. What counts as secured funding?

Application reviewers want to see that your project has the ability to draw funding and move forward to completion. If you are the only person who has invested in your project to date, it may put you at a disadvantage compared to other applicants. However, if your project has no other funders and the budget is small, or if you have already completed a strong work sample for your project without obtaining other funding, reviewers will take those factors into consideration, so lack of funding is not necessarily a disqualifying point for an otherwise compelling work-in-progress.

Do I have to have a fiscal sponsor to apply?

No. The MediaMaker Fellowship is an in-kind package of training, services, equipment and facilities, consultation, and support. The $10,000 stipend is for Fellows and is not itself a grant. If you are accepted to the MediaMaker program and need a fiscal sponsor in order to obtain other grants, BAVC Media will consider you for fiscal sponsorship.

Who is on the review committee?

The review panel for the MediaMaker Fellowship is a mix of external industry experts such as funders, broadcasters, technologists, programmers, along with BAVC Media staff and board members. Panelists are required to disclose all conflicts of interest and sign a statement abstaining from reviewing any application for projects that they already have a relationship with. The roster of panelists are revealed when the selection of Fellows are announced.

What are my chances?

Last year, any given application had around a 10% chance of being selected. Those odds change every year based on many factors. This year, applications will go through several rounds of review including a final panel that will select eight filmmakers and projects for 2021. In addition to the eligibility requirements and judging criteria, reviewers are asked to consider factors, such as the diversity of applicants and projects, and to recommend a strong overall slate.

The question to ask of yourself as an applicant is: is the Fellowship the right opportunity for my project at this time in its lifecycle?

What should I submit for my work sample?

The work sample is a chance for applicants to share their approach to visual storytelling. Work from the proposed project is required and all samples must be hosted online. If the sample is password-protected for privacy, please clearly state the password in the first line of the description field, along with any other relevant information.

How long should my work sample be?

Work samples should be no longer than ten minutes.

How can I prepare to apply before applications are open?

BAVC Media uses the Documentary Core Application, in order to help streamline the application process for all applicants. You can use this checklist to help you begin to prepare your materials for this and other opportunities.

You should expect to find a few additional (and important) questions on the application that are specific to the BAVC MediaMaker Fellowship. To prepare we suggest that you consider:

  • what you hope to learn or gain through your year as a Fellow
  • how you foresee the experience contributing to your professional and creative development
  • what you see yourself contributing as a member of the BAVC MediaMaker community and an active participant in the Fellowship (supporting the other Fellows as they support you)
  • what experiences, professional and personal, and what creative point-of-view, you might bring to the table as a Fellow