COMM 14***FALL 2000***J. S. LEE 

This is an exercise intended to invite you to fantasize about a project you would like to do using one or more of the media we talk about in this course. There are no limits of scale. Your fantasy may be as grand or as mean as you choose. The idea is to think of something you would like to do, commit the idea to paper, and research what would be required to actually pull it off. With that in mind, . . . . .:

Here's What You Do:

1) Come up with a project you would really like to do if you had the resources. This can be just about anything in any medium from audio to video. It can be a documentary film, an abstract audio recording, an experimental film, a CD-ROM computer game, a narrative video or film, a recording of the Tibetan symphony, something to be broadcast, or anything you have fantasized about doing in the way of media production. Scale is not important. It can be a modest recording session or a major motion picture.

Before you go any further, take a look at The Foundation Center's Proposal Writing Guide.
You might also want to take a look at the web page of  a real grantmaking organization, the Southern Humanities Media Fund.
The Pacific Islanders in Communication also solicit proposals.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has $8.6 million to give away for new media projects.

2) Write out a detailed project narrative describing the project in detail. Is it a recording? What is being recorded? How long would it be? What makes it special? Who will be involved? What are the technical requirements? What will the final product sound like? Is it a narrative video or film? What is the basic story line? How many characters are involved? Where is it set? Are special effects an important part of the project? How many people are involved in this undertaking? Come up with as much detail as you feel is necessary to give someone a good sense of what you have in mind and what will be required to pull it off. You do not need to come up with a complete script. You do need to come up with a complete description of your project.

3) Compile a list of all non personnel related needs associated with the project. This would include the purchase or lease of equipment, production facilities, supplies, presentation venues, etc. In other words go through the exercise of thinking about all the things you would have to compile or arrange for in order to actually do the project. Remember, I am looking for detail. If you wish to make a documentary film, for example, do not tell me you are going to hire a documentary filmmaker who will take care of all the details. The details are your responsibility.

4) Make a budget. Determine the cost of each item you have included in the list of needs and compile them by categories of your choosing. This is a research task and, as you may have guessed, is one of the main reasons for doing the assignment. Use trade publications, catalogues, and Internet resources to find out just what the goods and services you intend to use for your project would cost. Again, you are discouraged from quoting package deals such as "20 hours of studio time with engineers and producer." If you do choose to specify package leases you must also be very specific as to the equipment and personnel that are included with the lease. If you intend to lease a recording studio spell out the technical specifications of the studio you wish to use.

5) Write a cover letter to "The Media Fund," a fictitious agency that supplies fictitious money to deserving student projects. In the letter you should introduce yourself, summarize the project (in a paragraph), state what you want the Fund to provide, and briefly indicate why the Fund should be interested in your work. Remember, the letter is the first thing the funder sees. Make a good impression.

6] The assembled proposal must include the cover letter, a detailed project narrative, a separate budget section and any supporting material you wish to attach as appendices. In addition, because this is really an academic research project, attach a reference appendix in which you list all of your information sources. Include web sites, periodicals, correspondence, publications, advertisements and anything else you used in developing the proposal.

7) Remember. Be reasonable in your choice of projects. There is no real premium on grandiosity. The premium is on the completeness of the proposal. A well done fifteen minute video documentary will score much higher than a poorly done feature length partially animated sci-fi horror film shot on location on Mars with a cast of thousands. Take on something you can actually describe and plan for. I am not trying to suppress the scope of your dreams. I am asking you to make sure you can successfully commit the dream you have to paper.

8) Submit the proposal on time (November 30, 2000).You may use campus mail, turn them at class, or leave them at my office. Keep a copy of your work just in case some stray dog manages to break into the campus mailbox in order to eat your proposal. All work must be typed or somehow mechanically typeset on standard 8 1/2 x 11 paper. No fancy binders. I just throw them away (or keep them for myself if they are really nice).

9) Address the proposals to:

Dr. James S. Lee, Program Officer
The Media Fund
201A Bingham Hall, CB# 6235

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