Ask Programming: Seven Criteria for Your Film Proposal

Each year, ITVS fields well over 1,000 applications for program funding. In reviewing a documentary proposal, there are seven criteria that ITVS and its peer reviewers consider in their evaluations.

As you craft your own application for funding, these are important to keep in mind.

1. What is the overall quality of the project. Is the idea well conceived? Is the subject matter compelling? Does the approach make sense as a TV program?

2. What is the quality of the treatment. Is it well written? Is the storyline clearly delineated? How does it address the visuals, structure and style?

3. Is this project innovative? Does the subject matter present an untold story? In terms of format and presentation, how does the program take creative risks?

4. What is the quality of the work-in-progress video? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the production values, presentation of characters and visual style?

5. Does the proposal identify a target audience? Will this program serve the needs and interests of an under-represented audience? Will this program appeal to a national broadcast audience? Is it an appropriate program for public television?

6. How experienced and capable is the production team? Would the team be able to produce the program on time and for the amount of funding requested?

7. How does the filmmaker demonstrate credible access and rapport with the proposed subject(s) and story?

Want to know more about ITVS policies and procedures for funding? Read past entries of Ask Programming >>

  • Osezua Stephen-Imobhio

    Thank you for this opportunity given to those of us on this part of the globe to tell our story.

  • Fabio Cavadini

    Do you fund a project that is near completion and we need post-production funds for archival copyright, music copyright, sound mix, grading and publicity?

  • Do you fund outreach and audience engagement for a film accepted by APT?

  • Hello, sorry for delay in responding. ITVS provides production funding for projects destined for broadcast on Public Television through our various initiatives. Unfortunately, we don’t provide funds for outreach, engagement, publicity, or marketing.

  • Ted Folke

    Would you fund post-production for an independent feature documentary on a UN Peacekeeping mission, or are UN subjects off-limits on PBS?