Creative Cluster

StoryFutures Creative Cluster creates and helps fund R&D projects with creative businesses in the 'Gateway Cluster region' immediately to London's west.

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Academy

StoryFutures Academy delivers cutting edge training in immersive technology and immersive storytelling for the traditional screen industries nationwide.

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Production Booster Funding

Production Booster funding is for applications of up to £20,000 and is intended to support advanced projects that are entering or already in production, which already have significant project funding/resource attached to them, and which offer significant learning opportunities which can be fed back into the StoryFutures Academy programme. Priority is given to projects that have come through StoryFutures Academy training programmes, however, at our discretion, we may consider UK-based projects coming from elsewhere, which offer these opportunities. Priority is also given to those which offer on-the-job learning opportunities for those from the screen industries (film, television and games).

The current call is now open.

Applications for Production Booster funding close on November 15th 2019 at midnight.

Apply for Production Booster Funding

Application Criteria

Support will only be provided where the applicant can demonstrate that the project is deliverable for the money requested within a defined time period, and where the project specifically addresses the criteria set out below.

All proposals should seek to:

  • innovate in terms of story form or format, enabled by immersive technologies (i.e. VR, AR, MR and immersive sound technology)
  • draw on known audience behaviours, insights and trends
  • define a target demographic and route to that audience via either footfall or digital reach

In this context, immersive technologies refer to:

  • Virtual reality (VR)
  • Augmented reality (AR)
  • Mixed reality (MR)
  • Immersive sound technology

This may include Head Mounted Display (HMD) technology, as well as experiences that don’t require an HMD (such as mobile AR, or projection displays). Immersive sound technology includes use of spatial sound or other augmented audio techniques. Audio-only projects are eligible.

Please note that, while you are free to choose whichever technology or platform best suits your creative idea, StoryFutures Academy is particularly interested in supporting projects that have delivery platforms and distribution methods that are able to reach wide audiences.

Research and Training Criteria

1. StoryFutures Academy Production Booster funded projects are focused on supporting projects which demonstrate a key area of storytelling innovation and learning that can be used to help train future participants in StoryFutures Academy activities. For example, this could focus on one or more of the following:

  • An innovation in storyform, interaction design, user experience etc.
  • The creative application of new production or technical approaches
  • Novel business and distribution models

2. Production Booster funded projects are also expected to provide access to a final piece that will allow for SFA to do meaningful audience insight research via qualitative or quantitative means. This insight may be shared or published for academic or training purposes.

3. Whilst not essential to the application, we will look favorably on projects that can demonstrate that they provide an on-the-job learning or skill development opportunity for screen industry talent (i.e. experienced professional(s) from the film, TV or games industries) in making their first immersive experiences. This is in line with StoryFutures Academy’s remit of supporting the existing screen industries in exploring immersive storytelling. Please note that we will ask for a high level Learning Log to be completed by these individuals.

4. Applicants must commit to engaging collaboratively with StoryFutures Academy support programmes to include, at minimum:

  • Participating in a project kickoff meeting with a StoryFutures Academy producer, who will discuss your project and advise on other forms of support available
  • Participate in an Audience Research Planning session with members of the StoryFutures Academy research team, who can advise on audience insight gathering and help advise on future research opportunities for your project

Other Criteria

  • SFA Production Booster Funding is intended as ‘top up’ funding to help projects through to completion. Applications must demonstrate that they have secured at least 50% of the total project financing/resource from other sources (in cash or in kind) needed to complete the project. SFA will not act as the sole funder for any project and will not provide funding for any project greater than 50% of the total budget. Applications must declare any other parties contributing finance or in-kind support to the project, including the amount(s) and terms of these contributions
  • A full and detailed project budget, timetable and distribution plan must be submitted alongside the application form
  • In circumstances where the project funding is contingent on match funding being awarded (i.e. where SFA funding may unlock further match funding), or where the 50% threshold is not yet met, SFA may issue a conditional offer of funding at our discretion if there is a clear justification and a realistic funding route is presented (e.g. you are awaiting a decision from another funder) which should be made clear in your application form. Such an offer will be time limited and subject to additional funds being secured
  • All named participants must be able to demonstrate their track record through a substantial body of work and/or a considerable number of screen (or production, performance or equivalent) credits with demonstrable ability to drive a project through production to delivery
  • Applicants and all team members must be 18+
  • Applications must be made by or through a company registered and centrally managed in the UK
  • Development work must be completed and the grant paid within 12 months of the date of the agreement
  • Applicants can submit as a collaborative team but there must be a lead individual/company that will contract with StoryFutures Academy (the only company that will be paid) it is the responsibility of the lead company to arrange any collaborative agreements or subcontracts as necessary
  • Applicants must secure the rights (including any underlying rights) in any proposed idea. Proof of this will need to be provided
  • Applicants are expected to grant StoryFutures Academy the use of anonymised data related to the project in academic and industry-facing research publications

All development funding is awarded under a standard Development Funding Agreement which will be sent to you at a later date. This agreement is templated and non-negotiable.

Eligible Costs

  • Time for the named producers on the project
  • Creative and development costs (e.g. writers, technical development)
  • Equipment and studio hire
  • Equipment purchase (up to a maximum of 20% of total costs applied for)
  • Residency fees to support producers working in relevant collaborative environments
  • Expertise and consultancy

Commitment to Diversity

StoryFutures Academy is committed to supporting storytellers from a range of diverse backgrounds to work with immersive technology. This includes a commitment to reach a minimum of 50% female and 20% BAME participants across our programmes. Applications will be asked to set out the gender and ethnic make-up of their teams with reference to these targets. We will take a portfolio approach to applications, ensuring that across supported projects this target is met.

StoryFutures Academy is also committed to making its initiatives as accessible as possible. If you have a disability, or are yourself a carer, you are entitled to apply for a bursary to cover additional expenses related to these needs that you may incur as a result of taking part in a StoryFutures Academy programme (such as special assistance arrangements). Please contact immersive@nfts.co.uk for more information.

Application Judging Criteria

Applications are judged by a panel of StoryFutures Academy staff, however external specialists may also be consulted in some circumstances. All applications are treated in confidence, and judged against the following criteria:

  • Innovation in storyform – is the idea creatively innovative and does it provide a compelling use of immersive technologies?
  • Training opportunities – does the project represent a compelling case study from which others may learn? (this could focus on one or more of: the innovation in storyform, new production/technical approaches, business and distribution models)
  • Appropriate team skills – are there appropriate team members and skills attached to the project?
  • Audience – has the application shown good understanding of the target audience and a realistic understanding of how they can be reached?
  • Value for Money – is the budget proposed reasonable with respect to the deliverables?
  • Deliverability – are the deliverables appropriate and achievable in the time frame, for the proposed budget?
  • Additional resource – does the application show appropriate additional/resource from other funding sources?
  • Commitment to diversity – has the application considered StoryFutures Academy’s diversity commitment within its team where possible?
  • Additional on-the-job learning opportunities for Screen Industry talent – are there opportunities within this project? (Please note this criteria is not essential, however it is an advantage in the case of borderline applications)

StoryFutures Academy will take a portfolio approach to applications, and the judging process will look to ensure a variety of projects of different forms.

Deliverables

Your team’s contribution back into the StoryFutures Academy programme is expected to take the form of:

  • A written case study and accompanying behind the scenes video to explain the key learnings, to be published via StoryFutures Academy channels
  • Collaboration with StoryFutures Academy trainers to deliver a dedicated Masterclass/workshop on the topic of interest
  • Participation in other StoryFutures Academy initiatives such as industry panels or labs

The above is expected to be equivalent to approximately 10 days of effort from individuals on the project, over 3 years. This can be split between different members of the team.

Additional deliverables include:

  • A demonstration of the outcome of the Production Booster funded project to members of the StoryFutures Academy team
  • A build of the immersive prototype or final piece, in a format which can that can be previewed and tested in StoryFutures Academy Immersive Labs (wherever possible) and which can be used to conduct audience testing
  • A copy of the associated marketing/concept material generated for the project (e.g. trailer and stills)

Where opportunities for on-the-job learning of screen industries talent have been identified:

  • A high-level Learning Log summarising the outcomes of the project, detailing key lessons learned, to be completed by the individuals concerned. This should include a summary of the results of any creative, technical or audience testing that has been carried out. A template will be provided.

Decisions will be communicated by email by the end of Friday 6th December.

Apply for Production Booster Funding