HOW IS HAPPEN FILMS FUNDED?

How do you make ends meet?

This is a question we’re often asked when people learn we choose not to take conventional funding routes and make most of our films free to view.

Happen Films is funded in four ways: Patreon supporters; YouTube ad revenue; our Store; philanthropic funding of major projects. Because we’re often asked this question, we’ve gone into more detail about each of those on the FAQS page.

How are funds used?

If you’re considering donating to Happen Films, you’re probably interested to know how your money will be used. Is the way we run Happen Films aligned with the messages in our films? Or do we spend money on fancy gear, cars, and nights on the town? 🙂 This is a summary of our major expenses:

Film and computer gear. We operate with a fairly limited range of film gear and prioritise buying secondhand for all of our tech, except for hard drives. The conflict between our films’ messages and the high energy/mining/waste involved in creating the gear we use is not lost on us and each purchase is thoughtfully made. (If you’re in film yourself and have a geeky interest in the gear we use, we’ve added the list on the FAQS page.)

Our wages. Currently we pay ourselves what is considered in New Zealand a fairly low wage, but as we choose to live simply this works just fine. We’re fortunate to have a very reasonable rent on our little home; we have a small veggie garden; we buy most of our stuff secondhand, etc. Choosing a more simple lifestyle means we don’t need to fund a great deal beyond the necessities, and we can make our low-budget films without needing to compromise on content and quality in order to acquire funding.

Contractors. Whenever possible we pay people to work with us, contracting out editing, or seeking help from experts to develop our direction, marketing, or business administration.

Subscriptions. Online platforms that enable the maintenance of this website, cloud file storage, plus our accounting programme and all that fairly boring stuff, which inevitably mounts up!

Shoots. Hitting the road to make our short films, we travel by van so that accommodation is low-cost, and we take a veritable pantry of food on board to maintain our zero-waste approach. We’ve limited our personal flying to once per year to visit family in Australia, while decisions about flying for a major film project are thoughtfully made and kept to the minimum.

The Future

We’re looking forward to a time when we can offer meaningful paid employment to two to three more people on the Happen Films team, enabling us to reach our goal of releasing a new film every month.  It’s that old Catch-22 – to offer paid employment we need to be releasing more films so that we’re raising more funds; to release more films we need more people alongside us taking up some of the workload. We think we’re getting there though, so watch this space!

Photos by Wild Feet Productions