Application Tips and FAQs

General Tips

It’s FILM 5 (all caps, space between ‘FILM’ and ‘5’).

If relevant, include what your personal connection is to the project. It makes a more compelling case for the jury if they know why YOU need to make this film right now!

Proofread or even better, get someone else to read your application! At the very least print it out and read it over before submitting. Typos and spelling errors don’t give a good impression; so make sure you read things over.

Make it consistent! Applications that have a consistent font or style look good.

One page equals one screen minute. While this is not exact science, it’s a good guide. You could also think in terms of how many pages a day you will have to shoot. In general your script should not be longer than 7 pages.

Formatting counts! The more professional your script looks the more favorable an impression it will make. There are programs to help you with proper screenplay format like celtx:

FILM 5 shoots have a limited shooting time and run according to industry guidelines in terms of breaks and mealtimes. There is only so much you can accomplish in a short time frame. Adding extra challenges to your script, while not impossible, will mean that you have less time to devote to working with your crew and your actors. Some challenges to consider avoiding when you write are: multiple locations, stunts or action sequences, nudity or sexuality, kids, animals, exterior night scenes, and guns. There are examples of FILM 5 films that have included one or more of these challenges, but it often meant that the team had to rewrite their script on the spot because they ran out of time.

You can raise extra money on your own if you so choose. There are a few federal and provincial sources to check out. Most you need to apply for in advance as they take several months to get back to you. In order to receive the green-light to go ahead with your film, you need to have external funding confirmed.  Also, if you plan to use the ACTRA training agreement, your financing cannot exceed $10,000 cash (that includes the $8000 that the program gives you).

Canada Council for the Arts – Grants to Film and Video Artists
Deadline: Oct. 1st

Arts Nova Scotia Funding- Grants to Individuals
Deadline: December 15

Aug. 31st

If you plan to raise money on your own check out sites that help you gather donations from family and friends (and interested strangers). Again, remember that you’d need your campaign to be over before your film shoot (March/April) so that you’ll have the money you need for production.

Indie Go Go



Do I have to be a member of AFCOOP to apply to FILM 5?
No. The program is open to the public. Once you are in Phase II one member of your team will need to become a Full Member of AFCOOP, but there will be time to do this within the program.

I’m a director, looking for a producer to apply with. Where can I find someone?
Come to one of the FILM 5 info sessions and introduce yourself to other attendees who may be looking for collaborators. Attend other AFCOOP functions like our party during the Atlantic Film Festival to meet people. Post on AFCOOP’s facebook wall. Email a bit about yourself and your project to to be included in AFCOOP’s BIG email newsletter.

Can I act in my FILM 5 film?
No. You can’t hold any other role in your production other than producer, director or writer. We feel that having the experience of holding one role is valuable and challenging enough!

Can I be a student and be in FILM 5?
No. You cannot be a full time student while in FILM 5. The time commitment necessary for the program is too great to be paired with full time studies. Part-time students may be considered eligible on a case-by-case basis.

Can I raise extra money outside of what’s provided?
Yes! External funding cannot exceed $10,000 and financing cannot affect ownership. The Creative Team must retain complete creative control and ownership of the project throughout the program. Also, if you plan to use the ACTRA training agreement, your TOTAL financing cannot exceed $10,000 cash (that includes the $8,000 that the program gives you).

What’s the time commitment once you are in the program?
In the Development phase you can expect to spend two weekends and 3-4 weeknights attending workshops and training sessions. All events are held after 6pm or on the weekends to allow for those who work during the day. Workshops are mandatory and failure to attend a required workshop may mean that your team is removed from the program. In the Production phase there are fewer workshops but you can expect to spend a great deal of time with your team prepping for your production. Some participants find it useful to take a week off from their day job directly before production in order to get everything in order.

—- Questions? Call 902.405.4474 Email

FILM 5 is presented with the participation of Telefilm Canada.


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