- Write a business plan. Would you give your money to a stranger or not-so-close acquittance who didn't do his homework? Have something to present to your potential donor.
- Be organized in your business plan. Present a set budget. Know why you need money and how much.
- Don't ask for $50,000 from one person. Ask for $500-1000 dollars from 50 people. Donors are more likely to give in smaller amounts.
- Set up a website where people can look at your teaser trailer. On that website set up a donations box through Paypal. If your stuff is good, strangers would love to see the rest.
- Look for and research film grants. State film commissions, non-profits, and patrons of the arts have plenty of film grants out there for the struggling filmmaker. Most are for making a documentary, but some out there do exist for narratives.
- Look for local and state tax-incentives. Tennessee just announced great tax-incentives and resources for people who make a film in their state.
- Consider in-kind donations. In-kind donations would be free food, free shooting location, free costumes, free props, anything of that sort. These are usually in exchange for promoting the service or product shown in the film. In-kind donations can cut your cost tremendously.
- Consider product placement. Don't go overboard like I Robot or Minority Report, but you could present your script to companies and marketing houses for ideas on where to put certain products. For example, Forrest Gump drinks gallons of Dr. Pepper throughout the film.
- Consider selling distribution rights in exchange for finishing funds. Hopefully, your main goal for your film is to get as many people to see it as possible. Selling distribution rights to the right company or studio grants two of your wishes.