It’s Tax Payer’s Money! 

The most important thing to keep in mind, that leads to all the other points below, is that they are handing out tax payers money! This usually means that the decision maker needs to have each grant approved by the relevant minister. So imagine someone putting your application on a desk in front of the Minister of the Arts and asking them to sign off on giving you the money you have asked for. Below I explore some implications of this reality. 

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are important because certain communities have been marginalised for far too long in the arts! Ministers handing out tax money generally want to ensure that as many tax payers as possible are served by those tax payer dollars. For creative writers, this means diversity and inclusion. The more communities your project depicts, the larger the potential audience you may attract, and the more your project will service the entire community rather than a subsection! 

Areas of Priority

Government funding agencies will usually have areas of priority funding. This will often include communities who have been under represented in the past. They will be very open about their priority areas generally! They may include rural communities, certain ethnicities, certain age groups, LGBTQI+ communities, and many other areas! If you are part of these communities make sure to flag it with them, and if you can find a way to serve these communities in your project this might be a good idea to consider! Keep in mind that it’s probably best to employ a cultural consultant if writing outside your area of expertise! 

Assemble a Good Team! 

If you can attach a great team to your application this might help to give the funding body confidence in you and your project. If you’re applying for film funding, perhaps attach a great director or producer with some excellent credits. If you’re a writer perhaps note that you are working with a great agent to find a place in the market for your work, or a great editor or publisher has come on board! 

Don’t be Disheartened!

The final thing is not to get disheartened at rejection! They will receive a vast number of applications, and will only be able to fund a tiny fraction of what comes in. Remember, if they had more funding, they’d get more applications! Always try to follow up and seek advice about how to improve your application in future. But remember, it’s better to make no impression at all than to make a bad impression! Be as polite as possible!

Oliver Adams

Letter Review was founded by Oliver Adams, who is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing, casual academic, and guest lecturer at the University of New South Wales. Oliver Adams has had short stories published in leading literary journals such as Overland, Southerly, Seizure, and TEXT. He has had novels long listed for major awards such as the KYDUMA, has received government funding to produce plays from Create NSW and screenplays from Screen NSW, and has performed / produced professional work at major theatrical venues such as the Sydney Opera House.