Looking for more information on applying to our Canadian, Digital or Partnership streams? Check out our frequently asked questions below.
AUDIOVISUAL STREAM VS PARTNERSHIP STREAM
What is the difference between the Audiovisual and Partnership Streams?
Simply – the Audiovisual Stream is for audiovisual programs with a focus on the Canadian audience, discoverability and market. The Partnership Stream is for audiovisual programs with a focus on a global audience and discoverability, with priority on recoupment for the Rocket Fund. A program might work for both streams, however in order for the program to begin the proposal process for the Partnership Stream, a program must meet the Partnership Stream criteria as outlined in the Guidelines.
I think my project could work for the Partnership Stream, and the Audiovisual Stream application deadline date doesn’t work for my timeline, can I apply through the Partnership Stream?
In order for a project to work for the Partnership Stream it needs to meet all of the required criteria as outlined in the Guidelines. In addition, the proposal process for the Partnership Stream is much more in-depth and requires a lot more back-and-forth between the Rocket Fund and Producer before the project can potentially be presented to the Rocket Fund board for review. The Audiovisual Stream deadline date and a project’s timeline should not be the only deciding factor in whether you begin the Partnership Stream proposal process.
My project has an international co-producer/distributor attached. Does that mean we should apply through the Partnership Stream?
Not necessarily. International co-productions and projects with an international distributor are eligible to apply through either the Partnership Stream or Audiovisual Stream. However, in order to meet the criteria for the Partnership Stream the program needs to have a strong strategic partner that will help create and deliver on the global reach and business plan, and all international co-producers or distributors do not necessarily fulfill this requirement.
If my project does not meet the criteria for the Partnership Stream, can I apply through the Audiovisual Stream?
Yes, as long as the project meets all eligibility requirements for the Audiovisual Stream, projects that do not meet the Partnership Stream criteria can apply at the next Audiovisual Stream deadline.
GENERAL APPLICATION QUESTIONS
How much does the Rocket Fund typically invest? Is there a cap on investment requests?
The Rocket Fund invests on a project-by-project basis and does not have a “standard” investment level. Investments are based on the financial needs of the production, budget, recoupment potential and the reasonability of the request. All investment applications must be supported with documentation that clearly demonstrates a program’s merit. High dollar or percentage-of-budget investment requests must clearly outline the recoupment potential in addition to providing a compelling reason for the larger investment amount. There is no cap on investment requests, but we encourage Producers to reach out to the Rocket Fund for direction prior to submitting applications for higher investments.
What is a discoverability plan? How is that different from a marketing strategy?
A discoverability plan addresses how your target audience is going to discover your program, and outlines your strategy to build an audience and promote your program to that audience. A marketing strategy addresses how you will market your program to potential buyers (i.e. Canadian and International broadcasters and distributors), and the promotional plan that will spread awareness of your program to the buyers. For additional information on creating a discoverability plan, please reference our Discoverability Plan Toolkit.
I want to apply to the Rocket Fund for funding for my web series. Do I apply through the Audiovisual Stream or Digital Stream?
As an audiovisual production, the web series application should come through the Audiovisual Stream. The Digital Stream is reserved for the digital content that is associated with your audiovisual production (i.e. a companion website, online games or apps).
Does my production need to have associated digital content to apply for funding?
Yes – all audiovisual programs applying to the Rocket Fund for funding must have a relevant and meaningful digital content plan. At the Rocket Fund, we understand that children and youth expect to engage in many ways with any content they watch. However, this engagement will differ depending on the nature of the program – for a feature film, the digital content plan might be as simple as a website and social media pages that allow audiences to access behind-the-scenes content and learn more about when and where the film will be shown. Alternatively, some programs lend themselves well to online games, apps, or virtual or augmented reality experiences.
Does the Rocket Fund have any restrictions on the length of the content that they invest in? For example, can it invest in pilots or short form episodes (under 5 minutes)?
No, there is no restriction on the length of content that the Rocket Fund invests in, and in the past the Rocket Fund has invested in both traditional lengths (i.e. feature films of 90 minutes, television series of 30 and 60 minutes), and non-traditional lengths (i.e. series with episodes ranging from 3 to 11 minutes in length). If you are applying to the Rocket Fund for financing for a pilot, there must be a compelling reason for the Rocket Fund to invest (for example, very strong creative potential, demonstrates potential for series order, etc.).
I have a feature film with some strong subject matter and language, that will most likely have a rating of 14A. Is this eligible for a Rocket Fund investment?
Per the Rocket Fund Guidelines, an eligible program must be targeted and relevant to children (under 13), youth (under 18) or a family audience. It is at the discretion of the Rocket Fund to determine whether or not a program is appropriate for a youth (under 18) audience, specifically in regards to programs with mature content or strong language. Some of the specifics that are weighed when assessing audience include: whether or not one of the protagonists is under 18; if the subject matter is relevant or relatable to youth under 18 (i.e. if it speaks directly to a teen/youth audience or incorporates a teen/youth point of view); if the content has any educational value or is currently a part of high school or secondary school curriculum; the level of mature or sexual content; the amount of mature or strong language. Please contact the Rocket Fund office if you are unsure if your program meets eligibility requirements.
I have a family series that will most likely be aired in prime time. Is it eligible for a Rocket Fund investment?
Per the Rocket Fund Guidelines, an eligible program for a family audience must clearly demonstrate relevance to children or youth rather than a general audience. Are any of the protagonists under 18, or is the story told from a child’s or youth’s point of view? A series that is a family story aimed at a young audience, but also the type of content that parents would like to watch, would likely be eligible for the Rocket Fund. A series that is a family story geared towards adults, but may be appropriate for children (i.e. no strong language or mature themes) it may not be eligible for a Rocket Fund investment. It is at the discretion of the Rocket Fund to determine whether or not a program is appropriate for a family audience as defined in the Rocket Fund Guidelines. Please contact the Rocket Fund office if you are unsure if your program meets eligibility requirements.
I did not apply to the Rocket Fund for Season 1 of my series – can I apply for funding in Season 2?
Yes, a Season 2 of a series would be eligible for the Audiovisual Stream; however, you will need to first demonstrate why you would need the Rocket Fund to invest in Season 2 when you didn’t need the funding in Season 1 (i.e. significant budget increase, original funding no longer exists or has changed, etc.). In addition to the standard application requirements (i.e. quality and originality of creative content, meaningful and achievable financing plan, detailed and achievable discoverability plan, etc.), the producer must demonstrate how the Rocket Fund will recoup its investment, and specifically address how any revenue will either be split between seasons and/or how the Rocket Fund’s investment in Season 2 will be recouped.
How long after an Audiovisual / Digital Stream Application deadline will we hear about decisions?
The application review process generally takes between 8 to 10 weeks after the application deadline, but this may vary slightly depending on the number of applications received and the availability of our board of directors. The Rocket Fund does its best to complete their reviews and provide the board’s funding decisions to Producers in a timely fashion.
APPLICATION PORTAL QUESTIONS
We don’t remember our login to the Online Application Portal, can it be reset?
When setting up an account for the Online Application Portal, it is best to use a generic office email so that the password can be retrieved easily. If you know the email that the account was set up using, you can easily reset the password – just click on “Forgot Your Password?” on the login page, and enter the email address and a new temporary password will be sent to that address. You can also add several account users to your account, each with their own login, and any of these users should be able to log in and update any account information as needed. If you are still unable to access your account, please contact the Rocket Fund office for additional assistance.
The portal won’t let me upload my documents, am I doing something wrong?
The portal should be able to accept most types of documents, of any size up to 50MB. However, the portal cannot accept any documents that have a special character in the name (i.e. !@#$%^&*) – so please double check that there are no special characters in your document and try uploading again. From time to time we are doing updates to the portal and certain functions will be offline, so please contact our office if you continue to have issues.
Are only 100% animated web series eligible, or would my live action/animation combination series also qualify?
Only 100% animated web series are eligible for the CMF-Shaw Rocket Fund Kids Digital Animated Series Program. However, live action/animation combination programs are eligible for funding under the Rocket Fund’s other application streams.
What is considered a digital distribution platform, and can a broadcaster qualify?
A digital distribution platform is any digital platform, including subscription video-on-demand or streaming services (i.e. Netflix, Amazon, Crave, etc.) and video-sharing platforms including social media (i.e. YouTube, Facebook, websites, etc.). If a broadcaster is licensing the series for digital-first broadcast (i.e. on their website, streaming service, YouTube channel, etc.) it is eligible for the Program, even if the broadcaster is also taking traditional broadcast rights.
Do we need a commitment from a third-party digital distributor or broadcaster to be eligible?
No, if Producer is self-distributing, we just need their confirmation that the program will be made available to a Canadian audience within 2 years of completion. If Producer is working with a third-party digital distributor or channel, a letter of support or commitment can be included with the other application materials.
How much detail do we need to include in our Discoverability Plan?
Distribution via digital platforms is significantly different than distribution via a traditional broadcast channel. Without a captive broadcast audience, projects distributed digitally need to provide a thorough discoverability and distribution strategy detailing how Producer intends to find and build their audience, and the overall roll-out strategy for the project (how often will the episodes be released, how will this help maintain/grow your audience, etc.). The more information the better, especially if Producer is self-distributing.