ITVS Short-Form Open Call Frequently Asked Questions

Have Short-Form Open Call questions? Here are our most commonly asked questions and their answers.

Eligibility Questions:

Q: Do I need to have previous experience?

A: You will be required to submit a previously completed work as part of the application. If you are submitting a digital native short it must have been distributed through a third party, not self-uploaded to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, your own production company website, etc. Indicate where it was published and link if available. If the link is deactivated, please provide supporting documentation proving it was distributed to a third party. If your project was a graduate thesis project, indicate university and year completed. Undergraduate work will not be accepted. Commercials and promos are not accepted.

Q: Can I apply with a co-applicant?

A: No for development, yes for production. Be sure to follow the application prompts in distinguishing whether your project is in development or production. 

Q: How early in development is too early? 

A: Applicants must be able to demonstrate proven access to their subject matter in their application materials but can complete casting during the development phase. On the application, you will be asked to describe any such production work you have completed thus far on the project, including significant interviews, number of characters, important scenes, and any travel around the project, etc.

Q: My web series or standalone short is finished. Can I apply for funding to pay for publicity, marketing, outreach, or to reimburse loans or investors, etc.?

A: No. Only projects in development or mid-production are eligible for Short-Form Open Call funding. 

Q: What would be considered too far along for production funding?

A: Generally if a project has reached the fine cut or picture lock stage, and/or its festival/public exhibition has been confirmed, it would be considered too far along for co-production funding. 

Q: If I have other funders for my project, am I still eligible for Short-Form Open Call funding?

A: Yes, but secured funding commitments are not required. Pending or confirmed funds should be listed in the appropriate section of the application, with description of rights, if any, that have been given to confirmed funders.

Q: Do I need a fiscal sponsor? 

A:  No, you do not need a fiscal sponsor. 

Q: What are specific examples of short-form projects you have funded?

A: Please explore our catalog of previously-funded short-form projects

Q: I used to work for ITVS. Can I now apply for funding?

A: In order to address any conflict of interest concerns, any former employee has a waiting period of 12 months before they are eligible to apply to all ITVS funding initiatives as an applicant. 

Application Questions:

Q: Does Short-Form Open Call accept the Documentary Core application

A: ITVS contributed to the development of the Documentary Core application, and has incorporated many of the elements into the application. However, because Short-Form Open Call is a public fund for short documentary films and series, there are additional format specific questions and production information that are required. 

Q: What percentage of applications are actually funded?

A: The selection process for all funding initiatives is highly competitive. ITVS traditionally funds 3-8% of projects submitted through our initiatives.

Q: Do you have a preferred number of episodes for a web series? 

A: Your story will dictate the number of episodes in a season. We’ll work with you through the development phase to evaluate your episode count.

Q: Do you have a preferred length per episode? 

A: Your story should dictate episode length, though at least 10 minutes per episode is a good rule of thumb for web series. Episodes in a series do not need to be the exact same length.

Q: Can ITVS provide a sample completed application for reference?

A: No. All submitted applications are confidential and the property of the applicant. 

Q: May I ask ITVS to review an element of my proposal before I apply? For example, a trailer, synopsis, or website?

A: In order to be fair to all applicants, ITVS staff will only review materials as part of the application process after they are submitted through our online application. 

Q: Is there a submission fee to apply to Open Call?

A: No, there is no submission fee required to apply to any of ITVS's funding initiatives.

Post-Application Questions:

Q: How will I know if ITVS has received my application?

A: You will receive an email from ITVS confirming receipt of your application.

Q: Can I submit more than one application at a time?

A: Only one application is permitted at any one time to any ITVS initiative. 

Q: Can I reapply if my application has been declined in the past? 

A: Yes, but you will not be able to reapply with the same project more than twice in a calendar year. Programs previously submitted and declined by ITVS will only be reconsidered if the producer has made substantial changes to the proposal. If you are reapplying with a previously declined project, we require sending in updated materials that detail the progress made from previous applications. 

Q. Can I provide project updates after my application is submitted?

A: In order to be fair to all applicants, we are unable to add project updates to active applications. Should projects advance to the panel phase of review, applicants will be asked to provide project updates. 

Q: What if I have additional questions? 

A: You may send an email query with specific questions to  Please understand that we cannot provide status updates. If ITVS needs additional information from an applicant, we will contact you during the review and decision process.