The content is here. Where's the funding?

Updated: Nov 22, 2019

By Shayler Richmond

James Bland (left) and Riley Wilson (Right) photo by Shayler Richmond

Riley Wilson, creator of live-action educational SciFi drama, “Little Apple,” and James Bland creator of Emmy award winning drama series, “Giants,” both sat down with several creatives during CultureCon to share their experiences and give advice on getting projects funded.


“Get people who want to work with you. Get people who believe in your project and will do it without you asking because they’ll go much further than someone who’s doing it for a check,” said Wilson.


Both Wilson and Bland made self investments toward creating their initial projects before gaining the ability to generate analytics or display buying power.


Wilson has raised funds through networking and fundraising to produce, “Little Apple.” Bland produced his first season of, “Giants,” out of pocket, then employed crowdfunding campaigns, brand placement and sponsorship to produce season 2. 


In the current creative landscape laying a foundation increases your ability to utilize your accumulated following and analytics to raise funding. 


“The great thing Youtube gave “Giants” was analytics. I could say exactly who our viewing audience was, so I found brands who were looking to speak to our audience,” said Bland. 


“I was detailed with presenting who our audience was, displaying our reach and how we could seamlessly integrate their product within our show,” he continued.


They both have grown their network and raised funds through partnering with organizations whose purposes align with the messaging of their content.


“Little Apple,” tells the story of a little Black girl speaking truth to power. Wilson found his competitive advantage through understanding the niche market for the content he is creating. 


“When it comes to racial and social justice there’s not really anyone owning the conversation on how you communicate those topics and themes to youth,” said Wilson. 


Do you understand the competitive advantage of your content?


“As Black content curators it’s up to us to say what we want to make,” said Bland.


“Most importantly we have to lock arms and be supportive in terms of how we are going to get this content funded. It’s essential for the culture, for us to be in the driver's seat; us making decisions on what stories are being told and how these stories are being distributed to the world,” Bland continued.


Marginalized creatives are creating due to demand and pursuing passion projects, so the question becomes how do we sustain our creation?


“As creatives it’s not enough for us to just sell our content, we need to create infrastructure so we won’t have to cross the same bridge in five years,” said Wilson.


“If we can get in charge of the content and own it the sky's the limit,” Wilson continued.

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