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Call For Pitches: Midwest Makers Video Series

A video camera display screen showing a recording of people engaged in conversation.
Photo Credit: Samantha Borges via Unsplash

Calling all Midwest videographers and content creators! We're commissioning nine videos to illuminate the work of Midwest Makers—creative Midwesterners who are deeply embedded in their communities.

Midwest makers are all around us. They are visual artists, chefs, community organizers, folk and traditional arts practitioners, musicians, oral historians, farmers, and next-door neighbors. They work in large and small communities, wear multiple hats, and add to the creative culture of the Midwest.

If you’re all about capturing the people who make the Midwest special, we want to hear from you! Selected videographers will receive $3,000 each to create a short documentary video showcasing a Midwest Maker. Your creation will be featured on Arts Midwest’s platforms as part of our Creativity News Desk, amplifying the creativity of these incredible Midwesterners.

Pitches are due September 24.

About This Series

Midwest Makers will highlight creatives from across the Midwest in a series of documentary shorts. This series is especially focused on stories of, by, and for Native communities, rural communities, and communities of color.

Our ideal Midwest Makers:

  • Are deeply involved in their communities
  • Have diverse perspectives and identities
  • Represent a wide spectrum of creativity

Videos should blend behind-the-scenes footage illustrating the Midwest Maker’s craft or work with interviews that narrate their journey and connection to community.

It’s important that videos maintain a third-person perspective – meaning, the content creator or videographer who is proposing the video should not be the main subject.

We are focusing on Midwest Makers who live in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and the Native Nations that share this geography. Pitches from outside of this region will not be considered.

Creators will be paid $3,000, and will be responsible for the following deliverables:

  • One horizontal video, 2 minutes minimum and 3.5 minutes maximum in length, for use on the Arts Midwest YouTube and website
  • One vertical video, maximum 50 seconds in length, that reimagines the main video content in a short-form manner for use on social media, such as Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts.
  • Links and social media handles for both the video subject(s) and the videographer, for crediting purposes

Videos should follow these technical guidelines:

  • Sized at 1920x1080p and 1080x1920p, respectively
  • Delivered in MP4 format via Google Drive or Dropbox

Arts Midwest will provide video creators with a set of brand assets (colors, fonts, and logos), as well as a branded end card for the videos featuring our logo and tagline. Arts Midwest will add burned-in subtitles on the final vertical videos for accessibility.

Videos will be published on Arts Midwest platforms (50.6k subscribers on YouTube and 3.1k followers on Instagram) with clear attribution to the video creator and will also publish videos on our website as short form content. Creators are also welcome to publish videos on their channels, but Arts Midwest retains right of first publication.

August 23, 2023 – Call for Pitches opens
September 24, 2023 – Call for Pitches closes
October 12, 2023 – Applicants notified
October 16-26, 2023 – Initial calls with selected applicants
By October 30, 2023 – All contracts and story plans finalized
January 31, 2024 – Videos due

How to Pitch Us

The Call for Pitches will close on September 24, 2023. We’ll make selections and notify all applicants by October 12, 2023.

To pitch us, fill out our pitch submission form. You’ll be asked for the following information:

  • Provide a short bio about you and your work (150 words)
  • Provide links to up to three work samples and/or a portfolio so we can get an idea of your range of work.
    • Work samples should show evidence of skill in editing and an understanding of documentary filmmaking. Experience with captioning videos and adhering to a brand is a plus.
  • Who is the Midwest Maker you’d like to feature?  (150 words)
    • Tell us about the Midwestern creative you’d like to feature. Who are they, and what makes them special?
  • What is the story you’d like to tell about this Midwest Maker? (150 words)
    • Tell us a little more about the specific angle you’d like to approach the story from. What aspects of the story/subject are you most interested in? What parts of their work or story do you think are most visually interesting?
  • What is your connection to this Midwest Maker? (150 words)
    • Why this Midwest Maker? Do you have a preexisting relationship with them? If not, how do you plan to establish a connection?

You are welcome to submit multiple pitches if you have more than one idea for a video.

If you have any questions about the pitch process or the series, contact Communications Specialist Mia McGill.

Ready to pitch?

Download the full project creative brief and fill out the pitch submission form below.

Download the Creative Brief Pitch Us