Dogfish

ABOUT

We are the playground where you get to make awesome next wave blowing-up-the-industry content.

Dogfish Accelerator is a mad scientist media lab that accelerates all forms of contemporary content: narrative and documentary feature films, web series, television, branded content, experiential art, multimedia, animation, video games, commercials, docuseries, interactive media, live experience, graphic novels, comic books, visual art, music videos, social media, design, holographic, supersonic, 200th dimension, mind explosion content. Dogfish Accelerator is an art movement inside the center of a business development lab. Our core philosophy is “everything has commercial appeal.” The world is your oyster. Shuck it open baby. Our goal as first stage investors is to get you ready for the next phase of financing. This means putting your ideas through a rigorous business development process to build content viability. Dogfish Accelerator funds projects in batches. We hold our program two times a year in different cycles: in the spring and fall. Each cycle takes nine weeks and accepts multiple ventures at a time. Applying for funding is through our online application which is available a few months before each program cycle.

During the program, teams will all work alongside eachother and the Dogfish staff in a collaborative co-working space. We support our creators and artists throughout the program by holding weekly sessions for speakers, workshops, and one-on-one mentorship opportunities. Each session is run by industry leading content producers and creators, investors, lawyers, accountants, bankers, distributors, sales agents, marketers, and many (delete) more. Many of the people we bring in will also be looking at your ventures as potential investment, advising, or partnership opportunities. Each cycle is concluded with an investor Demo Day where each venture is presented to potential investors. During the program, we help you craft your pitch to appeal to investors. This investor day is not a competition for funds. Our whole program is founded on a supportive, co-working environment between ventures, rather than a competitive one. We believe in a sustainable approach to content creation. Building a long-term strategy for content and retaining as many of your rights as possible is how an artist can become an entrepreneur. We are only hands on if you need us to be. During the program, we’ll help you steady your venture, but once you find your balance we let go and watch you enjoy the ride. We continue to offer advice and resources but it’s yours to take, or not.

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Shatter the world with your art.

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APPLICATION INFO

If you make – or want to make – exciting, dangerous, groundbreaking content, we want to hear from you and consider making you a part of the Dogfish Accelerator family. We don’t ask for script submissions or business plans at first – we just want you to start by filling out an application and showing us your stuff. We then invite second round applicants to meet in person, and from there review your projects in depth. Please note that once the accelerator cycle starts, most of your team is expected to move to New York City for the duration of the nine-week cycle. We can’t stress this enough: we’re looking for attitude and aptitude. Show us how you’re a ready-to-fuck-shit-up content creator and get started on that application! If you’re not quite ready to apply yet or need some guidance read over THE APPLICATION PAGE and our FAQ PAGE. If you STILL have questions, please get in touch HERE.

Mentors

Help, guide and inspire the future leaders in content creation.

If this ain’t your first rodeo then grab one of our bulls by the horns and teach em how to have a bucking good time. Come engage with the next generation of kick ass, changing-the-industry entrepreneurs and innovators who need your expertise and guidance while they blow stuff up. In exchange for the warm fuzzies you make in your hearts helping our young artists, we give back to our mentors with mentors-only events and benefits, providing first opportunities to stay involved with accelerator projects, and a chance to be an integral part of the content revolution. Mentors are the backbone of the Dogfish Accelerator program. If you have interest in becoming a mentor, please get in touch HERE.

Featured Mentors:

SERVICE PROVIDERS

It’s for the children!

If your company does something that helps content creators in some way, you should become a service provider! Service Providers give perks to our teams in the form of donations, flat rates, and discounts. The creators we work with are cool, but they need you to become super fly. If you’re ready to become a service provider, please  FILL OUT THIS FORM For more info, please get in touch HERE.

Investors

A new kind of investor is emerging. Join the cutting edge of entertainment, tech, and content financing here.

This is a call for the new brand of investors who are interested in blending content, entertainment, tech, distribution and all-over innovation. Executive producing needs to be an artform in itself and requires talent, instinct, a willingness to learn, and a love of supporting entrepreneurs. Upon getting to know you and your investment experience, we cater to your portfolio needs, desires and interests. Anyone can passively put money into a starstudded flop. Conversely, investors working with Dogfish can be actively involved as both teachers and students in working with creators on projects they truly care about. You can hear more about our approaches, programs, and causes by contacting us to start a dialogue and figure out the best opportunities for you. Please contact jbelfer@dogfishaccelerator.com to set a meeting. This is not a solicitation which can only be made pursuant to formal documentation after each of us has had the chance to undertake the necessary and required due diligence. If you are interested in attending either of our investor Demo Days for the Dogfish Accelerator program, you can contact us to be considered for our invite list.

Alumni

Be fruitful and multiply.

Check out our Alumni

One of the most powerful tools of the accelerator is the strong, bonded, everlasting community that is built around the teams. We know you all love and support each other, and we want to provide you with lots of spaces and opportunities where you can keep loving and supporting each other.

Schedule

The time is always now.

KEY DATES Fall 2014 Program:
Application Opens: July 10
Application Closes: August 8, 11:59PM EST
Program Begins: September 29
Demo Day: November 19

Location

NYC Baby…

Join us for two months in our New York City office where we will hold mentor sessions, mixers, workshops, parties, and occasionally break some shit. Exact office location TBA.

FAQ

Stop the confusion!

How much funding do Dogfish Accelerator Teams receive?

You get $10,000.

What kind of project am I allowed to make?

If you’re asking us that you’re probably making it wrong. Dogfish Accelerator is an art movement inside the center of a business development lab. Our core philosophy is “everything has commercial appeal.” We will finance long form, short form, episodic, animated, documentary, live performance, Vine, Instagram, holographic, supersonic, 200th dimension, mind explosion content. The world is your oyster. Shuck it open baby.

What exactly are you accelerating? What gets built during the nine weeks of the program?

During the program you will build the business model and pitch for a specific project/idea. We will be working with you to strengthen the brand and improve the viability of your venture. This sets you up better for funding and gets you one step closer to creating content.

What is a business video? (re: question #2 on the application)

An introduction to your team. Please no reels. We want to get a feel for who YOU are as producers/ entrepreneurs/ artists, and especially for how you function as a team. Again- this is not your reel. For examples of videos from last year’s teams check out this post. Exit Strategy Young Gunner (password: leanstartup)

What is a proof of concept?

This is something that shows us that you can put your monkey where your mouth is. This can be anything: a concept trailer, a sizzle reel of already shot footage, a finished project looking for distribution, a website, a blog, a Vine account, you name it. It just has to show us something you’ve made specifically for this project and be aligned with your overall vision.

What if I don't have something to submit as proof of concept?

That’s ok! We still want you to apply. If you don’t have anything shot or created yet that we can see or experience (as opposed to read), just indicate that in the question. If you do have a script, write SCRIPT where it asks for proof of concept. If you make it to round 2, we’ll review your script then.

Is my project too far along, too early, too big, or too small to apply to Dogfish Accelerator?

Probably not. Our model is built to serve the needs of any content venture that does a good job at justifying the artistic risks with business and market understanding. Whether  you have a finished feature film or just a treatment with a concept reel, we can find ways to improve your venture to better position it for financial and creative success.

Do I have to be there for the entire nine week period?

Yes. This is important to you and your team in order to take advantage of the numerous learning opportunities, networking and coaching that will be planning and providing. Dogfish Accelerator is a major commitment, and we expect you to take it seriously. That being said, we’re mostly humans here at Dogfish and understand that weddings, babies, or crises happen year round and sometimes without warning. Apply first and let’s look into schedule conflicts later.

What is the time commitment like? Do I have to be in the office full time?

Participants are encouraged, but not necessarily required, to work out of our office full time during the program. We do expect at least one person on the team to be there almost every day meeting with mentors, doing the workshops…etc. That’s really the only way to get the most out of the program. That said, we have participants who need to take part time work in the evenings, weekends, or on occasion during the regular week.

Why does Dogfish Accelerator take a percentage of my venture?

We are entrepreneurs and indie producers just like you. We think that the the education, resources, and mentor coaching provided by the program is all of tremendous value. By investing seed capital into each team we are aligning our interests with yours. Our success is only possible if each team succeeds. That’s a good deal for both of us.

How do we get funding after Dogfish Accelerator ends?

Our seed funding will help you to get the ball rolling, but you may well need more funding to get your stuff beamed into eyeballs. Near the end of the two months, we’ll organize a Demo Day where investors and industry partners will check out your opportunity and idea. We’ll coach you so you’re as effective as possible, and do everything we can do help get you follow on funding.

How do you choose which companies to accept into the program and to fund?

We will choose projects that involve innovative opportunities and business ideas that support a highly creative and artistic idea. But it’s about the team. Because of this reason, we’re less likely to accept single founder teams. The best things you can do to strengthen your application are:

  • Round out your team with business, creative, and other necessary skills.
  • Make progress on your idea and reference it in the application.
  • Show us you’ve really thought about your business and have gotten off your butt to do something about it!
What if I don't have a team - can I still apply?

Yes! You can apply as a single founder. That said, we do have a preference for teams because that usually means a more well-rounded skill set and greater efficiency due to division of labor. We can’t all be Shane Carruths – but hey, if you are one, right this way sugar. Or if you are a single founder looking to expand your team, that’s great too! Just make sure you indicate in your application who you are planning to bring on and when – maybe we can help.

Do I need to have/send in a script?

Nope, not necessarily. Just fill out the online application. We don’t want to see your script until Round 2 if you do have one. You also may apply with any kind of unscripted content as long as you send a treatment detailing the vision of your project. Let us into that pretty little head of yours.

When is the deadline to apply and what’s the overall timeline?

Round 1 of the 2014 Fall application ends on August 8th. Shortly after our deadline we will notify finalists to begin an intensive vetting process with both the Dogfish Accelerator staff and our mentors. During this second part of the application – which will last 3 weeks – we will be observing how you progress in developing your idea and introducing you to many members of our network. By the end of this phase we will announce our 8-10 participating teams.

What are the dates of the program?

The Fall 2014 program is September 22 – November 19. Delicious, NYC fall…

Can I submit multiple projects or a company?

Absolutely. You can submit a single project, multiple projects, or a content company. If you are submitting multiple projects and you cannot fit everything on a single form, you can have another member of your team submit a second application with the second project. Unfortunately F6S won’t allow multiple submissions from the same account.

What is Round 2 of the application like?

Round 2 definitely kicks it up a notch. So to make things easier for you here’s a list of what this phase entails: -Google Hangout/Skype Interview -Business Plan for your project including marketing segmentation, marketing approach, distribution strategy, revenue streams, financial model, and ownership stakes. -Submission of a script and/or treatment -Mood Reel and/or Lookbook -References from two industry professionals

What is F6S?

Dogfish uses the application system F6S to accept team submissions. F6S is a trusted and secured network that is used by top tier accelerator programs such as TechStars, Y Combinator, and 500 Startups. It also allows you to pitch investment funds, post or apply for jobs, and get perks and resources from Microsoft to Moo.com. It also has a built in discussion page for our applicants and the Dogfish team to chat as a group. Please note you must login to F6S with either your Facebook or LinkedIn profile.

Where will we live while we’re there?

That’s up to you – we don’t provide a place to live. If you’re accepted into Dogfish Accelerator and need help finding a place we will assist you in every way possible to make it easier for you and your team.

Do you accept international teams?

Yes.

I’m concerned that if I apply, you won’t protect my intellectual property. Should I be worried about this?

We’re certainly not in the business of stealing ideas, and we won’t show your application to anyone outside of our network. Last year we received 440 applications and many of those projects went forward without our involvement with no problems.

Why are you doing this? What’s the catch/ the deal with the 8%?

For once, there is no catch. We want a healthier industry for indie film and this is our way to do it. Dogfish Accelerator and its mentors, service providers, and partners are all people who enjoy helping indie film. In exchange for everything provided, we take an 8% equity stake in your venture. We are intentionally aligning our interests with yours. We only make money if you do!

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James Belfer - Founder & CEO

James founded Dogfish in 2009 to produce and invest in independent film (in which he made 6 films). He was named by Deadline Hollywood as one of 2012′s 10 Producers to Keep Watching. In 2013 he launched the Dogfish Accelerator program after an inspiring experience working for TechStars in Boulder, Colorado. He’s a Northwestern University graduate and received his MBA from NYU Stern in 2013. He currently is an Adjunct Professor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts where he teaches Strategies For Independent Producing. James aspires to be one of the world’s most renowned hermits. He tends to spend most of his free time in South Williamsburg watching cartoons and googling “best Texas BBQ in NYC.” He also runs a monthly meetup called A Presentation of the Deplorable, Bizarre, and Terrible in which he binge watches 10 films in a row that most of the world has never seen (most of the time for glaringly obvious reasons). As of July 2014 only 3 people have attended.

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