My No-Budget Films Got Into The Biggest Art Festival In The World

Written by Jackie Jorgenson
Lead Creative Advisor & Marketing Director
Actor, Writer, Director, Producer & Editor
Funny Laugh Productions



First of all, just a couple of quick disclaimers.

I can’t tell you in a single blog post how to create professional pieces with no budget. There is far too much information to cover on that topic! Thankfully, Funny Laugh Productions has a vlogging series called Figuring It Out that explores this topic in depth.

Also, this blog is talking about a project where the films are a secret. Telling you about the films would defeat the purpose of our work. Wish I could, but I can’t.

Okay, ready? Let’s dive in.

About Funny Laugh Productions

Funny Laugh Productions is an independent, international and intersectional feminist production company. It’s lead by:

  • Hayley Simpson – Creative Director – Logan, Utah
  • Mary McDonald – Creative Advisor – Toronto, Canada
  • Myself, Jackie Jorgenson – Lead Creative Advisor & Marketing Director – Grand Rapids, Michigan

The three of us met at Humber College in Toronto where we attended the Comedy Writing & Performance program. Having this relationship was crucial in working internationally and trusting each other when working internationally.

Funny Laugh Productions has been around since late 2014 and in that time we have produced nearly 10 projects, mostly working on no budget.

About ArtPrize

ArtPrize is the largest public art event in the world, held annually here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. According to their website, there were 1,453 works created by artists from 44 countries and were exhibited in 170 venues last year. The event attracts over 500,000 visitors.

In orde for an artist’s work to be displayed, they must connect with a venue space and sign an agreement. This process was something Funny Laugh Productions worked on in June, 2017.

Blind Date With a Short Film

So, how did we hear of ArtPrize? After I moved to Grand Rapids, I discovered this wonderful event and had to see it for myself. The first year we did not apply in order to get a better understanding of how our work could be displayed. By seeing how other filmmakers approached the festival, it lead us to understand the potential opportunities and limitations we had in store.

Then, I kept a close eye on submissions deadlines. I knew we needed to pitch something unique and easy to display for venues. It also needed to be easily accessible for the thousands of people who stroll by without wanting to stop, sit, and watch a film.

That’s when the idea for Blind Date With A Short Film sprung to mind. This piece uses QR codes and links in order to connect audiences to our films using their phones, tablets and iPads. Something everyone has in their pockets in this tech-heavy world.

Viewers will not be told the premise of the short film, but they will be given a vague description that gives them a sense of the tone of the piece. On this dating app style display, they will also be given the runtime, rating and whether or not audio is required to view it. We made sure to incorporate a variety of genres, film lengths and sound requirements so all viewers can find something that suits their needs.

This piece is based off of the viral blind date with a book concept that many libraries and bookstores have been using in displays for years.

Our displays were not created when we created our pitch on the ArtPrize website, so that was limiting when trying to connect to venues. However, we provided as much information as possible in our description and made our dimensions and requirements flexible. The fluidity of the idea made up for the lack of imagery and created a competitive pitch.

Shortly after that, Founders Brewing contacted us, discussed the merit of our piece and decided to host us. An agreement was signed and that was that!

Come see us at ArtPrize to view our low and no-budget films!

Blind Date With A Short Film at ArtPrize
September 20th – October 8th
Founders Brewing
235 Grandville Ave SW
Grand Rapids, MI


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