Many private foundations offer grants to cover living expenses while you work on a project or go to school. Some public grants from government institutions are also available for this purpose as well. The course of study or type of project you are working on can be almost anything, but you will have to do some research to find the particular foundation or government body that is issuing a grant that matches your needs with their needs. The great thing about a grant versus a loan is that you don't have to pay it back. Grants are there to help members of the community contribute value to society and especially to preserve the arts and sciences.
Find a website that lists public government grants, private foundation grants or both. A wonderful resource is The Foundation Center in Washington, DC. You can access their huge database of grants via their website for a small fee or visit their library in person if you are in Washington, DC. They have a very competent staff of helpful librarians who will help you conduct your research and they also offer classes in grant research and grant writing.
Search the websites selecting keywords that fit your criteria. For example, you can search "living expenses" and "screenplay" if you want your living expenses covered while you write a screenplay.
Make a list of possible grants and examine each of their criteria carefully, taking note of the grant deadline. Many grants have submission deadlines once or twice a year. Some grants are so specific that you have to be of a certain ethnicity or live in a very specific locale in order to qualify.
Fill out the grant proposal exactly as requested and wait for a response. You can fill out as many grant proposals as you wish.
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