Yesterday I began my teaser campaign for Beyond This Place, but it’s more of an awareness campaign.
A campaign that I hope inspires, motivates, encourages and pushes this dream of mine into fruition. Over the last 5 years I have been working on creating a unique film about the visual representations of Black Greek Letter Organizations. I’ve traveled to every coast to make photographs, capture events and collect items of cultural significance and it was been a wonderful journey. About a year ago, I more clearly defined my goals moving forward. As they say, dreams without goals, remain dreams and fuel disappointment. So, I sketched out a few:
Its been a long time since I felt so ready. If you are a former high school or little league athlete, you know what I mean. Do you remember the feeling you got when the coach was about to bring your team out to the field? When you knew that all those days before spent at practice were going to collide into a singular moment of execution? When no one in the world could reject the way you felt? When you knew the universe was perfectly aligned and ready to offer you victory? Well, I feel that way.
There are two main reasons why I decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fundraise for my first documentary film: 1) I’m not afraid to fail: Beyond This Place has the potential to be your favorite film festivals next biggest award winner. I feel that good about telling our stories, but I need you to make it happen. This has never changed. I’ve ALWAYS needed you to make this goal possible! Kickstarter facilitates this by offering an “all or nothing” fundraising platform. What this means is that if I don’t meet my fundraising goal, then the film doesn’t get ANY funding. The money pledged is never deducted from your credit cards and I’m back to making this film (Oh yes, I’m still making this film *smile*) but at a snails pace. In short; either I cross, or I don’t, either I’m initiated as a filmmaker, or I’m not, and JUST like the road traveled to cross the burning sands is littered with support from Prophytes, mentors and family members, I too will be in need of your assistance to get over. Your urgency will matter and I’ll explain how best you can help support the Kickstarter project below.
2) It’s time to tell our own stories, our way: Two filmmakers who I have the upmost respect for are Robert Townsend and Keenen Ivory Wayans. In Timothy Greenfield-Sanders film The Black List Vol. 1, Wayans talks about how ignorance was he and Townsend’s greatest asset. They didn’t know they needed money, permits and experience to make a film. My orientation to the visual arts was similar. When I decided I wanted to become a professional photographer, I was met with resistance from industry professionals and peers. “You’ll never work in newspapers”…”Your work isn’t diverse enough”…”You need more experience”, I heard negative reinforcement a lot. But I had other folks in my corner who helped me get through those though rounds in the fight of life. Mentors sparred with me to help increase my skill, Friends encouraged me to help develop my talent and Family was in my corner the entire time, icing the bruises when they appeared and shouting from ringside that “I can do it”. Now, I feel like my skill set is ready to finish something I started a long time ago. Family, we need to tell our own stories. Mona Scott Young can’t tell this story. In order to do this we must support our own stories financially. I have invested a lot of time and at least $15,000 into creating this project (thanks Mom and Dad, Thurgood Marshall Fellowship refund check, B of A, Nicole, Rhoshawndra, Olympus, etc.) and I still am not even close to tapping into its potential. I need your help to make this documentary. The reason I’m making people aware of this campaign so early is because there are a few key elements you can provide to make sure this project gets funded.
I’m so excited for this next phase! Kickstarter will allow me to not only raise money for the project, but also to generate a report on the diverse audience demographic and interest level of such a project. As you see above, my initial plan was to reach out to corporate and individual sponsors who could help support the project…and I have, but what many companies want to see is the deliverables you can offer them in exchange for their help. So, I will be only asking for a small portion of the budget which will be enough to create the film’s first chapters. These funds will help me “kick start” the project. 🙂 When October rolls around, and you get that wonderful KickStarter page link from me, I’ll need you to do a few key things:
A) CREATE A KICK STARTER ACCOUNT- You must have an account to complete your pledge to Beyond This Place. Kickstarter makes this really easy by allowing you to connect the site to your Facebook page. Not on Facebook? Thats ok! Simply create a username and password on the Kickstarter site. This is important for two reasons: 1) You will receive project updates via Kickstarter and 2) You can post comments and follow along with our progress!
B) PLEDGE DAY 1- Kickstarter pledges are like that old Run/Walk campaign you used to get neighbors to help you donate money towards. Here, the donations count towards my fundraising goal, but nothing will actually be taken out of your account. In fact, If I don’t raise my goal, then money NEVER comes out of your account! And that would be a real bummer, SO donate early. This helps encourage others to donate which will raise the chances of the film being funded. Don’t forget, you can change your pledge amount as well, so If you like the “Prophyte Level” rewards, but really want the “Alumni Level” reward level, you can change your pledge. Never been on Kickstarter before? No problem! You pledge funds using your Amazon.com account. HERE is a video on what to do when that moment comes: http://vimeo.com/67736083
C) REPOST/TWEET! – Typically, Kickstarter reaches Facebook friends first, and I will definitely be trying to gather my FB friends support early, but Twitter also presents a unique opportunity to engage audiences that I may not directly be connected with. So please, Re-Tweet, Sub-Tweet, Tweet-Tweet, all of that! Helps us share the information and the project. The more pledges, the better chances our film will be funded. Oh, and if anyone has Shaq’s contact info, I would love to get him on the documentary and on board with the Kickstarter (That brother has like 8 Million followers! And he’s a member of Omega Psi Phi, Fraternity Inc. *Just FYI*) Thanks in advance Big Diesel! Hahaha.
I look forward to sharing this experience with you and cannot wait until we are ready to start! As always if you have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me @Beyondthisplace
Thank you all for your time and consideration! Be looking out for more video blogs soon.
As always, lets continue to build and lets continue to grow!