The little documentary that will.

There are 15 days left on the fundraising campaign for the documentary I am working on.  This one:

Rolling With Kings, The Story of the Krewe of the Rolling Elvi

About these cats:

          Image

   At this rate we’ll fall well short of the fundrasing goal. It happens. Happened last time too, even though we got just what we needed the last go around.  It’s disheartening I have to admit. I’ve been given advice on how to make a crowdsourcing campaign work better, and while it was always sound enough advice, it was the kind not well applicable to filmmakers in my position.

The advice was usually as follows –

1. Spend hours a day pushing it!  Which would be fine, if I didn’t have a 9-5 that has an insane busy pace, and a family to take care of and all the things that go with that, and actual work on the film to do (transcribing interviews, getting releases and legal docs signed, hell creating said docs in and of itself, putting the puzzle pieces together so the film can actually make sense, this is going on a whole different post there’s so much). There also comes a point when I simply am sick of looking at a screen, be it TV, computer, phone, I don’t care. It brings on a down swing emotionally for me.  Bad enough how many people live more of their lives looking at some glowing screen rather than actual life. But I understand the need to escape actual life and call that living instead. 

2. If you don’t have time, then hire someone to put it out there for you, buy sponsored ads on FB, Twitter, and the like. Which sounds neat, now if only that elusive “money” thing were to be found to hire someone, much less someone who’s commission (let’s just call it what it is) makes the fees taken by whatever funding platform seem miniscule.

3.  Tap into your “fanbase” and “core audience”!  The fanbase thing only works if you have actual fans.  It works great for celebs like Spike Lee and Zach Braff of course. Not to mentions popular musicians who now think they want to make movies. Once one has tapped into the celebrity vein of this culture you can practically film yourself shitting in a bucket and there would still be a few thousand folks willing to throw some bread in to see it.  As far as core audience goes, it’s a bit of a different thing to look at metrics for a documentary than say some horror or comedy film. The core audience is everyone.  It isn’t an advocacy documentary nor is it a tear jerker telling the tragic, yet inspiring tale of some village of crippled children or some such shit, so drumming up a more impassioned line of support is tricky. I went to a networking event not long ago, and when talking about my documentary to someone there I described it as light hearted, funny, and an unusual slice of New Orleans culture.  His response: “Did anyone die, go to jail, or did anything controversial/sexy/tension raising happen?  Not really? Then I don’t care. People who watch docs to feel better about life need self help books, not films.”  This from a film executive. Sigh. I know, one person’s opinion and all that, but stil.   

4. Offer great perks/gifts for donating! Well, I am, and have. I’ve even put out there an even less expensive perk of a digital download of the film for just an $11 donation. 

Truth is, just as I am learning about filmmaking as I go, it’s the same for crowdfunding.  I haven’t done this all too well or perfectly I readily admit.  Matter of fact I’ve never met anyone who has done it successfully, at least for a film project.  If I ever do such a thing as crowdfunding again, I like to think I’ll go about it smarter next time around. 

That said, there is simply no giving up on this film. I just can’t.  I know it will make the world a better place for being made and seen. Now, how exactly we’ll get it finished and out there, well, still figuring that out. 

It’s not easy being green.

One of the biggest reasons anyone is on social media is to show off.  People show off their kids, their pets, their food, their homes, cars, new shoes, new girlfriend/boyfriend/whatever object they have happen to currently have sex with.  In some ways it’s a remnant of being a kid who upon getting a new toy runs out to show the other kids on the block. If we were lucky enough to have some sort of middle class upbringings we all did it.  And we continue to do so as adults, only our block is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and probably some other platform or two by now at this rate.   

So there we are on Facebook and such showing off. It’s awesome when we can do it, but it can turn one a gloriously puke tinted shade of envious green towards others when we can’t .  Happens to me all the time. I see plenty of my friends and contemporaries with posts about buying a house, or travels to exotic places, or whatever other shiny pretty things that we for some reason expect to have when we hit certain ages in life.  And that green shade creeps in on me as I am at a certain age in life and feel far way from making that post about buying a house, or traveling to an exotic place, not to mention those shiny pretty things.   But that shade of green fades fairly quickly.  After all, comparing one’s life to someone else’s on such a materialistic slant is as big a waste of time and energy as showing a card trick to a house cat.  

As an indie filmmaker struggling with my career, on the other hand, holy asscrackers does that shade of green blast off like a death ray straight from an Oscar statue’s golden butthole into my very soul when I see the success others appear to have in their careers.  I get that success is a relative thing, but still.  The green shades of envy cloud the mind. They make me question everything – Why am I doing this? What have I gotten myself into?  How come that piece of shit got funded and made and my amazing project is barely funded at all? I could go on and on.  I imagine I’m not the only film maker with such feelings when turned green.

Trying to break into the film industry (and let’s not ever kid ourselves, it IS an industry) and becoming at least successful enough to make a living out of it is tricky.  Well, unless you are either born into it or already have that whole money thing taken care of.  Turning green with envy is a growing pain of it all. The only cure for it that I have is to just get back to the project(s) I am working on.  I have BIG ones to finish and smaller ones as well. It sucks when I turn green, because it sure as shit isn’t easy, just ask Kermit the Frog when he sings that song. But at the end of the day, it must be shoved aside and dropped like the bucket of horse shit that it is.  All that green envy won’t get my documentary made, or a new draft of a script done, or one of the short films that have been lingering in post finished.