Thursday, December 1, 2011

Crowd Funding

Aries, my new creative and business partner, plan to start publicizing a crowd funding campaign we created for our first film. Our producer mentioned crowd funding a while back. When he did, I knitted my brow and figured I'd get to understand what he's talking about in due time. I had other questions to ask.

A few weeks ago, Aries and I attended an independent filmmakers conference, in which it became clear that crowd funding should be at the top of the priority list, not something to put off. In these days of austerity, arts funding is drying up. We've applied to several arts councils. Judging from the experience recounted by the conference's panelists about their own applications to arts councils, I'm not optimistic about ours. (I picked a great time to get into an industry that relies on government grants.)

Not to worry, most of the panelists said. These are also days of online community. Make your project look interesting, put a campaign together on a crowd-funding site, publicize it, tweet about it, and your community of supporters will grow. The dissenting voice, however, cautioned that overzealous crowd funding filmmakers risk straining friendships. I was happy to hear this because I don't know if I have it in me to tweet.

Anyway, our crowd funding campaign will kick off today, light on the zeal:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Second Half Begins

I quit my job a year and a half ago and can't tell whether I'm flying or in free fall. I'm not familiar with the points of reference of my new universe.

Since resigning, I have completed a masters program in communications, written a screenplay, taken tentative steps into creative writing, learned to edit films, started learning how to create digital special effects, and taken an on-screen acting course. Oh yeah... And now blogging. This is the age of convergence, after all. One must learn many skills.

This buckshot approach to the second half of my life is in response to a 15-year career as a financial journalist, an interesting gig with a solid company, which sent me everywhere... Indonesia, China, Turkey, Mongolia, Peru, to name a few places. Unfortunately, I didn't like the work. I'd need to ask the same questions regardless of the locale: All of them about interest rates, currency policy, and acquisition strategies. I was very good at my job; I wasn't great, though. I've known for a long time that you can't be great at anything you don't like doing. I like art, music, and literature. Most of all, I like film.

When a producer from the independent film industry encouraged me to turn a story I've been knocking around for a few years into a feature-length screenplay, I needed no further prompting. Now that the first draft is completed to his satisfaction, I'm involved in a couple of short film projects meant to give me the chops I need to be part of a team that will bring the feature into production. One of these involves religious iconography and body paint. Very art house. I'm also putting "crowd funding" campaigns online, and networking with others in the independent film world to help build financial support for the feature. The further I venture down this path, the more treacherous and financially unsound it gets.

Still, there's no turning back if I want to be great at something. If I was content with "good," I'd still be chasing central bank governors and CEOs with my voice recorder.

We're often told to follow our dreams. Many don't because it's sometimes difficult to trust those who dole out the advice. "Follow your dreams" is easy to say. Three words and half a breath. Time will tell me if this is genuine wisdom or just an easy way to end an awkward conversation.