Fund This On Kickstarter
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Over this 4th of July weekend I took to re-watching “immigrant movies”… at least some. I started out on Friday night with “In America”… which if you haven’t seen yet – you really should. It is a wonderful film with a great screenplay. (And that’s not hyperbole.)
The thing I like about this film is that it has no political agenda. Sure it deals with the immigrant experience but that almost seems incidental to the human condition it celebrates. The reverberations of the movie will stay with you long after you’ve seen it… as can be attested by a friend who I shared it with on Friday. That in my book makes a great movie… something you continue to digest long after you consume it.
I followed this up on Saturday with another perennial favorite. “Moscow On The Hudson”. This one had a more overt political agenda considering the time frame it was created (1984) but it was still the human condition portrayed in it that made it compelling. Structurally the script is a little messy… but over the years I have come to accept that as part of it’s charm. Afterall, isn’t life itself messy?
Here are some other favorites that deserve mention… The Kite Runner, El Norte, The Wedding Banquet, Avalon… and yes, The Godfather I & 2 especially. There are others… many others but I thought I’d mention these just to get you started. BTW if you type in “immigrant movies” into Google search you will find a whole slew of lists you may want to check out.
So, why did I undertake watching these? America is an immigrant nation and during a celebration of it’s independence what better way to be reminded of that fact than watching these gems.
The cameras themselves took most of the time since their operation is somewhat different from the old ones I own. I have to say I am both pleased and impressed with their capabilities.
The equipment was ordered based on 3 different lists.
- The absolutely “must have” list which included cameras. etc… things absolutely needed for the project.
- The “maybe” list… sometimes known as the “things that would be useful” list. That was cut down by a third before ordering.
- The “essentials” list – which included cords, connecters, extra batteries, etc.
While unpacking and checking out packages that have been coming in I have been also continuing watching documentaries like a demon. A little for content but mostly for style. This has been part and parcel of the pre-production for the project.
I’ve also been lining up interviews with other new citizens to get their perceptive on various aspects about becoming a citizen.
Pre-production is almost at an end and soon it will be time to shoot.
I love the rise of Kickstarter.com and crowd-funding sites like it. I have likened it to an updated version of the patronage system that served the likes of Shakespeare and Mozart in their time. The difference being that to be a patron of the arts these days no longer requires a fancy title nor oodles of disposal moolah… especially with the various “reward levels” that are built in to backing a project.
As I stated in the title… I would have written this even if my project didn’t get funded. I will even go further and state the “all or nothing” rule is important. Not all crowd funding sites have this rule. I happen to think the rule actually instills discipline (and creativity) to working toward a goal as well as not settling for less (in one’s estimation) of what it would take to create one’s project.
In the arts world as in the real world it takes a certain amount of money for projects to reach realization. Sure, it takes time, effort and talent as well… but more often than not money (or the lack thereof) can make or break the start of a project.
I think for far too long the established arts community has been way too dependent on the grant system for funding. A system that more often than not comes with strings attached and can lead to compromising one’s vision. This is not to knock subsidized art in anyway but until crowd-funding became a reality, funding of the arts were split either as commercial or public (as in grants) funded endeavors. This left a huge segment of more “indie” folk with the choices of self-financing, settling for much less than their vision required or to forget doing a project completely.
The rise in crowd-funding now provides another option that seems to be catching fire. It also provides “supporters of the arts” with a very real way to show their activism… instead of the oft used phrase being just something spouted as lip service.
So, a big hearty Cheers to crowd-funding! May the awareness spread and may creativity and originality blossom from it to create a richer experience for all.
The funding period over at Kickstarter closed about an hour ago. Once again, Thank You to ALL who backed this project. There will be a 14 day hold on the money before it can be transferred… so the waiting is not quite over yet.
But things can now move forward and you will be getting updates posted at both the official site as well as at the funding site blog. There is some equipment to buy but I’ll make do with what I have at the moment and prepare to traverse the red-tape gauntlet toward citizenship… and shoot it of course.
“I’m guessing you probably high-balled your funding amount.”, so stated a friend to me the other day. In this DIY age that is not an unusual assumption. But even DIYers like me know that it does cost to get a decent product out there… and that takes money… plus I want to create something more than decent with this documentary.
At the moment I have the basics to shoot something decent. They include a Canon HG 20 that uses a DV tape. It is a decent camera but DV tapes are becoming less available on the market. Plus, transferring footage takes (real) time to achieve and suffers from “drop-outs” more often than not. So what I’m looking for is something like this…
… the Canon Vixia HF 200 which utilizes flash-drives to record the footage on. In fact, I’m looking to acquire 2 of these along with added battery packs and lenses. That price tag alone hovers around the $3000 mark or more.
As you can see I’m shooting this utilizing “consumer grade” equipment. Part of it is to prove that a quality product (as in this documentary) can be created via this method. If I were to go with “professional grade” equipment the price tag I quoted earlier would barely cover the camera.
I do have a decent editing computer… but that too needs a little help. For instance a second “send” monitor would certainly help with color correction, etc. The point here being that the funding I’m seeking is just enough to cover all the expected expenses for this project.
It may not take as much as it used to… but it still does take some.
… when one is deciding to become an American citizen. I imagine this is true for anyone who is deciding on becoming a citizen of any country that one was not born or brought up in.
It is a little bittersweet. On one hand there is the excitement of the journey… on the other hand one can’t help feeling that one is being disloyal to the place that played a big part in shaping you in the first place.
Tis true I have not lived in the country of my birth (Malaysia) in over 30 years. So much has changed that even if and when I should return for a visit… I would be a tourist in the country of my birth… the place I spent my formative years. The “hometown” that I left isn’t what it used to be… nor should it. (That being said… neither is my “adopted” hometown.) But there are aspects of life there that I’m sure has remained. Values and aesthetics that I acquired along the way from both places will always be a part of me.
Are you getting a whiff of regret (on my part) as I embark on this journey? Not a wit… perhaps just a smidge of nostalgia.