Can we vent for a minute? We’re not much for negativity but sometimes when you’re so frustrated the only thing you can do is scream into the void. For as rewarding as this documentary journey has been overall, the last year has been an absolute frustrating suck fest.
We’d love to have great news. Some outstanding announcement SO BOLD, SO EXCITING that it almost excuses the way we ghosted on you. Unfortunately, that’s not happening. No explosions. No loud bang. Just a repetitive dull thudding of our heads against a brick wall.
There has been a lot going on behind the scenes, and it’s about time we clued you in.
So here we go.
Over a year ago we put out a call for help. We needed extra hands to help us with office stuff, social media, odds n’ ends, just basic intern duties.
The first kid was amazing, so amazing that he was offered a PAYING job on a TV show not long after we got him. Hey, we can’t get mad at that, so we wish him the best!
The second was very eager to help, but "LOL, um you need me to start, like now, now? Like um, I was hoping to start after my senior thesis ends in June (this was in early March) LOL I thought when you said you needed interns it wouldn’t be right away. Whoops! But call me in the summer! :D"
Our third was looking like a great match! They were majoring in marketing and boasted an amazing knack for social media.
Color us excited!
But, we got an icky feeling about handing over the reigns of our social media, and good thing we trusted our gut!
They offered a marketing suggestion that probably would have alienated our entire fan base, not to mention set fire to our credibility and pee on the ashes.
Then there was the rest of applicants who all had an irritating theme: "I know you’re asking for help on your documentary with research assistance and marketing but I’m a filmmaker. Can you help me find a job?"
Hey, cool. Nope. Byeeee.
The Unfinished Checklist
A large project like this isn’t easy, but it’s manageable if you break it down step by step, and that’s what our friend and 3rd producing partner Dennis excelled at. Dennis tackled everything from documentaries and nationwide commercials with a calm ease - he was a master level producer.
During pre-production and most of the shoot, Dennis was there to tick off the check boxes, motivate us when we were doubtful, and mentor us on the next steps.
Now we’re staring post production right in the face, and this was a fight we thought we’d lick easy! Dennis had the resources lined up to get the funding we needed - we shoot the interviews, he shops the specs to investors and distributors - no problem!
No problem until ALS abruptly took Dennis from us.
The responsibility of marketing and final fundraising fell in our laps and the reality weighed down heavily last winter when we checked off the last boxes on the To Do List that Dennis never had the chance to finish.
When Dennis left, so did his resources. In this business people do favors for friends, not friends-of-friends… “but, good luck in your endeavors, and the exit is over there on your left.”
When is the movie gonna be done?!?!
Our #1 question. A question that, although innocent, cuts us like a knife. We hate to disappoint, and that's what we feel like we're doing to you. The only reason the movie isn’t ready: M-O-N-E-Y
When our resources dissolved we got proactive, and submitted for a few grants. We are forever grateful to friends Carla and Steve for helping us because grant writing sucks the life out of you!
Oh, but how did it go you ask?
Hmmm... well, rejection is one thing, but this is Charlton Comics. So instead of a “better luck next time”, we were told the president of a large and reputable grant foundation saw the topic and tagline of our submission… then threw it in the trash.
Yup that’s right. And how do we know this? Because a member of the review board retrieved it (from the trash) and in a follow up consultation told us so. How’s that for a gut punch?
We’re really trying here, but after a bunch of stumbles, Keith and I needed to step back and really think about how we were going to muscle through this. Rest assured we are not stopping, but we needed a mental break.
Boy oh boy, what a bleak way to start the week, huh? How about some good news?
We have another prospective intern on the docket. She's highly qualified and has a love of documentaries like we do, and as long as her schedule allows, we should have her working soon!
A few rejections and one heartless curmudgeon won't stop us from applying for more grants. They are immersive and occupy a large amount of time to prep so it's a bit more difficult to fit into a freelancer's schedule, but we'll make it work.
Specifically, we're focusing on the programs through Tribeca and The Sundance Institute, and have others in the meantime.
Since while we're on the topic of money, we'd love to extend our gratitude to Brett Masterson for his multiple donations over the last year. Being that we were in a stage of regrouping, the money is in the bank and on the ready of the last burst of interviews.
On Friday another news blast will hit your inboxes, this one specifically about interviews.
Until then - Up and Atom!
- Jackie and Keith