Some of you don’t know me well, so let me re-introduce myself and give you more information about why this project is important.
I was born and raised in Tyler, TX and lived there until I left for UT Austin my sophomore year of college. I thought I would be an advertising copywriter but, in just the first year, I found film. I dove right in and while studying the greatest craft on the planet I felt like a kid in a candy store. Two years later I graduated from a program ranked #5 in the country behind the likes of USC, UCLA and NYU. The program was called the IPS sequence. It was a curated program where each semester about 30 to 40 students started off on our own group “hero’s journey” (to quote Joseph Campbell) and would stay together the entire time, building relationships and exploring a unique passion that we all shared. My last semester, I applied for the senior thesis class using a script that I had written. When our instructor Rachel Tsangari admitted me as a director, “The Land” became a viable filmmaking project. Within 10 months, after lots of struggle to finish, the picture was locked (that’s industry jargon for “yay, the hundreds of hours spent in the dungeon of an editing room has paid off because I just finished editing my last film school project!) The film was cut the old way, on a Steenbeck (archaic mechanized editing machine from the 1950’s). What? No digital editing at a top 5 school?!? We did have them but teaching on film is better because it forces the student to think about what they’re doing. So, as you practice and build skills, you get your reps in quicker. I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn traditional filmmaking at the end of an era.
When I graduated, everything changed. The Steenbecks were replaced by computers, but digital editing was extremely expensive. To finish this film, it would have to be done the old way. The problem was that many film labs across the country had shut down, including the Austin based ones. LA, being the mecca of the film industry, was one of the few places where I could access the services needed to finish. After raising more money and getting some work done in LA, I realized that it wasn’t as easy as just raising the money and spending it. Problems coordinating and communicating with partners and vendors 1000 miles away affect what is already a very complex workflow. When unexpected problems crop up, finishing becomes delayed and expenses increase. It’s also difficult because the indie producer (particularly a student) is so dependent on the vendors and their willingness to share information, we have little leverage and tend to get taken advantage of, (at least part of the time). So, the film was shelved until a year ago when the digital tech finally became affordable. That means I can buy my own gear and do the work in my home studio. That’s the story that explains why the project is so important to me. All the money, time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears that go into any artistic craft is what I have wrapped up in this movie.
As we get closer to launch, it’s become easy to understand why all the books on crowdfunding recommend starting 6 months in advance. It’s overwhelming how much there is to do when you do it right. Actually…I don’t think there’s only one “right way”, but there’s often a “better way”. In order to have the best chances at finding the best ways from week to week, it’s best to put together an enthusiastic campaign team. I’ve heard from some of you already, asking “What can I do to help?”. I haven’t had a concise answer until now, so here’s a list of the positions that I’d like to fill. (If you have run a campaign like this before and you have any advice, please do not hesitate to let me know).
- Outreach Manager
- Work with Social Media Manager to Drive connections
- Work with Research Manager to ID Influencers, Niche Outsiders, Topic Groups
- Street Team – Post signage at coffee shops, pubs, public gathering spots that accept creative project postings
- Advertising & PR Manager
- Help write press Releases
- Research advertising tools & create a Budget based Media Plan
- Work with Webmaster to setup and track website conversions
- Social Media Manager
- Work with Outreach Manager to drive connections
- Brainstorm ideas for posts
- Schedule posts
- Research Manger
- Use existing relationships and resources to create a plan used by outreach to find new supporters.
- Identify Influencers, Niche Outsiders, Topic groups
- Create the master contact list to be used by the outreach team
- Communications Manager
- Handle the final formatting of E-mails and website Language before send/publish
- Review social media posts to ensure the message/voice is cohesive with other messaging platforms.
- Campaign Manager
- If you are passionate about this role, then you can fill out this list better than I. Lol!
- Identify other roles that need to be filled?
- Update website on a regular schedule
- Publish edited copy/content to the website
- Maintain visual continuity on the website by formatting elements/photos to a pre-set style.
- Review existing design and recommend ways to optimize the site to make it easier for supporters to join the crowd.
- Design Manager
- Create Infographics
- Create handbills/posters/cards etc…
- Work with webmaster, using Images and information created by team members
- Work with webmaster to maintain a visually cohesive campaign.
If you are passionate about any of these areas, please let me know that you’d like to be a part of “The Land”!