Last week Mona and I put ourselves in front of the camera. This is not our favorite place to be! But sometimes we have to talk to people, make an appeal. And now is one of those times. We are launching a crowd funding campaign for our latest project, Watering the West: A Water Western STARRING The Cache la Poudre River. In the past, we both admit, crowd funding hasn’t been our favorite. In fact, fundraising in general we’ve shied away from, instead charging ahead to act as all members of the film crew with our own talents. Indeed, we shoot, edit, write, direct, and produce, so we CAN do it all. But as some have said and we have come to realize, not only are we working WAY too hard, but taking our issue-oriented documentaries to the next level requires expanding our team. What is the next level? Globalization! Just kidding 🙂 But we do want to bring these films to a national and even international audience. We believe in the case of water issues (a topic of global interest and importance in this century) people in these entire United States and Europe have an interest in what the American West is doing about water, a precious resource for a healthy and sustained future in the arid western states. But to reach these wider audiences we’re going to need theater distribution and/or television. Meeting strict broadcast specifications means more expensive cameras and uniform color profiles, as well as elements like professional post-production titles and graphics. Hiring animators and graphics takes money, as does obtaining and paying for clearances to video and movie clips that help us add richness to our story and make the film more interesting. And this also takes lawyers and insurance (Errors and Omissions to certify that clearances are obtained, releases are signed etc.)
Sometimes I wonder about this need for a company to expand. I think about U.S. companies going into international markets. Many do it because it increases sales revenue or diversifies their customer base such that if the U.S. market for a product is down, the product may be selling well overseas. Our product is education and entertainment. We tell stories. And yes, we’d like to expand the market for our stories; it’s a thrill when people love our films, share them with others, and change results. But we also have an innate need to improve, to meet challenges, to do something bigger. That, to me, is what keeps life interesting–continual learning, expanding skills, and working on that next big thing. We’ve made four feature films between us–increasingly more complex and beautiful. We’re ready to work with more people, expand our audience and influence, and take on another big story, improving production values along the way. So we got in front of the camera, grimacing to each other between takes (you should see those outtakes!). Because taking risks and doing things we don’t always love is a necessary action on the road to meet bigger challenges. And without challenges, life would be pretty dull indeed!
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