For the last twelve months I’ve been working with two people very close to me to develop an idea and figure out how to make it into a feature film. Despite the fear and reluctance that comes with announcing something like this publicly, it’s time to open the doors and let you know:
I’m Making My First Feature Documentary Film
If you’re familiar with my work, you may be wondering why I would be fearful of announcing that I’m making my first feature documentary film. After all, I’ve worked on shows including two seasons of Lockup for MSNBC, an Emmy-nominated season of Top Chef for Bravo, and an Emmy-nominated season of Project Greenlight for HBO that was featured in Time Magazine’s “Top 10 TV Episodes of 2015.” What is there to be afraid of?
Lots of things! All of my work has been in television, and all of it has been freelance work, which means that, after a production company and network develop a show and agree to make it, I am paid to come in and execute that idea. Once my team has executed it we hand it to the television network to do all the rest of the work.
Though I have lots of experience producing documentary shows, the actual producing and post-producing of a documentary is only part of the process. So, for the first time I am embarking on the other parts of the process: brainstorming, ideation, development, fundraising, pre-production, distribution, and marketing.
There are professionals who devote their entire careers to single steps in this process, as I have done with production and post-production, and yet I am (along with my very small team) assuming all of these roles and trying to do it myself.
Why? Because I believe in the subject matter and I believe in the story we are trying to tell. So, despite the obstacles we have already faced and will continue to face along the way, I am committed to making this documentary.
What This Means for You
Over the past few months I’ve shared information about documentary filmmaking and answered several Q&As in an effort to be transparent and helpful and provide as much value to you as possible. I must admit, I’ve fallen in love with the process.
I remember when I was just starting out in video production and was desperate for information. I remember again, a few years later, when I had moved to Los Angeles and was trying to break in to television… and was desperate for even more information. Now that I’m embarking on this journey, the making of my first feature documentary film, I am again seeking information about all of these new things I know very little about.
As I study this information and put it into practice, I want to share it with you in hopes that it will inform your filmmaking journey. At the end of this journey, I hope to have a comprehensive blog or behind-the-scenes journal that outlines every step of the process, including all of the challenges and setbacks, to give all of the filmmakers who read my stuff more context as they watch the film. I also hope that this information can guide you and help you avoid some challenges and setbacks, and overcome the obstacles that you currently face.
We Are in This Together
I realize how corny this sounds, but we truly are embarking on this process together so long as you continue reading my posts. I will be taking questions and responding to comments throughout the process so that, if I miss anything or if you want me to elaborate on a topic, I can make this behind-the-scenes resource as comprehensive as possible. At the same time, I depend on your support and cannot make this film without your help.
My team has partnered with Media Alliance, a non-profit organization that supports independent film, to accept tax-deductible donations on behalf of our project.
If you would like to donate, click the PayPal button below and enter either a one-time donation, or a recurring donation (by clicking the checkbox). Please note that all donations, whether they are $5, $50, $500, or $5,000, help our cause.
At the moment we are accepting rolling donations to support us throughout the development and pre-production process. As we get closer to our shoot dates, Summer 2017, we will launch a proper crowdfunding campaign. Keep in mind, however, that the crowdfunding campaign will not be able to accept tax-deductible donations because items will be gifted at each donation level.
Additionally, we hope to begin accepting tax-deductible donations as soon as possible to help us through the early stages and lower the amount of money needed at the crowdfunding stage.
If you have any questions about the donation process or the project, please reach out to me on my contact page and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
What Is the Film and Where Does the Money Go?
Now that we’ve gotten some of the business out of the way, I’d like to explain exactly what the project is and how we intend to use our funds.
We are making a documentary called Still Moving on the topic of juvenile arthritis. Juvenile arthritis affects more than 300,000 children in the US, yet most people don’t know that kids can get arthritis too.
The disease can be incredibly painful, yet the causes are still unknown for most forms of juvenile arthritis. Additionally, there is no cure, although with early diagnosis and aggressive treatment, remission is possible.
Because of this, it is imperative that more awareness is raised and more research is done for the juvenile arthritis community, and that’s what Still Moving is focused on.
So far, my team has traveled to various places around the country teaching video production and movement workshops to children with juvenile arthritis.
In each movement workshop, Kristin works with kids to create movements that represent who they are and how they struggle with and overcome juvenile arthritis. She intends to choreograph a dance piece inspired by the movements these children come up with, and we intend to document the entire process and edit it into a feature documentary film.
The documentary will feature stories from Kristin, as well as a variety of children and adults who also experienced juvenile arthritis. By highlighting the struggles each of these people have overcome, we hope to make a film that celebrates triumph over juvenile arthritis while still bringing awareness and encouraging research in the field.
In my next post I will explore the ideation and development process for Still Moving, including the inspiration and the struggles my team has faced in putting the documentary together so far, and what we hope the finished product will look like.
In the meantime, please support the film by donating what you can!
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