Post-Production Updates

When I launched this project, I never would have imagined that I would still be working on it come 2019. As a first time director, I was so naive about what it would take to pull this off. When it comes to snags and delays, we’ve experienced it all. We lost our interactive storytelling interface when our media partner, Cowbird, suddenly ended operations. Our fundraising efforts coalesced after Phase One, and we had to let go of the collaborations with some of our creatives since we did not meet our stretch goals. And perhaps hardest of all, our brilliant DP was snagged by a video production agency gig right after filming wrapped, which left me to figure out post-production solo….something I have no experience with and a reality that took the wind out of my sails for quit some time.

While those setbacks have been hard to recover from and the perpetually-delayed release has weighed heavily on me, there have been some truly incredible beacons of hope that have kept me going.

In 2018, I had the good fortune to present the project to the Sadsbury Township Historical Society at their monthly meeting. After a year of disappointments and heaviness, the night felt nothing short of magical. The reactions of the audience members were what I had always secretly hoped for as I began this project. The conversations we had during the Q + A segment— truly meaningful and humble dialogue about our city — flowed with ease between guests of different ages, races, and levels of familiarity with Coatesville. It reignited the flame in me, and my resolve to move this project forward came back to life.

Early on, I had crossed paths with a man named CJ Witherspoon. He had offered to help with the project, but as a busy producer at QVC, I was hesitant to ask him to work pro-bono (our project ran out of money back in 2017). Finally, after years of thinking about it, I bit the bullet and approached CJ. As fate would have it, he had just resigned from QVC that week, because he wanted to pursue more meaningful production work. With a $7,000 investment from my own pocket, I brought CJ on as Assistant Producer to help me finish the film segment of our project.

Finally as I write today, our release is real and tangible and coming quickly. Our web series featuring a selection of standalone interviews will go live in August 2019 (for real this time). Our feature-style documentary will premiere in the Winter with plenty of hype so you won’t miss it. We hope we can hit the holiday season so folks visiting home can be a part of our events

I want to thank everyone who has taken a moment to share a positive word or a blast of encouragement with me over the past few years. When you are working strictly from passion, with no payday in sight and no clear objective or even a team to cheer you on, your sense of meaning for the work can go through some pretty thin times. The road blocks can feel like a sign that your investment has been meaningless or worse. Our supporters and cheerleaders have made the difference between me giving up and digging deeper to finish no matter what. It means so much to me, and to all of us who have touched this project, that you have stayed with us.

Production Updates


As we get into 2017, I wanted to reflect on the enormous strides we made in 2016. Against much resistance and the learning curve of directing my first film, we were able to amass a stunning footage library of 30+ hours of Coatesville's stories.

There were disappointments: targeted participants who were wary of our project's goals and ultimately decided not to work with us; weather obstacles and a lack of sheltered filming locations as we got into our winter production block; anticipated collaborators who did not share my vision for the project or display a willingness to go all-in with us. These set backs weren't easy to overcome, but with them safely behind us, now feel purposeful. I know we ended up exactly where we needed to be.

After our Director of Photography, Ryan J. Beacher, welcomed his first baby to the world, and we both took some time to recover from our wedding seasons, we reconvened in February to begin organizing footage and editing our teaser film. I wanted to share a few notes on our strategy and answer publicly some FAQs.



To date, both of our promo videos have been built around a community member's writing pieces. We've done this not only to engage Coatesville lovers and introduce them to the project, but to showcase that BYPASSED is more than a film. It's an multi-media project with the opportunity for ordinary folks from Coatesville to contribute their own work, and use our platform to reach a larger audience. We thank Aja Thompson for her poem 'I Remember', and Aadil Malik for his piece, 'Bypassed'. You can submit your pieces (poetry, essays, short reflections, photos and video) through our contact form.

Aja and her twin brother, Avery


Our next step is to create a longer, narrative-style trailer. This piece will be intended for a national audience, and will tie Coatesville's story in with the greater American landscape. We will outline Coatesville's challenges as a city, the push-pull between the greater 19320 area and the city proper, and get into topics of stigmas and stereotypes. In this trailer you will meet our characters and get to know their stories a bit better.


We wanted to give our network a peek at our  footage to reassure those who have contributed to our budget that we have, in fact, held up our end of the deal, and have not only filmed, but filmed BEAUTIFULLY. We appreciate the faith you have put in us and wanted to honor that by getting something cut for you as quickly as possible.  Both Ryan and I are business owners and parents, and while we are passionate about BYPASSED, we must juggle the demands of our outside lives with this project.


$25k sounds like a ton of money, but in the world of film production it doesn't go far. We are so grateful that we could use these funds to secure equipment that made our footage so intensely beautiful. As his payment, Ryan requested we buy a Red Scarlet cinema camera. These cameras are used to film Hollywood movies, and shooting BYPASSED on it will pay off like crazy. We also invested in a drone camera and a production laptop and software. After taxes, perk fulfillment and animation costs, and child care for my filming blocks, our take-home pay was approximately...nada. And we are okay with that.

The grants we seek are not for the filming work. As BYPASSED is intended to be an interactive online documentary, we require a highly specialized web development team, UX design team, and hosting fees for the enormous size of our site. We also hope to cut a linear film/festival cut and may need to hire editing help for this.

In other words, the Indiegogo funds were secured to finish Phase 2 Production. And we are now solidly in Phase 3, Post-Production and Web Development: easily the most costly and time-consuming stretch of our project. 


Yes! We believe our network has carried us so far that to engage in another round of crowd-funding would be in poor taste. However we are approached frequently about the desire to make new donations. You can continue to donate through Indiegogo toward our $75k Phase 3 budget. We encourage anyone hoping to make a large gift to contact us directly so we can arrange for a fiscal sponsorship/tax deductible donation.  


No. It's my belief that the Philadelphia region is quite aware of Coatesville's challenges and the negative circumstances that plague the community. We will absolutely address all of that in the official trailer and the finished product. However, the project goal is to offset the negativity by sharing the positive that gets such little air time. Not to erase the reality. But to loosen up some of the fear and stigma held by the outside community. To show the world that the community of Coatesville is full of the same ups and downs that every other town deals with. And to illustrate the ways in which the surrounding towns have been complicit in creating the Coatesville of today-- maybe to get some people thinking about their role in this more critically. 

Moving forward, all of our releases will be targeted to an audience that's never even heard of Coatesville. Therefore, we'll introduce some of the less positive aspects of the community so the audience can contextualize and relate to Coatesville. 

Our timeline remains unpredictable as most of our milestones are now out of our control. We need at least the bulk of our Phase 3 budget before we can secure a web development team. But we need a web development team to give us a firm quote before we can commit to them.

After that, we'll need them to provide us with their timeline on designing the site, as well as any new demands for additional footage that they may need.

Hang in there and know that great things are in the works for 2017. 

Big love,



AWARDS: The Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant

BYPASSED project director Sarah Alderman has been selected for a 2015 Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant.  From the Leeway Foundation website:

What makes a Leeway Artist?

The following does not describe one kind of artist; rather, it paints a larger picture of the many aspects of different Leeway artists.

An artist who helps us see art in its broadest manifestation.

An artist who owns their practice and knows what and how they want to engage; art that is expressed as clean, clear and confident.

Wherever they are in their practice, there is passion and a sense of digging deeply into the work as an exploration.

Thoughtful or Insightful
The work comes out of some kind of analysis and provides some articulation (verbal or visual) of that analysis.

There is a clear intention and the artist has the ability to translate that intention through the work.

The work can challenge audiences or create a sense of tension; the impact is rooted in challenging norms, perceptions, and the status quo (e.g., issues of race, class, gender).

They are part of a community or in the broader sense they are connected to something other (larger) than themselves.

Underserved, Under-acknowledged, and/or Under-engaged
These are the practitioners who have not traditionally received support (e.g., folks of color, immigrants, poor folks), or they have made/are making a significant contribution to a field that has not been fully recognized, or they do not fit the traditional definitions of artist and/or activist but are clearly using an “art form” and working in a creative way to have significant impact, or they are identified or perceived as “outsiders” (e.g., not engaged in the formal or mainstream societal structures).

Bridge Builders
Artists who may not be originally of the community they are working in but share a genuine connection to the culture and the work, and/or artists who serve as ambassadors in other communities as a way to build alliances within larger movements.


We are so grateful to Leeway Foundation for this grant, which will enable us to reacher a broader, more diverse group of community participants, and to dig deeper with each and every one of them. 

Raider Starz competitive cheerleading team: One of Coatesville's star youth organizations which rarely get the press they deserve. #pushthepositive   

Raider Starz competitive cheerleading team: One of Coatesville's star youth organizations which rarely get the press they deserve. #pushthepositive


Art for social change is art with a vision and impacts people in many ways. It can: raise consciousness; alter how we think about ourselves, our society, or our culture; create a vision of a more just world; be a tool or strategy for organizing and movement-building; reclaim traditional cultural practices as a form of resistance or community building; challenge racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism, ableism or other forms of oppression; and question mainstream culture and beliefs.

With the ideals of social change in mind, we created these programs to challenge the norms of traditional grantmaking. We seek to recognize women and trans artists whose work is often ignored, silenced, and marginalized because of what they create or who they are - such as people of color; immigrants; gay, lesbian, and bisexual people; poor and working-class people; and people who take risks with art form and content to share their social change vision.

PRESS: Philadelphia Inquirer

We are so grateful to Michaelle Bond for her write-up on the project. Even more, we feel so blessed and fortunate that Mrs. Dorothy Carter could join in as a part of this interview, and to contribute hours of stories to our project. We are sending love and gratitude to our sister Jaqueline and the entire Carter family, for generously sharing their parents' legacies with the world. 

Miss Dot and the daughters of Project Director Sarah Alderman. Olivia (left) and Tessa Alderman. 

Miss Dot and the daughters of Project Director Sarah Alderman. Olivia (left) and Tessa Alderman.