2016, YOU WERE A GEM
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.
WHY ANOTHER POEM?
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.
I STILL DON'T UNDERSTAND THE PROJECT'S ANGLE
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.
WHY WASN'T THAT RELEASED FIRST?
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.
BYPASSED RAISED $25K, WHY ARE YOU NOW APPLYING FOR GRANT MONEY?
$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.
CAN I STILL DONATE THROUGH INDIEGOGO?
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.
ARE YOU TRYING TO PRESENT A FALSELY POSITIVE VIEW OF COATESVILLE? YOUR TEASER WAS CLOYINGLY HOPEFUL.
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.