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.