Today has been quite a stressful day. Partly that's because I've been away for the best part of two weeks and my inbox is now overflowing. Partly too it's because I'm moving house (I'm just taking a break to write this, and then I'll definitely get back to packing - honest...) Mostly though, I'm on the high-blood pressure end of the scale because this morning Tom Allen and I launched a Kickstarter campaign to try and fund two new feature films. We're asking for £23,500 - an amount of money that makes my head hurt. We have two weeks to find it, otherwise the films won't happen. There's no plan B. I'm moving into a temporary house for two months to facilitate the editing process, so if it doesn't work out I'll feel very silly indeed (and be very bored.)
I have to admit though that alongside the stress is a hefty amount of excitement. I've watched the crowdfunding concept grow over the last few years, and I've backed my fair share of projects. Some haven't worked out, but the vast majority have succeeded and it's been great to see films made, books written and all manner of strange expeditions get off the ground. The time feels right to try it for myself, and I couldn't imagine a project better suited to it.
Hopefully by now most of you will have watched 'Karun' - the short, 15 minute version about Tom and I travelling along the longest river in Iran (you haven't? You must! Do so here!) Well, now we are ready to begin work on the feature-length version. There are a lot more stories from that journey that we want to tell, and it’s a great opportunity to show off more of Iran. Then there's the small matter of our countless ‘meetings’ with the Iranian secret police…more on that in the film!
We’re also all set to begin work on our story from the Santa Cruz River in Patagonia. We rode horses across Argentina at the end of last year, following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin. Along the way we saw how the region is set to change forever with the imminent construction of two enormous dams. That project is controversial, to say the least. It’s important that we make our film as soon as possible to tell this story while it’s relevant, and while it could help raise the profile of what’s happening.
To make these two movies happen, we need to bring in a number of professionals to work on the films, and while Tom and I are happy to work for free and eat Baked Beans out of the tin, it’s very important that we pay a fair wage to the editors that we work with. The budget of £23,500 is as skeleton as it possibly could be - to really make these films in the way we'd like we need closer to £35,000. This lower amount allows them to happen though, and that's the most important thing. It buys an editor for each, editing facilities, an additional director for 'Karun', plus all the audio mixing, colour grading and other costs associated with producing broadcast quality material.
For those of you that don’t know how Kickstarter works – it’s very simple. It’s an opportunity to make creative projects happen through the collective power of people with a common interest chipping in. For each ‘reward’ there are various things that you can receive in return. On the most basic level, it is essentially a way for you to pre-order the films – you put in some money now, we use it to make film, and then send you your copy in a few months. On the higher end of the scale we are offering talks, filmmaking workshops and executive producer credits – head over to the website to check it out.
I’d love it if you would like to be involved with our projects (obviously!) There are two ways to do this.
Firstly, you can pledge your support! Do so here, and you can look forward to your reward in due course.
The second way to help us is to spread the word. Please do tell your friends, tweet, Facebook, email, make placards… anything you can do would be very much appreciated. Visit the campaign page and click 'share' for the easiest way to put the word out.
Thanks again for your help, and I’ll let you know how we’re getting on with the campaign. Your support means a lot, and I really hope that in two weeks time we'll be able to head into the edit room thanks to you!
VIEW THE KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN HERE