Conversations with the Living: The Haitian AIDS Crisis

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Archive for August 2011

A Look Back: The principal market, Port-au-Prince

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August 30, 2011 at 9:00 pm

A Look Back: The unfinished presidential palace of Haiti on New Year’s Day, 1920

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August 29, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Fundraising Follies: Business, never personal

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17:00 EST: I bumped into a friend on the street yesterday before the Irene plodded through New York City. I used the few minutes to warn her that come September-October we would be engaged in some serious fundraising and that I would be calling on her for a favor or four. She was part of andante company and used to do some fundraising for it so she sympathized with my plight. (I could tell from the pitying and pained look she gave me.)

We then got into a conversation about hat a soul sucking experience it is to solicit money, especially from friends but not excluding. That got me thinking about why it is so draining. Besides the socially awkward feeling of asking for money (in truth there’s nothing wrong with it), I can’t help feeling that every time you ask for a donation it is a mini-referendum on the worthiness of your project and also on your friendship with person X. Hence, the awkward “Sure no problem,” followed by the lack of a donation becomes an implied “My project us crap and our friendship is even worse.” But of course, neither is the case.

I had a discussion about this with another friend a few weeks back. She has worked in Development for some time and asked for money for a living. She said that there are so many factors to why people do not give, and none of them are personal. Sometimes, they’ve just given to a similar project. Or sometimes, you catch them at a moment when they cannot give for whatever reason. Or maybe they only give to very specific causes that you do not fit into. It’s a long list. None if it, however, is personal. (Or a least very rarely is.)

So, I guess all I am trying to say in my long winded way is that one shouldn’t take the fundraising thing personally. It, like your approach to film, should be about business.

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August 28, 2011 at 4:25 pm

CWTL Production Diary: The Hustle

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12:00 EST: Had a long fundraising conversation with LC and GC last night. I am glad to say that a proper fundraising strategy is finally taking shape. Naturally, it is a combination of online/crowd-sourcing/social network driven campaigns and actual face-to-face, feet-to-the-pavement hustling. We need roughly 50k to complete production in Haiti. We have a few people willing to help with post on the condition that we hold up our end of the bargain – getting all the footage together. So if anyone has any ideas or wants to donate, drop us a note. Need all the help we can get to make this happen.

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August 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Documentary making, Haiti, HIV

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CWTL Production Diary: Split ends

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15:08 EST: Not much to report besides shipping drive off to LC in LA. She’s taking the teaser to a finishing editor to clean up the split ends of my cut. What happens after that is anyone’s guess. (Note to self: Drink more coffee to clear up foggy brain.)

Oh, and LC had a good conversation with a potential subject for the film yesterday. Inching closer to locking it. At least, one hopes. At this point, that’s about all I can muster. Hope.

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August 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Posted in Documentary making, Haiti

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CWTL Production Diary: Making lemonade

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22:16 EST: The last few days have been a whirlwind of development with the doc, some of which I can divulge, some I cannot for reasons of privacy. However, to speak in abstractions, we’ve been faced with certain hurdles for the past few months that have severely compromised our ability to move forward with the documentary. We believe we have possibly turned a corner and have figured out how to use the hurdle to our advantage and make the documentary even more important (and maybe even groundbreaking). We just need some time between LC, GC, and me to see whether it truly works. In order to make it easier to make a decision, I am hoping to do some tests… We shall see.

We are still preparing for our big fundraising push starting September 1, planning social media campaigns, real world/in-person networking, etc. LC has already started doing the legwork and is meeting with a potential investor this evening. We are also close to having several pledges of funds from a couple of sources. We are getting our ducks in a row, one quack at a time.

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August 18, 2011 at 9:47 pm

CWTL Production Diary: Inching towards September

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9:10 EST: Had a good conversation with LC and GC last night. We are now focusing on getting our proverbial ducks in a row for September when we get together our all important push to raise enough funds to get the crew down to Haiti, shoot, and get back in one piece. We’re relying on the new and old. We’re combining crowdsourcing with personal efforts targeting specific individuals who might be interested in joining our cause.

I wish there was a secret formula to all this but of course, there isn’t. Guess that’s what makes this all interesting.

– ML

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August 17, 2011 at 8:17 am