What happens when you’re a one person team?

As a filmmaker you have to cover everything, from the legal aspect to the creative aspect, making you a regular renaissance guy or gal; that is of course, until you are able to hire a team that will help you with everything. But that doesn’t mean you’ll stop working in those areas, no, you’ll still be aware of everything that’s happening, you’ll just have extra eyes, ears, and hands to deal with the growing responsibility of making film. Especially if you’re going for a feature length film – THAT requires a whole bunch of people to make it run smoothly.

While working on two projects as a producer, three as a director/producer, and one as a co-writer producer I’ve learned that while trying to make films I can’t just pick up my camera and start recording. No, if I want to do it right I have to get proper permissions, make sure all insurances are in order, that everyone is in place, and they have signed all papers, that all cameras are safe, etc. It’s hard work that can be overwhelming for a single person to keep track of. Something is bound to fall through the cracks (like I’ve discussed before). But with a person assigned for specific something, then you can just check in to see how they’re doing and lend advice or input if they encounter some challenges, subsequently you more time to do other things efficiently.

Then, there comes a time where everything is out of your control. A time when the universe gathers all its energy and says “you’re not going to do anything today”. Like your car doesn’t start.  What then? Well, as part of the ‘recording’ aspect of production is halted temporarily until you fix it. What do you do in the mean time? as a creative soul you have tons of options – you can start making phone calls to follow up on your proposals, start writing new story ideas, go through and come up with new marketing material, follow up on accounts, etc.

That is exactly what I’ve been doing since car troubles began for me. Being extremely selective with the days that I take my wonderful car out for a drive (until I replace its damaged piece) I’ve been doing a lot of marketing, proposals, reaching out to people, calling others for advice, following up with my new PR recruit.

“You’re so creative La Shawn, you’re like making films, writing articles, doing fashion, and saving the world!”
– Shawn Ling Ramirez, Political Science Professor at Emory University & BFF

While coming up with designs for the new marketing apparel that will serve also to raise funds for future short film productions as well as donations toward The Coral Reef Task Force in Puerto Rico, and other non-profit organizations that promote conservation – I’ve taken a bold approach to asking for donations and sponsors. While some might classify this as desperate, and very well might be, I’ve decided to openly tweet my need for both donations and sponsors for my work.

honest Tweet seeking funding and sponsors
honest Tweet seeking funding and sponsors

As crowd-funding takes the financing of art, film and music to a another level – I decided that Save the Coral Reefs  is so important for everyone to see that I need to take a much more bold approach to funding. I believe that openly and honestly sending a Tweet of my need for donations, and sponsors will open more doors for me. Still, I will continue sending private proposals and acquire funds through other avenues. But one thing I’ve been asked several times through the course of my short career making films – “does funding determine the production?” the answer is both yes and no. Depending on the project size, and if I can do most of it worrying only about gas money – then no, on the other hand for a project like Save the Coral Reefs, where I’d be required to get a special equipment to do the incredible amount of underwater footage for such a theme, along with other safety gear for snorkeling, diving, etc. Yes, funding is very much a determining factor of the production.

For now however, I will continue the best I can for the completion of this film – while I wait a response from the film festivals I’ve submitted my first docu-short to.

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