Horse in Front of the Cart

For two weeks, I’ve been struggling to make one little edit on the film, export it, and then upload it to a video-on-demand platform. But I’ve realized that with my lack of resources and desire to make the project available, I’m skipping a ridiculously important step. So I’m writing partially in admittance of defeat and partially wondering if there is some way to right the situation and finally put the horse in front of the cart.

This film has taken six years to finish because I’ve only been able to raise $3,000 to $5.000 at once. Maybe it’s because I’m just not that comfortable asking. Maybe it’s my gender or lack of abilities or some tragic flaw in my character. I would do as much as I could with the money I had and then I’d have to gather the energy and gumption to go and raise some more money. I’m grateful for everyone who’s donated  – not only money but also advice and solidarity – but this is not how to do something well. I’m exhausted with spending so much time fundraising. There have been six editors and four animators each doing bits and pieces. The sound never was properly done. And I’ve never been able to afford the rights to the music and news footage.

That last bit is really a problem. Of course, I conveniently forgot all about it during this past month. But yesterday, I woke up kicking myself, “What am I thinking?!!

There is fair use and presidential footage is supposedly in the public domain, but I’d have to at least engage an entertainment lawyer. And there’s no getting around the six songs in the film. My specific idea was to use Taiwanese songs that would give the film a depth of authenticity, but that means I have to get the rights from the musicians.

So it pains me to have to admit that I can’t make this film public. Unless I raise some more money. And I’m not sure I have the energy or willpower to do this.

At Cannes, I met a lawyer who said she would take on the clearance for $1,500. A previous lawyer thought she could get the rights for $250 per song. And there’s a researcher I’ve worked with who said he could try to get the rights to the television footage, but I think I would have to give him at least $1,000. This means that I’ll have to raise at least $5,000 before I can make this film available.

Is this worth it?  I don’t know if I can crowdfund again. Does anyone have any ideas? Strategies?

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