While Sam’s team works to reach its $250,000 goal for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, ours works to cobble together donations from fans and generous patrons for a feature film budget. But it is not easy for any of us to be diligent fundraisers while out on the trail. Each day the crew is faced with the challenge of locating Sam in the midst of the Pacific wilderness to film him like some kind of rare species in its fall migration. I remember watching BBC’s Planet Earth series and being totally impressed and mildly horrified with a particular “behind-the-scenes” feature, in which one patient cameraman had camped out in a make-shift duck-blind in the jungles of New Guinea for weeks on end just for one 20 second shot of a very rare bird of paradise. We wait for hours, not weeks, but the glimpses of Sam are comparably brief, and by the time he blows past us we’re already contemplating our next location and how to get there on foot, several hours ahead of him, once again. This daily ritual, and all its critical preparation, does not give us much free time to return emails and make phone calls to politely beg for the money that we desperately need to finish the film. We’re living in the moment, and considering the future only so far as to when we anticipate Sam’s next appearance.
We set out to document Sam’s incredible challenge, and we’re doing it, but we are spread thin. Our two-week shoot in Washington was a trial-by-fire, in which we learned how to orchestrate logistically complex shoots, work as a unit, and live together peaceably in an RV, (the secret is hot showers, hot food, and cold beer.) But the majesty of the Pacific wilderness, and the sheer gutsiness of Sam’s endeavor deserve more attention than we are able to give with just one camera and 30 days. Friend and saintly volunteer, Sam Coale, has offered his energy and his camera to help us get more of the shots we need, and in my brief time-off from the trail in LA, I have reached out to a number of photographer friends to try to enlist some more help. Not only do we need more cameras, however, we need more time. I budgeted our shoot for 30 out of 60 days, but given the unpredictability of many key factors, including the weather, Sam’s pace, and daily condition, it seems ludicrous not to spend as much time as we can on the trail filming.
This is all to say that our fundraising campaign is ongoing. We need to spend the next five weeks on the trail filming, which means adding another 20-25 days of shooting, effectively doubling our $50,000 budget. With our fiscal sponsorship from the International Documentary Association in place, we are a tax-exempt operation, and any donations to the film from this time on are 100% tax-deductible. I am confident that between the generosity of our growing fan-base and an crucial offer of support from the Michael J. Fox Foundation, we can raise the money to get the shots we need to tell this story in all its depth.
Many of you have already given to our cause through our successful Kickstarter campaign, which was an overwhelming-127% funded! You can see the fruits of your donations at work on the film’s blog, where we have been posting photos and stories about our adventures in this hot pursuit. For those of you who have been meaning to contribute but haven’t yet – your procrastination has paid off! Now is a better time than ever to give, because your donation will be tax-deductible. Simply go to our IDA web-page, pay online, and we will send you a tax-receipt. And for everybody who wants to help – whether you’re unable to give monetarily, or have given already and want to do more – just tell your friends! Spread the word, stoke the fire, stir the beans…
It has been three weeks since we began filming, and we’ve got another five to go. Despite some persistent pain in his ankle, Sam is in fighting shape and is charging through Oregon to the California border where we’ll be waiting for him, cameras primed. Please check in with us often, and THANK YOU for everything you’ve done already.
Best wishes for the fall and many, many thanks,