This week’s Kickstartable project is one that I think will appeal to many of you, dear readers. It’s got travel, it’s a got a good cause, and it’s someone who knows how to make movies. Add those three things together, and you’ve got Art Therapy: The Movie.
Director Alfonso Bui took some time this week to answer my questions. He also has some good tips on how to build a following before you launch the Kickstarter leg of the project.
Tell us a little about your Kickstarter project. What do you hope to accomplish with the funds raised?
Art Therapy: The Movie is a feature documentary about the innovative ways art is being used around the world to overcome emotional challenges and traumatic experiences. I was inspired to make this documentary when my friend and producer Kelvin invited me to film a group of art therapy students traveling to work at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. After going through the footage we felt that we had an important story on our hands that would be best served as a feature film. Now we’re trying to raise funds on Kickstarter so we can chronicle how art therapy is being used to help victims of tragedy, such as those affected by the tsunami in Japan, earthquakes in Haiti and South America, and the events of 9/11.
Is this your first Kickstarter project? If so, what made you make the leap to engaging the world community to promote your cause?
Kickstarter offered the best platform to get the film funded. With a background in grant writing, digital media, and filmmaking, coupled with growing up in the Internet Age, I sensed my film pitch would be best served online, via Kickstarter.
I felt that this was a movie people would want to see so I began winding down on my others jobs to devote 100% of my time to get Art Therapy: The Movie funded. With this work, given its about the possibilities of human connection, we thought why not use Kickstarter to reach out to you, strangers, to make this documentary happen.
What was the most challenging part of getting your Kickstarter presentation together?
As someone who pushes pixels for a living, I was naturally inclined to make sure the Kickstarter campaign looked as polished as possible, so it was very time consuming process. I wanted to have a following in place so I made sure to build a website, Twitter account, and have a following of 2,000 on the Facebook fan page before launching the campaign. Add in filming and editing a compelling video and you’re easily looking at 2-3 weeks of work. If you’re going to ask people to help make your dream happen, you better make it worth their time because people know when something is a hit or a dud within seconds!
What has been the most pleasantly surprising thing since your video has been live?
People seem to just “get it,” which has been awesome. As a filmmaker, I want the project to be seen as a good story and piece of art. My partner, as an art therapist, wants to show the innovative ways art therapy is being used around the world to empower individuals. Most people have seen it as both an entertaining film and educational media, which is exactly what we were aiming for.
What’s your project’s biggest selling point?
Any film’s biggest selling point is a good story. So I think we’ve been getting a steady stream of funders because people see good storytelling that can succeed in the artistic, educational, and commercial domain. Something else that we’re doing to engage our fan-base is sharing the creative process of Art Therapy: The Movie through instructional and behind-the-scenes videos. I’ve learned a lot about filmmaking thanks to the generosity of other filmmakers sharing their knowledge online and I wanted to be sure to help out anyone else if I could. It’s tough to succeed as an artist, there’s no doubt about it. But if this is your passion you have to start somewhere and make sure to create a good product, no matter how big or small the project. As my mentor Ed Caban once told me, “Your home videos should be so good it should have alternate endings!” When you work this hard you’ll find that the bigger stuff will present itself”¦just be ready to realize the opportunity and seize it.
Art Therapy: The Movie only happens if you want it to, and it starts here with you. Art Therapy: The Movie is able to be funded through September 19, 2013.