Dear supporters/lovers/likers of The Unique Ladies. This is your Captain speaking and we are about to experience some turbulence. I’m trying to keep my calm but the anxiety is starting to rev; if I want this dream to happen, it has to happen now, no more waiting, no more excuses, no if ands or nalgas. Cue flashback music and I will give you a little back-story.
WARNING: This is a bit cathartic, so if you want to skip please do after the section. Beep.
Last year in January 2011 I was a bit lost. I went through a hell of a year with debilitating nerve pain delaying my completion of my Master’s Degree in Social Documentation to December 2010. At that point The Unique Ladies was at a rough cut. New Year’s hits with a real world slap on the face. Bills to pay, and no job. No more being “paid” to work on your film (I say paid, but I worked for it as a teaching assistant). I luckily had an offer to teach Political Economy in the Latina/o Studies Department at the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. I immediately took it, it covered the bills, sorta; I lived back at home with my mom and step dad and was trying to balance finding more work and I still couldn’t shake the symptoms and pain I was continuously enduring.
By March I was invited to finish my film and screen with the 2011 cohort of SOCDOC. I knew taking on this task would keep me on track; I would have to get the film to a next level. I kept working little by little, and, right after the last day of classes at SF State I packed my dog, clothes, and 55 10-page papers to grade to my Nina Nora’s house and stayed in her guest room/office where there was a ergonomic desk that helped me endure the arm pain. I bunkered down for a month, working and sleeping in the same room, grading papers and tallying grades whilst watching Real Housewives of New York travel through Morocco and make racist/classist utterances. I was overwhelmed but determined. And I did it. There are even pictures to prove it! That was a milestone. The next was to come.
August came with great excitement to me with my acceptance and attendance of the Latino Producer’s Academy (LPA) put forth by the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. Two weeks of all day seminars, all night editing, and all the knowledge one could absorb in regards to knowing the guts and needs required of one in independent documentary filmmaking. By this time after taking 6 months to acquire health care, I learned that the symptoms I couldn’t shake were due to the fact that I had been suffering from fibromyalgia. My body went into shock from the pain I endured and as a result began to attack me. During the two weeks in New Mexico I got sick by day 4, I call it the fibromyalgia flu, all flu symptoms with nerve pain ramped up to Spinal Tap’s proverbial “11.” But I kept trucking through; there was nothing else I could do. Chuy came to the LPA as an editor and left as a co-producer, we were ready to get moving. Once back I had made up my mind. The Unique Ladies, I decided, was a damn good movie, and I want a whole lotta people to see it and fall in love with this club like I did.
At the LPA I gained confidence in the film and also as the film possibly taking off in the direction of a reality docu-series. These ladies are fun and they have a rich background for great reality TV fodder. I decided to move to Los Angeles–I have family I could house with and I figured if I could make in minimally employed in SF then why not suffer the same in LA. My move to LA stirred a confidence, I started sending my short film Homes for the Homies to film festivals and became more engaged in the independent film scene. I’ve still been experiencing ups and downs with my health and employment, but it comes to this; if I want to get the film ready for festivals early next year I need to apply no later than November with a one month post production schedule prior, therefore leaving only one month to raise the funds I need.
So it is now or never. I can’t leave The Unique Ladies on the stovetop simmering. It’s ready to be garnished and served. This is why my stomach is in knots. I have about ten days to gets everything as ready as possible and launch this kickstarter. I’ve applied for other grants but those are no guarantee, and those would pay out by next year, which will help with further distribution costs. I’ve heard that running a kickstarter campaign is a 10-12 hour a day job. Press releases, social media engagement, pleading e-mails, I’m gonna be doing it, still in insufferable health, but life goes on, my life goes on, and I cant stop my career ambitions because of it. I’m glad I have my co-producer, Chuy, to ease some of the burden. He has worked on an incredible kickstarter video that we hope will knock your socks off. And he’ll be sweating through the campaign along with me, because he too beleives in this documentary’s potential.
Join me/us wont you? Part of learning to live with a disability is learning that it is ok to have to ask for help. So now I am asking you to help us complete a dream not just for me but for the club as well. Cementing a part of their history into the pop culture landscape. Thank you. ~g
P.S. I’m gathering up an online “street team” of people that would like to help campaign and promote the kickstarter. There will be special rewards for those who bring in donors. Please let me know if you are interested in joining the team.
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