What Now? is a cross-country documentary project about the challenges recent graduates face as they enter the job market.
Update: Why I need YOU!
$25,000 is a big goal, but it’s the minimum that I need to make this film a reality. The way that Kickstarter works is that IF I DON'T REACH MY FUNDING GOAL, I DON'T GET ANY OF THE MONEY, and unfortunately this film will not happen. Before this project started I felt that this was a story that needed to be told, and I am even more convinced of this now. The outpouring of support for this project has been unbelievable. I have received so many messages from other graduates that are in a similar situation, and believe that this film should be made. Many of them I have never met, or rarely spoken with, yet they have taken the time to thank me for raising awareness about the many issues that face America’s younger generations. To quote just a few:
“They told me an engineering degree would lead to a great job right away. But now that I'm here, I realize that those words aren't true for any degree anymore.”
“I fully relate to the weight of debt that students face as I've been piling it on over the past four years”
“I really hope you get all the funding you need. Thank you so much for raising awareness and being active for all of us in the same position.”
I’ve been offered couches to sleep on, and warm meals in towns where I’ll stop. The link to this page has been shared over 350 times on Facebook alone. This project started as a small dream of mine, but through the amount of unexpected support I’ve received, I’ve come to realize it represents something larger that so many people can relate to. So if you can spare a few dollars, I’d be so grateful, and I think there’s an audience out there ready to see this thing produced and have their stories heard. Let’s make this film happen. Lets build a community around this project. Lets start the conversation about what the future really holds for America’s youth. Thank you!
The Idea: "What Now? On the road with America's young, educated and unemployed" is a cross-country documentary project about the challenges recent graduates face as they enter the job market. One million students graduated from college in 2013. They leave school at a time when the unemployment rate for young adults is 11.8%. Many of these students have invested thousands of dollars in their education but hold degrees that won’t guarantee them meaningful or even stable work. As the American economy struggles to recover from the 2008 recession – and as the cost of higher education continues to soar without an equivalent growth in the job market – students are being saddled with increasing amounts of debt. How will they pay it all back? What is their education really worth if it means years of financial insecurity? These are the kinds of questions I’ll ask as I set off across the country this fall, looking for answers as my own loans come due. I plan to explore the issues facing young Americans by offering a personal look into the struggles that many endure. I’m interested in unemployment and under-employment, in the debate over student loan interest rates and in the rural “brain-drain,” as educated youth head to cities to find work. By gathering stories from young Americans and knitting those into my own, I hope to deepen the discussion about the future of America’s recent graduates as it relates to our country’s economic and social prosperity.
The Project: At the heart of this project is an adventure. In the beginning of September, I’ll head off on a 6-month journey across the country from Boston to Los Angeles. As I go, I’ll apply to jobs in all of the places that I visit. I’ll stop in major cities and rural towns, and I’ll test the worth of my college degree. Two months after the start of my trip, my college loans will come due, and the anxiety of making those payments will become a part of this film. So whether it’s flipping burgers at McDonalds or crunching numbers at a bank, I’ll apply to everything that I can find and work where I’m able. My story, though, is only a part of this project, and to round out the film I’ll talk to the people I meet along the way. I plan to interview economists and politicians about the current student debt debate and about what the state of our economy means for future generations. I’ll talk to employers about what they’re looking for from young job seekers, and to older professionals about how they’ve spent their working lives and what they would have done differently if they were starting over at twenty-three. Most importantly, I’ll talk to the graduates from my generation and hear their stories. I’ll tie these interviews into my own personal narrative to create an intimate view of the issues that young Americans face as they try to build their careers.
Although the route for this trip is not fully planned, I have an idea of the places I’d like to go and the topics I’d like to explore. I’ve identified various regions of the U.S. that each differs in its economic opportunity. As of now I plan to stop in the coal belt of West Virginia, in the cities of Detroit, Nashville, and New Orleans, in the Nebraska Sandhills, in the ski town of Aspen, Colorado, and in Silicon Valley. In each area I’ll spend at least two weeks living and working so that I can meet and learn from the people I encounter. I’ll apply to jobs, respond to applications I’ve sent before arriving, and search for compelling stories that relate to this theme. In between these stops I’ll continue to interview people I meet, allowing myself time to explore as I travel, since the best material often comes when it is least expected.
The Budget: The goal of this project is to produce a feature length documentary film. It’s a big goal, and that’s why I’ve turned to the Kickstarter community to make this happen. The $25,000 that I hope to raise will go toward buying or renting camera equipment, basic travel expenses, and compensation for one or two young cameramen or women to join me on this trip. For most of the 6 months, I hope to cut costs by either camping or staying with those kind enough to host me. $25,000 is the minimum that I can raise to make this trip work while producing a film that is of high enough quality to succeed in mainstream markets. With a film like this, the higher the budget, the higher the production value, but I’m trying to keep this trip as grassroots as possible and true to myself without compromising the final product. That’s why I’m looking to raise most of the money on my own. It lends me the freedom to make this project what I believe it can be. I have had the incredible opportunity to partner with an entertainment company called SuVen Entertainment, and they are working with me to make producing this film a reality. They believe in the project and they have helped me immensely to get to this point. We are talking with various sponsors to help alleviate some costs of the trip, but we really want to raise this money here, on Kickstarter, building a community around this film, and starting a dialogue around these issues.
Estimated Budget Percentages:
Thank You: It is tough for me to express how grateful I am for anyone who is willing to invest in this film. Whether you donate $1 or $10,000, or even just share this page to bring momentum to this project, I am deeply thankful for your help. I have spent the weeks since graduation pouring myself into this project. At times I’ve wanted to step back and find a job with a consistent paycheck. But if I’m ever going to make this film, I have to do it now. I’m a young filmmaker, and although I have some experience, I’m really just getting started. That is a part of this story, though. What I can promise you is my dedication, because more than anything, I want this project to work, and I will give everything I have until it is finished. For your help in making this project a reality, and for giving me a chance at the career of my dreams, I am forever grateful.
A huge thanks to Liz de Lise for her beautiful music. Visit her site at www.lizdelise.bandcamp.com. To Corry Loveday, Nick Rock, Dillon Rivers, and Mark Spitzer for their help behind the camera. To my mother for her stellar artistic ability and illustrations. And to Mary Margaret Corcoran, and her daughters Nessa, Maeve, and Beibhinn for their shrewd business instinct, and willingness to play along in the lemonade scene.
Here are the pictures available for the $150 reward:
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
With a project like this one there are many inherent risks and challenges. First, it is impossible to plan the whole project since spontaneity is key to this idea. That said, I’m planning as much as I can to reduce any variables that could lead to failure. Before I leave I will have a route planned and many interviews arranged in the places that I visit. I will not, however, know all of the people that I will interview, and I can’t predict what they will tell me. That, although unsettling at the start, will lend to the richness of this experience. Details will change, and things, I hope, will fall into place in interesting ways. (Post-production also takes a long time -- often longer than the filmmaker expects.) We've left room in the budget for unknown costs, because there are many possible expenses that we can’t plan or foresee. After all, that's kind of the point. The challenges we face during this trip will become a part of this story. It's an adventure, and although planning and preparing are essential to this project, there’s no substitute for just going headlong into an idea and making it work. I believe this story needs to be told, and I believe that with your help, we can do it in an insightful, engaging, and powerful way.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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NAME UP IN LIGHTS! Apart from my unwavering gratitude you’ll get a big thank you on the What Now? Official website. Go you!Estimated delivery:
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A PICTURE FOR THE FRIDGE! I’ll send you a picture of me holding a thank you sign with your name on it as a well as a personalized message! Also you get a big thanks on the website. What else could you want?Estimated delivery:
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DOC SWAG! You get your very own T-Shirt with the swanky new “What Now” logo. Support a great idea and look good doing it! PLUS you get a pre-release download of the film once it's done and looking pretty, making all of your friends jealous of your inside scoop. Also your name obviously goes on the website credits, and I'll send you a personal thank you email, because I think your donation is genuinely awesome.Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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AWESOME CHOICE! Not only do you get the What now T-Shirt, but you get your very own signed copy of the DVD. Plus special thanks credit on the website, and my personal email thank you.Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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A LETTER?!? Snail Mail express, you’ll get a postcard from the road with my hand written thank you and an update from my trip. PLUS you'll get a signed copy of the DVD. The T-shirt is yours too, along with a huge special thanks in the film credits and on the website. Plus my wholehearted gratitude.Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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EXCLUSIVE PRINT! Get one 12x18in print of your choice from the pictures shown below! You'll get the DVD, and the thank you on the website. Thank you so much for your donation!Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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A. YOU ROCK. B. Thank you so much for your generosity. For this you get our specially designed What Now? Trucker hat, and you obviously get the T-Shirt. You match! You also get a postcard from the road, the signed DVD and film and website thanks. Thank you!Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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TELL ME YOUR STORY!! Send me your number and I'll give you a personal phone call from the road to express my gratitude for your unbelievable generosity. (Don't worry I'll keep the good night texts to a minimum.) I'll also ask you tell me the story of your first job out of college. You can also receive a call from the SuVen production team! You'll get the postcard from the road. The T-Shirt and the signed DVD are yours + a huge thank you in the film credits and on the website.Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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VIDEO FROM THE ROAD! For your extreme act of kindness I'll send you your very own thank you video from the road, filmed on my trip, with lots of appreciation and just for you. Plus you get a postcard from the road, the T-shirt, signed DVD, and name in the film and on the website.Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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VIP! Get TWO tickets to an advanced VIP screening and reception with special guests once the film is completed. (In New York, Boston, or LA) You'll get a video from the road, a personal call from myself or the SuVen team, and the T-shirt, signed DVD and name on the website. THANK YOU!Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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POST PRO MASTER! Come visit me during the post production process and you'll get a behind the scenes preview of everything I'm working on. Plus you get a personal phone call from myself or the SuVen production team, the T-shirt, signed DVD, a thank you in the film and on the website, plus major bragging rights for being that totally awesome.Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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ASSOCIATE PRODUCER! Your name will be listed as an Associate Producer for the film. You also get the two tickets to a pre-screening of the film. You get a personal phone call from myself or the SuVen team, the T-Shirt, the signed DVD, and your name in the special thanks section of the website. Thank you so much!Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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EXECUTIVE PRODUCER/PIT-STOP!! Wherever you are I’ll come find you on my trip, and spend some quality time discussing the project. This is a great opportunity for local businesses to advertise and be included in the film! Plus your name will be added as an Executive Producer of the film. The VIP tickets are yours, as well as the T-shirt, signed DVD and name on the website. Thank you so much for you generosity.Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
- (30 days)