About this project
SATURDAY, JULY 17, 2010
I am happy to report that as of last night the campaign has cruised over the 100% mark! Thanks to our very generous first 85 backers we are in a great position with only 10 days remaining. So happy+grateful to everyone. But you see, this project needs much more than $6000 ultimately. I picked an amount I thought was achievable for a Kickstarter campaign so that it would be successful. This modest goal only covers some of the costs to keep the work going this summer. The more we raise the longer the work can continue. Every single dollar pledged over the $6000 goal is needed just as much as every single dollar leading up to the goal. Can you help? Its not too late.
Proper oral history gathering takes time and money. So much goes into preparing and processing each and every interview. What becomes of the tapes and the photos and other material to make a storyline into a documentary also takes a great deal of time and money.
So, I'll say it again.
Your donation is so important.
W H AT . I . W A N T . T O . D O
And The Iron Did Swim is an independant documentary project that combines oral histories with documentary arts, photography and filmmaking to explore the history of the foundries and foundry workers in and around Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the Southeast. The project debuted in May of 2009 as a photography exhibition. Today, I seek funding to continue the oral history gathering of videotaped interviews with former iron workers. These interviews will be used for my documentary, while becoming part of a new public archive at The Chattanooga History Center. This digital archive will be available for generations of research, education and enrichment.
Some context: At one point in the city's history, Chattanooga was known as the Dynamo of Dixie due to the large number of foundries and factories making up the city's economic backbone at the beginning of the century. Dirty, hot and hard foundry jobs have supported thousands of families in Chattanooga over the last 100 years. And while we all understand these places generated great filth and wealth, they had also been a source of great ideas and inventions during the industrial revolution. There are only a few small foundries still in operation here today, but as recently as 2001 there were still nearly 2000 foundry jobs. The U.S. Pipe plant laid off the last of its 345 employees when they closed their doors just 5 years ago in 2005. The people whom I have met, mostly from US Pipe, have each shared their deep pride and attachment for the foundry and their sense of family inside the plant. Folklore animates the official history of each of these places including unconfirmed local rumors of forklift street races, furnace room pranks, and a few tragedies.
Eventually, I hope to expand the project's coverage beyond the city of Chattanooga to stories and context from neighboring states and the greater region. Visit www.foundrypublishing.com for more info.
H O W . I . P L A N . T O . D O . I T
I am already in touch with many former workers who have agreed to be interviewed and contribute their story as an act of historic preservation of the iron industry, the city of Chattanooga, the state of Tennessee and even the country. I have lists of hundreds of individuals whom I will be contacting to request their participation. This initial series of interviews will primarily focus on an identified list of individuals whose stories have significant and immediate value in terms of capturing the earliest time periods of our city's industrial storyline directly from our oldest living former iron workers. The immediate selection of narrators will be prioritized to capture the oldest generation of workers first, so that we don't risk losing their stories forever. Priority will also be given to collecting a broad profile of narrators, sensitive to race, gender, age, and position.
For each videotaped interview, background research will be conducted to determine the topics and questions for each session, ensuring the oral history will not simply duplicate the written record but will supplement it, adding unique material available nowhere else. Following each interview session, a digital archive and transcription of each tape will be created. Additional scanning and digitizing of donated / loaned/ archive material (photographs, memorabilia) provided by interviewees will take place as necessary.
W H A T . T H E . M O N E Y . I S . F O R.
HARDWARE/SUPPLIES Digital video tapes, extra batteries and hard drives will also be purchased with these funds. Scanning fees for archive material will be covered with these funds. Interview tools including a reference guide with headlines and images to stimulate conversation + memory. Digitization of tapes.
TECHNICAL These funds will allow the production to hire a cameraperson who can look operate our gear and fine tune the sound and picture quality while I am conducting the interviews. I have been a one man band on this up until now. You can imagine how much better it is to have another set of eyes and ears catching quality control, so I can stay engaged with each interview conversation.
PRODUCTION includes transportation and gasoline to travel to each interview location. If there are interns with us, they will probably get hungry at some point. Some of these locations are on the outskirts of Chattanooga, between 20 and 120 miles away. We are a border state with Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina.
GEAR The funds will also go toward the purchase of a video camera. I have been limited to using rented and borrowed gear which can be expensive and unreliable. Being able to work on-demand and independently with my own video camera will immediately and immensely increase the efficiency and quality of this project.
QUALITY Finally, it will cover some of my lowbudget fees as director and field producer so that I can focus on this project this summer.
Of course, as you may realize, the real cost of a project like this exceeds the money I am raising on Kickstarter. Your contribution and this campaign is a giant step toward my goal. You are investing in history. The more I raise the longer I work!
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