Campaign Toronto 2014 - The Documentary
Campaign Toronto 2014 - The Documentary
The city of Toronto heads to the polls this fall to elect a mayor. This film will document the behind-the-scenes of the campaign.
The city of Toronto heads to the polls this fall to elect a mayor. This film will document the behind-the-scenes of the campaign. Read more
About this project
One of the most contentious elections in the history of the city of Toronto is going to take place in 2014. It may also be the most important election for the future of Toronto.
There's an opportunity for you to be in the film too. I'm looking to put together a group of 5 or 6 voters in Toronto who will form a 'voter roundtable'. This roundtable will meet a few times over the course of the campaign to share their views on the election and the candidates for the film. The panel will be chosen from those who contribute at any of the 'Get Your Name in Lights' reward levels.
Below is a quick cell phone interview with a first-time voter.
Toronto politics lately is like something out of a Hollywood script. It's got sex, drugs and maybe even a little rock 'n roll.
The incumbent mayor has admitted buying and taking illicit drugs while in office. He's been drunk in public on multiple occasions while serving the city as mayor. He's really mayor in title only because the city council has stripped him of most of his powers. That's the drugs. Where's the sex?
You've probably heard the infamous sound bite about the mayor's dietary regimen at home. He is also alleged to have groped a female councillor's behind at a black tie gala last year. And in one of those 'drunken stupors' he's talked about, he is supposed to have told a female staffer what part of her anatomy he was going to dine on. He's also rumoured to have been in the company of a prostitute - before it was made legal by the Supreme Court.
The rock 'n roll? Well, maybe we'll find a bit of RnR to put into the soundtrack.
One challenger is a sitting city councillor who has flip-flopped on one of the most important and divisive issues of the election. And, she thought that city traffic laws shouldn't really apply to her when she was ticketed for riding through a stop sign on her bicycle.
Another challenger is a three-time election loser who is taking one more kick at the can.
A third challenger can best be described as: Who?
Many are waiting with bated breath for a hero or heroine to ride in and save the city from itself. Will it happen? Only time will tell.
One thing is fairly certain. It's going to be a nasty campaign. Lines have already been drawn. The incumbent has already started taking swipes at the known challengers. And even at some unknown challengers. The challengers aren't reciprocating..... yet..... but they'll likely have to at some point.
This film will take you behind the scenes of the campaign. It will talk with the candidates and their representatives. It will talk to the people of Toronto to gauge changing views and opinions over the course of the campaign. It will ask tough questions of the candidates. It will have discussions with and opinions from insiders, media and pundits. It's going to cover the campaign from all angles. It's also going to 'cover the coverage' of the campaign and examine the media's role in elections, as well as whether the media role will be different this time. And when a winner is crowned late on October 27 or early October 28, we will be there to get reaction. We'll also be doing post-election follow ups finding out what went wrong for the unsuccessful.
While Toronto politics does have an element of sensationalism at the moment, there are also very serious issues facing the city. The city of Toronto is set to spend several billion dollars on infrastructure in the coming decade. The mayor will be the one to set the agenda for how that money is spent and will be the one ultimately responsible for the success or failure of that agenda. The man or woman elected mayor this fall is going to have to get to work very quickly to unify a divided council and be a consensus-builder. Building consensus not only at the city level but between levels of government as well. Who will that person be? Can they do it?
The budget for this project is going to be very tight. Covering 5 or more candidates and the media over the course of 9 months is going to be a lot of work and involve several people. There will likely be thousands of hours of footage to comb through and put together. Here's how the money is planned to be spent.
$1,500 - Reward fulfillment
$10,000 - Hiring extra camera operators and assistants
$5,000 - Equipment rental (additional cameras, lenses, lighting)
$8,500 - Editing and colour grading of the final product
I know Kickstarter is big on connecting a Facebook profile to the campaign. I haven't done that because I keep my personal and business activity separate on Facebook. I have linked my business Facebook Page in the accompanying bio, so please go and check that out. I am a real person! In fact, here it is to make it really easy. Links to my website and my Vimeo profile are in the bio as well. I'll be posting updates throughout the project via Twitter, my Facebook Page and here on Kickstarter. Some of those updates will include teaser clips from the captured footage.
For the record, I do not live in Toronto and as a result have no rooting interest in the outcome, except as someone who likes the city and visits often. That lack of a vested interest is well-suited to taking on a project such as this and maintaining the requisite level of detachment and objectivity. I do have experience with journalistic assignments so am well-positioned to carry out the project from that standpoint.
One final point. Remember that Kickstarter - unlike other crowdfunding platforms - is an 'all or nothing' outcome. If I raise $24,999 by the last day of the funding period, I get nothing and the film won't be made. If you like the concept of this project, please contribute.
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk will be getting the candidates to participate. I expect that one or two will not.
The other major risk is running out of money partway through the project. I think the $25,000 should cover it but there can always be something unexpected occur.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Documentaries don't have some of the constraints that regular media does. Docs aren't governed by a news cycle. They can take a longer term view and afford to take the time to ask questions that the media often can't.
Documentaries also have the benefit of hindsight and can say 'Here's what happened. What would have happened if....?'
This one is also looking at the 2014 Toronto election and will concentrate more on the behind the scenes of a campaign as well as how the media covers campaigns.
That's what I hinted at in the answer to the question before.
An answer the young, first-time voter gave to one of my questions was interesting. She said "... there's bias, always...." Is there bias? If so, how?
I want to look at how the media covers elections. I want to look to see if there is bias. If there is then I want to talk to voters to find out how it affects them. Is it true that voters only pay attention to the media outlets that share the same bias they may have already? If so, then how is the media coverage helpful? We'll talk to political science experts and social scientists to examine the answers to those questions.
In addition, this election is going to be unlike any other in Canadian history. Not just Toronto history. No candidate in the past has had as high a profile as the sitting mayor of Toronto yet at the same time been in as precarious a position.
No! Most definitely not. The media has an important job to do. If this were going to be just a media-bashing exercise, I wouldn't be intending to interview members of the media for the film - which I do.
But there are still questions that can be asked of how the media covers campaigns. Those questions can be asked respectfully and critically without resorting to complaining or denigrating those doing the job.
You shot your interview with that voter using a cell phone. Are you going to use cell phones for the entire thing?
Absolutely not. This project will be shot with Nikon D800's. I'll be shooting to external recorders in order to have the optimum quality and be able to meet broadcast quality standards.
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