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An unprecedented, boots-on-the-ground look into the lives of the medics of Austin-Travis County EMS with a personal twist.
224 backers pledged $14,386 to help bring this project to life.

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Black Cloud - a documentary about Austin-Travis County EMS project video thumbnail
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UPDATE #7 (06/12/15): I said I'd release a brand new scene from the film if we hit $15,000. Since that's looking unlikely, I'm just going to release the scene now!

UPDATE #6 (05/28/15): We're adding a new STRETCH GOAL of $15,000! Now, the response to the last preview scene was pretty stellar so we're going to release yet another never-before-seen, brand new scene from the film once we hit $15,000! 

This one will detail Alex's accident from the point-of-view of the medics who rescued her that day. In a lot of ways, it's the center of the film. I can't wait to share it with you!

UPDATE #5 (05/26/15): We're revealing more and more of the poster as the campaign continues. Here's the latest version!

by Alex Woolston-Rudolph
by Alex Woolston-Rudolph

 This poster is designed by Alex Woolston-Rudolph and can be yours if you pledge $100 or more!

UPDATE #4 (05/25/15): We've hit our first stretch goal, and as promised here's a brand new sneak peek from the film!

UPDATE #3 (05/23/15): We've hit our first stretch goal, and that means I'm going to release a new scene from the film! I'm putting the finishing touches on it now and will be releasing it some time tomorrow. THANK YOU ALL!

UPDATE #2 (05/20/15): It's time to stretch! We're adding our first STRETCH GOAL at $10,000. Once we hit that mark, I'll be releasing a never-before-seen, brand new scene! Thank you to everyone for making this such a huge success already!

UPDATE #1 (05/18/15): WE'VE HIT OUR GOAL ON OUR SECOND DAY! Thank you all so much for the incredible outpouring of support! Head over to the update page to see where we go from here. We are by no means done. We still have a long way to go to finish this campaign, so let's keep the momentum going!

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On June 15th, 2012, the love of my life nearly lost her life. 

Her heart stopped for ninety seconds, she was given five pints of blood. Many surgeries, two titanium rods, and a couple of years later, Alex is miraculously on her feet.

There are many healthcare professionals who led her down this road to recovery but the first line of defense were two paramedics - Jason and Amber. Without them, her life would be over.

Amber Price at work.
Amber Price at work.
Jason Castleberry talks to a patient.
Jason Castleberry talks to a patient.

It was one of the greatest gifts we had ever been given when Alex and I got to meet Jason and Amber. As a storyteller and filmmaker, I became intensely curious about their lives after we met them. 

Who are these people who have had an immeasurable impact on my life? 

How can two people I don’t know have affected the rest of my life in such a profound way? 

How do they see death and destruction with such frequency and come out the other end with their sanity? 

What does it feel like to save a life? 

How do they cope with this lifestyle? How does it affect their views of humanity? 

Are they cynical? Are they optimistic? Has the job changed that?

Black Cloud is my way of finding answers to those questions. 

Helping a patient through it.
Helping a patient through it.

For several months, I have been riding out on ambulances and capturing the daily lives of the medics of Austin-Travis County EMS. 

At work, at home, and in personal interviews, I am creating portraits of a group of civil servants who don't get nearly the amount of attention they deserve. 

Hanging out at the station.
Hanging out at the station.

I've been granted an unprecedented amount of access, and every medic I've met is excited that someone is finally telling their story.

But I'm just getting started. In order to capture a story of this scope, I require more time and more collaborators, and so I'm asking you for your help.

In return, we've got some pretty fun rewards for anyone who donates. 

Along with more typical fare like DVDs, digital streams, and so forth, we also have some completely original stuff you won't find anywhere else. All of the original designs are by the aforementioned love of my life, Alex Woolston-Rudolph. She's one of the most talented and original illustrators I've ever met, and I'm so glad to have her contribute her talents here. 

(Disclaimer: These designs are for preview purposes only and are not 100% finalized.)

Custom Bandage Set
Custom Bandage Set
T-shirt Design
T-shirt Design
Grocery Bag Mockup
Grocery Bag Mockup

Alex is also creating an original poster.

We're going to try something interesting, and reveal more and more of the poster as the campaign continues. Here's the framework for the poster: 

Poster Framework
Poster Framework

We'll complete it bit by bit as the campaign progresses! 

So, who am I? Well, I've been working on documentaries for pretty much my entire career. I work a lot with KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, working on shows like Arts in Context, BBQ with Franklin, and Hardly Sound

I've been honored to have been nominated for several Lone Star Emmys myself. Arts in Context has gotten over 20 Lone Star Emmy nominations (and many wins) since I joined the team some three or four years ago. Hardly Sound - which I co-created and which is a great example of the tone and style I'm going for with Black Cloud - was also nominated for a Lone Star Emmy. 

Here's a short sample of my work:

All this is to say, this is my wheel house. I feel like all the experience and knowledge I've gained for the past half-decade or so have been in preparation for this film. 

Our minimum goal is $5000. I’ve got most of the core pieces of gear I need but with $5000, I will no longer have to beg, borrow, and steal the other pieces of gear I’m missing. (Don’t worry, I haven’t literally been stealing gear. Begging and borrowing, though? Yup.) 

More importantly, it allows me to hire some collaborators - editors, sound designers, color correctors, musicians, and producers - to help me take on this massive project.

The more money we get, though, the more I can build a team of true professionals to help this film reach its fullest potential. I can do it on my own but, the truth is, I can do it better with the right people supporting me.

Black Cloud is the project of my dreams, and I've never felt more ready to tackle a project like this.

Nobody talks about EMTs and paramedics, and certainly nobody talks about the sacrifices it takes to be one. I want to fix that.

At the funeral of Kristin McLain - a flight nurse who lost her life in the line of duty.
At the funeral of Kristin McLain - a flight nurse who lost her life in the line of duty.

At its most basic, this is a documentary about Austin-Travis County EMS but it will be about more than that.

Ultimately this will be a film about second chances, gratitude, and the emotional cost of saving lives - through the eyes of the saviors and the saved.

Risks and challenges

The greatest risk I face is having more material than I can handle on my own. A documentary like this requires a LOT of filming and a LOT of editing. To give you an idea of how much footage I will compile, I already have over 1TB of footage - and I've hardly scratched the surface of this story. That means that I have to find great collaborators who can really put in the time and energy necessary to help me bring my vision to life.

With my many years of documentary experience for Emmy-winning and -nominated shows like "Arts in Context" and "Hardly Sound," I am confident that this project will be finished and will be as good as I am capable of making it.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    NAME IN END CREDITS

    EVERYONE who donates is helping in the creation of this film, and so deserves a spot in the credits. For a mere $5 your name will be added to the end credits of the film, and you'll have my genuine gratitude.

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    BANDAGE SET WITH CUSTOM DESIGNS BY ALEX WOOLSTON-RUDOLPH

    5 bandages and a bandage dispenser with original designs by Alex + name in the credits.

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    EARLY ACCESS STREAM + BANDAGE SET

    See the film before anyone else! This pledge gives you a private pre-theatrical release stream of Black Cloud + bandage set + name in credits.

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    DVD COPY OF BLACK CLOUD + GROCERY BAG WITH CUSTOM DESIGN BY ALEX WOOLSTON-RUDOLPH

    A DVD copy of Black Cloud + a handy grocery bag with a custom design by Alex + private pre-theatrical release stream + bandage set + name in credits.

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    BLU-RAY COPY OF BLACK CLOUD

    A Blu-ray copy of Black Cloud + grocery bag + private pre-theatrical release stream + bandage set + name in credits.

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    T-SHIRT WITH ORIGINAL DESIGN BY ALEX WOOLSTON-RUDOLPH

    Simple and classic. A t-shirt with a design by Alex + Blu-ray or DVD + grocery bag + pre-theatrical release stream + bandage set + name in credits.

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    SIGNED ORIGINAL POSTER

    A stunning poster designed by Alex Woolston-Rudolph signed by both Alex and the director + t-shirt + grocery bag + Blu-ray or DVD + pre-theatrical release stream + bandage set + name in credits.

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    CO-ASSOCIATE

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Funding period

- (30 days)