I started this documentary film a few years ago after I realized how few people in the western states really understand where their water comes from. Or how it's controlled. Or how climate change complicates the story. We tend to think of water like we think of air -- as being free, clean, and unlimited. While it's true that the amount of water on Earth is constant - we can neither destroy it nor create more - it exists by its own set of physical rules. We can build a dam to contain it, but it evaporates (ten feet a year from the vast Lake Mead). We irrigate our crops with it, and it absorbs all the chemicals used to promote growth and kill pests and diseases. Most important, water requires a lot of heat to change states from liquid to gas or from ice to liquid water. This is the process that regulates the temperature of Earth's atmosphere, oceans, and even our own bodies. Water is life; climate is water.
I'm collaborating with the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming for direction on water research. I've interviewed research hydrologists, state water managers, ranchers, federal water regulators, and a dozen more. I've flown over glaciers, swum in rivers, and I've filmed blizzards and floods and droughts.
I'm producing this film through our family non-profit organization, so donations may be fully tax deductible, depending on whether you accept any of the rewards offered. The big advantage of doing it through a 501(c)(3) is that I don't NEED to make a profit on it -- it's paid for as it goes, and when I'm done I can find the best venue for getting the message out without worrying about paying debts.
I've finished filming and I'm ready to edit. I have a great editor all lined up. I have a motion graphics guy ready to help. All I need is some funding to pay these guys and get it done!
Risks and challenges
With film, there's always the risk of technical issues, rights, permits, and other incidental things getting in the way of the actual project. I've tried to keep it simple and not get bogged down in too much editing wizardry, and have kept up on permits and rights. I don't foresee any problem in finishing the film.
The main risk, of course, is telling a very complex story in a short amount of screen time. But I think I'm good at this; I've talked with the best water experts and I have very supportive, professional film and writing communities here to bounce ideas off.
- (20 days)