**The project reached its initial goal, but the campaign is far from over.**
YOU can still be an important part of this project. This is clearly a project that people feel is important and want to see and your support will enable the film to expand its reach and make a much larger positive impact.
Check it out to see what the buzz is all about. Big thank you to the backers who crushed the initial goal in record time!
What is the project?
"The Other Boys of Summer" is a documentary that tells the story of racism, segregation and civil rights in America through the eyes of the Negro League baseball players. It features exclusive, never-before-seen footage with the men who played alongside of Jackie Robinson.
Jackie Robinson stepped onto the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. This was before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. This was before Brown vs. The Board of Education. This was almost 20 years before the signing of the Civil Rights Acts under President Johnson. When Jackie crossed the color barrier, MLK Jr. was still in college. The men who played in the Negro Leagues can be seen as a catalyst to the civil rights movement. They are unsung heroes and trailblazers for civil rights.
In the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s Blacks were not allowed in Major League Baseball. There were many men of color who dreamed of playing baseball, and had the skills to play at the highest level, but with no place to play, they needed to create their own league. The Negro National and Negro American League were high caliber leagues that many say rivaled the skill level of MLB. There were professional teams in Atlanta, NY, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and many other cities. The players came from cities and small towns across America. They were signed under contracts and paid to play ball. And play it well.
The conditions they endured were harsh. They traveled by bus and sometimes the players had to drive the bus themselves. Many towns didn’t have hotels that would allow them to stay. They frequently had to eat on the bus because restaurants would not allow them inside. Some of the teams had unethical owners who didn’t pay them as promised. But none of this stopped these men from pursuing their dreams.
This film is a first hand personal account of what it was like - told by the humble men (and women) who played. Bob Scott, who barnstormed with Jackie Robinson, shares how he will never forget sleeping in a funeral home in Charleston, SC because there was nowhere else they could stay. Minnie Miñoso tells how when he made it to the majors, he heard managers tell their pitchers to throw at his head, because of his color.
John "Mule" Miles, who played for the Chicago American Giants, says it best when he shares some of the personal struggles he endured and tells us, "I'm not complaining, I'm just explaining". These humble giants aren’t bitter about what they endured. Their faces light up when they tell you they were just happy to play baseball.
Why is this film important?
Not only did the Negro League players change the game of baseball, but they changed America. The story is relevant today and has the ability to inspire people to pursue their dreams and believe they can impact change. It offers an alternative to all of the anger and protests associated with civil rights today. As this generation of players dwindles, their history is vanishing along with them. This film will preserve their legacy.
"The Other Boys of Summer" is part prosocial campaign, part love letter to a generation of unsung heroes and the game of baseball, and part civil rights advocate. Jackie Robinson is the face of Black baseball. But, there are hundreds of others who he played alongside of in the Negro Leagues, who also had a major role in impacting civil rights in America. These men and women can be seen as a spearhead to the Civil Rights Movement, but few people have ever heard of them.
How much has been done already?
The production of the film is 98% complete thanks to the support of many industry friends who have helped with production, editing and audio mix. Over the past decade more than $100K has been invested into the film, much of that in "in kind" donations of edit time, equipment, crew and priceless archival materials. People have donated materials and services because they believe in the project and understand how important it is to share these stories. It's important that this history is not lost forever.
I have the support of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, The Negro League Baseball Museum and elite researchers and historians. They have offered me the best rates possible for anything they can provide. But even with discounts and donations, the cost of licensing many of the photos can range from $10 - $800/photo. Video and newspapers can be more expensive.
I'm sincerely grateful for all the support I've received so far, but I need your support to bring it across homeplate. Without the money to license the music and archival footage the film is trapped on a hard drive waiting to be seen.
Your support will preserve the vanishing history of the Negro Leagues AND champion civil rights in America.
Who is making this?
I’m a producer/director with a 20+ year track record of bringing in projects on-time and on-budget. I have credits on dozens of broadcast networks and digital platforms. A few years ago I directed an independent documentary project where we assembled a small team to travel cross-country and shine the spotlight on what's good in America. That project was "The American Dream Project”. It began as an idea and a dream and in 2017, it was nominated for an Emmy Award. It's currently available on Netflix.
How did it all begin?
I began working on this film 10 years ago, completely out of pocket. I wanted to make sure I captured these stories while the people who lived them were still around to share them. I traveled to cities and towns and filmed interviews every chance I could in between paying jobs. It was intimidating at first, but the men who played in the Negro Leagues welcomed me into their lives like family.
I spent quality time with many of the Negro League players. Minnie Miñoso invited me to the White Sox stadium where he proudly showed me his statue. I interviewed Mamie "Peanut" Johnson in the dining room of her DC home. On the wall next to the breakfront were commendations from the city and photographs including a picture of her with President Clinton. They shared their personal scrapbooks and stories with me as they humbly painted vivid pictures of their lives. I fell in love with these gracious heroes as I was transported to another era. Many of the players I interviewed, are no longer with us. I made a promise to them that I would not stop until I completed the film and shared their legacy. Without this film their stories may be lost forever.
Where will the money go?
Here is where the initial backing will be used AND what YOUR additional support will be put towards.
With the success of reaching the initial goal of $12,800 (in the first 4 days) I will now be able to pay the costs of licensing the photos and music to submit the film to festivals and set up screenings.
NOW it's time to EXPAND THE REACH.
It is humbling to see the enormous support I have received. This is clearly a film that people want to see and a story that needs to be shared. Every dollar contributed NOW will be used to reach more people and make an even bigger impact. I'm proud to be able to provide an alternative to all of the angry and violent material in the media about civil rights. These men changed the world through dignity and grace. They are proof that you can follow your dreams AND make a difference.
Your support will go towards:
- Voice over record / Narrator
- PR and Marketing
- Screenings at community organizations, schools, churches across the country and larger venues.
- Festival submissions
- Making DVD/BluRay copies available
- Connecting with museums to create exhibits and screening opportunities.
- Creating educational curriculum to accompany the film
- Composing original music
How You Can Help - Join the team!
1. Back the Project.
2. Spread the Word. Even if you can't donate, sharing the link with your family and friends makes a world of difference in getting more people to contribute.
3. Follow "The Other Boys of Summer" Online. Check out our Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and official website for more information and images.
4. Connect With Us. If you have any questions or would like to contact us for press, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Where will the finished film be available?
I'm going to bring it to the people. What??? Yep, to the people.
I have a team in place led by a renowned pastor who is an NAACP committee leader and community activist. He is arranging screenings for churches, schools and organizations. Broadcast and digital distribution is part of the big picture. But the starting point is at the grassroots level.
The film is an amazing conversation starter. We are going to create events where communities of different races and backgrounds can watch the film together and engage in open discussions. You'll fall in love with the guys in the film and find yourself smiling when the final credits roll.
This is not just Black history or baseball history... it is American history.
Below are 2 of the signed photos that are available for rewards. These initially "sold out" on day 1. Bob Scott (86) has been in the hospital since Nov. He is finally getting better and the positive response to the kickstarter is motivating him to keep working on getting stronger. He has recently signed more photos and they are now available again as rewards. Thank YOU Bob!!
Risks and challenges
Every project has risks and challenges. I have the experience of directing "The American Dream Project" which was funded partially by kickstarter and went on to be nominated for an Emmy Award in 2017. It was picked up by Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.
One challenge is securing the right celebrity as the narrator. Morgan Freeman would be incredible, but I don't expect THAT to happen. But if you happen to know Mr. Freeman please let him know we'd love to talk. I'm prepared to record the Voice Over (and there is very little VO needed) with a non-celebrity if necessary. As much as an A-list name would help the project gain attention, not having a celebrity will not stop the film from getting out there.
Another challenge is finding the right venues for the screenings. I'm working with a renowned reverend/civil rights activist, who heads up a committee for the NAACP. He is already reaching out to churches and organizations nationwide.
There can be technical challenges when finishing and exporting a film. I am working with experienced professionals who have done this hundreds/thousands of times. I'm confident that when we hit any technical snag they will be able solve the problem.
I directed another series called "American Doers" where we profiled people who when they were told "you can't", they rolled up their sleeves and worked harder to achieve their goals. I am a "Doer". To quote one of my favorite American Doers... "People sometimes confuse patience with perseverance. Patience is waiting. Perseverance is pursuing. You have to pursue your goals."
- Tim Bishop
Don't let the history be forgotten. Help save the legacy and allow their stories to inspire a new generation.
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- (31 days)