The Hollywood Blackout
The Hollywood Blackout
A personal journey and investigative documentary into finding solutions for the lack of diversity in major Hollywood films.
A personal journey and investigative documentary into finding solutions for the lack of diversity in major Hollywood films. Read more
The recent study from USC Annenberg puts statistical research to what we’ve known for years: underrepresented racial and ethnic groups are in the minority of speaking characters in major Hollywood films. Just go to the nearest theater on a Friday night and you can see it yourself. Minority characters and storytelling from their perspective are missing from your mainstream lineup at the movies and it seems to be swept under the rug.
So why isn't there more diversity in Hollywood films that make it to the big screen? As the producer/host of Picture Lock (a film review show and website) and a film critic in the Washington D.C. area I see a lot of films and talk to a lot of filmmakers and critics. I know that there are great stories being told from and with ethnic minorities on the indie film scene, but many of them never make it to nationwide distribution in theaters. Earlier this year I hit a boiling point as it seemed to me that one of the few films with a predominantly black cast that actually received nationwide distribution was riddled with stereotypes. So I wrote “An Open Letter to Black Screenwriters” to call attention to the issue. After getting a large response and tons of feedback from people, I realized that the issue also has a lot to do with distribution and the business of film. I also realized this was an issue that people wanted to get behind. Still the question remained, why isn't there more diversity in Hollywood films?
I thought, who better to gather solutions to this question from than experienced professionals with a working history in industry? With this documentary I hope to find solutions by talking with directors, producers, actors, and critics in the industry as to how we can see more quality, well-rounded, diverse cinematic representations of underrepresented minorities on the big screen. I also have my own vision and plan for how we can see at least one clearly diverse film getting a nationwide release each year independent of major studios, which I plan to put in front of each person I talk with. (It's achievable, but you'll have to watch to find out what it is!)
Media has the power of influence in our lives whether we like it or not. If film goers only see one perspective and certain types of minority characters it can potentially paint an image of a culture that’s not entirely true. This doesn’t just go for minorities in cinema, but women in cinema, and other minority groups. The amazing thing about cinema is that you can educate viewers, learn from other human experiences, and be empowered to open dialogue based on what you’ve learned in a quick 90 minute run time.
The crew is set, the industry experts are a confirmed appointment away, but we need you to make it to the finish line. Based on our collective years of experience in film production, we have a detailed financial plan for how much it will take to produce a feature length film of exceptional quality. As the film enters post-production, we have to edit down hours of footage into a feature-length film, color balance the footage, sound mix it, and so much more. $30,000 is the bare minimum to get the job done.
There’s a lot that goes into making a feature length documentary, and we’re confident that with a lot of hard work, dedication, and your financial support we can make an entertaining and educational film that will push Hollywood films in a new direction.
How's this possible? $30,000 might seem like a lot to one individual. But that’s why we're here. You’re not just one individual. You’re many. A $10 donation by 3,000 people gets us $30,000. 3,000 people isn't a lot when we consider the power of our combined networks and the reach of social media and the Internet. Here's a quick run through of how a little makes a lot.
A $30 donation by 1,000 people = $30,000.
A $50 donation by 600 people = $30,000.
A $100 donation by 300 people = $30,000.
The more people who donate to the cause, the more powerful we become.
Donate now! By clicking the Back This Project button in the top right you "Pledge today, Pay later"! You will only be charged 1) if the project meets its funding goal and 2) when the campaign ends on October 2nd. Kickstarter is all or nothing in that the project only gets funded if we make our goal.
This is an exciting and critical time for the film and you will play a key role in our production process by helping us raise funding. It's incredibly hard to fund documentary films and we've made it so far on our own money and sweat equity. We are confident this film will get fully funded but we need to make it to the crucial next step for that to happen, so we appreciate any help you can give!
Help Spread the Word The success of our campaign depends on getting the word out as widely as possible. Anything you can contribute will help us get closer to achieving these goals. But in addition to the money we raise, we really need to show funders, broadcasters and others that there is an audience eager to see this film. Even if you can’t make a pledge, please support us by sharing this project with your friends via email, Facebook or Twitter. Please Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on the film.
Most importantly, your donation and donations from your friends will also prove that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. It will show that you believe that movies reflect the human condition and that condition is not just one perspective.
Thank you for taking a moment to learn about our project. We appreciate your interest in our efforts to create a lasting and in-depth document that we believe will help change the face of Hollywood films. Your enthusiasm and willingness to spread the word will help build the momentum needed to move this project forward. THANK YOU for your support.
Risks and challenges
Risks & Challenges
No one who makes an independent film is unaware of the risks and challenges. Everyone who has finished an independent film has learned to overcome them. Here are the main things that keep us up at night:
FUNDING - Will we be able to fund the project? In order to complete it and do it right we need the money to do it. This is where you come in. With your help, we can do it!
IMPACT - The ultimate challenge is to make a film that finds solutions to the pink elephant in the Hollywood boardroom, start a conversation and has measurable impact. Since the letter went out, I’ve been constantly growing a network of people who share my commitment to this issue. We want our film to be a powerful resource for advocates and change-makers dedicated to re-shaping the faces of Hollywood films, so if that describes you, please reach out!
IN CONCLUSION - Any filmmaker will tell you that you can plan as much as you want but there is an inevitable part of making the film that is overcoming challenges. We will never give up on our film but we do need your support to get us over the finish line. Thank you!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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