Faith in Rainbows-Film-Does Jesus Love the LGBT Community?
We explore the burning question of our times. "Can you be faithful to Christ and still support LGBT rights?"
Faith in Rainbows-Film-Does Jesus Love the LGBT Community?
We explore the burning question of our times. "Can you be faithful to Christ and still support LGBT rights?"
It began with a bang- my head banging on the surface of my desk, after learning the Westboro Baptist Church planned to stage a protest at the funeral for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in December. They claimed the shooter was an instrument of God's wrath, punishing us for allowing same-sex marriage and the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. At first I was dumbfounded, and shortly thereafter I was angry. Very angry. I started thinking about the story of Kevin Smith staging a counter-protest against them. This thought turned into, "Wouldn't it be awesome if someone started a Kickstarter project to raise the funds to follow these fanatics around and counter-protest their every appearance?" And so, the seed of this film, ultimately very different from that original thought, began to germinate in my brain. The idea quickly evolved into something greater, something that didn't even involve the Westboro Baptist Church at all, though I won't deny I made an effort to contact them to be a part of this new and improved concept.
The concept is quite simple actually. Can you be faithful to the teachings of Christ and still support the rights denied to those in the LGBT community? Is it possible to be supportive even though you don't approve of their life style? If you believe the many right-wing politicians who spoke out against it during the 2012 election campaign, the answer is a resounding "No." Everywhere you look, there is some political hothead fuming about same-sex marriage or same-sex couples adopting children, and how they are "eroding the principles and sanctity of our country and its values."
As I see it, there are two major issues here that need to be examined. First, what does marriage mean to the religious community, as opposed to what it means to the LGBT community? And second, what rights are conferred to married couples that same-sex couples are denied? I suspect, due to the way the media handles the issue, many people in the religious community are vehemently opposed to same-sex marriage while being entirely ignorant of the reason why they fight for marriage equality so strongly. Conversely, there may be many in the LGBT community who do not see marriage as a religious tradition, and thus do not understand why the fight against marriage equality is so determined to protect something so sacred to the devoutly religious.
More importantly, I think we will find there is greater acceptance within the religious community than media would have us believe. Every now and then, you'll see a news program or a talk show that will host church leaders who openly accept the LGBT portion of society into their congregation, not in hopes of changing them, but because they feel God loves everyone, and everyone deserves the opportunity to worship. These stories, however, are few and far between, and go largely unnoticed amidst all the one-sided and often hateful coverage that generates ratings.
The mission is simple: travel the country and interview church leadership and their congregations asking them what marriage, family, and civil rights mean to them. At the same time, we will approach the LGBT community and ask them the same things. The goal is to see if there is any common ground the two groups can stand on and make peace with the fact that they might not approve of each others' lifestyle, but they support each others' rights as citizens of our country. As simple as that may sound, it has proven more difficult that you'd imagine to find willing participants thus far. Difficult, but not impossible. So far, I have the following people on board to give their perspectives.
- Frank Debernardo, Executive Director of New Ways Ministries
- James Salt, Executive Director of Catholics United
- Diallo Smith, Pastor and Cultural Architect of Awakenings Movement.
- Pastor Ron Garner, Wantagh Memorial Congregational Church
Over all, I think we are off to a very good start having the leaders of two national-level organizations and a couple pastors involved with this project. Clearly we're not alone in our belief that this subject needs to be further explored. We're off to a good start, but it won't be much of a start at all without some help.
====WARNING THINGS GET A LITTLE SILLY STARTING HERE.====
I think it is very important that you know and understand who you're dealing with here. This is a serious subject and we take it very seriously. We are not, however, so serious about the subject of ourselves. In other words it's time to lighten the mood a little. To that end let me begin by introducing myself.
My name is Fyl (pronounced PHIL and often confused for Fly) Frazee and I'm an alcoholic. Wait. No. Scratch that last part. I'm not an alcoholic. I'm... Here, let me break it down for you a little differently.
FYL FRAZEE - CERTIFIED MADMAN
-FOUNDER AND GRAND WIZARD: Rogue Bard Media, LLC - A digital media production and publishing company fighting raging demons in order to make a mark on the world with an indelible array of neon colored inks, dark comedy, and the dystopic visions of crazed blind lepers.
-CURRENTLY DEVELOPING VARIOUS PRODUCTIONS: There is no shortage of mad ideas for stories, films, short videos, and just about everything under the sun in his brain. It's just a matter of finding the time to pry them out and commit them to paper. Yeah, that's right, dude still uses a pen to write things down on paper. Who does that?
DANNO DOWELL - UNLICENSED CIRCUS CLOWN
-CO-FOUNDER AND HOMUNCULUS: Rogue Bard Media, LLC - Dan has more or less been with Rogue Bard Media from the beginning, and has served numerous roles up to, and including, "guy we hit with my car in that one video with the weird Russian pop music." Dan will do just about anything if he thinks it'll get a laugh, which is good because I make him do a lot of things because I think it'll be funny.
-CURRENTLY HATING HIS JOB AT WALMART: What else is there to say? I mean, wouldn't you hate your job if you worked at Walmart?
DAVE "CAPTAIN" WALKER - FREELANCE POET
-SUPER SPECIAL SECRET INTERN: Rogue Bard Media, LLC - No, we don't make him get us coffee. Mainly because we don't drink coffee, but also because we are training him to be the worlds third-best photographer and third-world dictator. Also, we pay him, so it's not as bad as it sounds.
-CURRENTLY ENTERTAINING ENTREPRENEURIAL AMBITIONS: Really, who doesn't these days? We think of Dave as one of the family, but every now and then a family member has to strike out on their own and make a name for themselves. If Dave pulls it off, his new name will be Lowenthal Rosewood.
Well, we're trying to make a film and you get to be a part of that, for starters. In addition to that, we have the following shiznit up for grabs. That's right, I said shiznit. Wanna fight about it?
For a mere $1 pledge, you will forever be credited as totally rad in the end credits of the film. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure that entitles you to certain privileges not afforded the common man. Privileges such as: first dibs on stale donuts, wearing sunglasses indoors without shame, and refrigerator rights when babysitting. Anyone and everyone who pledges above $1 is also totally rad.
Want to show your pride and support for this project? What better way than with a nifty bracelet with the film's title "Faith in Rainbows" on it? . $12 and one of these bad boys is yours.
Everybody loves sex, right? Protected sex is a necessity in this day and age, and to that end, we bring you custom-printed condoms with the films name/logo on them. They weigh in at a hefty price point, only because they are pricy to have made, but how many people can pull out a condom branded with a film's name? Sounds like something to brag about to me. In fact, it sounds totally rad, which you will be for packing some of these for your next overnight stay.
Looking for something a little more personal? We got that in the form of a hand-written personalized letter from one of the crew. We can't promise you'll be able to read our hand writing, but it'll make a nice souvenir if nothing else. Who knows, maybe you'll end up with a new pen-pal out of it.
If you're the kind of person who wants to actually see the film once it's finished, and I can completely understand why that might be the case -I mean who doesn't want to see their name in the credits of a film- we have both DVD and Blu-ray versions of the film available, and we'll even sign them before shipping them your way.
Ever want to be a film producer, but don't even know what a producer is or does? No worries- we have both associate producer and executive producer spots available, and this is the best part, you don't actually have to do anything but make a pledge. Feel like a big shot and impress all your friends with your name boldly displayed at the beginning of the film. Both producer credits include your choice of signed DVD or Blu-ray, and for the executive producers out there, we'll even swing by and treat you to dinner while we're out on the road shooting the film. How sweet is that?
Just want dinner, but aren't interested in being a producer or even getting a copy of the film? That's cool, we can make that happen. We'll fit you in for a meal and sparkling conversation somewhere along our crazy road trip. Don't worry, we don't bite. I mean, we bite and chew our food, obviously, we're not barbarians, but we won't bite you.
Have something to say about the film's subject? I'm sure most people do, but if you want to appear in the film, that's cool by us. We'll come to you, sit down, and record your thoughts and opinions on one of the most controversial issues of the age. You'll appear on the silver screen along with the rest of the film's subjects, and all your friends will be able to point at the film and say, "Hey, I hang out with one of the dudes in that film every Thursday at the bowling alley." You do bowl, right? Non-bowlers are okay, too, but no underwater basket weavers. Those guys give me the willies.
Last, but not least, the big one. We will pick you up and take you to Vegas for a day. You'll have to provide your own gambling money, but food and travel expenses are on us. We can eat at one of them famous buffets and maybe catch a show between trips to the casino floor where we will no doubt lose the shirts off our backs. Don't worry folks, there will be absolutely zero gambling with the funds pledged to this project. All those funds will be put into backer fulfillment and film production. To be honest, this is more of a gag than anything just to get some chuckles, but you never know when someone really passionate about a project is going to come along and say, "Yeah, I totally want to hang out with these kats in Vegas for a day." It could happen. Why not put that option out there, just in case?
OKAY, TIME TO GET SERIOUS LIKE THE ADULTS WE PRETEND TO BE.
So attached to this project is a pretty big number. A number that even I was staggered by once I did all the math. To be honest, I seriously considered walking away from the project altogether when I came up with that number. I had to sit down and talk with several close friends and have them convince me that this film needs to happen and one way or another, I'd find the funding to do it. I then had a choice- look for investors privately, or take it to Kickstarter. I decided Kickstarter was the way to go initially because I am a firm believer in Kickstarter and what it represents to people like me, who have projects that won't happen without considerable support. I have personally backed over sixty projects, and I continue to back a new one every week, writing about it over on the Rogue Bard Media blog. Kickstarter is essential, I believe, to creative types thriving, instead of having dead-end jobs where they barely make enough money to live on.
So where's all this money going? That is the question, isn't it? It just so happens I have this sexy graph to illustrate the answer.
Right off the top Kickstarter takes 5% of the total raised and Amazon takes an additional 3-5% for credit card processing fees. For the sake of clarity our totals assume Amazon is going to take the full 5% so that accounts for 10% of the total raised.
Another big chunk is backer fulfillment. Based on some breakdowns I've seen of other projects and my own math projections, this will cost just over 16% of the total budget. I have done my best to account for all the shipping costs and the costs to have backer items manufactured, so hopefully this estimate is pretty close to what it will actually end up costing.
I'm sure you've noticed the biggest chunk, approximately 28% is crew and travel expenses. There's no avoiding this. All three of us have jobs we're going to have to take time off from to make this film. We're expecting to do roughly 14 days worth of traveling and shooting and we've budgeted paying the three of us what basically amounts to 40 hours at minimum wage even though in reality we will be putting in a hell of a lot more hours than that. In addition to that, we need to rent a vehicle, and pay for hotels and food. Anyone who has done any traveling knows all these things add up very quickly. We've done our best to keep these numbers as low as possible.
Another big chunk, 19% to be specific, is post production. This is a big project, and to do it right we need to do things like pay for voice over, rent an editing suite, hire someone to do the music, and all the fun little details that go into a film after the footage is in the can.
Second to last, we have budgeted just shy of 10% for Film Festival submissions and self-distribution. Our plan is to get the film done in time to submit it to next year's Sundance Film Festival, and after that we'll be getting it up on Amazon, iTunes, Hulu, Netflix, and every other outlet we possibly can. Even so, this will barely cover the cost to put it up on these outlets. It doesn't include anything we may need to spend actually promoting the film once it's out in the wild. Even so, we think we can manage to get the word out.
The last, smallest, part of the budget is equipment rentals and purchases. We have a lot of gear already, but there are a few things we don't have that will need to be rented or purchased before we can start shooting. The bulk of this cost is renting additional cameras. This part of the budget is just under 3% of the total.
This film is going to get made with or without Kickstarter. The difference being that with Kickstarter's help, we will own one hundred percent of the film and will be able to make it sooner than later. If we can't pull off this Kickstarter campaign, we'll have to start shopping the concept around to investors. If we have to go that route, any money made once the film is finished will go to paying those investors back with interest, and that will mean the film doesn't really belong to us until that happens. That means we will have to focus more on making money with the film and less on getting the message out to as many people as possible. I don't want to go down that road. That road does not sound like a fun road. Please, walk the fun road with us. It'll be one hell of a trip, but it will be worth every step.
5% of profits from this project will be used to back the projects of other creators.
Risks and challenges
Films are big monstrous beasts, daunting to tackle, but rewarding if you succeed to bend it to your will. As with any project, there will inevitably be unexpected challenges, expenses, and frustrations. We've done our best to leave room in the budget for the unexpected. We're well-equipped to overcome challenges and tight schedules. No one gets through life without a little frustration.
This isn't our first film. We know what we're getting into and we've been producing smaller-scale documentary-style films for over two years. We know what we're doing, we know what we've done wrong in the past, and we've learned from those mistakes. I'm sure some new mistakes will be made during this project, but all we can do is roll with the punches, learn, adapt, and keep on chugging till we're finished.
As far as fulfillment, goes that should be fairly easy to manage. Obviously, we can't have DVDs and Blu-Rays made until the film is complete, and I'm pretty sure we're not allowed to send them out until after Sundance, even though the film will be done months beforehand. Even so, that means we can have them manufactured well in advance of the projected delivery date. Hand writing a ton of letters seems a little daunting, and it may take a long long time, but I'm sure we'll manage after we purchase a ton of notebooks and pens. I think our fulfillment projections are highly conservative and leave plenty of room for delays and other mishaps before we actually hit the delivery dates.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)