I have started writing this update, and stopped writing it, many times.
I tried to write it following the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, after I rewrote 70% of the film.
I tried to write it by hand when I was hiking out West this summer, after thinking about it for several miles.
I tried to write it on the plane back from Sundance last month, after the Creative Producing Summit.
Every time I tried to write this update, I didn't make it to the end, or if I did I looked back at what I wrote and it felt wrong. It's hard to express my profound disappointment that we won't be shooting this summer as I'd thought, and that we won't just be pushing a few months, but that we will instead have to delay an entire year. Because our protagonist is a minor and we need to shoot during the summer months when school is out, we can't simply push into the fall.
This happened for a lot of reasons, but mainly: after I rewrote 70% of the film earlier this year, there was too much work to do to have everything ready to go for this summer. Everyone was waiting on the script and when I rewrote so much of it, I surprised a lot of people. It's going to be a superior film as a result, but it's going to take longer.
I feel terrible that it's going to be another year before we get to shoot. Yet at the same time, more than ever, I'm confident in the project. Great things have been happening, but I can't share any of them because nothing's final yet -- including the script. So I'm in this weird in-between state, feeling a mixture of disappointment and excitement, of dreading having to write a "we've been delayed" update while at the same time taking thrilling meetings -- and, as ever, revising the script into something that I know is going to be much bigger and better than the early drafts.
I realize I estimated the delivery of the film in August 2013, and we're now a year late -- and by the time we have the film in the can we'll be two years late. That date was actually a last-minute addition to the campaign because, between the time I started my Kickstarter project draft and the time it went live, Kickstarter added the "estimated date of delivery" box as a new feature. I hadn't even thought of it until the time came to launch, and there it was.
Even typing that last sentence feels strange to me, because I hate excuses and rationalizing, hell -- I even hate explaining sometimes. Sometimes I just want to make it, and not talk about it. Indeed, as the founder of a website that has over 100,000 comments, I've heard everything that can be said about me. As a result, as soon as I start explaining something, I can't help but hear the voices of people accusing me of making up excuses, or lying, or not knowing what I'm talking about ("you're afraid to make it" is a personal favorite when it comes to this project). There have been a lot of those kinds of comments, and it's well within anyone's right to say whatever they think is the truth. But when our film comes out and we're up there on stage at a festival like Sundance or Tribeca or SXSW, it's not like those same people are going to come back around and say, "hey, sorry for giving you a hard time, you were right to take the extra time and make it even better." So I'll just keep on making it, and keep on supporting others, and I hope you will too.
In response to the delays of some of their 50,000 successful projects, Kickstarter CEO Yancey Strickler (who I consider a friend) said this: “You’re not buying something, you’re supporting the creation of it.”
That's an important distinction. Of the 135 projects I’ve backed on Kickstarter, only a small number of them were items where I felt I was actually buying something – a gadget, a watch, etc. The other 120 or so were creative projects where I was supporting the creator, and by backing their project I was telling him or her: “I believe in you, I believe in this project, and with our help I believe you’re going to be able to make it.” I have waited years for rewards -- and I’m still waiting on most of them. Yet not with any of those projects did I ever think to complain to the creator to the tune of, “you’re taking too long.” If one of them said, "hey, instead of backing me to do one year of work, you're actually backing me to do four," I certainly wouldn't see that as a bad thing.
So here I am, signing up for another year of work, not having spent a dime of your Kickstarter funds, more excited than ever about the film, holding my hat in my hand and saying: sorry for the delay. The next time you hear from me, I promise it will be good news.
Thanks as always for your belief in the project.