Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 1, 2012.

Update #30

Spring update (Happy Easter!)

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hey guys,

Hope this message finds you well. I'm working with quite a few parties including a music supervisor, lawyers, record labels, publishers, sales agents, distribution companies, and you know how slow things can get when requests and schedules fall on the desks of these kinds of people (and their people). I promise you I'm working my hardest to push all the licenses and deals through. 

I am also learning about mobile-friendly responsive web design through Skillshare and General Assembly. My goal is to build a new website with easier access to content and sharing functionality with an interactive timeline of information that helps guide viewers and interested parties to the right knowledge representing the history and music of Bluegrass.

Our music supervisor is helping me restructure the deal with the licenses needed for the musical elements that we cannot afford. I may be forced to swap, reedit, and or rerecord musical elements. Several of our distributors will not move unless that aspect of the release of the film is confirmed. Additionally, no one promotes a film after its already available on iTunes, Netflix, etc. so I can't release the DVD until we promote the film in theatres and venues. So I know you guys are waiting and are growing impatient. Believe me, I am too. Until I raise more money, things will have to go and grow slow.

I did want to point out again that this has always been a passion project of mine, mostly personally funded with additional kickstarter backing, which for the scale of the project I'm creating is quite uncommon. The end result of this body of work will be innovative for the bluegrass world and I hope this 5 year labor of love will be worth it to the consumer and the generations to come. I know you will all be happy to be involved once you see our final product.

Chat to you guys later! 

If you want to know about the DVD release, this too will be happening after we sort any semi-theatrical deal however, if you'd like to see the film on vimeo, email me and I'll see what we can arrange for private viewing - anna@porchlightsessions.com.

Anna

ps. if there is anything you'd like to see in my updates, please feel free to comment and I'll start taking requests like a DJ.


Update #29

Distribution

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Just a quick update for your wintery day. Its almost spring! 

Did you know that before I lived with a girl from Winnipeg, I had no idea people needed to plug their cars in at night to keep the battery from freezing over? California life has spoiled me.

Anyway, this year, I do hope to bring the film to as many cities as will have us. To do that, I'm shopping the film and looking for distribution for theatrical, semi-theatrical, digital and educational. I've also been looking to raise additional funds that were not budgeted for new media and screening possibilities. 

Hope you all are doing well and gearing up for more release updates. I'm looking into some additional "spoiler" content to post in the weeks leading up to any major news.

OK, that's it for now.

Have a great time at SXSW!!

Anna


Update #28

Film Update

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Hey friends,

Hope everyone has had a great Thanksgiving this week and a Happy Hannukah!

Wanted to drop a quick update since a lot of your are hoping to gift The Porchlight Sessions DVD and merchandise this holiday season. I thank you all for your excitement about the film's release!

As many of you know, I have partnered with Compass Records in the distribution of the film, which means there are some particular changes that they request from the Director's cut I completed last September, which was reviewed here

The beginning of the film is getting restructured to include more aspects of the history of Bill Monroe and there are several additional new elements to be shot that will be added. The overall running time is changing from 100 minutes to 85 minutes with several musical elements being replaced. Bonus content is also being considered for the DVD.

The continuous unforeseen production and editing of the film, as well as our shifting licensing status may mean we all have to wait more patiently for the film to reach the hands of its core audience. How long we wait I cannot say exactly but I can say that I am as anxious as any for this film to wrap up and find its fans all over the world.

Regardless of these temporal and financial setbacks, I truly believe the final product is something I will be genuinely happy to have created and will be excited to share with you and generations to come.

Many thanks for your continued excitement and support.

With gratitude,

Anna


Update #27

Spotlight: Banjo Creator & Retailer, Simon Middleton

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Porchlight friends and fans,

This week, I'd like to throw the spotlight on Norwich, UK based innovator Simon Middleton. As a fan of the music from where I grew up, Simon's story is particularly fascinating and I think you will find it inspiring too. 

Simon is the Founder and Managing Director of Banjos Direct, "The Web's Favourite Banjo and Acoustic Store". Simon wasn't always into being a banjo retailer. In fact, his background is in Marketing and Branding. It is from here that Simon wrote a book called Build a Brand in 30 Days, which became so popular in the UK that fans actually challenged Simon to put his methods in motion. Being a singer and rhythm guitarist of roots and Americana style music, Simon was always drawn to the acoustic instruments we all know and love. Simon, however is left-handed player. Thus Left Hand Bear was created to serve as a tiny online niche left handed instrument retailer. 

Customers loved the sounds of the instrument Simon was bringing to the UK and they began to request the right handed versions of them. So with demand, Simon created the supply and Banjos Direct was born. They now are the No.1 Gold Tone dealer in the UK and Europe. Being a retailer is just the first step with Simon's plan. His goal of becoming a manufacturer is apparently his real feat as nobody has designed, manufactured and assembled banjos in the UK on the production scale for more than 60 years. All other banjos with British names are actually made in China. 

After creating the successful but high-end banjo called the Islander Ash Leaf (3 of 12 remain), Simon suddenly realized it was time to create The Shackleton, which will be first British-made banjo for the people.

After hearing about this Kickstarter presale effort, I reached out to Simon to get the inside scoop. Here is what he had to share.

***

AS: What is your dream with this Kickstarter project?

SM: The Dream with KS is simply to get us a financial base camp from which we can complete the prototyping of the Shackleton and produce the first batch of instruments. We need £30,000 for that. From that point we can demonstrate that our business model works and we can show investors that with economies of large scale production it is possible to build high quality instruments in Britain which are affordable and competitive with far eastern imports. The big dream is to restart an industry which died off in a Britain more than sixty years ago. And if we can do it with banjos then we can go on to do it with guitars too.

AS: What makes the Shackleton so unique?

SM: The Shackleton is unique for a few reasons. Most significantly it is designed, manufactured and assembled in the UK. Nobody has done that on a production scale for sixty years or more. Interestingly, and we know this will be controversial amongst purists: it is not coming from a long established banjo business. The necks will be made by a very experienced and a claimed British electric guitar maker. The rims will be made by one of the UK's best known drum manufacturers. Assembly and finish will be done by our own small team at The Great British Banjo Company in Norwich. The instrument will be a simple openback with brass hoop tone ring and maple neck. Prototypes feel satisfying to hold and play and sound loud, sweet and lively.

The Islander Ash Leaf handmade banjo on which the new Shackleton banjo will be based.

AS: Sounds like quite an adventure! What challenges are you going to have to overcome?

SM: When we created The Great British Banjo Company a few months ago in order to deliver the Shackleton banjo project, we knew it would be a huge challenge. And we have been attacked along the way by cynics and purists, and competitors. We are, after all, new kids on the block in a pretty conservative field. But, we have also had fantastic support from all over the UK and across the USA too by people excited by what we are doing. Not just banjo enthusiasts but also people who can see and understand the adventure in its own terms. We are attempting something that is generally perceived as impossible: to start an independent manufacturing business in the UK. We knew we could only attempt this with a platform like Kickstarter.

AS: Well as someone who knows the possibilities with Kickstarter, I can say it is a great place for like-minded people to get together, collaborate, contribute, and create. I know you will get this off the ground. Can't wait to hear one of these new banjos in person!

To learn more about the project, contribute, and to meet Simon, check out this video and visit their site at: http://kck.st/1cKodCp

***

Status reports for The Porchlight Sessions are now going out through our blog: http://porchlightsessions.tumblr.com/. We are currently in the midst of creating an 85 minute version, down from the 97 minute so it can be packaged for several different distribution outlets. Schwaber Productions is currently working alongside Master Key Productions to produce new travel-based content and VFX. 

Happy pickin',

- anna


Update #26 - For backers only

Lessons in Growing Goals

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For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.


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