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$213
pledged of $5,000pledged of $5,000 goal
11
backers
15days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sun, December 1 2019 6:00 PM UTC +00:00.

Torus Link: Bridging Empathy

Based on the comic Torus Link, a short film illustrating parallels between feelings in relationships and in art to evoke empathy.

Torus Link: Bridging Empathy

Based on the comic Torus Link, a short film illustrating parallels between feelings in relationships and in art to evoke empathy.

$213
pledged of $5,000pledged of $5,000 goal
11
backers
15days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sun, December 1 2019 6:00 PM UTC +00:00.

About

Torus Link: The main cast-- Side A on the left, Side B on the right!

When I was 12, I started a story about the four elements incarnated as people in our world, along with four others with amazing powers all their own in another world... and kept this all to myself. 

See, I dreamed for years of making these guys' story into a complete comic; yet, I always struggled to do so. Though I could envision their backstories--- dreams of building robots; becoming a rock star despite their parents' wishes; fleeing mysterious demons, and running from royal duties as a magical princess in order to seek love, for instance---

Above: Samples of drawings by me from ages 12-18. Can you tell who's who?

---I could never resolve one of the biggest issues between them all: turmoil and misery in love and connection with one another, and finding their way to achieve their own dreams IN these relationship messes. Finding PEACE, in other words. 

Ren and Hazel, 2009. (i.e. the year I decided to shelve my story completely...)

Between this struggle to just bring my story together, AND my own real life struggles that were not so far off from those of my characters,  (where by the time I was a young adult, I DID NOT believe myself worthy of love at all, was a complete shut-in beyond college necessities, and barely considered myself capable of pursuing my own dreams, much less SHARING them,) I nearly gave up on my story ENTIRELY.  

Until an uncanny call came from within me, which to this day I cannot fully explain: "COME BACK TO ME." Something deep inside me called out to a mysterious person I could not see, or hear... only feel. In the three years that followed since I experienced this, this person would share a metaphysical connection with me, ultimately conveying to me that he was in Edinburgh, Scotland, and that I would find him through pursuing illustration. 

You can imagine how easily, eagerly and openly I shared THIS with other people: feeling someone you can't even see.

At the age of 21 I had to make a choice for myself: trust my intuition, i.e. what I could not prove to others but could only feel within, and go thousands of miles away from my home, my family, and everything else I knew to study illustration and find this man? Or stay with what was tried, true, readily explainable and visibly safe--- e.g. pick a popular commercial career that others around me suggested for my art, like advertising or sales, and forget this man even existed? 

In the end, I chose to study illustration in Edinburgh, and once there... well, just see "The Truth of My Story, Part 1" below:

Between meeting my characters in real life and experiencing the events that I did during my year of study, I found the glue of what I needed to cement Torus Link as it is today: my tale of four artists and four elemental people connected across parallel universes, who aren't being fully open about how they feel, what they want, and what they want to do--- all mixed up with monsters, strange black energy clouds, portals, and elemental powers. 

Where most keenly, it's up to the uncanny links of parallel connection between them all to potentially free everybody to do what they want, despite a mysterious force keeping them apart. The story thus far is available to read online @ toruslink.com.

Since 2018, I have been making a series of videos alongside the comic, to show just how connected we are in real life--- to increase empathy between ourselves by seeing these connections, and to show what the power of these real-life parallels really holds. Most recently, at the time of making this Kickstarter, I created this video: 

"Torus Link: What Shuts Us Up" is a compilation of personal anecdotes, as told by 8 willing participants and myself, specifically showing the parallels between our feelings in each of our different experiences: describing where something kept us from expressing what's truest to ourselves, as well as how we felt in response to this. 

In the process of finding volunteers to contribute to "What Shuts Us Up," I asked 31 people to participate: of the two-thirds of people I asked who identify as women, 50% said no. Of the one-third I asked who identified as men, ALL but one person said no... in which he told me that despite trying, he was not able to name a time when he was shut up, and so could not participate. 

 AND YET: 

  • Of the women who were willing and able to participate, ALL of them described how it was difficult to share their feelings; 
  • Or else, kept deeper, more painful experiences to themselves, telling me about them, but asking these to remain private;
  • While at the same time, remarking on how cathartic this was to express; 
  • And despite the great difficulty overall in SHARING such feelings, nearly everyone I asked said that this is a worthwhile video to make, INCLUDING the same people who declined to participate themselves. People who watched told me they could relate, regardless of their gender. 

For, despite these painful feelings being seen universally as difficult to share, I see that we've all been shut up at some point in our lives--- yet, where only women were willing and able participate, I see this as a prime indicator of why it's so hard to share such emotions, rooting back to a hurtful notion of masculinity that says valid men cannot express vulnerable emotions--- and where, this notion hurts EVERYONE, of any gender and orientation. 

Enter the video for which I am seeking funding--- "Torus Link: Bridging Empathy."

I want to create a video that visually bridges empathy, starting with the very people for whom society says expressing these vulnerable feelings is LEAST allowed:  straight, cisgender men--- and linking the parallels between their feelings in relationships, and those expressed by narrative visual artists, where empathizing with and understanding the relationships between their own characters is a part of the JOB in creating them. 

****Why relationships? Because in addition to the data above, the OTHER major pattern "What Shuts Us Up" showed me is that the majority of us keep from expressing ourselves because we internalize others' NON-understanding perceptions of us.  

Hence! Here is my intended setup: 

First, I will ask 5 straight, cisgender adult male volunteers to tell me their stories regarding conflicts in relationships with others, as well as how they felt in response to these conflicts.  These relationships can be of any kind with another person: romantic, platonic, familial, etc.  To protect these participants' privacy, I will only ask for audio recordings of their stories, keeping their identities anonymous.  

Then, I will ask 5 visual-narrative artist volunteers of any gender/orientation, i.e. those who have characters in their own stories, to share with me in video recordings how they relate to their characters' emotions and relationships with each other. To help boost these artists, I will name them and include visuals of their work in the complete video.

With the recordings and clips from these two groups of people, I will then create a "First Phase" video clip that shows the parallels between what each groups says regarding their feelings. Then, I will take this clip and show it to a volunteer audience that is willing to let me record their responses to seeing these parallels: asking them for their emotional feedback, as well as where and how they themselves relate to any of the stories told.

Once I have recorded this audience's feedback, I will then compile both the first and second phase clips into the complete video: showing the parallels in feelings between ALL parties involved.  

***Which, guys, where I know Kickstarter says to us campaigners to try not to use "will happen" language for anything that hasn't happened yet... this is no speculation on my part. From nearly two years making videos showing our connections, to the fact that Torus Link EXISTS through these parallels, I know they WILL be there--- and I want you all to see them, and see what they can do. ***

Finally, (expected late January 2020--- my turnaround time for creating 5-10 minute videos is about a week, so with the higher level of participation involved in this video, I expect this will take me around 2 months) I will upload the complete video publicly onto YouTube and use 10% of my funds to advertise this video on social media venues, in order to spread the word and its impact.  

 More on the costs below. 

Cost: $5000 ----> 

  •  20% will go to taxes and K.S. fees. ($1000)  
  •  40% will go to rent (if necessary) a privately-owned, contextually-relevant space, such as a local comic book store, where I will be allowed to record a group of anonymous audience volunteers for the creation of the Second Phase Clip, and to purchase appropriate recording equipment for this endeavor: a digital camera, a tripod, a microphone, and a reliable, transportable computer (laptop) so that I can project the First Phase Clip to my audience. ($2000)
  •  10% will go to advertisement to spread the word most effectively, as virtually all social media sites limit exposure without paying for advertising space. (Seriously, this is a big reason why MANY of us artists just don't get seen despite the great work we do!!) ($500) 
  •  30% will go to my time and production costs i.e. the "Yasmine is adequately sustained for the full time job creating all of this will be" costs. ($1,500)  

In exchange for WHATEVER amount you are willing and able to pitch to help me bring this video to life, be it $1 USD or $1000 USD (I AM SO GRATEFUL), I will give you a link to see behind the scenes of this video, as I will be documenting my process with vlogs along the way.  

As well, you will have the choice of being publicly accredited in my video as thanks.

For, guys... I thought about this--- I see that this video itself is worth its OWN merit in being made: helping us increase understanding for one another, and be freer to express our truest selves, by revealing just how connected we are. I don't see any other rewards I can give that would be meaningful with regard to what this project is meant to do. 

That said, what I will offer beyond this video is TORUS LINK THE COMIC. 

Right now, Torus Link is there for you to read for free @ toruslink.com. That's one complete, two-sided volume with 200+ pages and counting, and where you can also see many other collaborative projects that I've done with artists over the years, linking us up. So! My request to you? Go read TL, and if you love it, share it, make it popular, and become a regular patron of mine, so that I CAN continue all of this in the full time job that it is and truly help bridge gaps in the world with this story!!!!

AND so that I can do my next Kickstarter as Torus Link Volume 1, the first volume in print as a graphic novel with bonus artwork, prints, and then some. ;) 

Many thanks all!!

Risks and challenges

Having made smaller videos of this nature for almost two years now, with a time span of a week per video on average, I see no risks in terms of completing the video, nor enacting any of the processes of gathering participants--- I know what I'm getting into, and I have ample experience asking for participation, collecting material from people, and compiling what I get. I'll get it done, it will be public, and you will be able to see it--- and with this pay, I will be able to sustain myself without worry, FOR the month it will take to make this.

The only challenges that I foresee are that processing time MAY take longer than a month, depending on people's schedules over the holidays, and with how much immediacy I receive recordings from people. As I have cultivated a community of artists, family, and friends online, I do NOT foresee collecting participants willing to share their stories with me to be an issue. As such, I have given myself a buffer of another month to account for any time delays.

As well, I intend to ask my local friendly indie comic book stores around the Austin area to allow me to show my video, for the second phase of participants. (Compensating said store for their time and space allowance with the funds I get from this Kickstarter.) If that is not possible, I will rent a space in my local library and invite participants in my community to see.

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