The Unlikely Story - From Homelessness To Prominence
The Unlikely Story - From Homelessness To Prominence
The Unlikely Story of how William Girven rises from homelessness to prominence in his very own art exhibition right across the street.
The Unlikely Story of how William Girven rises from homelessness to prominence in his very own art exhibition right across the street. Read more
About this project
The Unlikely (but true) Story of William Girven
From homelessness to prominence
The Unlikely Story is an evolving true story about William Girven - a homeless artist in Santa Monica, California and his rise to prominence after 5 years of homelessness.
It was the middle of December and the weather was getting colder in southern California. A few months earlier Ralf had just launched his latest startup NextRX at a new co-working space in Santa Monica called CrossCampus. He had decided to move in there because it included a very diverse and talented community and to take advantage of the interesting events hosted there in the evenings. There aren't many places where one can experience personalities like President Obama, Elon Musk or Daymond John of Shark Tank fame.
If Santa Monica considers itself the star of Silicon Beach, CrossCampus must be considered the star for Santa Monica. It's at the forefront of the NewTech world.
Literally across the street from CrossCampus is a small car park. During the day it is filled with cars but at night it is empty, or so Ralf thought until after one evening event he saw what appeared to be a makeshift bed in the corner. Sure enough, as he came closer he recognized William with whom he had had numerous conversations on the street without realizing that he was homeless. William's sophisticated demeanor and clean appearance, not to mention his English accent, totally belied his current circumstances.
It didn't take very long before the inevitable question arose of how long William had been homeless and how he got there in the first place. The answer was 5 years and as to the question of how, the answer was not the usual drugs or alcohol but rather because ... maybe better hear it in his own words in a short movie.
That same evening Ralf saw a movie on Netflix called Twinsters - The Amazing Story of Identical Twins separated at birth who find each other and then make a kickstarter financed movie to document their experience.
It occurred to Ralf that surely a campaign to help a homeless artist rise to prominence through a big exhibition of his works right across the street from his sleeping place is no less inspiring and would make a great movie.
The Idea Takes Shape
Inspired by the example of the Twinster movie project, Ralf considered the positive implications of creating a movie project that would chronicle the rise to prominence of a homeless artist. A virtuous circle event which should be positive for all who partake. (Sadly, like most startups, most virtuous circles fail. However, that should not stop us from trying)
The highlight of the movie will be a big art exhibition called "William Girven - In The Abstract" and held at CrossCampus. While at the start of the movie William gets to look in on events from his bed across the street, at the end it is he who will be celebrated on stage at CrossCampus.
After discussing the concept with William he was agreeable though understandably skeptical since the whole concept seemed rather outlandish. It was decided to proceed. The first step was in finding a way to communicate. To this end William was provided with an affordable smartphone. Now Ralf was able to communicate with him and arrange a time for his daughter Natasha to create a photo portfolio of the art. William often frequented the local library in order to use their computers to access the internet. Since this arrangement was less than ideal, Ralf was able to provide him with full membership at CrossCampus along with use of a portable computer and a place to store some of his essentials.
While William helped with the cataloging of the art and writing descriptions Ralf set about creating a website and finding a good videographer. Soon we created slideshows showcasing selected abstracts and portraits with musical scores composed and performed by Akari as her contribution to the project.
Having finished our campaign video we decided to add subtitles in most of the languages supported on kickstarter for maximum exposure. Please click on the link below if you can help us with some of the translations.
We hope you are as excited by this project as we are and have established a website at TheUnlikelyStory.us where you can see more of William's art and learn about the many serendipitous events that have shaped this project - from our meeting blogger Tim Ferris at CrossCampus to finding the ideal videographer. It has been quite a ride and, with your support, should have a great outcome.
Risks and challenges
The whole project is contingent on getting enough support to host a Premiere Art Exhibition & Party at CrossCampus - the co-working space right across the street from William's nighttime sleeping quarters. The event is both the highlight of the movie and the starting point for William's new life off the streets.
We have secured the enthusiastic support of CrossCampus both for the movie shooting and William is already working on artworks for the exhibition so we don't expect any problems with taking the project to its Unlikely but decidedly positive outcome.
This project is dedicated to my sister Dorothy who passed away from cancer last year but would have simply loved it. It culminates on her birthday - May 3rd.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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