Catch 22

by Sarah Meikle (Director)

Are you sitting comfortably?.. Then I'll begin.

   For those of you who have never experienced the trials and tribulations of a crowdfunding exercise, it's a lot more difficult than it seems. The media portray it as the easiest way to fund anything you want to do. I mean, a guy raised $55,000 to make a $10 potato salad. Really! Sometimes I wonder if there is any logical reason why things go viral... Is Alex from Target really that interesting?

   I digress. Kickstarter is the most popular crowdfunding site for media and creative projects around the globe, despite its famous funding for salads. The crowdfunding site has successfully funded many films including the Veronica Mars movie gaining over 5 million dollars of support from avid Mars fans.

   So we at Caprisar Productions decided to attempt to fund a large documentary project about the London homeless population through Kickstarter... and it completely and utterly failed. As I am writing this there are still a few more days to go until the funding is shut down and with a mere £130 of the £3k goal, we will definitely have to find other sources of funding.

   This failure could be down to many reasons, but the main one is that people simply don't care about the sort of charitable causes we want to document. And hey, who can blame them? We were making the documentary in the first place to combat the fact that nobody cares about the homeless, so why would they care enough to donate to the documentary? We wanted to bring to light the stereotypes and misinformation that causes the discrimination against the street population. But little did we realise how we couldn't possibly expect people to put money behind something that is yet to change their opinion about itself. It was a complete catch 22 and we didn't even see it coming.

   I have discovered a lot even just at the beginning of the journey into this documentary and one thing I found particularly intriguing came when I was approached by a police officer via email about helping me with the film. He said he could arrange for me to come out with him on a shift where he goes around and talks to some homeless people, so I can get a better idea of what it is really like, in safe company. Then I received a follow up email suggesting that his team and/or superiors don't like the idea of me coming out on a shift with him because they don't know me and I could be a journalist... Now let's ignore the fact that I am obviously a journalist, that's what documentary film makers are, and wonder why on earth they would care that I was a journalist. I can't think of anything other than the possibility that they personally might be shown in a bad light, and that definitely interests me a whole lot more. Perhaps looking into the way our police deal with the homeless population might show up something terrible. I guess I'll have to find out for myself.

   So we may decide to re-launch the Kickstarter project for Invisible: Britain's Forgotten People in the summer months, when we find a better way to market the documentary, and possibly have some footage to show as an example of the shocking stuff we need to show the world. Until then, as we continue the search for funding for the project and you continue your life, people are out there on the street still being ignored, freezing to death in the cold, and being beaten or murdered simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

   I hope you're sitting comfortably, because they aren't.