Update: On hiatus, seeking partners

(Sent to the project's mailing list.)

 

I've decided to put the project on hiatus until I have others involved. I realized that, as a solo producer, I couldn't shepherd it to the level I want. So I'll continue to seek a co-producer, as well as pursuing grants and other institutional sponsorship. (If you have ideas or leads, please contact me at tom@tgprods.com.)

This is a decision I came to happily, but not easily. It's hard to give up on grand visions — and for me Almost a Brain has been a grand one, indeed. It's an important subject, one that deserves exposure that's both serious and effective.

If a documentary falls in the forest, does it make a sound?

I believe in my ability to create the documentary to high journalistic standards. But the footage itself isn't enough. A successful documentary includes:

  • film festivals
  • broadcast deals
  • advertising
  • social-media promotion
  • licensing consultants

 

...and a further constellation of partnerships that are beyond my current reach as a solo producer.

 

This is as it should be. While art is mostly a meritocracy, your business competence is part of that "merit" score. When you involve others, you grow your strengths and temper your weaknesses.

Collaboration is not a skill I'm very good at. I've worked on solo productions for most of my career, as a sole creator of interview viedos, magazine articles, user manuals, press releases, what-have-you.

But many of the works I've most enjoyed creating have been collaborations, my LinkedIn Learning / Lynda.com videos prominent among them. Just as the subject benefits from partnership, I personally benefit as well — the work is just more fun.

I've known (and supported) too many crowdfunded works that turned out great, but were never exposed widely to the public. I figure I could raise $25-50,000 with a well-run campaign — enough to pay for the travel, equipment, time, fees, and outside services needed to finish 60-90 minutes of entertainment. But what then? I wouldn't be satisfied with a pretty secret, and would feel I cheated the interviewees of their time and effort.

I'll keep an eye on the topic in the meantime, including the progress of Noah Hutton's promising, multiyear documentary project about The Blue Brain Project. Thanks to all who have offered encouragement and help so far; I continue to welcome your input, and hope to eventually have the opportunity to announce the project's renewal.
 

—Tom