Q1. Tell us about your project …. your inspiration and goals! WITHOUT SHEPHERDS is a documentary film that looks inside the real lives of those who are fighting for a different tomorrow in today’s Pakistan. The film crosscuts between six people wrestling with a country in turmoil and defiantly standing for change and together their stories give context to a crisis that has dangerous consequences for the region and the world.
Director and Producer Cary McClelland traveled to Lahore two years ago, and the image of Pakistan he had been presented in the daily news was shattered. Pakistan was hardly a defacto terrorist state struggling in civil war, but was a complex soup of different voices competing to determine the country’s identity while under enormous internal and external pressures. More than anything, he was moved by the people – their diversity, depth and sense of purpose. It seemed the real work of changing the country was happening, not in the capital city, but at the grass roots level, and he wanted to celebrate the essential bravery of the Pakistani people at a time when they weren’t being given their due.
With each passing month, Pakistan’s presence in the headlines becomes all the more frequent, its image more terrifying, its future reevaluated as bleaker by the day, and diplomacy with the US growing ever more precarious in the balance. WITHOUT SHEPHERDS is an attempt to bridge the gap between our cultures by giving international audiences empathetic, proactive, and engaged portraits of the people in Pakistan making a difference today.
Q2. What's your funding campaign all about? Who should care and why?
WITHOUT SHEPHERDS is an enormous undertaking – the product of three years of research and production — we travelled across every region of the country, collecting a library of 500 hours of gorgeous and powerful material. Our Campaign is about getting very necessary funding to be able to continue editing and get this film finished and out to the world.
Our funding campaign is about integrating two major possible constituents — Pakistani and American communities— and hopefully getting them to see why they should be a part of this film. For Pakistanis, we hope to give their county an empathetic face that international audiences and policymakers can connect with a more profound understanding. For Americans, we hope to challenge their image of Pakistan (and by extension other countries at the center of our so-called "war on terror") help them understand the often ignored efforts of average citizens to transform their country.
Q3. How are you reaching, engaging and involving others? Your DIWO tactics, please!Our indiegogo campaign began over a year ago when we started building the community behind the film. We have 9,000 fans on facebook, a mailing list of 3000 supporters, and both help promote spaces where both Americans and Pakistanis can talk, relate, and share their points of view. This meant that we didn't have to build an audience for our indiegogo campaign. It was already there, and ready to be mobilized.
Q4. You're rocking the fundraising on IndieGoGo? Congrats! What's working? What's not working?
IndieGoGo has been a phenomenal platform for creating urgency and awareness and a public face to our fundraising efforts. However, we found that our personal relationships were still the outstanding majority of our contributions. We learned people give first because they are connected to you, and next because the project moves them. The more you can use indiegogo to legitimize and put a ticking clock on your efforts the better, but don't forget a well-placed one2one email can often be a critical follow up.
Q5. Any surprises or especially fun moments during your campaign that you'd like to share?
We raised over 10,000 dollars in the first weeks of the campaign, and continued throughout to be amazed by the enthusiasm of our friends, fans and strangers. Our biggest surprise was a very generous $2,500 donation from someone who learned about the film first through indiegogo – we were blown away, and have since welcomed the donor very warmly into the family. It is great to develop new allies for this film that way, and proof positive that this platform feels robust, professional and engaging.
Q6. Any tips / advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs, creators and project leaders like yourself?
We often struggled with how to keep our outreach fresh, and keep from repeating ourselves. The last thing we wanted was to become a nag and lose the good faith of the audience we'd already worked so hard to develop. Throughout our campaign, we launched short videos, tastes, photos, letters, articles, interviews, every few days – just as a way to give our community a reason to keep coming to the indiegogo page and a sense that they were learning more and getting closer to the project each time.
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