March 20, 2012 · Success Stories

INTERVIEW: Cathy Pearson from “Get The Picture?”


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Modern day legends have the misfortune of becoming lost amidst the noise of chewing gum celebrities and the ‘bright young things’ packaged and sold everyday.  Yet through the medium of film, real stories, about true legends are able to punctuate and define the meaning of what a legacy is, and how it can impact a global community. Filmmaker Cathy Pearson met photojournalist, John G Morris (now 95) through a chance encounter in Paris.  What ensued was the beginning of months of filming and priceless minutes unravelling the story of a man considered ‘a walking history library’, potentially the oldest living journalist to have covered World War II.  Whilst the film includes star studded interviews with the likes of renowned journalists such as Christiane Amanpour and Paulo Pellegrin, the central figure of fascination is Morris himself, the former picture editor of Life magazine, the New York Times and executive editor of Magnum Photos.   We talked to Cathy to find out more about the feature and their fundraising efforts for post-production:

What lead you to IndieGoGo and why did you choose this route to finance your film?
My dear friend and film producer friend Amanda Estremera launched her campaign “Young Of the Morning Blood” which gave me the idea to go with Indiegogo.  Also I knew I was going to finish the film one way or another and I appreciated the fact that with Indiegogo you did not have to reach a target in order to draw down on funds, unlike other crowdfunding platforms that I looked at.

With such an influential figure at the center of your film, what has been your outreach strategy in harnessing some of those relationships to become aware of your crowdfunding efforts?
It’s been a lot of work! I’m glad I had the advice and mentorship of a good friend who teaches and works in the innovated area of social media. He advised me to create a calendar of on line events/ideas to share before launching the platform so that I would be ready and prepared. This was key advice. Most campaigns fall down after two weeks because people have not thought out how to keep the momentum and traffic flowing to the site. I’m lucky that the central character of my film is involved in journalism so we had a big network to share the news with.

What tips and tactics can you share with budding filmmakers wishing to adopt fundraising as a way to produce their film?
Know your subject inside and out before launching any campaign. I was 2 and a half years in development with this project before starting the campaign. People won’t give you money if you don’t know what you are talking about and feel confident in discussing the topic. Have a clear plan of what you want to film and how you want to go about doing it. Put together a strong creative/productive experienced team. There is always an organic unfoldment in any creative process but you must have a structured plan laid out or it will have no clear direction. Filmmaking is all about planning and scheduling.

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What have been some of the challenges in the campaigning process so far and how have you overcome the hurdles?
Keeping on top of all the emails I receive from the campaign network and the thank you emails I write each day. No way trick to overcome it, it just has to be done!

You’ve secured over 100 funders, can you give us an idea of where this audience came from and any key anecdotes on engagement so far with these new fans?
Because I am Irish, John, the subject of my film American and living in Paris, and because the subject is very international we have funders from all over the world. I have had many photographers and people in the field of journalism support the campaign because they understand that anything (my film) that will promote “Responsible Journalism” is a great thing and necessary in our world today if we are to see the world clearly.

Get the Picture? is currently raising money