For two years my best friend, Shawne Duperon, and I had been working to raise the money for her life’s dream, which was to create a movie about forgiveness – Project: Forgive. If you know Shawne, you know that everything she does in film is exquisite. She’s won six Emmy Awards. She has also dedicated her life to helping others and is the kind of friend who would crawl across broken glass for you. It was killing both of us that the process of shopping the movie to the big investment organizations was taking so long.
By the fifth lap of the pool, the idea was like a pain in my gut. I couldn’t let Shawne go through another birthday without her movie being funded. Shawne’s birthday was 9 days away.
Shawne’s husband Terry had been suggesting we try crowd funding. “Raise the first $100,000 and get the filming started. The rest will come.” Quite a few successful films have used this model. I call it the ‘Field of Dreams’ model. If you build it, they will come. More than one industry expert was telling us Terry was right. There are several crowd funding websites on the internet. You list a creative project and look for thousands of people to each contribute small amounts. A good idea, yet the size of campaign we needed would be massive.
By the sixth length of the pool, I knew I had to do it. The campaign needs to be Shawne’s birthday present!
Crazy? Absolutely. A small campaign takes several months to set up. One this size? Who knows. It violated everything I teach my students: plan, test, set up proper website landing pages, make sure you’re ready!
But there’s that wild card factor. I had seen it once in a campaign cobbled together in only two weeks – Debbi Dachinger, host of Dare to Dream Radio had put her book on the bestseller list. She had called me to ask if it was possible. “Sometimes the fact that many people deeply love you can make up for any amount of mistakes,” I had told her. It was true for Debbi. The mistakes hadn’t mattered. She’s helped that many poeple and is that deeply loved by colleagues and fans alike. Her book hit #1 on Amazon.
I knew that the same applied to Shawne. Literally hundreds of people would bend over backwards to find a way to thank her for all the help she has given them. A week from Friday was Shawne’s birthday. Something special happens on birthdays.
I sold Terry and Shawne the idea of putting up a listing on www.kickstarter.com. Then I convinced Shawne to let me talk to a few people before her birthday. She knew I was building a campaign for over the next few months. I didn’t tell her that many of the people were actually going to start the campaign for her birthday.
I put the call out to colleagues from the Evolutionary Business Council. I simply admitted I wanted to achieve the impossible and members stepped up from all over the globe to assist in spreading the word. The depth of relationship Shawne had built with them carried more weight than money could buy.
Shawne and I both wept tears of gratitude when we saw what was happening. With the campaign not yet officially launched (most of the big newsletter inclusions and radio interviews are yet scheduled in the coming two months), social media chatter alone brought in the first $10,000 in contributions.
Ironically, one of my favourite quotes from Shawne is “When you know the rules, you can break the rules.”
Love and good will can move mountains.
Project: Forgive is a full length movie that explores forgiveness from every angle. From surviving deep trauma to daily annoyances, from exploring the ideas of great thought-leaders to hearing the stories of everyday people. If you’d like to support Project: Forgive through spreading the word or becoming a supporter, please visit: