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So, what's this about?
YOU'RE GOING TO SOLVE VOTER APATHY?
Look, the truth is, when this documentary gets released, we're not going to suddenly see 100% voter turnout. But if we do this right, we will see progress. This is more than that though, this is an opportunity to understand why people aren't voting, by learning why their peers are voting and getting involved.
Low voter turnout is a real problem in America, and no problem was ever solved by simply stating it. Real change takes action, and that's what this movie is. It's a chance to change our voter turnout problem. It's a chance to change the future of our country.
It's going to take a long time. A long time. But something needs to be done, and this is where I'm starting.
IS VOTER APATHY REALLY A PROBLEM?
First of all, the fewer people voting there are, the bigger impact those few votes have. Whether you're not voting to "take a stand", or simply because you forgot, all not voting does is give greater power to the people that do actually vote. You're essentially taking a backseat, and allowing others to dictate your future.
Young adults not voting create a culture of voter apathy, which is what we're working to fix. We want to see young adults working to make a difference. Leading the charge for change. Holding office. There's no reason that a generation of highly intelligent young people, raised in a era of constant connection and the ability to have any piece of information we need at our fingertips in seconds, shouldn't want to take an active roll in their future.
WEREN'T YOU SUPPOSED TO BE DONE WITH THIS MOVIE BY NOW?
I thought so too!
When We’re the People was conceptualized, the plan was simple: I’d live in Texas for a month, exploring what was getting people active in the 2014 Gubernatorial campaign. In November, I’d return on election night, to be there as the results came in. On this night, Texas would have magically had 100% voter turnout, voter apathy would have been cured, and this movie would be complete. Problem solved. You’re welcome world!
The first part of the plan went great. Perfect. I went to Texas. I stayed in Fort Worth, but traveled all over a great deal of the state. I met incredible and inspiring people - people that make me want to give up the small amount of sleep I get now, and find a way to work as hard as them, to make as much of a difference in this world as them.
After spending a month in Texas, meeting so many energetic campaign volunteers and people looking to have their voices heard, finding out that only 28.5% of eligible Texans voted was disappointing, to say the least. Once again, Texas had the lowest voter turnout in the country.
The idea behind this movie has always been to understand why people aren't voting... and then to get them to the polls. To be engaged in their community and their futures. We want to get people to vote. Plain and simple.
To the end, we've decided that we need to see a bigger picture to fully understand voter apathy. The fact is, there's a huge gap in the number of people that vote in a Presidential election versus a non-Presidential election. Understanding that gap, we believe, is going to play a large part in the movie and the bigger goal of reducing voter apathy.
So - we're expanding the scope of the movie. We believe we can better serve our mission, and quite frankly, make a better movie, if we include the 2016 Presidential campaign.
Obviously, this greatly changes the timeline for completing the movie. This project has always been a movement - a chance to help people understand why voter engagement is so important. It's not about getting people to vote in 2016. It's about getting people to vote in every election.
IS THIS A POLITICAL MOVIE?
No, not at all. Yes, it's about politics; but no, it's not a political movie. Voting is about passion. About caring for your community, your country, and your future.
It's not about politics, it's about passion.
SO, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO TRY AND PUSH YOUR POLITICAL BELIEFS ON ME?
Absolutely not. That's just not what this movie's about. It's not about getting people to vote one way or another, it's just about getting people to vote.
But that doesn't mean, in your own life, you shouldn't be talking about politics and the things you believe in.
One of the best things about America is that if you and I disagree on something, that disagreement’s allowed. It’s encouraged. Nothing in this world was ever made better by blindly agreeing and following.
I believe whole-heartedly in a multi-party system. In arguing your point, and letting others argue theirs, as long as that arguing has a point - and an end.
We shouldn't be afraid to be vocally passionate about what you care about, but also willing to hear the other side - we are stronger when we’re united and, although our beliefs and politics may differ, our core believe in the power of activism and being active is the same.
what are you doing with it when you're done?
First, we'll be applying to film festivals with that. Beyond that, while we don't have all the specifics, one thing is clear - we want as many people to be able to see this movie as possible, as easy as possible.
The main goal isn't to just make a movie - the main goal here is to see a rise in voter turnout. So the more people that can see this, the better!
Where do my donations go?
This is a completely independent film, and we want it to stay that way - the last thing this movie needs, is for someone to feel like their money someone entitles them to having this movie push one political agenda or another.
So far, aside from initial fundraising through Bonfire Funds and Indiegogo, this movie has been completely out of pocket.
Your donations go 100% towards productions costs - travel, crew, equipment, etc. Everyone working on this project is volunteering their time, but we still have other production costs that we need to cover. Any amount that you're able to give, is incredibly helpful.
Didn't I give you money on Indiegogo?
You did! It was awesome! I promise I didn't forget. All of the rewards that you get from donating to the movie are coming - but since we're still shooting the movie, some of the rewards are still going to take a little bit.