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We are Family Documentary Update #3: Release of We are Family Delayed

I set the release date for the “We are Family” documentary for March 23, 2019. While work on the movie is progressing well, I have had to swallow my pride and accept the fact that I could deliver a finished movie on that that release date off. Here’s why.

THE SHEER AMOUNT OF WORK

Making a movie is a lot of work. There are a myriad of moving pieces – from video editing, to getting release forms for people we’ve interviewed, to lining up a venue, to communicating with our musicians.

For example, last week I spent time going through video footage providing feedback to David Lichty who is doing video production. There was 1 hour and 17 minutes of video footage that just covers the lead up to the 2013-2014 season.

The sheer amount of work, plus the fact that for both David and I this is not our full-time jobs and that we are both finding time to work on this labor of love in our off-work hours means that it just is taking longer than I hoped and planned.

COMPLICATIONS, COSTS AND DECISIONS

I shared in my February update that I had run into some complications and new costs that I had not anticipated. For example, to get permission to use Indiana High School Athletic Association video, we need to have Movie Insurance. I should be getting a bid on the cost of that shortly. I did not anticipate these complications and costs when I set March 23 as the release date for the movie.

CREATIVE FEEDBACK

We have a number of people who will be viewing the “uncut” version of the movie to provide technical, artistic, creative and factual feedback. Their feedback is valuable and necessary for us to make the best possible movie.

David Lichty, Tremayne Reed and I will be taking that feedback and cutting and crafting the final documentary. I don’t want to rush that important process of feedback so that we can make the best possible movie we can.

We also need to receive permission to use footage from both individuals and agencies, and so we when get the “uncut” and “final” versions wrapped up, this will be part of the process.

It is disappointing not to hit the March 23 target date. But there are good reasons to push that date back. My hope is that we will be able to have an exclusive screening of the movie in May. But no promise. I’ve learned my lesson.

Until that screening, you can be sure that I will be grinding away to tell this important story of an inner city basketball team that against all odds won the State Championship and inspired a city in doing so.

Kickstarter Campaign: 20 Day Report and Wrapping up Interviews

Kickstarter

We are twenty days into the thirty day Kickstarter campaign.  We are blown away that over 16K has been pledged by 58 backers. We are 64% of the way towards reaching our 25K goal. But we still have a long way to go and an uphill climb.

It has been so encouraging and so humbling to see who has stood with us in this project by making a pledge. My family has rallied. Many of my friends in Indy – both my old church and IPS families –  have stepped up to help too, which makes my heart sing. And then there are the people I don’t know who have eagerly supported the project. Their trust and support is humbling.

We have had one MAJOR gift of 5K. There have been five PRODUCER level gifts of $1,000 (or more). And then lots of smaller gifts ranging from $1 – $400. Popular pledge sizes are $40 and $100. The reward for a $100 pledge is the digital “uncut” version of the movie, where we will be able to share much more of the footage than we will for the final version of the movie.

The way Kickstarter works is “all or nothing.” If we hit our goal of raising 25K, we will receive the money that has been pledged. If we do not hit our goal, we won’t receive any money at all. The last day of our Kickstarter campaign in December 1st. We still have $9,000 to raise. So we are in the last push.

If you would like to support the project go to this link:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jasondorsey/we-are-family-0?ref=user_menu

Wrapping up interviews in Indianapolis

Last week we wrapped up interviews in Indianapolis.  Director Jason Dorsey spent 2.5 days in Indy working with his video production crew, David Lichty and Tremayne Reed, to film the interviews.

November Trip 3

They also got some good B-roll footage.

The interviews were absolutely amazing!

Here is the interview lineup:

Tuesday, November 13 

  • Shaun Richardson, Player on the Tech championship team
  • Victor Bush, Tech/IPS Athletic Director (during the State Championship season)
  • Dr. Michael Brown, IPS Board Member (during the State Championship season)
  • Michael Woodson, Tech alumni, grandfather of Tech players Jerome Campbell and Jeremie Tyler
  • Mikey Jones, Tech basketball Player
  • Leo Williams, Tech basketball player
  • Terry Loux, Tech Alumni. He scouted 16 games for the State Champion Tech Titan team.

 

Wednesday, November 14

  • In the morning we filmed around the Tech neighborhood and at Arsenal Tech HS.
  • Then we drove up to Lebanon and interviewed John Sexson, brother of Joe Sexson who played for the 1952 Tech team who made it to the state championship game and lost to Muncie Central.
  • Donte Gladney Jr, Tech basketball player; and we got Mike Jones for a second round of interviews.

 

Thursday, November 15

  • Jamie Wolf, who was the athletic trainer during the Championship season.
  • Jeremie Tyler, Tech basketball player.
  • Devon Mickens, Tech basketball player.

 

All of the interviews were amazing and it is impossible to single any of them out. But Thursday’s interviews were special, and pretty much nailed out story down. The biggest challenge the video production team now faces is what to cut!

During a break on Thursday Jason asked David to give a plug for the movie and the Kickstarter campaign. Check it out.

One last thing. Early on Wednesday morning Jason was able to enjoy breakfast and catching up with three old friends from Indianapolis: Kipp N., Paul B. and Matt A. at Peppy’s.

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It was a whirlwind couple of days, but worth it in terms of the amazing footage we got.

We are family

            For all the urban schools that struggle with bad press

            For all the urban youth that are told you can’t do this

            For all the urban teachers and administrators whose stories are never told

            For Tech High School

            For Indianapolis Public Schools

 

 

Video Production Team for “We are Family” Movie gearing up for last push

I’ve worked on a documentary project sincet 2014 that tells the story of how the Arsenal Tech high school basketball team – against all odds – won the Indiana Basketball Championship and inspired as city as they did.

Now four years later, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, a date to release the movie in Indianapolis has been set for Saturday, March 23rd!

I want to introduce you to the Video Production team members who are working on this project. I could not do this without an amazing team to work with. I will start with my first collaborator, my son, Julian.

Julian Dorsey, Production Assistant

Julian

Julian has been with me from day one. In fact, it was his idea to film that season. He was a junior at Arsenal Tech then, and played on the basketball team. In August of 2014, Julian and I went to the head basketball coach, Jason Delaney and asked him for permission to shoot video throughout the season. He said “Yes”. So we went out an bought a video camera.

After Tech won the State Championship, Julian went through and organized all the video. I’m so thankful for his video help and technical support through thick and thin. Here’s his bio:

Julian Dorsey was a junior on the state championship team. Now a senior at George Mason in Washington D.C. studying Government and International Relations, he is excited to finish telling the story of the championship season!

David Lichty, Video and Audio Technician

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My friend, David Lichty,  has been my right hand man in the documentary project. From the beginning – after Tech had won the IN State Basketball Championship and I shared with David my dream of telling the story in a documentary – David believed in the project.

David has already spent over 300 hours already – all freely and cheerfully given – in organizing the footage we have, in shooting interviews, and getting lots of B-Roll footage.

We’re now in the fun part of telling the story: bringing it all together into a story. David has at least another 300 hours + of work to complete the documentary.  Being able to compensate him just a little bit for his upcoming work is one of the reasons I’m launching a Kickstarter “social funding” campaign November 1st.

A side benefit of working on this project together is that I get to stay in touch with one of my Indy friends. Here’s a little bit more about David:

David has had movies in his blood since childhood, and film making as the solid dream, and a passion, since 7th grade. He has a degree he invented at Indiana University, a BA in Film Making, has put together short film series of his own and has worked closely with larger film festivals. Presently, he primarily edits both narrative and documentary style work. It’s not what he does for money, but when asked what he does, this is what he does.

Tremayne Rayner, Film Trailer Producer

Tremayne Rayner

I learned of Tremayne through Julian. They were classmates at Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet, which was both a middle and high school. Julian told me that Tremayne was an up-and-coming video producer and that I should talk with him.

I’ve asked Tremayne to create the Trailer for the movie. When I asked him to be on the team, he said that he was working hard at his professional career in video, had bought lots of expensive equipment, was taking his work very seriously, and couldn’t do this work for free. I affirmed him in that, and we worked out a contract. I’m thrilled to be able to be part of his professional work as an up-and-coming producer!

Meet Tremayne in his own words:

“Coming from the Far Eastside of Indianapolis I always had a dream. My name is Tremayne Reed A.K.A as a Young King. Although, I wasn’t sure of what I wanted out of life, coming of age I always knew I never wanted to become a product of my environment. God allowed me to form a passion for filming and with hard work and dedication I was able to self invested in the equipment/gear that I needed to provide fulfilling video services to my clients. I am happy with what I do and everyday my goal is to become greater that yesterday. God Bless. -T.REEDVISUAL.”

Jeffrey L. Sparks, Consultant

CROPPED-Sagamore Headshot 3 (1)

I’m so very thankful to have my friend, Jeffrey L. Sparks, has graciously agreed to be a consultant on the We are Family documentary.  As a rookie Director/Producer, it means a ton for me to have the wisdom and counsel of someone with his experience. I’ve already greatly benefited from his wisdom based in decades of experience, and you can see from his resume:

Jeff got his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from the University of Evansville, and a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from Florida State University. He worked as Professor of Theatre at St. Leo College, St. Leo, Florida 1978 – 80. He then served as the Executive Director of the Indiana Children’s Christian Home, a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed youth, from 1980 – 1990. He is a Founding Board member and was the Executive Director of The New Harmony Project, a writer’s laboratory developing new scripts for theatre and film, from 1987-1999.

Jeff was the President/CEO and Founding Board Member of Heartland Truly Moving Pictures from 1991 to 2013. With Heartland Jeff developed the concept of a film festival and presented that idea to sponsors and funders which resulted in getting the festival started in 1992, oversaw all aspects of the festival including artistic, business, and fund raising for the first ten years, and spearheaded the development of a management team to help take the festival from a regional event to a national movement. Jeff continues as Founder and President Emeritus, Heartland Truly Moving Pictures from 2013 to present.

Currently Jeff serves as Senior Fellow of Sagamore Institute where he is working on community development in the Twin Aire Neighborhood of Indianapolis. Recently Jeff completed his book, Changing Culture Through Stories: The New Harmony Project, Heartland Film Festival, and Beyond…

Jason Dorsey, Producer and Director

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Just a bit about myself. I’m definitely a rookie when it comes to producing/directing a film. Over the last few years I’ve done some film editing, so I have a general grasp of what that involves. But I suppose my main qualification is that I’m passionate about this project. I believe this story should be told and I want it to be told well!

Telling this story is the culmination of my calling in Indianapolis. From 2002 – 2015 I served as the lead pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in downtown Indianapolis, IN. During that time my wife, Jenny, and I were very involved in the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) where we sent all four of our kids. We wanted to be a part of renewing IPS. But when we left Indy to head back to the Pacific Northwest to care for my mom who was battling breast cancer, we realized that IPS had given far more to us than we had done for it. And more importantly, the kids, their parents, the teachers and administrators had become a family to us!

Telling this story of Arsenal Tech’s basketball team’s magical year, of the great young men that were on the team, and how they inspired a city as they achieved an almost impossible dream is my way of saying “thanks” to the IPS kids, parents and community.

“We are Family.”

 

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