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We Did It! 30 Day Kickstarter Report

Sometime after 11:00pm on Friday, November 30th, my mom stopped by Sunnyshore Studio where Jenny and I were prepping for the “Christmas in Miniature” show the next day. She announced that we were so close to reaching our goal of 25K pledged in our Kickstarter campaign – just $200 dollars short. The deadline was at 5:29am PST the next morning and she was worried that by now everyone in Indy (EST) was asleep. She said that my dad was ready to write a $100 check to help, and was there any way that we could come over to their house to make a pledge on their behalf (we don’t have wi-fi at the studio). She said she wanted to be able to go to sleep!

Jenny was just about ready to jump in the car with mom when I checked my phone to see where things were at with the Kickstarter campaign. I saw we had just hit the goal of 25K. I sat down on the bed and it began to sink in that we had reached our goal – something that had seemed almost impossible just a few days before.

We did it! 1

 

Jenny congratulated me and then with a smile said, “you have your work cut out for you.”

As I took stock the next morning, I was blown away by the reality of how many people had stood with me, with us, in this project. I had asked people to “stand with me” in telling this inspiring story. I said that I had the creative team of video producers and musicians that could help me tell the story well, but that I didn’t have the fund to pay them for their work. As shared that I needed help, people to stand with me in bringing the project to completion.

And they did. 110 backers, and even a few more who weren’t comfortable using their credit card online and who sent checks. Many of them were old friends from Indy. The IPS community, many who I had collaborated with in working for renewal in IPS, stood with us, as did many Tech alumni. Friends and congregation members from Redeemer Indy stood at my side. The very first pledge, just moments after launching the campaign, was of 1K from a couple who I had walked through a very traumatic season of their life and their gift blew me away and gave me hope, from the very outset, that we might reach our goal. The deacon team at Redeemer Indy also contributed. There were many names of people I did not recognize. And there were anonymous gifts to, including a gift of 5K! My kids stood with me in making pledges to this project, and I was totally blown away by their generosity and support. And then towards the end, it was my new community here in Redmond, friends at Redeemer the church I pastor, and colleagues in the art community on Camano Island that stepped up in big ways even though they were more removed from the place and context of the story.

Many friends shared Kickstarter campaign on social media, and advocated for the project. Their support was so encouraging, and helped us reach the goal even though just a few days before we were hovering around 18K and I didn’t think it was possible!

We did it! 2

When I checked the Kickstarter report on Saturday, December 1st, I saw that it was a young couple from the church in Indy who had given to help us reach the goal. They had first given 40$ then bumped it up to $75 then to $275. Maybe they wanted to go to sleep too! I remember doing pre-marital counseling for them, and watching them begin to their life together. I knew that as a younger couple getting their feet under them, this was a very big, a very significant gift. I was humbled and moved deeply by their gift.

In short: feel very loved and supported, and a strong sense of responsibility to tell this inspiring story well. I’m also thrilled that I am going to be able to pay the creative team who will make this story come alive with their music and video production talents.

We are Family Soundtrack

Finally, as I said on a Facebook post on November 11th, this movie is…

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 coaches whose stories are never told
For Indianapolis Public Schools
For Arsenal Tech High School

We are Family!

We Are Family Poster

 

Trailer for We are Family Documentary Released

On Saturday, November 10th, Sunnyshore Studio released the trailer for the We are Family documentary. Enjoy!

 

Tremayne Rayner did a terrific job on the documentary. Through our Kickstarter campaign we are seeking to raise money to compensate Tremayne and others to bring the documentary to completion.

Tremayne Rayner

Would like to help us tell the story of an urban basketball team who had an improbably dream and who won the Indiana High School basketball championship and inspired a city in doing so? Here’s our Kickstarter video that shares more about what we are doing and our need for help.

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

Every dollar helps us achieve our goal. To make a pledge go to:

https://www.kickstarter.com/

Search for “we are family”. Click on our project and everything will be there. Thanks for your support!

 

Kickstarter Campaign: Two Stories and 10 Day Report

On November 1st, Sunnyshore Studio launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to  complete the We are Family documentary. Learn more about the documentary here.

We Are Family Poster

We are 1/3 of the way through the 30 day support raising campaign. Before I share the stats of where we are at in achieving our fund-raising goal I have two stories to share.

November 5th

On November 5th I shared this on my facebook page.

“I’ve got to admit, I was pretty discouraged today with how the Kickstarter campaign was going. 4 days in and we had just broken $3,000 and seemed to be making slow progress, just a little over 10% with 25 days to go.

I had come to the conclusion that I couldn’t make this happen, as much as I would like to, and for the last couple of days I have been praying “‘not by might or by power but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD.”

I realized that I had to do all I could do, then leave it up to God. That is hard. I felt vulnerable, afraid, sad.

Today is my day off so I went to play basketball at the Y. I got into the car and checked Facebook and saw that Luke Sanders had shared my Kickstarter post and was advocating for the project.

Luke Sanders

[Luke had written this: “I need everyone to support this documentary about an inner city basketball team from Indianapolis. The film has my Superintended from elementary school in it, the sports reporter of the team, my second family and more! “We Are Family“ is produced and directed by Jason Dorsey. The Dorsey Family has played a HUGE role in my family’s lives so make sure you support this project by clicking the link below!”]

I started to cry.

I remembered back to the days when I first met Luke. My friend Kipp and I walked around the Old Northside soccer fields each weekday morning from 6-7am. On those walks we met Luke’s mom walking with her then little boys Luke and Will. That began a friendship with the Sanders family that lasts to this day.

I thought to myself, if nothing else, to have Luke stand with me in the way. This means the world to me.

When I got home Judah came up to me smiling. He asked if I had seen the kickstarter campaign recently. I said “no”. He encouraged me to look at it so I did.

I was shocked. It said we had 22 backers and were at $8,356! 1/3 of the way to our goal! Someone had given an anonymous gift of 5K.

I cried again.

No matter what happens, today was worth it all.”

November 8th

The morning of November 8th, I received an e-mail from Mark Nottingham, a deacon at Redeemer Indianapolis, the church I served as pastor at for thirteen years. Mark shared that the deacon team had agreed to give David Lichty and I a resource grant of $1,500 to help us complete the documentary.  We had applied for this grant because we believe that this film has a strong truth-telling and justice component. Urban schools like Arsenal Tech get so much bad press. We want to share a story of hope and overcoming to counter the negative.

It was super humbling to hear this, and so encouraging and affirming of our work. It was also so great to receive this support when years ago I had worked with the deacon team to create grants like this to encourage congregation members in the works of mercy, outreach and justice.

 

The Numbers

So where are we at 9 days into the campaign? It’s good news!

31 Supporters have pledged $10,336.

we are 41% funded

We have 20 days left to raise about 15K.

Kickstarter

Kickstarter FAQs

Many people are not acquainted with Kickstarter, so here are some FAQ’s

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. A home for film, music, art, theater, games, comics, design, photography and more.

How does Kickstarter work?

In a kickstarter campaign “backers” support a particular project and receive “rewards” based on their level of support. If the project fails no money is collected from the backers. Their credit cards are not charged unless the project is 100% funded. So it is all or nothing. Backers receive “rewards” based on their level of giving.

So, for example, we’ve set our Kickstarter goal at $25,000. If we reach our goal and are able to make the film, backers who give $10 of support will receive the original sound track made for the movie. At $40 of support they receive (1) the sound track and (2) a digital copy of the movie. At $100 of support they receive (1) the sound track, (2) the movie, and (3) the “uncut” movie with extra footage, bloopers, interviews, etc. And there are more rewards at other levels of giving too. You can see these on the link to our kickstarter project which I provide below.

What happens if you don’t reach your goal?

If we don’t raise the money, we can’t complete the documentary. Every dollar pledged helps us reach our goal.

Why is the story important to tell?

So much bad is in the news all the time about urban schools in general, and Indianapolis Public Schools and Tech High School in particular. This movie tells the inspiring story of a group of young men, their families, coaches, that had a dream, who came together to achieve it, and who rallied an entire city in doing so.

How will the $ raised be used?

Here is the budget for the WE ARE FAMILY Kickstarter project

 ·         $ 8,000            Musicians/Composers

·         $ 2,000            Sound Track Mix/Mastering

·         $1,000             Documentary Trailer

·         $7,500             Video editing

·         $3,250             Production Costs (this is everything from

·         $ 2,000            Rewards Cost (what the rewards cost us)

·         $1,250             Kickstarter Percentage, 5%

 

The video we made for Kickstarter shares more about the story we want to tell, as well as the rewards we are offering, etc.

 

If you’d like to support this project go to:

https://www.kickstarter.com/

Search for “We are Family”

Thank you so much for your support!

 

Jason and Jenny Dorsey tried education reform in Indy before it became a popular political project

By Russ Pulliam, Associate Editor for The Indianapolis Star, director of the Pulliam Fellowship

Russel Pulliam

“Jason and Jenny Dorsey tried education reform in Indy before it became a popular political project.

A young pastor, Jason and his family checked out the Indianapolis Public Schools not long after 9/11. With four children, they had other options, including the new Oaks Academy. With classical curriculum and racial balance, it was popular in the Redeemer PCA congregation where he had become pastor near downtown Indianapolis in an area that was attracting an influx of middle class families.

Redeemer-Presbyterian-Church-1505-N-Delaware-St-01

They wondered if could all the bad things they heard about the city’s public schools could be that bad?

Students would get into fights. Teachers sometimes didn’t care and just showed up for work. IPS buildings were in poor shape. Students dropped out too easily. Too many parents didn’t care or were too young to discern how to care.

The Dorseys found another side of the IPS story. Jenny became PTA president at their children’s elementary school. She befriended teachers, principals and Superintendent Eugene White. Jason volunteered as a lunchroom supervisor at Tech High School. Then he became a baseball coach there and led a petition drive for capital improvements. They called their little group IPS Renewal. They thought Indianapolis could never be truly world class without excellence in IPS.

Elizabeth Odle was principal at IPS 14. She balanced love and discipline as families moved often and students brought the challenges of broken homes.

Jason's I-Phone 2013 016.JPG

When some of the Dorsey children were at Tech, the basketball team started to dominate the way city schools did back in the 1950s and 1960s. Tech took the school’s first state championship, in class 4A, in 2014, with a 27-2 record. The team won off-court victories, with an average GPA of 3.2. Star player Trey Lyles won the Trester Award for character and now plays for the Denver Nuggets.

 The Dorsey family has since moved back to their Seattle roots. They look back at IPS as a success for their family. Jason and some friends are finishing a documentary on the season, We Are Family, highlighting the ups and downs of the 2013-14 season.

With a kickstarter campaign, they hope to raise $25,000 to finish the film, using clips that Dorsey and others saved up from the season.

We Are Family Poster.jpg

Basketball is just a game, even in Indiana. For Tech High School, though, that championship season was a big off-court victory. They played in the Hoosiers film tradition of the underdog, yet not in a 1950s small country school. Their season showed that big city schools can overcome the obstacles of racial division, urban poverty and broken families and win championships in life.”

You can learn more about and support Sunnyshore Studio’s Kickstarter campaign to fund the completion of the We are Family Documentary by clicking on this link here:

Will you Stand with Me? I need your help to tell a story

I Need your help

Will you stand with me? I need your help to complete a documentary film that is scheduled to be released in Indianapolis on Saturday, March 23, 2019, called We Are Family. Specifically, I need your help to make the story come alive through financing a sound track and final video production costs.

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Why the story should be told

Racial divides continue in our nation. But in the darkness of division there are stories of hope. The We Are Family documentary tells the inspiring story of how a basketball team from an urban school in the heart of Hoosier basketball country united around an impossible dream, how they forged a bond as family and how they inspired a whole community.

After Arsenal Tech High School in downtown Indianapolis won the Indiana High School Basketball Championship in March 2014, Bob Kravitz, a journalist for the Indianapolis Star wrote:

 “Landmark State Title proves inspiration to entire Tech community”

“From the time they are young, these kids who attend Indianapolis Public Schools are told they can’t. Parents try, teachers try, mentors try to lift them up and out of their circumstances, but the lowly graduation rates at schools such as Arsenal Tech do not lie, nor does the alarming drop-out rate.

On Saturday night at Bankers Life, though, the talented and composed young men of Arsenal Tech believed they could do something very special, something that hasn’t been done since Broad Ripple earned the IPS’ last state title in 1980. And they did, knocking off Lake Central, 63-59, winning the Class 4A state title, showing everybody, yes, they could.

Sixty years ago this week, Milan won one for all those small schools.

Saturday night, Tech won one for all the schools and the students who have been told they aren’t good enough to ascend the greatest heights.

Remember the Titans.”

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We Are Family remembers the Titans by telling the story of that season. It explores the impact of this victory on the lives of the players, coaches, school and Indianapolis Public School community five years later. It proves that the relationships that are built when a team comes together as a family really do endure.

I believe that this story is important because it tells the truth about what happened – and what can happen – in inner city schools.  I know this personally. For thirteen years our family lived in Indy we were a part of Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS). Our kids attended IPS schools. And the IPS community became a family to us. This is my way of saying “thanks” to and standing in solidarity with IPS.

 

I’ve been working on this project for the last four years. Now I need your help to raise $25,000 to pay for a sound track and final video production costs to bring the project to completion. Will you help me tell this story?

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Kickstarter Campaign Costs and rewards 

To raise $25,000, I am launching a Kickstarter “crowd-funding” campaign on November 1st, 2018. The way Kickstarter works is that people sponsor a creative project through an on-line donation and receive a reward in return. If the project meets its goal that money will be debited. If the project does not meet its goal then that money is not debited. In other words, it is all or nothing!

Budget for the WE ARE FAMILY Kickstarter project

  •  $ 8,000 Musicians/Composers
  • $ 2,000 Sound Track Mix/Mastering
  • $1,000 Documentary Trailer
  • $7,500 Video editing
  • $3,250 Production Costs
  • $ 2,000 Rewards Cost for art prints, shipping and handling, etc.
  • $1,250 Kickstarter Percentage, 5%

 

Rewards for giving to the WE ARE FAMILY Kickstarter project

  •  Friends who support this project at $10 will receive a digital version of the sound track.
  • Friends who support this project at $40 will receive a digital version of the movie.
  • Friends who support this project at $100 will receive a digital version of the “uncut” movie: bloopers, extra footage, etc.

 

  • Patrons who support this project at $200, $400, $600 and $800 get to choose a beautiful print of one of two of my brother Jed’s paintings – either “The Golden Hour” or “Good Morning Indy”.[i]

 

  • Producers who support this project at or above $1,000 will receive the following:
    • Named in the credits of We are Family as a Producer.
    • Invitation to a VIP documentary release party in Indianapolis, IN on Saturday, March 23rd, 2019
    • Public thanks at the release of the documentary in Indianapolis, March 23rd, 2019.

 

  • Mega-Producers who support this project at or above $5,000 will receive all of the above plus:
    • A week long (7 days) stay at Sunnyshore Studio on beautiful Camano Island.[ii]
    • (Optional) An Identity Discovery Session and Five Life Coaching[iii] sessions with Jason Dorsey.

 

The Team

I’ve assembled a great team of video editors/producers and musicians/composers to complete the documentary. I want to tell the story in a way that packs a punch.  I’m thrilled that some of the contributors are IPS and Arsenal Tech alumni.

 Two ways you can stand with us

Here are two ways that you can stand with us in bringing this story to completion:

  1. Contribute to the Kickstarter Campaign: On November 1st I will share the link to our Kickstarter campaign. Any amount of support helps!
  1. Advocate for the Kickstarter Campaign: Advocate for the project when the 30 day Kickstarter campaign launches on Nov. 1 by:
  • sending a personal e-mail/text to five friends with the kickstarter link asking them to stand with us in this project.
  • sharing the kickstarter project on your social media platforms.

 Thanks for standing with us on this project!

We are Family is being produced by Sunnyshore Studio: www.sunnyshorestudio.com

You can learn more about our project here:

[i] Jed is a full-time artist who lived in Indy and was a big fan during that Championship season. He is offering us prints of these two paintings at his cost. To learn more about Jed and his art: www.Jeddorseyart.com

[ii]Sunnyshore Studio is located on Camano Island, in Washington State. Learn more here:  www.sunnyshorestudio.com

[iii] In his work as a Presbyterian pastor, Jason Dorsey has developed a curriculum that helps people understand their identity and step boldly into their calling. It is called “Identity Mapping”. The Identity Discovery Session is a two hour session where Jason listens to your story and helps you name your Identity. In the Life Coaching sessions  he helps you identify your roles and responsibilities in each sphere of your calling:  personal, family, work, community and place and coach you

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