Author: matt


Downtown San Diego, 13 May 2019

People await police tasked with forcing them to move elsewhere.

I went downtown Monday morning to try to find a street I’d passed before, where people were sleeping on a sidewalk lined with shopping carts, sleeping bags and suitcases. I didn’t find it, but didn’t have to, to find similar conditions. I actually found something familiar to me after what I’d filmed in Chicago, as the city had posted eviction notices where people loitered and lived.

I was immediately apprehensive to approach some of these people when I found this street, partly because I didn’t want to offend anyone and didn’t now how, and partly because they were belligerent for no apparent reason. There were a few police officers around on bicycles, and a few people that seemed to be gathering their things and moving. Then I saw the cleanup notice.

This sign is nearly identical to the notice in Chicago, enforcing the removal of people and their possessions.

You can’t blame owners for not wanting people to camp outside of their business, and you can’t blame the police for enforcing their removal, but there is still no solution to where they should go…

I didn’t want to start asking people questions under these circumstances, not having any clue what I was getting into, and realized a lot of these people did not want me around.

She did NOT want me taking her picture. Since her face is covered, and I think this picture shows what a lot of people deal with, I politely declined her request.

It did shed new light on what I am getting into here. I am somewhat embarrassed for not speaking more with these people, and instead relenting to the fear I felt and getting out of the situation.

Not that I didn’t experience the same dissent as I continued to walk around. I was taking pictures of someone in a lawn chair digging through his bag when a railway passed, so I covered my camera to avoid any dust from harming my equipment. Someone approached me on their bicycle and asked me if I was taking pictures of them. I replied that I wasn’t, but he asked me to show him, and asked why I covered up my camera when I saw him coming over. He’d been through this before, and explained that people would come by and snicker and snap photos, so I showed him what pictures I’d taken, and told him what I was doing.

He chose to be live on the streets, and didn’t want to be on camera. He wasn’t asking for help either, he just didn’t want to be criticized or ridiculed. Speaking with him gave me new perspective on the many different stories people experience that bring them to not having a place to live. Our discussion, added to the few other people I’ve spoken with during this project are why I’m embarrassed I didn’t speak with the people when I first arrived downtown. Their stories are important, too! I was just too fearful to ask.

I’m hoping this experience helps he shock effect the smell of drugs and alcohol, the yelling and inaudible shouts produce. Their situation is so new to me, but having been exposed to it calls me to act. So I continued to speak with few more people, mainly to offer words of encouragement and gain more knowledge about their experiences and this epidemic. Actually, the more people I speak with, the more they encourage me to see this project through to the end.

So thank you to the people that are allowing me to continue this project. The Kickstarter has just under two weeks until our deadline, and we are nearly 60% funded! Please stay tuned and share this project so everyone can say they were a part of Tent City!

1 down, 2 go to…

We’re a week in to the Kickstarter campaign for Tent City, and we’ve raised 50% of our goal! I am sure we will reach it by 30 May (ONLY TWO WEEKS AWAY), but that is no reason to rest on laurels, and I sure don’t want this going down to the last minute! Let me first say, “Thank you,” to everyone and explain the importance of your pledge as best as I can.

When your name pops up as a supporter, it is such a huge way of telling me, “Keep going!” That means a lot, guys. One thing I never thought about, as I am producing my first independent film and crowd-funding campaign, was support from anonymous sources. “Likes,” and “follows,” from people on social media, known or unknown, are gratifying and yet another source of motivation, but still, not anonymous. There is just a little extra boost when I see someone anonymously pledge on Kickstarter, so I just wanted to take a second to thank them for their support, too. Not that I don’t want to see all of your lovely names!

When I launched this campaign last week, I sent a link to every email I could find. I’d been collecting them for a few years, knowing I would have to reach out as a filmmaker down the road, asking for help in some ways. Well, I realized asking several hundred people I barely knew to take time out of their day and money out of their pockets to support this may not be the best approach, so I’ve concentrated the list to people that have made a positive impact on my life, in hopes that I’ve done the same for you.

Thank you to everyone for your support. I’m urging you not to wait if you are able to help in any way. Please remember that any pledge on Kickstarter gives a monumental amount of support for this cause, regardless of the dollar amount. The more people we can show are behind Tent City, the better chance we have to make a lasting impact on these people’s lives.

CLICK HERE TO PLEDGE NOW!

Please follow @margaretnighthawkproductions on Instagram to stay up to date!

Thank you, all. Let’s keep this momentum going and reach our goal with time to spare!

We are LIVE

Kickstarter campaign has launched, y’all! Click the hyperlink to go straight there! We only have 3 weeks to raise the funds, but we can do it!

It was a cool process to put together the campaign, and really helped lay out what my intentions are, and how to see the details of the project. A lot is left to do, and I’ll start by setting up interviews once I get the email out to notify everyone of the launch!

Thank you everyone. Stay tuned…

Tent City Introduction*

Let me start by thanking you for visiting this page and showing interest in Tent City. I think a lot of us want to help, but don’t know how or where to start. Some of us aren’t aware of the ways we help others, or already help a great deal (and are fully aware)!

Tent City is my way of helping.

By dedicating my time to this effort, I hope to better understand not only the process of acquiring housing, but also what is keeping individuals I’ve been in contact with on the street.

There is an overwhelming amount of people in need, so I think it is best to start small. This introduction is to detail what the KICKSTARTER video doesn’t, so everyone can better understand the process of producing this documentary.

This is a two-fold effort. I’m not only trying to screen the final documentary at pertinent film festivals, but more important is to actually HELP the people on the street. By being there with them, I can find out specifically, on an individual level what has brought these people to their current situation. That will equip me with information to help the social workers and city officials when discussing these issues. It will be important to recognize their efforts and how they have to adapt to the dynamic needs of these communities. The second part is putting together the footage and telling their stories, in an effort to raise awareness on a larger scale.

To save money, I am using a flight to Indianapolis I already paid for to get back to Chicago late June. A rental car will be necessary, and the difference in gas to Chicago and back from Indy is far less than including a flight from San Diego to Chicago in the budget. That gives me almost two months to research and set up interviews with city officials and organizations that are known to help Chicago’s homeless communities.

The plan is to drive to the tent community in Chicago Sunday, 30 June, and start filming right away. I’ll film that day and night, and plan interviews with social workers and city officials for Monday and Tuesday, the 1st and 2nd of July. At the end of filming and interviews Tuesday, I’ll head back to Indy and return the rental car. Then my job is to put the story together, and send it out to a curated list of film festivals to screen this documentary to audiences that are interested and able in taking this project farther. Editing this footage will take a couple months, maybe 90 days, with no budget for more interviews or acquiring more footage.

If we raise enough through KICKSTARTER, I will be able to reserve a car and hotel close to the viaduct where these people are living. That will save money on gas and allow safe, quick access to camera gear without having to take everything with me the entire day.

I will be alone on this trip, using one camera on a gimbal, with a shotgun microphone for backup sound and a sound machine with a great lavalier mic for interviews.

I will use Instagram (@margaretnighthawkproductions), Linkedin and this blog to keep everyone up to date. Once funding is secured, I will set up an LLC and a bank account where all donations will be deposited. At that point, I will provide a link to a Coda.io document with all necessary accounting information. For now, this link shows an ESTIMATED BUDGET, and why that is our goal for the KICKSTARTER campaign.

The main reason spreading the word is as important as reaching our financial goal on KICKSTARTER is because after the KICKSTARTER campaign is complete, I will start applying for grants. Most application processes for grants involve showing public interest and funds already accumulated. Let’s show them we’re for real!

Lastly, as I am asking for your donations, I feel you have the right to know if there is an expected return. In this project, the return is philanthropic… Certain levels of donations will receive Producer or Executive Producer credits, and copies of the final cut to download, but this is not an attempt at a profit, nor is there much of a chance at one. The Producer Fee does not even cover my costs, as it is based off a simple equation a trusted documentarian once explained to me, which, in this instance does not have room for monetary gain.

The best way to contact me will be through email, margaretnighthawk@gmail.com, but any communication through social media is also greatly appreciated to help utilize those resources.

Your ‘likes’ and re-posts on Instagram and Linkedin, and shares of the KICKSTARTER video are all valuable contributions. With your continued support, I can dedicate my time to this effort and create a lasting story to reach people in desperate need of our help. Let’s get to it.

Margaret Nighthawk’s Other Productions

Pre- Production – DOCUMENTARIES

RED-SKINS – Where is the Term Derived? – The term has been around for almost 300 years, with a dynamic context worthy of Supreme Court and trademark cases involving the First Amendment. It’s time to collect and present the facts to help the public decide where to stand.

WHEN RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD – The History of North American Roads. – When did it become necessary to connect the coasts? Scaling previously successful, smaller systems across the country was no easy feat…

TITLE PENDING – A Look into North American Sports Rivalries. – There are 5 specific rivalries we’ll explore, all in the same sport, on the same day. No more clues!

TITLE PENDING – How Do People Become Obsessed with Sports? – What brings a grown man to wear another man’s name on the back of his shirt? What brings grown-ups and kids alike to paint their face the colors and logos of their favorite team? What brings these fans to violence in support of their teams? What affect does supporting, endorsing and celebrating athletes’ egos have on our society?