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UPDATE: The Next Step

Greetings, supporters!

Update from Headquarters…

I am back behind a bar in San Diego to pay bills, just finished a move to a new apartment, and will be gone the first week of October. So for the past several weeks, I haven’t been able to give this project the attention it deserves, but fear not.

After conducting the latest round of interviews in July, I have been able to go through some of the footage, which has helped me refocus the project to more specific goals.

I thought it would be awesome to highlight the mobile outreach programs that are extremely effective for Chicago’s communities experiencing homelessness. The Night Ministry were a part of these interviews, and they will surely be a focal point of the project going forward.

I was in contact with Thresholds over the summer, and will continue to attempt to schedule interviews with their organization to share the incredible work they’re dedicated to, too.

I interviewed a lawyer from Chicago Coalition for the Homeless that can connect me with some of the people I spoke with last March (2018), and I was also able to briefly meet with Ali, who is an outreach specialist for CCH. Their experience and perspective is important to share, and I’m hoping to be able to include them in the final product.

So the plan for now is to focus on the mobile outreach programs, and these are a few of the leaders in their field.

Another aspect I think is crucial to the story, but may not be covered in this specific project is the work of the hospitals in Chicago. They have actually started developing supportive housing programs for chronically homeless, as their medical bills for emergency room visits are far more expensive than it is to actually help these people stay out of the hospital, through long-term and sometimes permanent support in housing, and daily care. I have not researched this topic enough, an am trying to focus right now on the mobile outreach programs, but if I am granted funds, and am able to explore this topic, I think it is worth everyone’s time.

I am trying to schedule the next round of interviews in November. I am hoping I am able to make this the last trip to Chicago for the project, but am willing to take as many trips as necessary to compile footage and make sure I have asked all pertinent questions.

Having said that, is there anything YOU want me to ask? Are there topics you hope I am able to include on this project? What am I missing? I can’t guarantee I am able, but would love your input to help drive this mission. Feel free to text me if you have my number, or you can always reach out to margaretnighthawk@gmail.com.

Thank you all for your continued support. I am putting together my next post, which will be about Stephan’s work with The Night Ministry. I had a great interview with him, but it was in the street, and I didn’t realize until scanning the footage later that my autofocus had refocused a few minutes into the interview. So instead of making you squint through that, I thought I could write an article about the interview, instead. Please stay tuned; he had some great info I am excited to share…

Just ‘Wow.’

So we did it. For now. The money everyone pledged was for me to get back to Chicago, to see if I could find the people I met last year, and to find out why they are among the thousands of people living on the streets in Chicago any given night.

One thing I learned about documentaries that has always drawn my interest is their ability to change at any given moment. You can plan and prepare all you want, but one answer, action or discovery can change the entire story. Our plan was simple, but has quickly turned into something overwhelming, enormous and impossible to solve. And that’s ok. It actually makes our small, daily, individual efforts, and the final product of this documentary more important.

Here is where we are now…

I just got back home after spending a few days in Chicago last week, where I interviewed several people from different organizations that are in one way or another involved with helping people experiencing homelessness. From vans packed with social workers and nurse practitioners, to sectors of the city that are dedicated to the cause, I spent last week meeting with people to try to piece together the options available to individuals when experiencing homelessness.

A few themes arose, including the biggest obstacles, the most effective outreach, and how dynamic the difficulties of these individuals can be. I quickly learned I will need more interviews to tell the story, and I continue to develop research, production, funding and distribution plans to accommodate these needs…

So with the first round of interviews complete, and the editing underway, I will continue to set up interviews as questions arise, and search for production help in the form of illustrators, colorists and SFX editors and musicians for the score.

Feel free to reach out with questions. Please keep spreading the word. It’s amazing how far a quick nod or ‘hello,’ can go to helping a person feel better about themselves, which could be the catalyst for getting them back on their feet.

1 Week Away…

My apologies I have not been present on social media or posting content the past few weeks. I have been developing this story behind the scenes, planning all logistics, interviews, and even adding a (fairly large) wrinkle to the project.

Here’s what’s in store for the week(s) ahead…

I finalize whatever interviews I’ve tried to sort thus far. I will need more to help explaining the process than I’ve confirmed so far, but the first round of planning interviews will be finished before Wednesday.

Wednesday I pack. I make sure I have everything ready for the shoot. Car, camera, place to stay (more on that later), etc. Packing camera gear can be daunting. I have to make sure I don’t forget anything, but also don’t want to pack anything I’m not going to use, since I will be carrying everything on my back. Plus it will be raining in Chicago.

I fly to Indy Thursday. Friday I contact to confirm with everyone I will meet with over the next few days in Chicago, and head up Sunday morning.

I stop by Bear Komplex to pick up the backpacks they’ve donated, and then to a friends to unpack and gear up…

The wrinkle I’ve decided to include is that I will be staying in a tent for one of these nights. I will have to speak with a couple people before deciding which night makes more sense, but I want a feel for what these people go through, and I want to be able to explain that to you, so one night is the very least that will take.

I hope doing so brings a unique perspective to the situation, and an ability to explain it to the public so they see it in a new light.

I film and interview all day Monday and Tuesday before heading back to Indianapolis to start processing the footage and everything I learned Tuesday evening.

Lastly, I’ve decided it makes more sense to tackle this story from Indianapolis. It is close to Chicago, and logistically works better than San Diego. I would have to get back behind a bar (worse places to be, I know), and not be able to devote the time and energy to this if I am trying to eek by paying bills just to live in America’s Finest City. If I am able to carry this project back to San Diego, I would love to help here, too, so we’ll see. But for the time being, I will spend a few weeks here after I get back from the Chicago trip to tie up loose ends and head back to Indy in August until this project is complete.

Stay tuned…

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?