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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.

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