A big part of our Kickstarter campaign was contacting people that could help us spread the word about the film, that might be able to help fund it, and might even participate in making it. At first I wasn’t purposefully trying to reconnect with old friends, but as more people became interested, that was a nice byproduct of it. It also forced me into pre-production mode and I had to start considering who I’d actually want to interview on camera. For the last 6 weeks I’ve been contacting people that still live down South, that we might be able to stop in and see when we are around. The response has been very positive from some, and maybe a little vague from others. But yesterday I got my first official rejection — “No, I cannot participate.”
I’ll admit that I’ve been terrible at keeping touch with people. Any of my old friends that might be reading this should at least take solace in the fact that it’s not just them, it’s everyone. I’m not good at keeping up with people that I don’t see on a daily basis. It’s been 19 years since I moved away from Mobile, and I haven’t visited or even really tried to stay in contact with people. So when I write to people and say that we’re coming through their area, I think many people might just willing to sit down and talk about the documentary as an excuse to see what’s become of me. And it goes both ways – you may not have much to say for the documentary, but I’d love to stop in and say hi while we’re around.
The problem with not keeping up with everyone is that they don’t really know me very well anymore, and maybe they don’t know if they can trust me. There are some that probably think I’m approaching this project as an investigative reporter, digging for “the truth,” whatever that is.
For anyone that might be reading this, that hasn’t decided yet whether or not they want to talk to me on camera, let me set your mind at ease. This isn’t going to be an investigation. I’m not a reporter, I’m a storyteller. For me, there is no absolute truth to be uncovered. There are many people that shared in an experience, and they all have their own memories and perspective to share on it. I think the best way to tell the story, to fully understand it, is to gather a variety of viewpoints and experiences together.
It seems that those that might have the most positive things to say about the Shepherding Movement are the ones that are still close to it. Unfortunately it seems like those are the ones least likely to talk to me, either because they are afraid I’ll twist their words, or maybe because it might be seen as an endorsement of the project in general. My fear is that our story will be missing so many voices that it runs the risk of being lopsided. I’m really hoping I can convince some of those other people to speak up and share their own experiences, so we end up with a richer, more balanced story.