Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dance School Tardis: My Magic Fundit Finale :-)

I haven’t written in here for a while – I have been busy.  Among other things, I underwent a FUND:IT CAMPAIGN! Well, the good news is that I live to tell the tale.  Here is the best bit:

Blue Sky
With one day left to go on my 35 day fund:it campaign, I opened my eyes to see a clear blue sky outside my bedroom window.   Even though it was October.  It was Saturday, October 6th  to be precise.  At the back of my mind, I knew yoga was on in Dartmouth Square at 11am, and Cathy Pearson, a friend of mine since we did the UCD/NYU Scriptwriting Summerschool together many many moons ago was the teacher that week. I hadn’t seen Cathy in a while and had never done her yoga class.  That, combined with the blue sky, and the building inner dread of “Hell and Back”, a sadistic 10k run from Kilruddery Estate, Bray, up the Sugar Loaf, through mud pits, under barbed wire, through ponds and rivers a friend had signed me in for the next day got me out the door to stretch gently in the open air with Cathy.  (And did I mention that those Dartmouth Square Saturday morning yoga classes only cost €5?  Good value! All the more reason to cycle over there, yoga mat on back).

My Fund:it “Adventure”, which started on Monday, September 3rd, would prove to be quite an emotional rollercoaster, with a happy ending eventually thanks to 63 great people - micro-philanthropists all.  Putting oneself at the mercy of the universe like that can be a terrifying experience, believe me. 

Of those 63 fine people, there were only three I didn’t know before, including eminent architectural historian Shane O’Toole who is writing a book and curating an exhibition about one of Ireland’s most important (and forgotten) modern architects, Cork-born Noel Moffett – who was married to the young Margot Moffett, one of Erina Brady’s dancers in 1940’s Dublin (she was also prime organiser of the White Stag Art exhibitions).  We connected for the first time when Shane, who had been following my research for a while (unknown to me - how flattering), kindly contributed to my Fundit campaign.  We subsequently met for a wonderful nerd-fest (I speak for myself when I say “nerd”!), of 1940’s gossip and anecdotes involving Erina Brady and her dancers. It was as if our research constituted the two respective sides of one coin. 

One thing I learned from my Fund:it campaign was, firstly and foremost – dig deep and stay connected with your inner zen.  Some people who you think owe you a favour may let you down.  This will probably happen.  Don’t waste your precious kilojoules on disappointment, or getting angry at them.  The faster you let that go, the better for you.  Move on fast.  For every one of those, several others will surprise you with their affirmation of you and your work.  These good people will emerge delightfully, out of nowhere, and sometimes just as you are about to despair, before you turn in for a night’s sleep and just can't face up to another glimpse at your fundit page and its static balance.  My advice? Focus on them!   

So, getting back to Dartmouth Square yoga class on the last day of my fundit campaign, and just before launching myself kamikaze-style into “Hell and Back” (notice a theme emerging?).  I arrived to pleasant Dartmouth Square, locked my bike, unravelled my yoga mat, and had a chat with Cathy Pearson (www.yogadeep.com), who I hadn’t seen in a while – since our mutual friend Dragana Jurisic’s birthday party a year and a half previously.  Dragana, a wonderful photographer herself, worked with Cathy on her first documentary film “Get the Picture”, about epic photographer and photo editor John G Morris – which, incidentally, was part-funded through American crowd-funding site Indiegogo.com.  Just completed, and now set to premiere at the Cork Film Festival November 2012, Cathy’s film happens to be Indiegogo’s most successful Irish crowd-funding film project to date.  
"Get The Picture?" Temp Trailer from Get The Picture on Vimeo.
I mentioned my own little fund:it project, “Dance School Tardis” to Cathy.  She immediately asked me to send her a link to it, kindly saying that she would like to contribute to it, and to share it on facebook. I said “oh, we have just one day left in the campaign, and we have luckily reached our target, but it would be really nice of you to share it – the more people that know about it, the better”.  So that was that, I was the better for doing the yoga class, the sun stayed out, and much later that night, after seeing “Bird with Boy”, a theatre festival show by Junk Ensemble on Henrietta street, and just before I hit the hay, I remembered to email Cathy the link to the Dance School Tardis fundit page: http://www.fundit.ie/project/dance-school-tardis

Before I knew it, it was Sunday morning and I was making like “Platoon” in the dreaded Hell and Back, up the Sugar Loaf, through marshes and rivers and mud-pits and over haystacks and walls and under barbed wire, and through electric fences – lovingly designed by an ex-military sadist.   

When I got home from that, cold, covered from head to toe in mud, with scrapes, bruises, and nettle-stings (one of our 4-person team even broke her foot), I had a hot shower and collapsed onto my bed for a while.  
Photo by Mark Doyle.  Thank-you Mark! :-)

Then I hobbled to my computer screen, as you do, to share my tale of tribulation and triumph on facebook. 

But first, I noticed that Cathy had kindly done as she had promised and shared my Dance School Tardis fund:it campaign on her Facebook Page, generously declaring:

My Friend Deirdre Mulrooney has just one day left to raise funding for her beautiful film about some of the history of Modern Dance in Ireland. Please help share and support if you can.... we have to hijack the arts by finding new ways to keep it going, this is great. Become a philanthropist for the day, no amount is too small.”

How great was that?!  That cheered me up to no end. 

Beneath her opening comment, I noticed a whole conversation had broken out about my prospective film – starting with: 

“Cathy, you would never believe it.. my mum is one of the little dancers in this film. the little one who turns and looks directly a the camera with the two bunches -). Can you imagine her surprise to see her self on film 70 years later?...”

“at 49 seconds”

Katie, a friend of Cathy’s who I didn’t know (a photographer in Berlin as it turns out), had spotted her 80 year old mother, no less, in the 1943 “Dance School” film extract on my video pitch! (See above). This was the concentrated dancing blonde tiny tot that I couldn't find!   Katie’s mother Ann was overcome with emotion at seeing her younger self on celluloid, and reconnecting to those unforgettable modern dance classes which inspired a life of creativity in her.  (None of the 1943 dance class participants were aware the film existed).  She had even written notes about the classes, and tried to track down anything that might be written about Erina Brady’s dance classes in later life.


Magic. Overcome with enthusiasm for the project, and ready to hop on a plane from the UK to contribute her reminiscences, and creative life story to the film – I was suddenly feeling like one of the luckiest people on the planet. 

Good job I got out of bed and went to yoga the previous morning!  So you see, how Fund:it is about much more than just the money.  Though of course, the money is the essential enabler.  As well as facilitating that incredible connection, both Cathy (who alluded to this heartening anecdote in her talk on Crowd-funding at Dublin Websummit a few weeks later), and Katie kindly contributed to the fund also.  That was my magic finale from Fund:it and the universe.  Worth waiting for. 

And now – the sequel – making the film! I’ll be keeping you posted on that.  In an ideal world, we’ll be screening it on International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2013.  But I hope to have a rough cut of it well before Christmas.  I’ll be keeping a little diary of the making of, here on my blog. Now the time has arrived to invoke the goddesses of documentary film-making.  If you are that way inclined, please, invoke them with me, and watch this space!

One more word of advice for anyone thinking of embarking on a Fund:it crowd-funding campaign – everyone needs a cheerleader/personal coach when embarking into those daunting and unknown waters, to keep "one" going through thick and thin.  Crowd-funding like Fund:it is predicated on people who help each other in any way they can no matter how modest (not necessarily money) - just what is needed to keep going in these straitened times.  Massive thanks to my Mum for filling that unwavering cheerleader role with panache. And to the other great people.  You know who you are :-)
[& just in case you don't, there is also a list of my great pantheon of believers here: http://www.fundit.ie/project/funders/dance-school-tardis] 

1 comment:

Marie said...

It's all about the D Factor! What beautiful synchronicity! Looking forward to the film :-)