Friday 23 October 2020

The Miracle of Crowdfunding & The Miracle Mockumentary - A masters campaign and a film about survival


The Miracle of Crowdfunding is a crowdfunding campaign package I created for covering the tuition fee of a masters degree I never ended up undertaking.

Later, I reformulated it into a feature-length mocukumetnary about someone trying and struggling to crowdfund the tuition fee for their masters degree.

The original campaign was an ambitious package that included...

  • A social media campaign
  • A website called
  • A campaign pitch film
  • 10 additional campaign videos

The campaign was primarily filmmaking focused, because that is what I knew and had been the dominant focus of my BA (Hons).

I created the campaign content with my colleague George Oram, who I had worked with on a number of projects during my undergraduate studies.

We spent the spring and summer of 2014 filming footage in Bath and Bristol.

I had secured a place on an MSc in Creative Technologies and Enterprise at Bath Spa University and the plan was to secure my £6,250 tuition fee on a now defunct student crowdfunding platform called StudentFunder.

This was before the UK government introduced state-funded postgraduate student loans, so the only option I had was to fund my degree myself.

I was very keen to have a crack at crowdfunding my tuition fee because my prospective masters degree was creative enterprise based and I figured orchestrating an ambitious crowdfunding project would be a brilliant way to kickstart my postgraduate studies.

My vision was to have a very open campaign message that would take you through what crowdfudning was and my creative process of bringing the thing together.

So you wouldn't just see the end product, but you would also see all the hard work I had put into producing it.

This is why the main campaign pitch film had a very meta tone to it that very consciously examined what crowdfunding was and why it is a brilliant way to get passionate and value-creating projects off the ground.

My campaign pitch angle was that if you contributed to my campaign you would be investing in me, not my masters.

The positioning of the marketing of my campaign was all focused on selling me, my prior creative portfolio and the new enterprises I was proposing to ignite with the opportunities my master's degree would open up for me. 

I never got round to editing the campaign film together because we never finished filming all the footage for it.

You can read the script for the campaign film here

Ultimately, I didn't go through with the crowdfunding campaign because, during the course of constructing it, I had been studying a number of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and the more of these courses I studied, the more I came to realise that I could just build my own master's degree.

As I had been excited by the prospect of orchestrating my own crowdfudning campaign, suddenly I was even more psyched at the prospect of building my own postgraduate studies.

I had got into the habit of working for myself and I was loving it.

My self-directed Masters of Transdisciplianry Application in Sustainable Globalisation and Creative Enterprise, a.k.a. my MTA Portfolio, was born out of The Miracle of Crowdfunding

Not only has my MTA Portfolio proven to be a vastly more ambitious enterprise than what my crowdfunding campaign was promising to be, but it also covered the curriculum of my original master's degree and has launched more projects than what I would have been able to do with the scope of my original master's degree.

You can find out more about my MTA Portfolio at IBuiltMyOwn.Education

It was great that The Miracle of Crowdfunding enabled me to study my ideal master's degree, but it never sat well with me that all the material that George and myself had spent four months creating for the campaign was now going to be unused. 

We had filmed a lot of really good material and I wanted to use it.

It wasn't until the beginning of 2015, while I was undertaking my 365 FRAMES 2015 experimental filmmaking project, that I started to think much more ambitiously about how we could salvage all the material we had created.

The Miracle Mockumentary was to be a film about me and George playing exagerated and self-mocking versions of ourselves while we went around Bath and Bristol filming material for The Miracle of Crowdfunding campaign. 

However, the real focus of the film would have been the struggles of surviving and thriving as a young person in today's complicated world... based upon the real life financial and personal struggles George and myself had had to overcome while filming the original crowdfunding material in 2014. 

I wanted The Miracle Mockumentary to tell that story, or one very close to it. 

It's the story of how do you stay relevant and follow your dreams in a complex world that demands so much of young people today. 

My incentive for wanting to undertake a masters degree has always been one of relevancy and basic survival.

As I have said with my MTA Portfolio, I built my own postgraduate education because I wanted to future-proof my life. 

You survive and thrive by being a flexble thinker and proactive problem solver who can always create new opportunities out of the personal, professional and planetary challenges we will all face in the fast-evolving 21st-century.

I felt that with the similar but differing perspectives of George and myself - George was setting himself up with a new job, living situation and sorting out his interpersonal relationships whereas I was trying to reach for the sky by asking random people to fund my masters while ignoring my interpersonal relationships - we had a good canvas on which to tell a quirky and relevant story that would resonate with any young individual trying to find their way in the world. 

I pitched the idea to George and he seemed pretty sold on the prospect of doing more filmmaking.

Then I started to outline a rough script that would integrate with what we had already shot, but would leave a lot of room for improvisation. 

The plan was to head out in the spring and summer of 2015 to film the new material.

However, it never came to be.

I never actually finished the new script because the building of my MTA Portfolio kept getting in the way.

Plus, George became uncomfortable with putting himself out there. He didn't want to portray himself on camera, even an exaggerated version of himself. He wanted to keep his personal life private, which is fair enough. 

Ultimately, The Miracle Mockumentary was put on the shelf and now it is completely dead in the water.

However, the material shot for The Miracle of Crowdfunding campaign and the idea of conveying how bloody hard it is to survive and stay relevant in today's world may yet still see the light of day. 

I've been developing another feature length documentary project - Outside the Box Inside the Box - as part of my MTA Portfolio. 

Outside the Box Inside the Box is envisioned to tell the story of my MTA Portfolio and - like how the Miracle Mockumentary was about The Miracle of Crowdfunding, but also not actually about The Miracle of Crowdfunding - Outside the Box Inside the Box is the story of the struggles and breakthroughs I have gone through to future-proof my life while undertaking my MTA Portfolio.

I should stress that while I have a rough and fluid narrative structure plotted out as well as a fair bit of new material already filmed throughout the course of building my MTA Portfolio, Outside the Box Inside the Box may not happen.

It's a potential candidate for either my MTA thesis or another of the portfolio's final projects. I need to finish a few of my MTA Portfolio's other projects before I can even begin to look at maybe bringing Outside the Box Inside the Box to full actualisation.

However, it would be nice to because then it would mean that The Miracle of Crowdfunding footage was finally used for something.

What I love about The Miracle of Crowdfuding is that even though I never finished or went through with using it to crowdfund the tuition fee for my masters degree... it has still empowered me to study my ideal masters degree which is allowing me to future-proof my life. 

Far from being a failed project, The Miracle of Crowdfunding has been a huge success!

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