Tag Archives: Oasis

Second Chances

by Gail Mooney
July 2 2012

I ran into someone over the weekend who I had not seen in many years.  We had been good friends, but we had drifted apart, over some disagreements, that neither of us could even remember. I’m sure those disagreements seemed important at the time, but now they just seemed trivial.  We both realized that we had let our egos get in the way of our friendship and instead of trying to heal the hurts that had severed our friendship – we put more angst, anger and sadness in its place.

I started thinking about the kids that I met at the Oasis Youth Network

Sir Richard Branson making breakfast sandwiches at the Oasis Youth Network, Sydney, Australia

in Sydney, Australia, when Erin and I were there, shooting this segment of Opening Our Eyes.  One young man was telling his story of growing up in a broken home, with parents who were drug addicts and gamblers.  He talked about stealing money for his lunch when he was a kid, and never having clean clothes to wear to school.  He talked about getting into a life of drugs and crime and eventually being sent to jail, away from his children and everything that was good in his life.  And then he talked about how Oasis had given him his life back and how Paul Moulds in particular had given him a “second chance”.

When we interviewed Paul Moulds for our film, he made a comment that still resonates with me to this day, almost two years later.  In talking about kids who grew up in homes like the one this young man described, or worse yet, kids who were homeless and trying to scrape out some kind of life on the streets, he said:  “we try to help these young people by training them and finding them a job – but who is going to be willing to hire them when they have no address, no education and no record of employment?” He went on to say that no matter, how much pain some of these kids had grown up with or how many wrong decisions they had made in their lives, that he still believed in giving them second chances.  I remember thinking at the time that the world needed more people like Paul – people who believed in giving others, a second chance.

We all say and do stupid things in our lives and in the process, we end up hurting ourselves and the people we truly care about.  We’ve given into our “precious egos” when we behave like that.  Ultimately, many of us come to realize that we only bring more pain in our lives, by continuing to hold onto the hurts from the past, instead of letting go of our egos, and giving someone who may have done us wrong – a second chance.  I think sometimes in our efforts to protect ourselves from being hurt by others, we bring more pain to our lives by shutting the door on second chances.

Jackson Browne writes, “It seems easier sometimes to change the past”. Unfortunately, we can’t change the past, but we don’t need to keep holding onto it.  While it’s not easy to give someone a second chance, it feels so much better to leave the door open to possibilities. Imagine what the world would be like if we all thought like Paul Moulds, and thought that everyone deserves a second chance.

99 Days and Counting

by Gail Mooney
September 28 2011

When I formed this idea, almost two years ago, I would not have believed then that I would still be working on this project now. Not only am I still working on it, but it has taken on a life of its own. In fact, we have  a new tagline, which aptly describes what this project has become:

It’s not just a Move – It’s a Movement

With that said, we have decided to launch another funding cycle, through Indiegogo. This time, we have more than just an idea and a lot of uncut footage – we have a finished movie and a movie that’s getting rave reviews.

Today is the start of our 99-day cycle of fundraising.  Why 99 days?  Well, for starters, our journey around the world took 99 days to complete the circle.  And, in 99 days, it’s Erin’s birthday – her 25th.  I was 25 years old when I decided to pursue the path I’m on as a photojournalist, instead of following a more lucrative profession.  I had gone to see Jay Maisel, a legendary New York photographer, known for his bluntness.  After making a lot of excuses of why I wasn’t going to follow my heart and become a photojournalist he looked me straight in the eye and said “You’re 25 years old and you’re already making compromises?”  It was a turning point in my life.

The post-production on the film was completed in July.

Opening Our Eyes Sneak Preview, Traverse City, MI

Since that time, I’ve spent countless hours submitting it to film festivals and trying to create awareness for the film. What’s the point of making something like this if it is not seen by as many people as possible? Our goal is simple and that is to get this movie “out there” by whatever means we can so that we can really make a difference with it.

A comment from an audience member at our sneak preview in Traverse City said:

“I just want to thank you for making this movie and let you know that you
have definitely succeeded in inspiring people. I’ve had a {sic} paradigm
shift after seeing this movie. I think you two should count yourself among
the inspirational heroes for bringing these stories to a larger audience.”

And at our sneak preview in Detroit, Oscar recipient, Pamela Conn who won for
“ best short documentary” stated:

“ I would just like to say that that’s the first thing I thought of was that
it’s obvious that this should be submitted for an Oscar. Absolutely this
is Oscar worthy.”

We have created something of value – a value that goes beyond dollars and cents. But to give this thing legs, we will need “dollars and cents” to take it the next steps. It takes money for festival submissions, PR and marketing and theatrical screenings. In fact Jon Reiss, the DIY of the indie film world says that a filmmaker should allocate half of their budget for PR and marketing – or your film will fall into oblivion.

This money won’t go into my pocket.  In fact, even creating this movie on a shoe string budget made up of airline miles and trades for services has exhausted my savings, not to mention taken me away from my business.  But, something is pushing me to do this.  If we can get this movie “on the map” then everyone wins, especially all the change makers that this movie is about.

Please help us with this movement. Contribute if you can or simply pass along this link to others. We all can play a part in making our world a better place.

As Marian Kramer, a subject in our film says “We all have to shine each other up.”

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Looking For Our North American Subject

by Gail Mooney
November 9 2010

The last two months, I’ve either been locked in seclusion in front of my computer, sifting through 150 hours of footage from our 99-day journey, or on airplanes, traveling as part of my “normal” working life. In either case, my mind is on this project, and more importantly on the people this project is about – the change makers of the world. I try to hold onto those thoughts, so that I can stay focused on our film and our motivation behind it.

Our goal from the start has been to shine a spotlight on the “individuals” who are making a positive change in the world, with the hope that our film will inspire and motivate others to be change makers. I’ve learned one important lesson is working on this project and that is we all, in our own way, even through the smallest acts, can make our world a better place. I learned that even though I’m not a doctor who has the power to heal the sick, I do have the power through my skills to create a film that can motivate people in a positive way, globally. I can use the tools of my craft – my cameras – to create awareness and that in itself is a powerful thing.

We still have one more story to tell and that is the story of an individual who is making a difference on the continent of North America. We saved our home base story as our last story to tell. So, we are now looking for our North American subject and we are reaching out to all of you for suggestions of people you know who personify the idea behind this film – the power of the individual in making a difference. It could be a child who is doing something in their own community and perhaps that would state the message the best – the simple, yet profound effect that even small acts can have. But we are open to any and all suggestions you may have.

We’d love to hear from you if you have a suggestion or if you could pass this request along to anyone you know who may lead us to our final subject of our film. You can either reply in the comments section of this blog or write us privately at:
gail@kellymooney.com
erinmkelly87@gmail.com

I’d also like to say thank you again to all of you who have generously donated to our project through Kickstarter. At this point in time we have reached 42% of our goal, which is great but we still have a long way to go, and with Kickstarter – it’s all or nothing – if a project doesn’t get funded 100% then none of the pledges are collected and we receive nothing. That doesn’t mean we won’t finish our film – but it does mean that it will take a little longer, and that I’ll edit it myself without the expertise that a professional editor could bring to the film. If you haven’t made a pledge, please consider doing so here:
http://kck.st/cTApuP
Even a $25 pledge has its reward of a DVD of the finished film if we meet our goal.

And don’t forget to send us your suggestions of who you know on our great continent of North America, that is making a difference in the world.

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Maggie Doyne on Cover of NY Times Magazine

by Gail Mooney
October 23 2010

I’ve got great news, Maggie Doyne the inspiration for our project and one of the subjects of our documentary is featured on the cover of the NY Times Magazine tomorrow morning. (10/24/10).

Maggie Doyne on the cover of the NY Times Magazine - Oct. 20, 2010

Make sure to get a copy and read about Maggie’s incredible story.

Another bit of exciting news is that we just launched our project on Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative ideas and ambitious endeavors. Basically it’s is an example of crowdfunding where one can host their creative project on the Kickstarter’s website and offer people levels at which to donate. People can pledge amounts from $1 to …….. the sky’s the limit and most creators offer various rewards at the different levels.

We put our project on Kickstarter to raise finishing funds for our film. So as I continue to cull through over 150 hours of footage shot during our 99-day journey,  people can contribute to our project so that we can get the funds to hire a professional editor who will be able to take the film to a higher level. This will broaden it’s chances for distribution.  We have a window of 74 days to reach our goal of $7500.  Any funds that go over the $7500 will be split 50/50 with 50% going to promotion of the film and 50% donated to all our subject’s causes and foundations. If we don’t meet our goal of $7500 in the next 74 days – all bets are off and we receive nothing.  That doesn’t mean that the film is dead.  It just means that I will need to go it alone with the editing and it will take a little longer.

It will be exciting over the next couple of months to see what develops.  But no matter what happens, our ultimate goal for our film is for as many people  to see it as possible.  The more eyes that we open – the more we will motivate and inspire others to be change-makers and make our world a better place.

Please share our project with people that you know or on Facebook or Twitter or any other places you communicate.  We can all make this world a better place.

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Looking for Change Makers

by Gail Mooney
October 19 2010

I’m beginning to realize the impact that our project is making, both in my life and in others and it’s quite astonishing. I suppose I should have known that this would happen, but I was only listening to my inner voice that was prompting me to get out and do what I do – create awareness with my camera.

I had a conversation recently with a medical doctor who had seen the trailer of our film.  He told me that he thought I was an amazing person. I awkwardly received his compliment and replied that I wasn’t amazing at all – that it was people like him and the subjects of our film who were amazing – people who were saving lives.  Then he told me that yes, he saves lives on a daily basis in his community and sometimes beyond, but that I was influencing people globally through the power of film. He reminded me that I should never underestimate the impact that I can have using my talents to create positive change.

I have just returned from a conference in Amsterdam, The European Summit for Global Transformation, where I had been invited to show my ten-minute trailer to open up the event.  It was an impulse decision to attend – less than a week’s notice – but again I was listening to my inner voice and said “yes”.  I can honestly say that this was one of those weekends that I know will have a profound impact on my life.  It was a weekend of listening to other change makers’ stories and networking with others to make the impossible – possible.  I had three wonderful days of being surrounded by believers – all just ordinary people – but people who are making the impossible happen.

Perhaps one of the most rewarding things that I got from attending this conference was the feedback I received from a culturally diverse group of people who saw our film’s tease. It was invaluable, uplifting and energizing. One thing was reiterated over and over by everyone I talked to and that was they loved the fact that my daughter and I shared our thoughts about making the film – in the film.  It personalized it for them and in turn made the film more powerful.  I’m not quite sure if I will edit the film to include us or will make that dialog a separate “behind the scenes” chapter, but I’m thankful that we took the time to capture our thoughts in those interviews on the last day of our 99-day journey and I thank my friend Ethan G. Salwen for his insightful questions.

I would love to connect with more change makers and in particular I am looking for young people – teens, 20 something year olds – who are doing things that are making a difference in the world. I met a young man at the conference who has created a network of young people who are change makers and he has asked me for people I may know.  I know that there are people who are reading this that may very well be a change maker or know someone who is and I would love to connect you – so please let me know who you are or who you may know.

One thing I have learned by doing this project is that when you give – what you receive is always far greater.

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Something’s Changed

by Gail Mooney
October 15 2010

It’s subtle but it’s there and it wasn’t really expected, but something is different about me and people are noticing.  Not quite sure what it is, but I’m in a different place since returning from my 99-day journey around the world with my daughter.

 

Amsterdam

 

My outlook and attitude has shifted.  I’m content, I’m relaxed and I’m confident that what we did over this past summer in creating our documentary about the change makers of the world was the right thing to do.  It must have been because the universe is opening up to me.

In the six weeks that I’ve been home, my time has been spent editing hours of footage that were shot on our project, working on a video that I had bartered with the Mercure Sydney Hotel in exchange for accommodations and I’ve been traveling quite a bit, speaking at conferences and giving seminars for my trade association, ASMP.

The great part is that my speaking gigs were the motivation for me to quickly put together a sample of our film, which I show and in turn have the advantage of getting feedback, while the film is still in postproduction. That’s when I get affirmation that I am on the right track in making this film.  I hear people telling me, even after only seeing the 10-minute tease; they are inspired and motivated to create positive change.

I also hear people tell me that they feel my sincerity and thank me, and that is perhaps one of the highest compliments I can receive. That is what I felt from each and every one of our subjects – sincerity in their purpose.  They knew that this was what they weren’t meant to be doing in their lives.  They are confident and that is bringing them joy and peace in their heart.  They are following the path that is intended for them and not distracted by the road that others may follow as the norm.

It’s a funny thing but in doing something that comes naturally to me, I have attracted like-minded people that want to be a part of it.  I’ve received quite a few emails from editors, writers, social media experts and others who want to be part of what my daughter and I created as it goes into the next phase of the production.  Collaborating with others will only make the message of my film stronger and that means more eyes will see it.

I’ve discovered that in following my instincts, good things happen. I’m in Amsterdam right now, a trip prompted by an invitation to show my “tease” tonight at The European Summit for Global Transformation.  I’ll also be reconnecting with two of my subjects, Maggie Doyne and Letha Sandison as well as other change makers at this conference.  Last night’s pre event gathering of inspirational change makers from around the world has already stimulated my mind with endless possibilities.  I can only imagine what the rest of the weekend has in store.

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Before the Memories Fade….And The Hard Work Begins

by Gail Mooney
October 2 2010

The tiger striped tan on my feet, from my well-worn sandals is fading, along with the familiar feeling of being “on the road”. As I ease back into my real life, and face the tough task of editing the 145 hours of footage that I shot, I want to take a breath, pause and just say thanks to all of you who have followed our journey these past months. Your support and encouragement helped us stay connected and focused on our purpose – shooting our documentary about remarkable people who are making a positive change in the world.

Kopila Valley Chilcren's Home, Surkhet, Nepal

Thank you all for being there throughout our journey.

There’s nothing worse than going to a huge effort, only to keep it a secret. Thanks to my good friend and colleague, Ethan G. Salwen who interviewed Erin and I while we were in Buenos Aires, during the last days of our journey, we were able to capture on camera, our thoughts about this experience before they faded away. I have used some of this interview footage in sneak previews and recent blog posts, to keep people engaged as I delve into the post-production aspects of this film. I will try to keep you all up to date on my progress. and I urge you all to keep following along and to share this project link with others. Our motivation for this film was to create awareness of what people are doing to make a difference in the world – the power of the individual, with the hopes that it will inspire others as to what they can do. Ultimately, we can only do that if the film gets seen.

My plan right now is to look at all the footage and then put together a rough cut of the story as I see it. I would love to bring a professional editor in on the project. Their expertise will only make the film stronger and tell the story better. My goal is to make independent videos of each of my subjects’ stories and then combine them in a feature length documentary. I have already connected with a couple of editors who expressed interest in this project through this blog and the power of networking. So, please keep passing along this link.

Of course once the film is made, I will need to publicize and distribute it, in order for people to become aware of it. I have some thoughts on how to do this, but once again it’s impossible for me to do everything myself so I will look to collaborate with others who have talents in PR. Anyone know any publicists with a good social conscience?

I know that collaboration is key to the success of any endeavors like this. From the start of the project’s inception, I have collaborated with friends and colleagues –who led me to people they knew who would make good subjects for the film – who helped me write press releases – who made donations – who helped me with on camera interviews – who, just by being there, supported us with their kind words and enthusiasm. So please stay tuned in, even if more time seems to lapse between posts, because we’ll be working away behind the scenes to finish what we set out to do.

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10 Lessons Learned

by Erin Kelly
September 13 2010