Documentary-Homelessness in America
Homelessness in America is an epidemic with no solution in sight. In fact, the issue is only growing—as seen recently in my home city of Minneapolis with the rise of its largest-ever tent city.
-Minneapolis Tent City, also known as "The Wall"
What's going on?
While experts offer some theories, rarely is there a comprehensive overview of this issue. So, I'm creating a documentary film offering just that.
With the story of the Minneapolis Tent City as its focus, this film will share the history, data, and stories around the issue of homelessness in America. This includes: the stories as told by the homeless themselves, the experiences and insights from those working with them, and various perspectives from the community.
-Some of the subjects I've interviewed
This project seeks to make sense of this issue, to uncover the causes and solutions while steering clear of the political sways so often affecting journalism today.
Would you contribute to help make this happen?
Much of the filming and research is complete. Here's what's next:
1. Hire help to edit the footage and design the graphical elements of the film
2. Conduct surveys at the Tent City to learn more about the causes of these residents' situations
3. Travel to Houston (Here's why: The Houston metropolitan area is the fifth-largest in the country. It's almost twice the size of Seattle (#15) as well as the Twin Cities (#16). And yet, the Twin Cities has more homeless people than Houston, while Seattle has almost TRIPLE what Houston has. What is Houston doing different? To what degree does policy affect homelessness? My visit to Houston will help me find out.)
4. My time to work on, and oversee, all the aspects of this film.
-Me at my home office
Besides the trip to Houston and some follow-up interviews, I'm looking to have filming finished within a week or two. Then, for the remainder of November, December, and January, I'll be working with my editing team. And by the end of January (or February), I hope to premiere this film in Minneapolis—an event contributors will be given a ticket to. (For contributors unable to attend, I will release the documentary to you on my YouTube channel shortly thereafter.)
Speaking of social media, see many more of my updates and photos from this project by going to my Facebook , Instagram , or Twitter.
By sharing the stories and lives of those caught up in this rising problem, and by offering clear analysis of this issue, my hope is this project illuminates the best way forward for addressing homelessness in America.
Thank you for your time, consideration, and contribution.
On Sunday evening I held my first live premiere on YouTube. I hope some of you were able to attend. For those who weren't able to, it was exciting to watch the two-minute countdown YouTube plays before the video began. Then throughout the premiere, several viewers live-chatted. Some asked good questions. Some shared their thoughts on the topic of the video. And some were just trying to get a reaction out of us (there's always a few on YouTube).
What struck me the most was the apparent diversity of perspectives represented by those chatting. Some empathized with the ideas presented in the video (which were of the liberal persuasion). Others chatting were more conservative and critical of the positions stated. Yet with only one exception, these viewers chatting with one another found common ground and compromise in their positions--each agreeing with points offered by the others.
In these days where ideological polarization is the norm, these viewers' finding common ground via open minds and softened hearts was uplifting to witness.
I sure hope it's a sign of things to come for my channel, as this is the spirit and intent with which I create my stories--INCLUDING OUR SERIES ON HOMELESSNESS. It's the spirit in which, I believe, progress is made on social matters.
Once the premiere finished, a few stuck around for final thoughts in the live chat before we said our goodbyes. Interestingly, one of the men I interviewed for the video was there chatting with everyone. As the video played live, I hoped he was pleased with how I edited and shaped our interview. He seemed quite pleased and even expressed his grateful, I'm happy to say.
Since this video premiere Sunday, I've been back at work on the homelessness documentary series. Stay tuned for updates about it! In the meantime, feel free to watch this video.
Thank you immensely for your support.
Video description, copied from my YouTube channel:
On January 13, 2019, I interviewed several Minnesotans about the topic of race and racism. This was following a presentation by a local history professor on the topic. Everyone I spoke to held similar beliefs aligned with the liberal side of politics in this country. Thus, this was a good chance to better get to know this perspective (and those who embody it), to engage in some thought-provoking discussion, and ultimately, to improve understanding for how to best address racial issues in America.
NOTE: Because of some mixed reactions to this video, I've concluded that perhaps this video misrepresented my purpose. In case it does: This video is not an endorsement of the positions expressed by those I interviewed. The purpose is to explore these individuals' beliefs and philosophy on the matters discussed. By being open to hearing their perspective, it 1. offers viewers a chance to better understand where such politically-minded people are coming from. And 2. it allows viewers who might not empathize with these positions a chance to see the merit of these positions. My approach would be the same if I was interviewing a group of conservatives. It is my belief both liberals and conservatives promote truths that are valuable in shaping our societies. Hopefully this particular video reveals the truths coming from the more liberal-leaning position--and, yeah, when under analysis, the problems with this philosophy, as well. Thanks for watching!
So, in preparing for my eventual release of the homelessness video series, I'm testing something new on my YouTube Channel tonight.
At 7pm Central Time I'm live-premiering another video, which allows viewers to watch the premiere together and live-chat. As you can see from the photo, the topic of this video is a touchy one. But I don't take any position of my own. The video simply tries to better understand the positions presented with the hope of better addressing these important issues in our society. (I'm taking a similar approach to the homelessness series.)
It'll certainly be thought-provoking stuff--great for live-chat:) I think you'll really enjoy this experience.
To join in, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVJ8QCl7PYM&feature=youtu.be
Hope to see you there!
"He's right," I admitted to myself.
The day before, this old friend and local media producer called me out of the blue. Nick's number was still in my phone. After catching up, we talked shop. This extended to our meeting at the coffee shop the following day.
By the end, we agreed to terms for working together. I'm thrilled, as Nick brings a much-needed, big-picture approach to making this project more polished, visible, and timely.
With interviews about finished, we're continuing to write the script and edit the footage, shaping this documentary series to completion. Stay tuned. And thank you, thank you, thank you for your support.
This work, of course, is made possible by your donation and your encouraging words. You all being a part of this motivates me every day. And for this, I thank you all immensely!