What's my story and why am I doing this?
My name is Michelle, I'm a 33 year old female living in Johannesburg. I am qualified in Sound and Video Production and am currently completing a Degree in Psychology & Economics through Unisa. Throughout my life I have always tried to be a positive change and influence in the surroundings I find myself in, to lift people up and help them be the best they can be. I believe in giving a hand up as opposed to a hand out, give a man a fish, he eats today, teach a man to fish, he eats forever.
I've been working since I was 16 years old, I've never shied away from a challenge and believe in putting everything you've got into the work your doing, no matter the position you hold. 6 Years ago I was finally in a position where I could take a leap of faith and go out on my own to start an independent production company. I put all of my hard-earned savings into a deal for equipment from China - which turned out to be a fraudulent scam. I lost everything, and things were so dire that I had to go back to working full-time in the Corporate space. Since then life has dealt me a few unpleasant hands and unfortunately I have not been able to recoup the necessary funds needed to try again. 2019 has undoubtedly been the worst year of my life, everything that could go wrong has. Financial setbacks you can recover from, emotional trauma is harder to get through. The worst thing imaginable happened, my best friend died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 29, we thought it was flu and it turned out to be meningitis. Like that she was gone and so was the future we had planned on together this project being one of them - It was my wake up call, tomorrow is not guaranteed and time shouldn't be wasted, so now it's time for me to ask for help so I can achieve our goal and help be the change I want to see in this world.
I need the funding to enable me to produce and create documentaries, series, films and music that evoke change. My production company will work with independent artists and writers who wouldn't traditionally get the chance to get their work produced and created. Art, film, music and media connects people, it's a universal language and a very powerful tool.The first major project is an insightful, thought provoking, emotive documentary and online series that will help bridge the gap between ordinary South Africans.
This documentary & online series will help start that conversation for old and young alike, it will motivate participation in elections, and inspire people to help one another within their own communities. Beyond that, it will shed some light on what's really going on in the hearts and minds of South Africans right now. So many times I feel that the documentaries we see don't depict the full picture, directors and producers portray their own bias within their work and message gets lost.
To ensure that this project and final product is as authentic, accurate and structurally sound as possible, specific research techniques and methodologies used by professional researchers, psychologists, sociologists and scientists globally will be used. This includes having the right sample size within the various demographics, including a reasonable margin of error, there is an estimated 33,822,465 adults(18 and older) living in SA - I will need to speak to roughly 2500-3000 people to get the real story.(Hence the doccie and a series, too many people for just a single film) All of the research findings and empirical data collected during this project will be compiled thoroughly, it will archived and will provide invaluable insight to the fields of Human Sciences as it relates to the South African perspective. I will share this information with Universities and Researchers in the fields of Psychology, Sociology as well as with companies actively working for change like, LeadSA, WeCanChange and Yes4Youth.
I want to travel through all 9 Provinces and talk to the full spectrum of South Africans (yes that means including all 11 official languages and exploring all the different ways and places our people still live) reaching out to the traditional and the modern, the most impoverished and disadvantaged in our communities to the most affluent, a full range of people across different ages, races and cultures.
All of the participants I speak to will be asked a standard set of questions, about themselves, about being South African and what it means for them personally. The conversations will not be scripted. We will discuss controversial issues, like South Africa's past, but we will also look at the present, what issues they consider most and least important in our society, our Government, service delivery, crime & corruption we face daily, our laws, judicial system, and human rights - finally I will also be asking participants about their views on South Africa's future.
We are all human beings, one specie, vastly different in language, race, culture and aspiration. But at the core of each person, we all strive for certain basic wants and needs for ourselves, our children, friends and families. Unfortunately we still live in a society where many people often don't understand eachother's story and therefore can not truly empathize and relate to one another.
South Africa is a diverse country with a painful history, we have been democratically free for 25 years but there is still profound injustice, animosity and anger. This anger can only subside through understanding and growth. We need to ensure that our future generations don't continue to live in a divide, but rather embrace the opportunities we can create, when we work together.
What positive impact will the funds have?
This will be life changing, it will not only enable me to live my dreams, but also to actively help others live theirs and to make a substantial change in the lives of many people.
During the filming process, I will be able to identify specific needs and shortcomings in each Province. Based on those needs, I will be able to create a national awareness for these needs, and highlight opportunities for the Private sector, SME's and Entrepreneurs to create new businesses and social upliftment/development projects. Simultaneously we will be forcing National Government and the Local Government officials to more effectively utilize the public funds allocated to their province. This will inevitably help to stave-off corruption and help to create new Government funded projects and tender opportunities will arise for local and national businesses, there should be an overall improvement within the area - It's a multi-faceted ripple effect.
Additional footage will be shot in each Province, particularly in the townships and rural areas I visit. I will help to empower the local residents in finding solutions within their communities, but also engage technology to help them on a larger scale - Online blogs and campaigns will be started and I will actively seek out volunteers within the Province to help address the needs within these communities. First we must make people aware, there are always people willing to help.
How will the proceeds of this documentary and documentary series positively impact society?
1) A percentage of proceeds for this documentary and documentary series will be used to start Social Entrepreneurship projects specifically geared at educating & empowering women.
2) A percentage of proceeds will be donated to Non-Profit organisations focused on helping disadvantaged children.
3) Proceeds of this project will fund future projects.