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False Start

Anyone who has ever had a big dream that they decided to pursue can tell you that as fun and exhilarating and exciting as it is, it's also terrifying. The prospect of failure looms large some days, no matter how passionate or confident you are in your project or your abilities. That little bit of fear goes a long way in holding you to trying your hardest to achieve that dream.


In tackling a documentary about the American Dream in an election year, I feel a sense of responsibility to do it justice, not only for the sake of creating a quality film, but because I'm giving people an opportunity to have their voices heard, people who often don't have that chance. When I envision this project I have so much pride in the idea that I am enabling people to express their hopes and dreams for the future.


About ten days ago, I hit the road for Florida to kick off this big adventure. Just me, my SUV, and my dad's old Alf stuffed animal (now wearing an America 2020 shirt thanks to my bonus mom). That wasn't the original plan, but I knew I needed to get going on this trip to work out some of the kinks and get back on track. So off I went.


I met my friend Kari in Orlando to take FULL advantage of the free Universal tickets I'd been holding on to for a couple of years. Before I'd left Orlando, I saw some of the gaps in my plan and decided to continue on to Bradenton to visit my friends The Bartees and to Fort Myers to stay a few days with my Aunt Melissa and her husband John. I found myself feeling overwhelmed and afraid that perhaps I was in over my head. This dream of mine that I've been working on for so many years suddenly felt impossible. I felt like maybe the pride I felt in the project overshadowed the fact that I wasn't ready to give it my best shot.


Today I saw a fortune cookie slip that said "it is necessary, therefore it is possible". As cheesy as that sounds, it was the reassurance I needed to move forward. After a week in Florida, I came home to Virginia to re-evalute and to create a new game plan. I wanted to give you all a little update and to be as transparent as possible, because as much as you've all supported me, I wanted you to know truly how the project is going.


At the beginning of the month, a couple of weeks before the launch of the project, my partner decided it was better for him and his future to remain at home in Virginia. I fully respect that, and I felt I could continue on the project solo without making any major adjustments. I wanted to test that by heading to Florida on a slightly altered schedule, visiting places where I knew I had a good support system in place in case I needed extra hands or a couch to crash on. This was absolutely the right decision, as I realized very quickly that this project is extraordinarily complicated and incredibly challenging to do on my own. Thankfully, I have a phenomenal group of people in my life who have been helping me work through my thoughts and helping me figure out a new plan of attack.


All of this leads me to say that I am revamping the way that this project will look, sound, and feel. I'm developing a new itinerary and changing up the way that the interviews will be filmed. I purchased and borrowed some equipment and materials to make this easier. I've started reaching out to folks in cities where I don't have friends or family (yet) to seek assistance. And that is one thing I am NOT good at - asking for help.


I once again am reaching out to all of you to ask for your help. If you could please share our website on your social media page and ask your friends and family members to follow on Instagram, that would be an immense help that costs you nothing but a few moments of your time. There are spots across the country where I need an extra hand or a "connection" to help get the word out so that this project is a success, and just by you sharing the information, you can truly make a huge difference to me and to the people whose voices deserve to be heard.


One last note before I go- I was looking at some photos from Universal Studios just this morning to see what I could share with all of you, and it got me thinking about timing. On many of the rides last week, there was quite a long wait. Some lines moved faster than others, and sometimes you could move to a different line that may or may not move more quickly. Sometimes the ride was worth the wait, and sometimes you'd get to the end only to be told there was an issue with the ride and you'd need to come back later. All of this spoke to me about the project, and life in general.


You can make your plan and wait for it and sometimes it goes smoothly and quickly and sometimes you have to try again later. We were so lucky to walk into the "Diagon Alley" area of the park at nearly the exact time that the dragon breathed it's fire above the crowd (a magical moment that visitors await, cameras and cell phones pointed to the sky, once every hour on the hour - if conditions allow). We also waited in line for ET for over 90 minutes (cute ride but definitely NOT worth it). Timing. All you can do is do your best and make the decisions and trek the paths that feel right to you. The universe does the rest.


As I embark back out on the road to tackle this freshly updated project, I will remember to make good decisions, give it my best, and have comfort in giving the pieces I have no control over to the universe. This is, after all, an adventure.


Thank you all so much for your patience through this learning process. As part of my regrouping this week I intend to catch up on Patreon and Indiegogo donor rewards. I haven't forgotten! If you're interested in being a Patreon donor or contributing to the project fund, I will be FOREVER grateful. Literally every dollar makes an incredible difference. You can find that information on the website by clicking the "Support" tab at the top of the page.


See you all soon- on the road!


Melanie

Waiting in line at Gringotts at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.



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