In a tightrope walking kind of way, my field IS change. I’m a writer. I’ve never known or, on some level, even desired stability, except, as is my good fortune, in relationships. So, call it a crazy or bold move, but a year ago, I began exec producing and writing a dramatic web series, “ANYONE BUT ME.” Along with my creative partner, Tina Cesa Ward, we put out a complete season, and by the time you read this will be into our second year. We have over a million views, with a fan base in the US, Italy, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Spain, China, France.
Our series costs. We pay people. It’s just the right thing to do. Go for broke.
It’s no easy thing asking for money to sustain a venture like this in an environment of despair and weariness over the human and economic toll of war, unemployment, lack of health care. Every time I post a promo to Facebook, or Tweet about the show instead of, I don’t know – building a house for someone, or taking the time to give voice to these terrible conditions, I feel almost sick.
But, this is a contribution. Isn’t it? Anyone But Me confronts issues of identity, belonging and difference. It reflects the human struggle to find a place in it all. It speaks to our times. And I’m proud of it. I’m making something with other people. For other people. So I blast emails and hand out postcards and tell the world: this is a good thing. Be part of it.
And I’ve learned this: if you want to get financial backing, you gotta get their attention.
What’s helped build momentum and numbers are Internet sites that just keep showing the love, like AfterEllen, Autostraddle, SheWired. Friends like Kate Clinton and Lynette Molnar. Streaming on Blip.tv, which provides a small but steady share of advertising revenue. And launching our first episode on Strike.tv, which had a vision and believed in us from the beginning.
Up to now, the money to make our show has come from an angel. A person who believes in what we’re doing and has the means which comes from working and building her own business in all weathers, including the current climate. We hope to pay her back. We hope there will be companies who see the reward in putting their stamp on this new form of reaching consumers with art, entertainment and merchandise.
It’s a constant effort. And a huge worry. The only way our work can continue, is if the marketplace begins to see that, in these times, financially supporting the artists and creative thinkers among us is a necessity. So, I comfort myself in pursuit of this support with a William Carlos Williams poem: “It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there. “