a (not so quick) quick update

It’s been a while since I posted but I don’t want you to think that I’ve been taking a vacation from my documentary because it’s actually the opposite. I’ve been so busy with a hundred different things that I keep forgetting to post updates. So here’s the scoop:

I have been planning a trip to Vancouver / Seattle to visit Leanne Prain and Mandy Moore, authors of the book Yarn Bombing, yarn graffiti scholar Jessica Glesby, and maybe the Seattle-based group Yarn Core (I’m still waiting for confirmation). John and I leave for this trip on Friday morning and come back on Labor Day. It’s going to be really exciting. There are a lot of things to think about when planning a trip for a documentary. It’s not just hotels and rental cards, I’ve been having to secure equipment, release forms, scout locations for places I’ve never been. I’ve been reading and reading about my interview subjects and writing question. I’ve even made a shot list of what I think we should shoot. So needless to say, it’s a lot of work.



There’s been a shift in my crew. I’m happy to announce that Taylor Hagan has joined the prestigious rank of producer along side Spencer Stoner. John is taking a hiatus from producing to work on his own project (check it out, it’s pretty incredible, ONCE AGAIN). With Taylor and Spencer behind me, I know we’re going to get more organized and get this thing made. Now none of my crew, Spencer, Taylor or John, can knit or crochet but they are all lovers of the craft. Hopefully by the end of this project I will teach them how to knit or crochet so that they can have some yarn cred* in the community.

Lots of other fun things going on with the documentary. More grant applications. We’re currently looking into securing fiscal sponsorship. I’ve also been toying around with the idea of getting an intern to help me get my footage transcribed and organized.



One thing to know about documentary filmmaking, is that it’s a lot of planning, a lot of quick thinking, and a lot of work in post-production to make everything come together. It’s never ending as far as the workday goes. I dream about making my doc. I’m starting to realize that documentary filmmakers must be a little crazy because it’s a very unpredictable life that is almost constant stress, but I love it.

Last night I was happy to attend a Documentary Filmmaker Panel sponsored by a group at the University of Texas at Austin, Women In Cinema. The panelists Laura Sobel, director of Cereal: History in a Bowl, Rakeda Lashae, documentary television director, and Mike Nicholson, producer of Better This World came together for an evening of shared non-fiction filmmaking secrets. I was really inspired by each of the panelists. As I heard them talk about their struggles, it gave me strength to persevere through this tough patch. I know that I’m on the right path.

* Yarn Cred is similar to Street Cred but it has to pertain to the world of crafts specifically the fibered arts. I don’t think I came up with this on my own, I’m sure I’ve heard this or read this. Actually I think someone praised me and my documentary because I have yarn cred.

Yarn Cred – Commanding a level of respect in the craft world environment due to experience in or knowledge of issues affecting those environments.

The Indiegogo is over

Well our online fundraising campaign is over. We had a good run. We raised $5,640 of a $15,000 goal by 112 different funders made up of friends, family, colleagues, knitters and strangers. I got 65 comments including favorites like, “Sarah Gonzalez has a true vision and I am glad o even have a small part in her success! All the best!“, “Who knew that knit one, pearl two could unite the world. I look foward to seeing more.“, “I am very impressed with your vision and the powerful message I know your film will send. Every action people take to make the world a better place is a worthy action. Congratulations in advance for this great work.” and many many more.

Even though we didn’t hit the goal, there is no doubt that this campaign was a huge success. Many people have found out about the documentary and are generally excited. We got enough money to travel to the Pacific Northwest to films some more yarn bombers. I’m excited. This is another beginning.

It’s the Final Countdown!



Well there is only 5 days left in the online fundraiser on Indiegogo. I’ve been blasting everyone I knew on the internet and I’m sure a lot of people are getting annoyed with me and will be happy when my campaign is over too. We’ve already raised a little over $5,100 by 101 different funders which is amazing but isn’t as much as I would have hoped for. I’m feeling really good though about the campaign, even though we are no where near the $15,000 goal. I’m glad we finally hit the $5,000 because it feels like a lot more than $4,000 which doesn’t make sense. I’ll also be glad when this whole campaign is over because it’s been really stressful. Thankfully I’m not measuring my self worth by the success of this campaign.

Other exciting things that are happening: I’m working on the ITVS application even though I probably won’t get it. I’ve been pulling my hair out trying to finish it. Both my producers, John Moore and Spencer Stoner, are too busy doing their own project to help me. (John is working on his MFA graduate thesis documentary and Spencer is working for the Discovery channel, producing a show in South America.) ITVS would be the dream grant if I get it because they help secure exhibition through PBS.

Redseven Entertainment GmbH, a German company is currently working on a TV-show named “Galileo Big Picture” for German national free TV broadcaster ProSieben is wants to use some of my footage for a segment about new fads in art and graffiti. We’re still working out the logistics but it’s pretty neat that I’m getting their attention.

I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to write about but I’ve been filming some things with Magda Sayeg lately. I’m not going to name anything but she’s been directing a commercial that has a lot of knitted/crocheted stop-motion animation. I’ve been shooting the behind-the-scenes of the making-of which has been really exciting. I’m going to share my footage with this ad adgency and in return they are going to share some of their behind-the-scenes footage of Magda and give me access to the finished commercial for my documentary. Because everything has been really last minute, I couldn’t get anyone to help me shoot. I was running both sound and camera. I’m a little afraid that the ad company isn’t going to like my footage as much as they would’ve hoped.

Tomorrow I’m suppose to be interviewed for K&L Media in Bellingham, Washington, which is always exciting. Yay for more press.



As you can tell, it’s been busy around here in yarn bombing documentary central. After the indiegogo campaign is over, I’ll be planning a trip to Seattle and Vancouver.

Stupid Me

Today I did something that may be stupid, I quit my job. You might be wondering why I’m sharing this here, well I’ll tell you: I haven’t been working on my documentary at all lately because I’ve been caught up in work drama. Lots and lots of drama. It was all just too much.

During the normal school year, I teach a high school film class and I work at UT helping the students in the film school produce their movies. I also work at a filmmaking non-profit which was my sole job this summer. I was suppose to work at a film camp this summer but not enough kids signed up so the job fell through. Needless to say I’ve been living on a part-time wage this summer and it’s been rough. All the stress has been piling up. How could I raise money for my documentary when I barely had enough money to buy groceries? Today I woke up and realized that I didn’t need that drama in my life, I need to focus and make sure I’m not going to bring work stuff home with me.

In my college career I have been thankful enough to have heard some great people speak: Spike Lee, Kevin Smith, Matt Stone, Mike Judge, Richard Linklater, Morgan Spurlock etc. During one night, probably 3 or 4 years ago, I got the opportunity to hear Francis Ford Coppola speak. One thing stuck out to me about what he said, he credited his success in film to being a father. He said that when he first heard that he was going to be a father, the thought that he would be supporting his family pushed him to do whatever it takes to be successful. I don’t need to get knocked up to hopefully push myself. I’m hoping that being unemployed for the next two months, barely having enough money to pay my bills, will light a fire inside me to do what it takes to succeed. It’s been more stupid of me to neglect my doc. I not only owe it to myself to make this doc, but I owe it to the yarn graffiti community and all the people who have back my project on Indiegogo.

Sometimes it’s okay to be stupid and take risks. Wish me luck.

Ravelry!

When I was at work today, I wandered down the hall and was water-cooler talking with the guys at Picturebox Productions. In a lot of ways, I feel like Kevin (J. Smith) , Mike (Nicholson) and David (Layton) are my older brothers. They are all definitely super supportive on my doc. I’m hoping to raise enough money down the line for my doc so that I can hire them during my post production phase of my documentary. They did an amazing job with a feature documentary called Better This World. If you get a chance to see it, SEE IT. It was easily the best documentary I saw at SXSW Film Festival this year (Where Soldiers Come From at a super close second). I digress…

Today Mike showed me an article on Slate which was talking about this Craft Social Media Networking site called Ravelry. “The best social network you’ve (probably) never heard of is one-five-hundredth the size of Facebook.” I feel stupid that I haven’t been utilizing craft, knitting, and crocheting online communities. Today I joined Ravelry (user name Gonzography, please add me as a friend). It’s awesome. I can’t believe my friends and even my aunt have been on this site for years. It’s funny because people are freaking out about Google+ but I’m getting excited about Ravelry.

Thanks Picturebox guys for always looking at for me! I now have a new way to waste, I mean spend my time.

Side projects

Part of the reason I love this doing this documentary is because I’m a knitter. Ever night, after dinner is made and eaten, emails are sent, my boyfriend and I curl up on the couch and either watch movies or tv and I knit. I’ve only been knitting for the last 3 years or so and I’m honesty not every good. I only started purling a year and half in. I mostly taught myself through books (I wonder if I plug my favorite knitting books if they plug my documentary?) and through the encouragement of some of my more crafty friends.

I’m still trying to get crocheting down. My mom is a huge crocheter. She made my baby blanket while I was an infant in her arms. She said she never got into knitting. She’s tried to help me with crochet but I just can’t get into those hooks.

Here’s what I’ve been working on recently:

Last summer I heard that I should expect to have a new nephew by the spring of this year. Once I heard the good news I started to make my first baby blanket. Since I’m really good at knitting squares and rectangles, I figured I would make a checkerboard square blanket. I cast on 40 knits then I alternated knitting one row then purling the next for 80 rows (classic stockinette stitch). My good friend Julia advised me to knit all the ends so that the ends of each square won’t curl up too much. After 10 months, Jackson Douglas Gonzalez has arrived to the world and he has a new blanket…
My mom crocheted the edges to give it that more polished look. It’s probably not the best blanket ever made, but it was my first blanket and is Jack’s first (special) blanket.

After this huge task I really didn’t have much inspiration to do anything. I had hit a wall with my knitting. During International Yarn Bombing Day I was hanging out with the Yarn Dawgz and Billy was making a little knitted pouch while we were sitting and hanging out. He ended up giving the pouch to David which David continued to gush about for the rest of our shoot. It really inspired me to try to make one myself.

I randomly switched between knitting and purling. I made it the size of an ipod/iphone and then I gave it to Amanda to cheer up her day. I made it in one sitting but I thought I could do a better job. So then I did this…

Again, it didn’t take me long to do and it turned out ok. I still wasn’t satisfied. I thought it was time to learn to knit with circular needles and double-sided needles. I took me several tries but …and what I made was…


A much nicer ipod pouch! I’m pretty proud of myself for accomplishing this.

International Yarn Bombing Day

2011 has been a big year so far; a lot of great things have happened, especially for the fiber arts. Saturday June 11th, 2011 was the first International Yarn Bombing Day. It started off as a half-hearted idea to help spread the joy of yarn graffiti but became a huge world-wide sensation. It’s really amazing. Thank goodness for the internet.


In this early stage of the documentary, this new holiday snuck up on me but I did not lose hope. John (my producer) and I got together to figure out this best way to utilize our resources. We were only going to be able to be in one place to film. I had to be in San Antonio for the weekend for another obligation so we found some San Antonio knitters/yarn bombers to follow. Brandy B.Link Garcia had contacted me a couple weeks ago about a project was doing with a Texas flag she was knitting that she was going to put over the Riverwalk. The Yarn Dawgz, which is a male knitting group, were also doing a project that they were inviting us to film. After our shoot was pretty scheduled, we decided we needed more: We did a call for footage which is a crazy idea that craft groups around the world could submit there home footage of their projects to us for the documentary. As the day comes to a close we already have 15 submission! I’m sure we’ll get more.

Any excuse to come to San Antonio for a weekend is a good excuse but it’s especially nice when I’m coming to SA-town for yarn graffiti. Friday was a long, productive day. John and I recruited friend and fellow filmmaker David Bukstein to help us film this weekend. We left Austin around 1:30 and got to San Antonio with just enough time to eat, regroup and leave to meet up with the Yarn Dawgz at the Pearl Brewery. We were greeted with hugs and smiles. Dino Foxx, Billy Munoz, Sasha Zeilig and Karen Arredondo were already busy installing there knitted piece. John miked them and David and I hopped on shooting all the activity and color. We were instantly at home with this group.

We couldn’t stay with the Yarn Dawgz all night because we needed to me
et up with B.Link but we could have easily done so; they were a lot of fun. After lots of whip stitches, interviews, yarn, anecdotes, and Dino doing a quick freestyle while Billy keeps the beat with the knitting needles on the pipe (see photo on right), we left the Yarn Dawgz.

Our next destination was to meet Brandy at the DIY Factory. The DIY Factory is a wonderful little store and community craft education center. They were having a party of Etsy’s Birthday which created a bundle of activity. We were a little more relaxed with our shooting since Brandy was just preparing for her late night installations. We charged some batteries, got some footage of Brandy getting ready, did an interview and got ready to go out on the Riverwalk with Brandy to install her knitted and crocheted pieces. John and I had a little trouble finding parking near where she was going to install the knitted Texas flag, so David came to the rescue and popped out to capture the moment while it was happening. We found parking and met up with David and Brandy and started doing our thing. Because Brandy was installing her pieces after midnight, in the shadows, on the Riverwalk, near the Pearl, she was a little nervous. As filmmakers, we respected this and backed off and took extra steps to not draw attention to what she was doing. We didn’t have any problems other than some sprinklers and some drunk passerbys. After a long day, we got some late-night sustenance from Mi Terra.

Today we met back up with Dino and Billy from the Yarn Dawgz and just hang out and knit. We got some shots of all the pieces, including Brandy’s, in the daylight, and just hung out. Overall I had a really amazing International Yarn Bombing Day. We learned a lot and had a good time.

Give us your International Yarn Bombing Day footage!


Hi! Sarah here, director of the feature length Yarn Graffiti Documentary. As many of you know, This Saturday, June 11, is International Yarn Bombing Day (Woo Hoo!). All around the world, hundreds of crews will simultaneously carry out knitted and crocheted projects. I’m so excited, as a knitter and as a filmmaker.


My crew will be in San Antonio, TX filming a group as they knit a giant Texas flag over the River Walk. While we’re really excited about this my producer, John Moore, and I have been trying to figure out how we can best utilize our resources to capture this awesome event.

WE WANT YOUR IYBD FOOTAGE! My crew and I can only be in one place at a time, but we want to gather as much footage as possible for an elaborate montage of bombers around the world. If you plan on taking part of any project and plan to have video, pictures, or any other documentation, please send it to us. Use your IPhone, old Handicam, Flipcam, 16mm, MiniDV, or whatever. We know that most of you are not professional filmmakers or camera-people but that’s okay. We just want to make sure we get this world wide event captured! This is an imperative part of the film because it will show the international community of yarn bombers.


Here’s how it works:


— You can upload any materials you have to www.wetransfer.com (up to 2 GB) or www.yourfilelink.com (up to 5GB).
— When upload is complete it will give a link to the file.
— Email this link to freelancelot002@gmail.com.

PLEASE NOTE that even though you retain ownership of all media uploaded, by submitting materials you give the filmmakers full permission to use the media in the film, without compensation. Though we can not pay you for your footage, credit will be given for the work done in the end credits of the film.


Again, this is a call to ANYONE doing some sort of fiber art project on this day. This is your chance to feature your work to the world!

Thanks and keep crafting!

Texas Filmmaker Production Fund

Well I just mailed off my Texas Filmmaker Production Fund application. It feels good. This is the first in a series of grants that I’m applying for. I’m a prime candidate for this award, not only because I’m a Texas resident, but mostly because I’m a first-time feature film director and I’m doing a feature-length documentary. Plus my documentary subject is pretty frickin’ cool.

It’s not my best work but it works. Here’s what I submitted as my work sample.

TFPF 2011 Work Sample from sarah gonzography on Vimeo.

I’m not going to get my hopes up about the TFPF grant. A lot super talented people apply to it every year so I know the competition is stiff. If I don’t get it, I will just try again next year and hope for the best. Getting this grant would be amazing because it would be the catalyst to all the other grants. Grants are funny like that, they usually want to give to you if another grant has already awarded you a grant.

I should feel really good but I can’t help but feel like I forgot something. I keep reminding myself that there is no use worrying about something I can’t do anything about now.

We’re still doing our Indiegogo Campaign and it’s going well; I appreciate all the contributions but we’re not where I would have liked to be. I hope that the next 60 is goes well.

Attention

It’s been busy here at Yarn Graffiti documentary production central. John and I have been busy working on promoting our Indiegogo campaign and working on the Texas Filmmaker Production Fund, Cinereach, along with ITVS grant applications. I feel like we have a better chance at TFPF than ITVS but we are guaranteed to not get anything if we don’t apply.

In the last month or so my documentary has gotten a little bit of attention, specifically in the blog world. All this attention makes me feel amazing. It’s as if the bloggers has given me their stamp of approval.

Check out…

Modern Knitting

Laughing Squid

Tree Hugger

Inhabitat
Craftzine
Holykaw
Arts Media Lab
Fashion at Liberty
Penn Alternative Fuels
Cool Craft Sites
Green Dump
Design Talk
Knitta Please

and many more. I’ve been noticing that a lot of the blogs like to repost from each other. Tree Hugger seems to be a trend setting in the blog world. It’s crazy but it feels really good. I won’t say too much more but there have been talks with TrendStop, The Guardian, and Time Magazine about doing a story about the documentary.

Many many people have tweeted about the doc and I really appreciate everything. Thanks to @KnittingNews, @ModernKnitting, @LaughingSquid, @knittyattitude, @knittaporfavor, @emperorsclothes, @CrochetBlogger, @StitchLily, @StreetBandits, @KnitoriousMEG, @deadlyknitshade @KnitsforLife @laidbackknitter and many more.

On top of all the blogs and tweets, I’ve been on Austin’s KOOP Radio FM91.7 talking about my documentary. Unfortunately they don’t archive their shows otherwise I would have shared my part here. It was really fun and since, I’ve been invited on Sherry Mills’s show every week since to kind of keep her company.

Long story short, things are good for the documentary. Thanks for all the support.