Frederick Hellenga
Pilot,
Hellenga Crew
5th Air Force
90th Bomb Group
Donation made by
Marianna and Gary Hellenga
Blogs  (Updates, insights and ramblings from Alejandro Mena and his Team) . . .
Posted Sunday, August 28, 2011 by Alejandro Mena    

On Insanity and Funding Proposals

It's been a long time since I've written a blog update. Almost three months and that's too long. As we slog through the dog days of August with this interminable heat wave, here are some thoughts about some recent funding developements.

To quote the author Rita Mae Brown, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results" I have come to the conclusion that we are doing something akin to insanity. For three years, we have been on this journey, trying to tell the story of O'Sullivan's Iron Men and the bloody 492nd Bomb Group to which they belonged. When we first started pitching the film for funding, I was confident that we would land the necessary monies in a relatively short amount of time. Boy was I wrong! Consider 2008; the year we first started interviewing veterans and assembling the trailer. It was an election year, the nation was reeling from econmic body blows. Shortly after President Obama was sworn into office, we had the collapse of Wall Street. It wasn't a good time to invest in independent films. In the years since then, we have had continuing issues in our economy and these issues have trickled down to affect not just CREW 713, but probably hundreds of other indie film projects. But films ARE being funded, so how come our film hasn't been?

Now let's get back to the insanity issue. I still believe we have a viable film product. I still think it has historical value and produced properly, perhaps could break through and have an impact on filmgoers throughout our country. I have come to this conclusion: Something is wrong in how we are presenting our film for funding to potential investors and donors. We seem to get almost universal positive feedback from those individuals and corporations who have turned us down. They like the trailer. They like Kinky Friedman's introduction. They like the production photos and letters of recommendation & all the support materials. But somehow, we're not able to convince them to sign on the dotted line. I think part of the problem is this: we have never been able to do an actual face to face pitch to any of these potential sponsors. We have to date mailed or hand delivered all of our proposals to these various organizations. I think it's great to have all the aforementioned materials in those folks hands, but without them being in the same room with me, without them being able to see my passion for the film shine through, they are basically staring at pretty paper in a nice arrangement. Ultimately a sterile sell. From my old days selling cars and appliances and tools, there is nothing like face to face contact. A solid handshake. Eye contact. The tremble in my voice as I tell the story of CREW 713. All of these are part of the selling technique for the film, and so far, I have been unable to bring those strengths to bear. Trust me, I was in sales for over 10 years and made a pretty good living at it. The majority of these jobs were in commission sales. When eating and rent are dependent on how good you sell, you soon find out whether or not you can do it. I found to my delight, that I could sell and quite effectively too.

So now we have come to the crossroads. I honestly believe that it's time for me to meet these decision makers. Mailing proposals and hoping for a miracle are no longer acceptable. It is INSANITY in repeating what we have been doing and expecting different results. That aint gonna happen! I have to be able to pitch the film IN PERSON, in order for them to hear my passion, my belief in the film shine through. I am already reassessing our proposal strategy and business plan accordingly. I hope to have a better and more upbeat report sometime in the near future.

I will talk to you again soon. Until then, Peace to you.

Alejandro Mena
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