“I am hoping that Shroudies everywhere will rally round . . .”
By David Rolfe
In my view the recent campaign was a minor miracle and a major success! Over $5k in as many weeks. I had gone to a seminar on finance for films and someone gave a talk on this new phenomenon of crowd funding. Could it possibly work for me? I have been struggling for a while with my script. Frankly, while, in my humble opinion, it is already better than most of the films that reach our screens, it is not yet good enough to do the job I want it to do. Entertain, of course, but also be true to its subject and leave the audience wanting more of it. I am only going to get one shot at this. It’s taken a long time already and my own meagre resources nearly expired. So, this campaign has been both a psychological and practical shot in the arm and I have learned a great deal from it.
The main thing I have learned is that I don’t think I really need a site like Indiegogo to do it. They are a great platform and make the process of submission relatively easy. But, over 95% of the contributors came from the good efforts of Barrie Schwortz and his announcement, the readers of this blog and my own database – hardly anything from the casual browsing traffic on Indiegogo.
For a continuing project like the development of The Shroud Affair, the setting of a deadline and target for a specific period is fairly arbitrary. When I was launching the campaign some films with celebrities attached were raising millions and Zombie movies or spinoffs from whacky video games were raising sums in six figures. Where to pitch the most amazing mystery in the world? I plucked $25k from the air. It will take a lot more than that to get the project up to a pitch where Hollywood must take notice but it seemed a reasonable place to start in that company.
So, with what I have learned, I have developed the proposition in a number of ways. First, I have decided to cut out the middleman and set up my own site for the purpose which is hereby launched. www.shroudaffair-movie.com. This already saves the 10% in fees and processing via Indiegogo.
I have structured it so that any funds received under the heading of crowd funding will be set-aside into a pot that will be treated equally with other investments when it comes to the distribution of any profits. This means that not only will contributions get the whole thing off the ground but, if successful, create a fund for further Shroud research. If it achieves its most critical objective, it will help usher in the next scientific round of tests and, like The Silent Witness did for STURP, this film may be able to provide some funds towards it.
This brings me to another decision. The Silent Witness was made possible because (The Late) Fr. Peter Rinaldi of the Holy Shroud Guild of America responded very positively to my request for help back in 1976 when I went to visit him in New York when everyone here in London and TV distributors in the US had turned my proposal down. He trusted me enough to put his influence behind me and it was not long before the project was fully funded. His reward was that he could use the share of the profits that accrued to the Guild to prime the STURP expedition. The Shroud Affair is now dedicated to his memory and I believe that nothing in this world – or the next – would please him more for it to succeed in its objectives.
The exercise also forced me further into the realms of social media including the previously opaque (to me) world of Twitter. It may well be that the answer to getting a bigger audience for this (and the whole subject) may come from this powerful force. If anyone out there already is a member of the Twitterati and would like to assist they would be very welcome. Failing that, this project is going to be dependent largely on those of us already hooked. How many of us are there? Barrie has over 3,000 on his list. Dan’s annual hit rate is huge – well into the upper six figures I believe. I’m not sure how that translates into Shroudies, however.
If I am going to succeed I am going to have to get a much larger proportion of this cohort to trust me to bring this subject much higher up the agenda. What can I say? Our rarefied field sometimes seems full of factions fighting for their particular perspective. And that’s fine. That’s how we slowly get to a truth. At least it would be if there was any prospect of real answers and there will not be while the Vatican remains seemingly indifferent to calls for another chance for science.
One of the reasons my task of scriptwriting has been difficult has been the imperative for the result to be entirely neutral as far as any of our controversies are concerned. All options in the story, including a medieval fake, must remain open at the end with only the Shroud’s unique nature and powerful subjective qualities being asserted. I am reminded here of Father Peter. Some months after the C14 was announced and long before its shortcomings were properly understood I asked him how he felt about it. He replied in that distinctive tremulous voice: “I believe the Shroud is a miracle. Why shouldn’t it be a medieval miracle?” My script even allows for this.
So, going forward, and with this assurance from me, I am hoping that Shroudies everywhere will rally round and if not able to support the project themselves do whatever they can to publicise it. Self-appointed though I am, I am doing everything I can to make it something we can all be proud of.
David Rolfe 27th. September 2013.