So we didn’t get the ITVS LINCS funding. Still saying that to myself, still trying to accept it. Its not that I expected we would get it — I didn’t. And its not even that I hoped we would get it — although I certainly did. The thing that has been hardest to accept is that I truly just was not prepared to not get it.
That is quite unusual for me. I pride myself on being prepared both logistically and emotionally for every eventuality, on always having not only a Plan B, but a Plan C and a Plan D, too. On taking rejection and setbacks and crazy circumstances and turning them quickly and seamlessly into fuel to drive the project where it still needs to go.
And over the four years of this project, I can’t tell how many times that’s had to happen. When Temple University withdrew their support and First Person was temporarily homeless and unable to raise money. When Fresh quit the project. When my anal retentive ways had alienated my entire crew to the point of mutiny. When all the countless crazy and unjust things that happened to each of my kids happened and there was nothing I could do to change it. When we got rejected from ITVS the first time around. And a million others.
With each of them, I flipped out, then moved on. And maybe it took longer than I remember. But this time around, I seem to have flipped out, then stalled out. Its been painful and disconcerting to struggle so deeply to find the energy to be that guy right now — the guy who makes everyone else believe, the guy who keeps every one else’s spirits up, the guy who gets things done anyway, the guy who carries the load so other people can just do them, can just do their work. Being unable to do those things, being unable to get a damn thing done, is not how I like to see myself.
But I also think I was right in one respect about what this whole process around ITVS LINCS involves. Either way, it wouldve presented me with a set of circumstances that would force me to go back to what this project is really all about and where it really comes from.
Had we gotten the grant, I wouldve had to work hard to make sure that being on easy street represented an opportunity to reach as many people as possible–especially the students from the film and urban high school students in general.
Having not gotten it, I’ve found great solace and motivation in the examples and support I’ve received recently from the young people Ive had the chance to work with through this project. Macho called me the other day just to say whats up and update me on his life. Nothing big or unusual, but just a much-needed reminder that the relationships Ive built through First Person go beyond any grant.
Been thinking back on the toasts Steve, Shalisa, Malikka, and Fresh gave at my recent wedding. Now that made everything worthwhile, no matter what happens (and maybe Malikka will be kind enough to share her notes, if not with the world then at least with me!) And working with our College Ambassadors this summer…well, that’s another post for another time.
As unprepared as I was for the funk that hit me right after ITVS did, I know the fog is slowly but surely lifting. Aint nothing to do but get back in the saddle…as Kurtis’s mom always tells me, “giving up is not an option!”