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Excellent newsposted Dec 01 2020

Got another Dear John letter yesterday — “The proposal pool was highly competitive”… ending our grant year with whimper.

This year’s tally from:

  • Vermont-based arts foundations, $0.
  • Other arts foundations, $0.
  • COVID pivot funds, $0.

The news gets better though!

  • Vermont community foundations, $1,500.
  • Local individual and corporate donations, $4,300.

This will go entirely toward the much-needed camera upgrades.

Our gratitude far outweighs any disappointment — and what feels really, really good is that nearly all of our support continues to come directly from the communities we serve… people who recognize the importance of our mission and our efforts to make it happen. How we’re giving our performing creatives and academics a shot at something they won’t get anywhere else; contributing to lifting up the reputation and recognition of our largely overlooked part of the Connecticut River valley; providing entertainment and infotainment options in our low-income village; and similar layers upon layers.

It’s hard to blame the big grantmaking organizations for their lack of “getting it” — they’re in their own bubbles, far removed from our boots-on-the-ground reality. They’re doing good work, we’re just not in that rarified echelon of entrenched big dogs.

Next year we try again!

The unpaid work continues in excess of full-time hours even during COVID as we chip away at the documentation backlog. Yes, this makes us incredibly dull people. The intent, you may recall, is to eventually land produced programming on broadcast stations (hence the importance of upgrading the cameras), at which point we’ll be a lot more attractive for foundation and corporate underwriting. Come that day, are we likely to forget who helped us get there? No, we are absolutely not.

We’ve been waiting to invest in the upgrades until all the grant proposals had been determined yea or nay, and now they have been. There’s enough in hand — with a little left over — for half of the four setups we’re still hoping to get. Totally terrific!

We won’t be retiring the $50 “kiddie cameras” that the getting-started budget accommodated just to get the wheels turning, nope. They’ll still be supporting the work with artsy angles and glitchy goodness. We just won’t have to lean on them to try to do things that they can’t possibly do… like provide professional picture quality good enough to produce broadcastable programming. (We can and positively will use the accumulated lower-quality stuff in copious “from the vault” segments.)

If you want to get your geek on: We’ve settled on Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K bodies, most likely with Rokinon Cine CV85M-MFT 85mm T1.5 lenses (85mm would have been a mistake! — MFT’s big crop factor and a dozen feet from subject… we’re looking at 25mm instead), each with an outboard SSD (having to change cards in the middle of a set interrupts the documentation, the performer, and the audience) and a small onboard monitor (to aid focus, and for ongoing confirmation from a distance during filming that things are still on track — since centralized monitoring just ain’t in the money cards). The cameras will be protected with a Smallrig cage that will also provide secure attachment points for the add-ons.

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