Dearly Beloved…

Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here for the first post on Active Voice’s Prenups blog. 

Welcome! We’ve spent about two years developing the Prenups: What Filmmakers and Funders Should Talk About Before Tying the Knot and now we’re very eager for feedback and ideas from the intersecting fields of philanthropy and media-making. Here’s what we have in store for you:

1.    We want to introduce you to some of the big thinkers who have co-sponsored or advised on the Prenups. Over the next few weeks, you’ll hear from public media veteran Claire Aguilar of ITVS, Jan Jaffe, the brains behind Ford Foundation’s GrantCraft, BAVC visionary Wendy Levy, Fledgling Fund founder Diana Barrett, and many more. We’re excited to hear how they’re thinking about collaboration in these media-saturated days, and hope you are too. Prenups author Paul VanDeCarr will also stop by from time to time to offer some big picture analysis.

2.     We need your expertise, as well. What did we miss in our research? What do you agree or disagree with? How are you using the Prenups and how can we improve them? You’ll find feedback forms on almost every page of our microsite (masterfully developed by our friends at See3) and we’ll periodically cull the most insightful ideas and post them on this blog or on our Perspectives page.

3.     Finally, at the risk of repeating ourselves endlessly, here are some of Active Voice’s  take-aways regarding the trends toward more “engaged” media funding:

•    Filmmakers know how to make films and move audiences; funders bring a host of other essential resources. Put them together with a good Prenup and new possibilities can blossom.
•    The interdependent approach to media-making — where knowledge and input come from many sources — is exciting for us, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. (Some of our favorite films were forged from a director’s fierce, go-it-alone independence.)
•    Busting silos, talking about power and managing expectations isn’t easy. Active Voice can do a lot better, too, and with your feedback, we will.

Thank you for participating in what we hope will be a short but lively exchange — we expect to wrap up the interactive functions of this site by August 2009.

In other words, speak now or forever hold your peace!

Ellen Schneider and the Active Voice team

The Prenups would not have been possible without writer Paul VanDeCarr, who retained his grace and professionalism even as this project became more complex than we ever imagined; Gordon Quinn, whose ethics are as deep as his films are beautiful; Jon Funabiki, who named the Prenups and kept them focused; and our esteemed anonymous funder. Thank you all.