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Creating a film that exposes misinformation, politics, corruption, and financial influences that continue to plague a protected species, the great white shark
Skyler Thomas
San Francisco, California
United States
4 Team Members

The Price of Existence is a fiscally sponsored project of Independent Arts & Media, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit supporting people and projects that use media and the arts to build community and participation.

Short Summary

White sharks are in more peril than you may believe and the enemies may surprise you.  As my passion I've traveled the world filming white sharks while making short, self-funded documentaries.  However, the scale of this project has required me to leave the conventional 9-5 job in pursuit of shark conservation and filming.  Between awe-inspiring footage and a story that will shock and captivate you, your decision to be part of this project will prove to be a great one.

Here's a short video telling you a little about myself and why I am pursuing this project.

Why is this Important?

It may sound cliche, but awareness is crucial to change. I learned this first hand while campaigning to pass the ban on shark fin trade in California.  Most people I spoke with assumed something so terrible was already illegal, and when they found out it was happening in their own backyards they were more than happy to help. Isn't it shocking what takes place for years under our noses until someone points it out?  Similarly, I don't believe most people understand some of the threats and challenges "protected" species face.

Thanks to irresponsible journalism and the growing trend for people to believe what their television tells them without ever double checking for facts, I've decided to fight fire with fire.  Along with other shark advocates collaborating with me, I'm doing the research for you then bringing the information to life via film.  

The postcard $15 and up contributors will receive

There's a misconception, which I previously shared, that this species is in good standing because it is protected internationally. The reality is that the animal's future is still questionable and sometimes it's hard to tell who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. 


'The Price of Existence' asks the question "Why?" a lot. Why is a protected species not actively being protected by the very laws that are support to save it from poachers and fishermen? How can independently wealthy organizations obtain permits that would never be allowed in any other circumstance?  Why do researchers contradict their own publications when given the opportunity to advance their careers?  Why do politicians ignore expert advice that shark nets, drum lines, and targeted culls do not solve the issue of shark attacks?  Why does the first country to ever list this animal as a protected species support an organization that kills up to 60 white sharks a year while failing to prosecute illegal fishing of the same animal?

Then there are inward focusing questions?  Why do we choose to kill an animal that is proven to rarely attack humans instead of choosing to leave sections of the ocean as the shark's domain?  Why is the best chance this animal has for protection depend upon the fact that some people have found a way to make money off this animal alive rather than dead?   And how to we compete against the motivation of a poacher who can bring in upwards of $50,000 for a single set of white shark jaws?

If you haven't recognized it yet, there's a recurring theme here. Money. Decision making, good or bad, all too often stems from financial origins. Thus, this three part film is titled "The Price of Existence".

White sharks were hunted to a dangerous level by mankind until countries began declaring them a protected species, starting with South Africa in 1991. I acknowledge the positive action such countries have taken, and some policy is better than no policy. But the reality is that effective enforcement is lacking. Being protected on paper is not the same as being protected in reality; actual enforcement and the funding needing for this enforcement are lacking, leaving the fate of the white shark in the hands of those who financially benefit from this animal, whether this means the animal’s best interest is in mind or not.

What's Needed & What You Get

  • I need 10k to complete this film.  Actually I need more, but I've already spent that part out of my savings. :)
  • Of course money isn't the only way to help.  Do you have information to share and want to be in the film?  Do you work in film, promotion, or other media?  Are you good at spreading the word?  We need it all!
  • Excited about sharks, especially white sharks?  Want to meet notable people in the "shark world" at the film premieres?  Want a good feeling about being part of a film that tells a controversial story most people don't hear?  Want to be part of a growing nonprofit company focused on shark education?  This is your chance.
  • Where's the money go?
    • While many collaborators donate their time and vessels because they believe in the cause, this is not always possible.  Therefore some times the cost of fuel, time, and charters must be paid.
    • Camera Equipment
    • Audio Equipment
    • Editing equipment
    • Publicity Campaigns
    • Paying talent to help with post production
  • YOU get to be part of the process of change. Your name will appear as a part of this project on the official site regardless of how small your donation is.  Please refer to the perks for more detailed answers to "what you get".

Any high rollers out there want there logo to appear in the film?  Or want me to send you a HD .mov file with your logo / product and a white shark swimming by in the same frame?  Just choose those perks in the donation section.

So What Exactly Are We Fighting and Why Will This Project Help?

There are those who blatantly break the law because the payload for landing one shark negates the consequence. 

There's the unsustainable commercial fishing industry that kills everything in its path (nets and longlines can't tell if an animal is protected or not). 

There are self-serving individuals  more interested in their careers than the well being of the shark.  And there are those who spread misinformation to further their cause or ensure financial compensation.

But the biggest problem is you. Yes, you, me, and us.  Because complacency and ignorance are the tools by which "the wrong thing" is able to continue happening. It's been shown time and time again that change starts with a ripple, then it becomes a wave.  Help me make that wave by creating a film that will tell the sides of the story most people otherwise won't hear.

The film will consist of three parts:

Part 1. 'Great White Lies'.  Exploring the heated and highly competitive world of white shark research. Interviews with shark researchers, scientists, and conservation organizations explain the methods used in the research field and why the industry is strongly divided.  Also learn why the presentation of data from experts doesn't necessarily result in the needed policy changes the data recommends.

Part 2. 'Ecotourism and Cage Diving: Friend or Foe?'

Part 3. 'Australia: Why the shark loving country is not the friend of the ocean that you think it is.'

Other Ways You Can Help:

Lawyers, cameramen, philanthropists, accountants, event planners, evangelists, sound technicians, video editors, scientists, divers, shark experts, pilots, boat captains, researchers.I can make use of all of you. You can even donate FREQUENT FLYER MILES and receive a write off for your generosity!!! 

Learn more about the filmmaker and the company at PriceofExistence.com

Find This Campaign On
raised by 99 people in 1 month
102% funded
No time left
Verified Nonprofit
$10,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on November 4, 2013
In partnership with
Select a Perk
  • $15USD
    Shark Print Postcard Thank You

    Anyone pitching in this amount will receive a postcard with a lovely shark print on it and a thank you message, listing you as a film supporter. Thank you Postagram for sponsoring this perk! (amount over $15 is tax-deductible)

    3 out of 100 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2013
  • $25USD
    Shark Savior

    Free digital download. Invitation to screening party in San Francisco. Listed as a supporter on the WSV website. A good "sharky" feeling. Official film supporter thank you postcard thanks to Postagram.

    25 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2013
  • $50USD
    Carcharodon Cash

    All the perks of $25 donation and a DVD of the movie. Won't it be fun to see your nam in the credits?! :)

    17 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2014
  • $500USD
    Carcharias Contribution

    All the $100 perks. VIP entrance to the screening after party. Listed in the $500 section in movie supporter credits. Opportunity to appear in the credits of the film as b-roll interview footage (optional if shy).

    3 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2014
  • $625USD
    Cage Dive Farallon Islands

    1 trip to the Farallon Islands with Shark Diving International, complete with cage diving. Trip must be completed by November 19th. Contact campaign owner to receive voucher.

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2013
  • $1,000USD

    All the $500 awards. Option to make a brief cameo in the film. Signed print of white shark photograph taken by the film director. Producer credit in film and special thank you.

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2014
  • $1,500USD
    Blue Shark Branding

    Take a look at the photos of me and my logo in the gallery section. Now, imagine replacing that logo with your logo, only with me swimming in open water surrounded by pelagic blue sharks in South Africa. (amount over $1,500 is tax-deductible)

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2014
  • $2,000USD
    Underwater Product Promo

    While Cage Diving I'll hold your product up as a great white shark swims by. This can be any waterproof product, glass encased product, or clothing that can get wet. You will receive this as an HD .mov file to use as you wish. I will also post it on my site if you want. (amount over $2,000 is tax-deductible)

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2013
  • $2,700USD
    Megalodon Lives

    Come to San Francisco and meet the film director. While in California take cage dive trip at the Farallon Islands. Be featured in a video interview on the WSV website (if you're shy you can opt out). Executive producer credit in opening sequence of film.

    0 out of 3 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2013
  • $3,200USD
    Crazy mofo promo

    Me, in open water, with the a white shark, wearing your product logo. This will be delivered to you as an HD .mov file to use as you wish. It will also be on my site if you wish. (amount over $3,200 is tax-deductible)

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2013
  • $5,850USD
    False Bay Adventure

    Meet me this winter in Simon's Town, South Africa where I'll be filming part 2 of the series. Receive a personal introduction from me to Air jaws legend Chris Fallows as we go out in his boat to watch for breaching white sharks in False Bay.

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2014
  • $5,900USD
    Shark Alley Adventure

    Meet me in Gansbaai, white shark diving capital of the world, where I will introduce you to Andre Hartman, the first man to ever swim in the open with white sharks. We will go out to sea one day to watch white sharks and follow up with a good ol' Braii (South African for BBQ) with my old friends from the town. Those guys take their BBQ'a seriously

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2014
  • $10,000USD
    Executive Branding

    The movie opens stating that it was made possible thanks to you (or your brand, whatever you prefer). Provide your logo and I'll silk screen it on my wetsuit during a shark dive seen. Oh, and come to South Africa with me to meet shark legends Chris Fallows and Andrei Hartman

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2014
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