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 SummaryWhite 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