Tag Archives: Indie GoGo

Saturday Morning Ramblings

Two and a half years ago, I was a shell of a man, struggling to get to my feet and find my bearings after my divorce.  I was broke and broken. I lived in my best friend’s spare bedroom and didn’t have my own car.  I made it to and from work by bumming rides from family and friends.  Each day was a challenge to find the motivation to get out of bed and force myself to trudge onward.  Because of the terms of my divorce, I get to keep roughly $.51 on every $1.00 I earn.  After taxes, child support, and insurance for my kids, my take home pay is barely above minimum wage.  Those factors severely limit how often I get to see my children, and for anyone who knows me, you know how deeply that affects me.

Two and a half years ago, I faced tough choices.  I could lay down and give up, and quite frankly, that option was pretty appealing.  I could move somewhere else, closer to my kids, and start a new life.  I went so far as to apply for jobs in South Georgia and North Florida.  Then, one day, as I worked on cleaning up my motor home to get it livable, an idea came to me.  I looked out at my family’s 27 acres and realized that one of the passions I’ve always wanted to pursue is growing vegetables.

I started researching what it would take to launch a farm.  The more I learned, the more I realized that the future of farming is indoor growing, so I launched myself into studying as much as I could about aeroponics and hydroponics.  At first, I leaned towards an aeroponic system because of the efficiency, and I built a functional prototype.  However, the more I learned, the more I saw that those units, while efficient, are highly unstable.

So I went back to the drawing board and designed an ebb and flow hydroponic unit.  In August of this year, I finally had enough money to buy all of the components necessary to build and launch the system.  Today, I’m a couple of weeks away from the first harvest.  From this experience, I’ve learned some valuable lessons, most notably that because of the grow rates of various plants, it’s important to have multiple systems to maintain proper nutrient cycles for each.  To that end, I want to build our second unit that I can dedicate to one specific vegetable.

But like I said, I’m severely limited in my financial resources, so quite honestly, I need help.  I’m currently running an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds for this second unit.  If I didn’t need this money to get the unit up and running soon, I wouldn’t be asking, but I know, based on my take home income, it will be mid-summer before I can have enough money to put into it.  If I can get this system going now, I could effectively have three harvests in that time frame.

Recently, I’ve watched three specific fundraisers have tremendous success.  A friend of mine raised money for a rock video.  Within 48 hours, he had surpassed his goal.  An acquaintance raised money for an independent film and received enough to cover production costs.  Most recently, my publisher ran a campaign for a new book project and raised nearly 250% of their goal.  I don’t resent the successes of these fund raisers.  In fact, I supported each one, sharing links and writing blogs about them, but I am bothered by the lack of interest in supporting my project.

I’m trying to build a farm that will have a long-lasting impact on the lives of people in this region.  We need more fresh, organic vegetables in this area.  We need more sustainable agricultural practices.  That’s not political either.  It’s just a fact.  Weather patterns are changing.  During the grow season, we have extended periods of drought followed by intense storms.  That’s not conducive to efficient farming.  The future will have to be focused on developing indoor growing environments that are year round and efficient.  I’m not even going to get into the effects of rising fuel prices on traditional farming, but our current model isn’t financially sustainable long-term.

So I’m asking for your help.  If you can, please, contribute, even $1.  If you can’t, please share the link, especially with people you know who might be interested.  This farm has the opportunity to change lives, not just mine but those in my community, too.  I believe that with all my heart.  I have the plan, the design, and the ability to make it happen.  What I don’t have are the financial resources.  Please, help me make this a reality.


Saturday Afternoon Ramblings

Here’s an update on the farm.  The first hydroponic unit is doing pretty well.  All of our seeds but two came up, and so far, all of the plants are growing well, especially the cucumbers.  Assuming nothing goes awry, we should have our first harvest by the end of this month.  We’ve learned a lot on this initial run and have some plans for how to refine and improve the system.  Our next goal is to build a second system that is dedicated solely to one crop.  From there, we’ll work on building at least one unit for each specific plant.

Now that this system has proven itself, I have a question open to anyone.  Do you think it would be worth the effort to run a second Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for the second unit?  The last campaign was a little disappointing, but now, with a functional unit in place, do you think more people would be willing to contribute?  After watching the efficiency of the system, I’m convinced now more than ever that this is the future of farming, and I’m more dedicated than ever to getting this project off the ground.  Please, share your thoughts and let me know your opinions.

The Chameleon Affair Ramblings

I originally posted this link last week, and to my friends who have already helped, thank you.  The campaign is over halfway to its goal.  To those of you who are on the fence or uncertain about this project, I’m appealing to you to please donate to this film.  Frank Fradella is a good man who I’ve met and gotten to know over the last year, and as a writer and former publisher myself, I know firsthand the struggles to launch a project from the ground floor.  It takes a lot of support from a lot of people, and it takes money.  You may not think that a $10 donation would do much, but I can promise you that even the smallest contribution means the world to a creative person trying to launch a project.  Please, help Frank out.

Let me also add two things.  I’m not part of this production and will receive no monetary compensation from the film.  I just want to help out a fellow creative person who has a vision.  Secondly, having met Frank and gotten to know him through interaction and mutual friends, I can vouch that every penny you donate will go solely into the production of this film.  Please, donate $10 now.


Thursday Afternoon Ramblings

For today’s entry, I want to do something a little different: I met Frank Fradella last year at FandomFest, and not only was he the best-dressed person at the convention, he was also one helluva nice guy.  Frank is working on putting together a short film to enter into a contest sponsored by Ridley Scott.  Please, if you can spare $10, donate to help finance this production. I’ve used IndieGoGo myself and can personally vouch for the authenticity of the site.  Signing up is easy and non-intrusive, and you can choose to make your donation anonymously if you so desire.  Also, I can assure you that your contribution will be used solely for the purposes of creating this film and nothing else.  Let’s help make this happen.  Here’s a synopsis of the project:

The Chameleon Affair is an espionage thriller short film that’s being created for a contest sponsored by YouTube and Scott Free Productions (Ridley Scott’s production company).

The story focuses on Chameleon, a girl who was raised to be a “honey pot” by a covert organization posing as an orphanage. Two years ago she faked her own death, but when an artist’s rendering of her is good enough to run afoul of the company’s facial recognition software, they realize that she’s still alive and the chase is on.

And then there’s Bishop, the operative she seduced to help her fake her own death (and whom she subsequently abandoned), who feels very much the fool and is only too glad to be tasked with bringing her in.

Father, the head of the organization, wants her alive. Mother Superior, who is (unbeknownst to everyone but Father) actually Chameleon’s mother, wants to keep her safe.

Bishop, it seems, has other plans. The film culminates in an explosive confrontation in the Great Plains Zoo.

No. Seriously explosive. Things go boom.

It’s a very ambitious film we’re making here. We’re taking on a lot more than you’d usually see in a 15-minute short film and we’re proud of the team we’ve put together, including Bruce Hoyer and Shayna Baszler — two MMA champs — who are handling the fight choreography.

We’re trying to raise just $3000 for this production. Most of that money goes to pay our cinematographer, the award-winning DP Doug Lee, and to rent the expensive camera package we’ll need for the 4-day shoot. The rest of the money goes to paying for food, gas and lodging for the crew. None of this is frivolous or goes into our pockets.

What’s on the table if we win is a half a million dollar film deal with Ridley Scott’s production company and, if we lose, at the very least, we come away with a film we can take around to festivals.

Any help is deeply appreciated. Thank you.

Frank Fradella
Paper Lantern Productions

To donate, please got to:  http://www.indiegogo.com/The-Chameleon-Affair

Sunday Afternoon Ramblings

Repairs along the front wall.

The last three days have seen great progress at the farm.  We got nearly all of the brush that had been cut down dragged away and burned, and we cleared out most of what was left on the far side of the building.  There’s still a little bit to cut on the far back corner, but that job is nearly complete.  Next, we’re going to get all the little limbs and other debris to the burn pile.  The perimeter is really taking shape and looking good.  We also fixed a couple of drainage problems that should help with the flooding issue.  All in all, this has been an extremely productive weekend.

My muscles are so sore I can barely stand it, but it’s a great feeling.  Today, it feels like we’re closer to having the farm operational.  Seeing that progress is a great feeling and gives me a sense of encouragement that is hard to describe.  From all of our hard work, things are really taking shape.  I don’t want to forget to include Marty Carson.  He’s come out and helped us a few times for free, and without his help we wouldn’t be nearly as far along.  He’ll try to deny it and say that he has barely done anything, but we both very much appreciate everything he’s done.

I also want to thank all of the people who have donated to the IndieGoGo campaign.  Tony Davidson has donated twice.  Matthew McMahan gave a nice donation.  Amy Lovdal-Taylor not only made a donation but also wrote a nice note of encouragement.  And Melissa Royer also gave to our campaign.  Each of them has a special place on my list of cool people, and in all seriousness, I appreciate their support more than they’ll ever know.  That goes for everyone who has contributed.  With as hard as times are getting for all of us, I am extremely grateful for each and every dollar we have received.

We’re down to one week to go on the campaign.  If you want to donate, please do so now before the campaign is over.  Even just a $5 contribution will help us get the supplies we need to finish these renovations.  Please, help us get this farm up and running.

Monday Night Ramblings

There aren’t words to describe how ready I am for this semester to end and for me to focus exclusively on the farm.  Mentally, I’m completely exhausted, and emotionally, I’m worn down to a nub.  Most of how I feel right now is leftover from last semester.  The combination of dual enrollment and overload broke something inside of me and took away the last reserve of teaching energy I had stored away.  Then, on top of having been overworked in an inhumane manner, I now sense the weight of this current assault on education pressing down on me as each day I feel as if I have to justify my existence to a nameless, faceless enemy that seeks to dismantle the career for which I’ve sacrificed so much.  It’s a sickening sensation, and morale among my colleagues is disturbingly low.

The truly maddening part of our current political climate is that we’re on a collision course with self-destruction.  Our nation’s infrastructure has been woefully neglected for decades, and now, instead of fixing the two areas that truly threaten to bankrupt this nation, namely the unchecked inflation in healthcare and energy costs, our “leaders” have set their sights on dismantling that infrastructure even more.  We spend $750 billion out of the Federal budget on a healthcare system that is completely disconnected from market realities and true free trade principles, yet instead of finding a solution to that, we’re gonna punish the civil servants, most of whom are already overworked and underpaid and feel like second class citizens.  If that’s not madness, what is?

My best hope for the future is the farm.  If I can get it productive and on the road to self-sufficiency, then I’ll walk away from the system and never look back.  I can honestly say that I did my best to make something of a difference and give something back to my community.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel as if I’ve failed because the values I’ve embraced and the skills I’ve taught now seem antiquated and worthless, especially in our current environment, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel impotent and powerless against the tide of mindless hate that’s ripping our society apart.  But I gave all I had to give, and now, my tank is empty.  Now, I just want to grow some vegetables and enjoy the woman who loves me and spend as much time as possible with my family.  Someone else can worry about literacy and critical thinking and organization of thought.  As for me, I’m going to focus on fixing up the building, installing the first unit, and growing fresh food.

Thursday Afternoon Ramblings

Once again, we’re going to spend as much of the weekend as possible at the building, fixing the plastic along the back wall to stop the flooding and replacing the damaged boards on the front wall.  With any luck, the weather will allow us to get a lot done.  I’m confident that with just a little more tweaking, the back wall will be fixed for good.  It shouldn’t take too much longer to repair the front, either.  That’s just a matter of cutting and nailing up the boards, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to finish.

I’m proud of the progress we’ve made so far.  Looking at the pictures from “before” and then where we are now, I can see just how much we’ve accomplished.  There’s still a long way to go and a lot of work to do, but the building is beginning to take shape.  Sixteen years is a long time for something to sit unused, but thankfully the foundation is still in pretty good shape.  Within the next couple of months, much of the building will be like new, clean and restored, and I’m excited to watch it come back to life.

We still need your help.  There are still many supplies to purchase just for the remodeling and then a lot of equipment for the aeroponic units.  Please, if you can, donate to our campaign on Indie GoGo.  Your contributions will be used exclusively for materials for the building or the growing units.  We only have a couple of weeks to go on the campaign, so time is running out for you to donate.  Thank you again to those who have already donated to all of you who have offered me words of encouragement on this endeavor.