I feel overwhelmed right now, deeply touched, humbled, and just a little bit verklempt.
A few hours ago, during the 53rd anniversary of the debut of Star Trek on NBC, the GoFundMe campaign for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE reached its goal of $19,500. It was an amazing feeling…especially as the donation that got us there was for an incredibly-generous $500. Earlier in the day, another donor had brought us to exactly $19,000 with a $28 donation. That kind of support and belief in our team and me means more than I can put into words.
The backer who pushed us into the end zone was SHANE FREUND, an Axanar supporter who had also donated to Interlude a few weeks previously. Along with yesterday’s donation came this message:
On the anniversary of Star Trek, I wanted to help you reach your goal because having the courage to take a risk is what Star Trek is all about.
I thought about that statement for a few minutes. In my mind, Star Trek is about a lot of things: tolerance, empathy, inclusiveness, loyalty, duty, honesty, a desire to explore and discover, hope for the future, and a willingness to help others to make things better. And yes, Star Trek is also about taking chances and believing in yourself, in the abilities of your friends and crew, and even believing in luck and your ability to beat the odds.
I grew up in the 1970s watching scenes like this over and over in reruns…
And when you think about it, taking a chance and beating the odds is also what crowd-funding is all about. You put yourself out there and hope that your friends (and crew…and a bunch of strangers) will come through and help you out.
Of course, successfully crowd-funding a project (or a dream) does require a lot of work . Campaigns don’t just fund themselves. But it all comes down to one game-changing word: CAN. “I can.” “You can.” “We can.” Those are among the most powerful sentences in the English language.
And do you know what the other most powerful sentences are? “I can’t.” “We can’t.” “You can’t.”
I mention this because I’ve spent this entire GoFundMe campaign these past three months trying my darnedest to ignore the almost constant drip-drop of negativity from many, many members of the Axamonitor Facebook group. Even when some fair-minded folks over there tried to be supportive of me and my project, others would make comments like this…
Even Carlos Pedraza, seven weeks into my campaign, predicted that I’d come up far short of my crowd-funding goal in his July 30 online newsletter…
It’s pretty obvious that comments and postings like this are all built around a foundation of “you can’t” or “you won’t.” And when you think about it as a fan, that kind of sentiment is the exact OPPOSITE of what Star Trek teaches us all about taking risks and beating the odds.
Look, I always knew that setting up a $19.5K GoFundMe for Interlude—when I’d never produced a fan film before—was taking a leap of faith. There were dozens and dozens of ways the project could fail. But I never stopped believing in my heart that we could make it, that fans and supporters would help us get to our goal. I never cared what the naysayers said—and neither should you.
If you have a dream and the desire to make it come true—be it a fan film or whatever—and if you have to ask for some help to get there, don’t be afraid. Pay no attention to those on social media who mock you for reaching out to others, who predict your inevitable failure, who criticize you for even trying…for taking that one-in-ten-thousand chance. I wish those kinds of people didn’t exist, but our world today just seems to bring out the worst in some people. And those the rest of us have to be better, stronger, and more confident.
Just remember that “you can’t” is NOT what Star Trek is about. Don’t believe in the no-win scenario. Believe in yourself and in your dreams. That’s what I did, and look at what happened.