Kickstarter and beyond
Kickstarter and beyond
Kickstarter…one of the more stressful experiences in my time at SBL, but also one of the more rewarding.
The work for Kickstarter kicked off in earnest in early April, with most of the SBL team working seconded to work exclusively on Being ManKind. This was brilliant for me, as, currently being a department of one, I don’t really get the opportunity to work in a team with the rest of the guys; wait, that made me sound kind of pathetic and pitiful, as though I’m a Billy-no-mates who doesn’t spend time with the rest of the team. That’s not what I meant at all! What I mean is that because SBL Arts is in its infancy I’ve been writing plays and screenplays to develop further down the line (I’m not lonely and the other departments all hang out with me). Anyway, I just made this feel awkward, so I’ll press on. It was brilliant to work with Beez, Konnaire, Priya, Jenny, Joe and Darsh, and to work to deadlines. Everyone pulled together and just worked flat out for the month, not least Darshan who, in a feat of superhuman strength seemed to plan and run the whole campaign on about 2 hours’ sleep a night and tea. The man is an inspiration and I can speak for all of us when I say that we’d have come nowhere remotely close to realising our funding target without him.
The most perfect example of this was on our final weekend, when we attended a conference hosted by Simmons and Simmons for “We Are Future Leaders”. Being ManKind had a stall in the break-out area, where we could speak to delegates while they were having coffee and introduce them to our mission.
Darshan took the opportunity to speak on the platform in the conference itself for 1 minute. I’m sorry to say I didn’t get to hear his speech, (I was manning the stall and definitely not skiving) but what he said was so powerful, so moving and inspirational that every single delegate came over to speak to us and pledge to Being ManKind. So much so that we raised £10,000 in that day alone, going some way towards helping us realise our £75,000 target.
£75,000. A huge target. One that a lot of people didn’t think we could achieve. But through the incredible support of the Being ManKind community, our super supporters who spread the word about Being ManKind at every opportunity, we made it; in a month where we had 2 Bank Holidays and the Easter holidays, which adversely affected our momentum, somehow, through a Herculean effort (Darshan), we got across that finish line having raised £76,500. An incredible result and one that we are immensely proud of and indebted to our wonderful community.
So what does this all mean? Well, for starters there will be a second print run of Being Mankind: Volume 1, Priya and Jenny are collecting stories for Volume 2. I’ve been transcribing a couple of the stories and can safely say that the guys involved are amazing human beings whose stories are just mind-blowing. You’ll know what I mean when you read them but trust me when I say you’ll be moved, humbled and blown away by these guys and we are truly proud and incredibly lucky to have them involved.
The guys are also going into Pentonville Prison with lesson plans devised from Volume 1, speaking to prisoners, while we may be developing a project with Saracens Rugby Club for sportsmen and mental health awareness. On top of all of this we are trying to get on Good Morning Britain for a good, old fashioned discussion with Piers Morgan to challenge his views on masculinity, feminism and mental health. In the words of another obnoxious irritant from television, Scrappy Do, “let me at ‘im…”
I mentioned this earlier, but we couldn’t have done any of this without the support of everyone who has championed Being ManKind from the start and who has helped us so determinedly along the way. Everyone who has spread the word, liked and shared articles we posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, who pledged – it didn’t matter if it was £1 or £1000, to give anything was just so generous and we cannot thank you enough for your support. Basically everyone who has supported us and who believes in what we’re doing, you make the difference and we are indebted to you. A huge thank you to you all.
Right, I’m off to sit on my own and write something with all my pals in my department of one and definitely not make things weird. Nope. No way. No siree. Nothing to see here…