OK... so I realise I'm doing this at the worst possible moment. My timing has always been impeccable, after all. I mean, can you imagine spending hours and hours over a period of a good couple of months getting a big crowdfunding campaign together and when your launch week finally rolls around, a huge pandemic pops up and sends the world into lockdown causing all your friends and family lose their jobs? I would've happily placed bets on that not happening, but there it is! So I completely understand people not being able to help out right now, and the last thing I want to do is make anyone feel guilty or obligated to part with their hard-earned moolah when you have no idea when your next paycheck is coming in.
However, my time is running out to get this funding together so I still need to do what I can to make this work and that means acting now. Postponing would probably be the most effective option but it sadly can't wait as I've already had an extension for extenuating circumstances and they can't do anything else- I'm fortunate to have already gotten two thirds of the way through my first year without paying anything!
Having said all that, I have confidence that some of the rewards will help people as they are heavily discounted and many will likely be things that people are looking for, so please do have a gander! There are things like tuition, consultations, wedding photography/videography, website design and so much more!
PLEASE NOTE: With the constant changes to everyone's circumstances, please do view the 'fulfilment dates' on the rewards as estimations only. If there is a specific date you're looking for a reward to be delivered by, contact me first and I will check with the person who donated it that it is possible before you donate.
So first off, I'm Emmeline. Here's my mug:
I just want to start by thanking you so much for taking the time to visit my Crowdfunder page- I realise this is a very difficult thing to raise money for as so many people are struggling to live at the moment, never mind pay for expensive education costs... for someone else!
I've written everything below and tried to be as transparent as I can, but if you have any questions regarding my situation or any of the rewards, or if you have any suggestions, please feel free to get in touch!
So... let's get down to the nitty gritty...
As I'm sure some of you may already be aware (as I screamed it quite aggressively from the rooftops), I was thrilled to finally start drama school training in September after years of hard graft, lots of rejections and tears, and financial struggle to pay for all the auditions, travel and cake (that was required for each knock back).
I’m in my second term already (out of 6) and I’m loving every minute- the challenges, the knowledge, the skills, the people and the opportunity of just being able to get up and do it every single day. It's exhausting, it's hard but it is an absolute dream come true for me (- see our wonderful MA/MFA cohort pictured below!).
However, I’m currently struggling to focus on a lot of my school work due to financial stress. In the week I started the course, the sponsorship I’d been working on fell through as well as another funding opportunity I’d been holding out for. I went ahead with the course anyway as by this point, I’d met my course mates, my tutors and I’d already waited so long and.. well.. I'm proactive, I'm relentless and I’d funded films before, so why should this be different? Right? .. Wrong.. as it goes.
I spent the next few months, while training, writing numerous letters and applications to various different trust funds and charities who give scholarships, grants or bursaries for students, but none have been successful- mostly due to the fact I’m:
a) over 25
b) a postgraduate
c) doing a course in performance
I have the postgraduate loan which is £10k split over the two years and just about covers my rent, but the Career Development Loan, which was available while I was auditioning, was scrapped last February. I’ve also sent plenty of personal letters, taken on as much work as I can (which, alongside a course that already consumes about 40-60 hours a week depending on homework, is a bit much) and tried some other fundraising options.. but will spare those details for now.
The university my school is part of has notified me that they will be applying restrictions to my accounts with them soon which will prevent me from entering the building and taking part in my classes. I desperately need to get my first year of fees together which is £10,100. Yes I need to get my second year’s fees together too but I have the summer to work/fundraise and there are a few small scholarships and bursaries available for final year students that I have applied for. I've set the goal of this campaign as £5,000 because I'm trying to be realistic, and I believe this amount will buy me some more time with the university, but the ultimate end-game for the whole course is £20,700.
So, with all this in mind, I’ve put together this Crowdfunder to see if I can raise some fees through donations. I hate begging people for money and always hoped I could fix this myself, but I really cannot just stand back and watch this opportunity pass me by when I've worked so long and hard to get here, so wanted to give it a go.
A couple of wonderful friends (both extremely talented actors, as it goes!) have very kindly taken the time to say a few words in support of my appeal.
^Helen Grady is an actor and acting tutor who has taught at Oxford School of Drama and E15. She is also an adjudicator member of the British and International Federation of Festivals specialising in speech and drama.
^Adei Bundy is an actor and has recently graduated with an MA in Acting from ArtsEd. Before that, she and I worked together frequently over about six years during our time at The Actors Workshop Nottingham. Projects we worked on include films 'Cadence', 'After Party', '10 Ways' and more, as well as an Actors Workshop Nottingham original play 'Sasquatch'.
There are actually a few ways you could help out if you are feeling generous, and I will be eternally grateful if you could do any of them!
1) Donate to the campaign. I mean, this one's kinda obvious, but yeah- anything you can spare at all would be an immense help and very encouraging, even if it's a fiver. Tesco really know what they're talking about when they say Every Little Helps! I love Tesco. There are even some lovely rewards down the side that you can choose from when you're making your donation as well!
2) Donate a Reward. As you can see, some very skilled and kind friends have already been extremely generous by donating their time and offering up a service or a product as a reward. Even after the campaign has launched, I can still add rewards so if you have anything you're able to donate- please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
3) Share the campaign. I know this one is tricky as your friends and followers don't know me and therefore.. why would they help? I don't know... firstly, they might? (God, this is so different to funding a film or a project!) Secondly, one of the rewards might really help them. And thirdly, sharing might help it reach our mutual friends as well as increase the traffic on my original posts, which may bump it up on timelines.
4) Comment/like posts about it. Same as above, interacting with my posts helps to bump it up on other peoples' newsfeeds!
5) No negativity please! I want to contribute to the working class voice on our stages and screens to help represent our demographic and get past this elitism that prevents people with no money from living the lives they want. I hope that’s a good enough answer to questions like “Why should we give you money so you can have a job you love?” or “Why would people pay for you to be an actor when the world needs more doctors, nurses and police?" If this isn't sufficient, I'm afraid I don't know what to tell you, but please, please do keep any negativity about this campaign away at this time!
I’ve loved performing since I was very small and acting has always been something I’ve dreamed of pursuing professionally. Since starting a degree in Media Production 9 years ago, I’ve acted in what must be well over 100 screen projects by now, including short films, corporate videos, indie features, music videos and more. I’ve also been attending acting workshops every Wednesday evening for nearly six years at The Actors Workshop Nottingham as well as going to numerous networking events, including one I have been running every month for five years called Nexus Cast & Crew Network (photo below!).
Then, four years ago as I began auditioning for drama schools, I started writing and producing my own films to provide myself with acting opportunities, experiences and roles I wouldn’t otherwise have. I’ve since produced numerous corporate videos, a music video and ten short films including ‘Cadence’, which was produced with the AA Charitable Trust as part of their national driver distraction campaign in 2016-17. It was broadcast on Sky TV and featured in national newspapers and online news platforms, including the Telegraph, Daily Mail and ITV News, harnessing over approximately 1 million views.
'Keep Breathing', my most recent project made in Partnership with Women's Work Derbyshire, was completed in August 2019 and was backed by BFI NETWORK, Lottery Funding, Derby City Council and 221 Crowdfunder donations. The film explores the nuances around sexual consent, and has screened at numerous festivals including the prestigious BFI London Film Festival and Underwire Festival. It recently won three awards at the Midlands Movies Awards, including Best Short Film and Best Screenplay (photo below!). I co-wrote, produced and acted in the film, which earned me a place on the BFI NETWORK x BAFTA Crew development programme 2019-20.
This training is enabling me to not only adapt my skills for the stage (as I'm so keen to move into some theatre work) but also help me to take risks and make stronger choices, utilise my voice and body to its full capacity and develop my confidence which has been a huge hindrance to me for some time now.
I'm truly proud of everything I've achieved so far, but feel like I need to take the next step in my career, and that’s only possible with your help! Thanks again!