The Metal Road film project officially began with funding from ITVS Diversity Development and Arizona Humanities. It could not have been started any other way. These two organizations supported us from the jump. And with this help we set about to learn more about Navajo railroaders and why we are not finding anything about them in text books.
Over the next few years we will drive thousands of miles, film at odd hours of the day, get turned away from countless railroad museums, play the great Waylon Jennings’ songs, and meet some of the hardest working people that you can imagine and not because they work on the railroad.
But how does a documentary project from an independent producer happen, you ask? It all starts with a some kind of personal written proposal that morphs into a project proposal. In my short and limited experience, people are not mind readers and need the written passionate word. You can think up the best ideas and plans but until they are written down and sent off to be read, evaluated, critiqued, and approved or rejected it will stay in the ether. And it totally depends on the readers and their mood and political views, etc.
So have heart and love your project even when no one else does. We took the same project and edited it to suit the criteria for several funding organizations and get denied repeatedly. But we were extremely lucky too. That’s when this film really happened.