I spent much of today in a couple of meetings concerning an up-and-coming local film organization. At some point I realized how often I was using the word “community.” So, instead of blogging about the events of today (perhaps a topic for a later date), I’d like to address another issue facing the San Antonio film community.
They are hurting financially, and they need your help.
As many people know, I rent a desk at this, the first co-working space in town. I became a member when they first opened their doors just over a year and a half ago. Todd O’Neill and his wife Debbie Curtis have worked tirelessly to make C4 a unique space, not only in which people work, but also a magnet for community events. They have always put the needs and desires of their membership front and center. The idea is that C4 becomes what it needs to become. We’ve seen residents and members come and go. There have been an architect, casting agent, fashion designer, photographers, web designers, artists, non-profit organizations, filmmakers, public relation folks, authors, and a slew of miscellaneous entrepreneurs.
The community space has hosted graduation parties, film screenings, art openings, actor mixers, hobby groups, fashion shows, fundraisers, professional development seminars, and even the occasional game night. Oh, and who can forget the more adult-themed evening of the traveling Bike Porn film festival? That was pretty cool.
If San Antonio freelancers and those working in the arts and associated creative industries don’t know about C4 Workspace, I suspect that they are a minority. Todd and Debbie have amazed me on the comprehensive out-reach they’ve done to individuals, companies, organizations, and various institutions across the county.
But these are tough economic times. I’ve seen many a full-time and part-time C4 resident pack up and leave. True, I’ve heard Todd, on many occasions, explaining that he’s happy with the idea of a resident becoming so successful that his or her business has out-grown the space. But that’s not the case with most of those who’ve left. The common story is that the optimistic new entrepreneur or freelancer has come to the cold hard fact that this current economy is so stagnant he or she has to crawl back to that corporate world.
Self-employment can be a bitch. I certainly know this.
And, perhaps, some might shrug and place Todd and Debbie in the same category. Dreamers with unreasonable expectations. But the difference here is that they have opened their doors and their hearts to so many different communities here in San Antonio.
I know that the art community has benefited hugely from C4. All you painters, sculptures, filmmakers, photographers, dancers, actors, musicians, etc., who have enjoyed use of the space for free or at a deeply discounted rate, now is your time to give back.
And how many people have attended functions put on by community and activist groups? Chances are those event organizers enjoyed a wonderful sweetheart deal when it came to securing the venue. So, all you freaks, bohos, vegans, locavores, queers, greens, lefties, raw foodists, home brewers, and purveyors of bicycle-themed erotica, stand up and help out your pals at C4 Workspace in their moment of need. If the doors stay open, you know that those doors will always be open for you.
So, back to community. I’m at the point in my life where I’ve come to realize that I squander too much of my energy and time on helping self-centered narcissists realize their pathetic dreams (with me, it’s mostly providing assistance to aesthetically clueless individuals as they conspire to foist their puerile video projects on a generally innocent public — and I’m slowly forcing myself to say “no” when asked to come out and play … particularly when asked by those folks who I know damn well won’t come out and play when I ask).
So, I now say “fuck off” to all ego-driven projects. I only want to be involved with people who understand and respect the word “community.” Members of a community give. They might luckily find themselves in situations where others are giving to them, but the definition of community is all tied up in this notion of giving.
I willingly and happily give to several communities. I often help out fellow filmmakers. And then there’s the larger art and cultural community. I sit on boards and do committee work as a volunteer for several organizations. And I honestly can’t count the number of times I’ve volunteered my video and audio services to arts and cultural organizations. When educators I know need my help, I’m there. If my neighbors and friends need anything from me, I ask no probing questions — just a prefatory “where” and “what” and “when.”
I would like to think that most of my friends and colleagues are similarly inclined. So, I implore those who are reading this, please give to C4 Workspace. First, head over and check out the website to get a better understanding of who they are and what they do. Hell, who we are and what we do.
Click over to www.c4workspace.com
You can help one or more ways.
Make a donation on their website. (I did earlier this evening. It was quick and painless, and I feel the better for doing so.)
Attend one or all of the up-coming fund-raising events. The first one will be food, drinks, and burlesque (’cause everyone loves burlesque, no matter what they say) — this will happen Saturday, Jan. 22nd, at C4 Workspace. 8 – 11 pm. Ten bucks gets you a great evening! Start your community action day by attending the SA2020 meeting, and end it with sweet decadence at C4. You can keep up with these cool events by connecting with the C4 Workspace FaceBook page.
And, perhaps, most importantly, help C4 continue and sustain it’s great work by becoming a member. Or become a resident. The website will explain what this entails.
This concludes my PSA.