A letter to my Friends, Family and Colleagues,

I would like to share a story with you.

I’ve been working on a project for several months now and it’s time to share it with the world. It’s entitled, Always in Hope.

The story is about life with rare disease. While the diseases themselves are considered rare, one in ten Americans has or will develop a rare disease, and then encounter a 95% likelihood of zero treatment. That equates to over 30 million people in the US alone; more than cancer and AIDS combined. Approximately half of them are children and 30% of these kids won’t live to see their 5th birthday.  Always in Hope is an unprecedented account of the “rare” experience as told by the patients, parents, caregivers and advocates themselves.

While I’ve been making documentaries for nearly 30 years now, this one represents a first for me. That being the case, it’s a bit scary to dive into such a venture...but hey, no guts, no glory right?

The thing that gives me the courage to do so is I really believe that this project is meant to be. I believe it needs to be.

The single most difficult part of making documentary projects is funding them. In the past, you had to “ask permission” from one of a handful of distributors… the Discovery Channels, History Channels, public television stations, or other TV outlets of the world. Chances were slim to none that you would get a green light and actually have the opportunity to make your project. Over the years my colleagues and I have developed and pitched hundreds of projects. And thankfully, we’ve succeeded in making a number of them.

And now, it’s time to pitch this project. But rather than pitch it to some TV exec somewhere whose decision making is based exclusively on ratings, for the first time ever, I’m pitching Always in Hope to the audience directly. That is the scary part. Why? Because the opinion of this audience; the one that will be interested in, and benefit from, this project, is far more important that the opinion of any TV exec. 

What makes this possible, is the advent of something called “crowdfunding”. While you may or may not know this term, it’s essentially the process by which a project gets made through the efforts of a community of supporters. This group of people participate in the making of the project through financial pledges and/or community support, through words of encouragement and generating awareness for the project.

So why me and why this subject? 

Three years ago I had the honor and privilege of making Here. Us. Now., a film about a parent’s fight to save the lives of their twin daughters who had been diagnosed with a debilitating and deadly rare disease. The film opened my eyes to this “not-so-rare” aspect of the human condition.  Now, given my experience with both documentaries and this particular subject matter, it seems to me that Always in Hope has chosen me as much as I have chosen the project. So my hope is that my energy and desire to produce this film mixed together with a lot of good people’s support, is the recipe to make an extraordinary piece of work that can help a great many people.  

Always in Hope is an ambitious project.  It requires the resources to take a crew around the country to engage with the rare community and meet patients and caregivers, doctors and researchers, inventors and entrepreneurs, policy-makers and advocates. Quite frankly, a film of this scale about this subject has never been made. Which is exactly why we need to make it.

The key to the project’s success at this point is quite simply, awareness.  Based on historical data for projects funded in this way, we need roughly 3,600 backers at a variety of levels ranging from $10 - $1000 each with the vast majority being $100 or less.  

Now I don’t even know 3,600 people so the way I see this working is based on everyone’s “circle of influence”. You have one. I have one. Everyone has one. For some it may be only a handful of people. For others, it could be thousands. If you’re a parent, certainly your influence extends to your family, your children, your friends, your church or other groups with whom you engage. If you’re a business professional, your circle is probably a bit larger as it also extends to your colleagues, customers, shareholders, etc. If you’re in the public light as an entertainer, politician, artist or speaker, your circle of influence is likely even larger and includes your entire fan-base, from local to national and perhaps even international.

So if I may respectfully ask a favor, I’d very much appreciate it if you would take a few minutes and look at the rest of the project’s website so you can better understand the story and how it's going to get made. Then, if it strikes a chord with you, I’d also like to ask that you share it with those who are in your circle of influence. And of course, I’d love it if you would show your support by also backing the project on Kickstarter.com beginning on March 14th. You can do so for as little as $10 or as much as $10,000. In addition to knowing that you’re playing an important role in the making of Always in Hope, there are also some "friends in hope" perks for doing so as listed on our Kickstarter.com campaign page.

We are just getting started with social media as it’s taken this long to get all the other materials produced for the campaign. That being the case, there is not much out there yet but from this point forward, we will be publishing daily updates and interesting info as we want everyone to be a part of the journey. So if you would be so kind, please like, follow, tweet, pin or whatever you would like to do as we grow our Always in Hope community. You will find the project on facebook, instagram, pinterest, twitter and youtube. Simply search for alwaysinhope.

Thank you so very much for your time to read this. If you have any questions or would like to see a preview of the Kickstarter campaign before the March 14th launch date, please email me and I will answer and/or give you the link.

In closing, I’d like to share with you an interesting quote that I heard the other day. I think it’s an omen because Always in Hope fulfills the quote’s criteria.

Always in Hope,

Rudy Poe