Tom Parker, an alumni, volunteer, supporter, and now board member, shares his NWDoc story.
My name is Tom Parker. I’ve met many of you through my roles as student, volunteer, member, supporter and, most recently, board member at NW Documentary. Even if we haven’t met, we share a common bond in that we’ve all been inspired by the NW Doc mission. As 2010 draws to a close, I wanted to share with you how much NW Doc has meant to me. I wanted to tell you a story.
I have, for as long as I can remember, wanted to be a filmmaker. In elementary school I was already keeping notes about favorite directors and films. I spent much of high school shooting Super-8 film, cutting and splicing and showing my DIY movies to anyone who would watch them. By the end of my first semester of college, however, I had been swayed by practical advice and was on my way to getting a very sensible education. I graduated, got a good job and my days were probably like most peoples’: I typed on a computer. I worked up some spreadsheets. I sat in a lot of meetings.
Last year I came across a NW Documentary course catalog that had been left in a restaurant. When I saw the DIY Documentary course, I said to myself, “I really need to do this.” Other DIY Doc alumni all know what happens next — it’s a whirlwind. A mad dash to the finish line. Less than four months later, I’m in a packed house at the Mission watching a film I made on the big screen. There was some laughing and cheering. It was an incredible night.
Since then I’ve taken my DIY Documentary project to some film festivals, received a rave review in a San Francisco monthly, been asked to screen it for some special events and I have started work on a feature documentary project. I like to imagine that somewhere my eight-year-old self is making a note in a notebook.
NW Documentary has produced hundreds of stories like mine. People come here for all kinds of reasons — because they need to pass on a family story, spread the word about a cause they’re passionate about, learn new skills or recapture childhood dreams. No matter what their motivation, it’s an experience people never forget. You are forever part of the NW Documentary family. I think we all know how special NW Documentary is.
We are now in the final two weeks of Willamette Week’s annual Give!Guide. Give!Guide will be NW Documentary’s biggest fundraising efforts this year. As a fellow alumni and member, I wanted to ask everyone to make a contribution. Many of you already have — many, many thanks to those of you who have already backed us! With the generous support from alumni and NW Doc friends so far, we’ve risen within the category of arts non-profits. We’re now vying for second place! This is a great show of support for NW Documentary in the Portland art scene; but with your help, we can meet last year’s giving level of $8,000. If everyone gave just $10, we would meet that goal. If we all donate just $25, NW Documentary would leap into the top ten of all Portland non-profits!
We have a big year planned for 2011. Your donations will help NW Documentary continue to provide quality classes, expand outreach efforts, and purchase new equipment. Please join me in donating today!