Filmmaker Chad Amour Reflects on the Friendraiser


By Chad Amour

Filmmaking for me is an exercise in stewardship. A process of valuing the relationships that form as you piece together an idea. First, as you develop the project. Then with those who surround you as you shoot the film. Next with those you collaborate with to construct the film. And finally, with the film’s audience.  

Each of these steps is adventure in rediscovering the original idea for the film. A real gift for those folks who get to ride along throughout the entire process of concocting a film.  

So while in a post-partum funk after spending 5 years engaged in directing “The Evidence of Hope” three new film concepts slowly began to trickle in.  

(All working titles mind you…)

The Reins of Liberty

Drop Makers


I wanted to find a way to expand the community of people who get to walk along the entire process of filmmaking.  I don’t want to limit the amount of folks that could experience each phase of discovery. 

So I had me a bit of a daydream in which there was a community of 10,000 folks who I could invite into the journey of each film.  I knew that I wanted this gaggle of folks to have a place in each leg of the filmmaking. Pre-Production: creating dialogue and resources for the filmmakers to make the film. Production: have the community experience the shoot as we share insights while gathering up footage. Post-Production: Get valuable input into the creative decision-making. Distribution: Host community-sourced screenings and help develop curriculum and dialogue.  

I was mentioning this idea to pal of mine. She asked me how I was going to rally together such a community? After a few shrugs and stammers, she told me about this group that hosted “friendraisers” for folks/ideas that they deemed possible of contributing something positive to the world at large.  And nudged me to check it out.  

So a google search and a few emails later I found myself sitting merrily across a table at a coffee shop from Midtown’s Tim Schuster. After connecting a few dots and realizing that I had done a home screening of my first documentary in his dude-filled apartment five years prior, I laid on him my idea for pulling together this filmmaking community. Whether he sincerely liked the idea or believed me to be someone worthy of humoring, Tim offered for Midtown to throw me a friendraiser!  


A couple months later I found myself in a room of folks present to help brainstorm the how’s and what’s to building this group of 10,000. Live music. Snacks. A lively introduction and moderated chit chat with Tim led into a wonderfully creative and unpredictable time of ideation. Folks gabbed, recorded, posted and verbalized a slew of thoughts about ways I might be able to conjure up my 10k crew.  

It was so affirming to have the chance to set the idea out in front of folks known and otherwise. To give me an opportunity to verbalize what I’m passionate about. To hear encouraging words. To be challenged. I felt equipped to move forward. And much like the Grinch’s heart the idea grew three sizes that day.

This was entirely a gift. I’m so grateful for the support of Midtown and all the folks who ventured out to the friendraiser. May Midtown live for a 1,000 years.

We're really grateful for the collaboration with Chad and Humdinger Pictures. The eBook we created further tells the story of this event and our Friendraiser process. Check it out today.