“Every bookshelf needs to have a book about a woman who decides to walk around a country with a donkey and then does it!” Keith
“Reading your blogs through tears – will miss your wonderful photography, lyrical writing and reading about your and Chico’s journey.” Heather
“Unplugging from this crazy world is a hoped-for dream of my own. Keep on inspiring us dreamers!” Nancy
Following our return, I ran a crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter which was hugely successful and ended 25% over budget, raising £35,000.
The Kickstarter pitch
This film was made by my partner, filmmaker and part-time co-walker Rhys Thwaites-Jones. The rest of the pitch, including the rewards I set, can be seen on the Kickstarter site here.
Endorsements and press
The campaign was chosen as a Kickstarter staff pick – an elusive and lucrative honour, meaning that amongst the thousands of submitted projects it had caught the eye of their staff. They made it the Project of the Day, and on that day the total went up by 10%, as another 70 backers pledged money.
The campaign was featured widely in all sorts of media, from radio to national newspapers, magazines, blogs, and the Upworthy film sharing platform. All of these appearances were organised by me, and I wrote a lot of the content myself, including both sides of interviews!
One of the greatest successes of the campaign was the film I made especially to catch the eye of Upworthy, a site that finds and shares inspiring videos. I watched dozens to see what sort of thing they liked, then wrote a poem about the resourcefulness and simplicity of the walk, recorded it on the beach in Aberystwyth, and Rhys added some of our best photos to it. I sent it to Upworthy, and they liked it, and shared it to their 5m Facebook fans, as well as on Twitter and their website and newsletter, with less than 24 hours left to go of my campaign.
The total raised leaped up by nearly £9000, with an extra 250 backers. I didn’t eat or sleep, and I’m not sure I’ve fully recovered yet.
Here’s the super successful film we made for Upworthy:
The book and film
Once the excitement had died down, it just remained to make the feature-length film and write the book, a full-time 18-month project. Going it alone meant managing the whole process, employing and commissioning over 20 people for various stages, from the literary editor and film editor, musicians, a typesetter, cover designers, a map animator, etc. I also had to learn to do a lot myself, like filming aerial footage with a drone, buying an ISBN, making ebooks, all of the conventions of book design, the various processes of the edit suite etc. It has been a vast double project. And it’s not quite over yet…