FEBRUARY 21st, 2017
From a busy and cold New York, where we are currently shooting scenes for “Groomed,” I wanted to share some news and ask you a question!
The teaser is out!
The moment is finally here: I am ready to share Groomed’s first teaser with you all! Summarizing the film in 3 minutes (from ~80 hours of footage) was quite the task: it felt daunting, exciting, and surprising all at once. In this process, re-watching some of the footage was difficult at first – seeing the scene where I am finding the letters from my offender, for example, felt like going through it all over again. But over time it got easier, which allowed me to look at the footage with a bit more distance.
Asking for your help: financing
We have shot the majority of our footage and are now entering the post-production phase. We recently hired our editor, who has started working on the film full-time. And while starting post-production is exciting, it also means we need a lot of additional support and resources to finish the film. Fundraising is our highest priority right now, which is where I am asking for your help. You can help me in any of the following ways:
- Donate to groomed. Anything helps!
- Forward this email to anyone who might be interested to donate or invest
- Introduce me to your contacts, who you think might be interested in investing in the film.
I really hope you enjoy it - please let me know what you think! Also, I ask that you please do not share the teaser on any social media, because I’m not yet feeling ready to go fully public with my story. Thank you all so much for your continued support.
DECEMBER 9TH, 2016
Hi my dear friends, family and supporters,
First of all, a warm welcome to everyone who’s new to this list. Thank you for joining me on this ride.
As “Groomed” continues to become more of a reality, I wanted to share a recent update with all of you. Earlier this week, Stanford’s nondisclosure magazine published an article I wrote about my journey – from a Talk at Stanford 5 years ago all the way until my experience today, making Groomed.
To be honest with you all, I was terrified for this article to go public. My fiancé Laurens had to push the “send” button, because I just wasn’t able to. This was my first time sharing this experience with such a broad audience, and it made me feel very exposed. But at the same time, I know I need to get used to this. If I want to make a difference with this story, I need to get out there. As scary as that is.
The initial response to my article in these past 72 hours has been overwhelming, uplifting, and heartbreaking– all at the same time. Family and friends reached out to console me and cheer me on. Individuals that were part of my story reached out in full support, some able to fill in gaps in my own memory. And, perhaps most importantly, complete strangers reached out to share their stories. This is exactly why we are doing what we are doing, even though weeks like this can be difficult.
Here is a link to the article. If you are interested, I hope you can take a moment to read it, and feel free to share on social media. Thank you all again for all your support.
OCTOBER 19TH, 2016
Hi my dear friends, family, and supporters,
6 months ago, I embarked on a lifelong dream - creating my first long-form documentary. This has been an incredibly personal and rewarding experience for me so far and because of that, I want to share my journey with all of you.
“Groomed” is a feature-length documentary on sexual assault, especially focusing on a psychological process called grooming, which offenders use with their victims (for more information on grooming, see below). Even 6 months ago, because of my own experience with assault, this was an issue I couldn’t talk about for more than 10 minutes. The research process for the film has made this a little easier week-by-week, which has reminded me of a moving experience I had when I shared my story with friends and classmates in business school during an event called "Talk". That evening, 4 classmates told me the same thing had happened to them. I received more than 50 letters in the weeks that followed, filled with stories that impacted my classmates and their loved ones. The statistics suddenly became very real: 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men in the US are a survivor of assault. It inspired me to give these men and women a voice.
We’ve already moved mountains producing “Groomed.” Our crew just returned from a full week of filming in Holland, where we focused on capturing my own story. While it was amazing being back in my hometown with my family, I felt a deep heaviness inside me, too. While I experienced this heaviness as a person and subject in the film, it’s been a juggling act divorcing this feeling from being a director. Talking about my story with my dad for only the second time in 20 years, while also focusing on the lighting of the scene, is a hard mindset to balance. Even more difficult was directing myself, especially since the emotions I experienced as a subject in the film were considerably different than what I expected. This has allowed the narrative to evolve in ways I could not have imagined. In the end, we captured 820GB of footage, which we’re currently processing and cutting into our first teaser (coming very soon!).
I’m also excited to announce that “Groomed” will be produced under my new production company yellow dot films (our logo, designed by Adam Ho, is below). This entire effort has only been possible with the support from my tremendous crew. They provide unwavering support and wisdom as I approach my first film. With each newsletter, we plan to introduce a member in our “Crew’s Corner” column. This week you’ll meet Mo, my talented Director of Photography.
Last but not least, I want to thank you for all of your heartfelt support throughout this process. I am so fortunate and grateful to be surrounded by such amazing friends, family, and supporters. I hope to connect with you soon, and keep your eyes out for our first teaser!