In 2006, PBS green lighted my production of “The Neon Man and Me,” to become a special. There was one stipulation. I had to raise the money myself to produce and film the show. The price tag was $65,000. At that point, although I'd been making my living as an artist off and on for years, the most money I've ever made in a year as an artist was about $17,000. My first words were, “No problem.”
As a Leo I tend to have a little too much courage sometimes, seeing myself as I want to be rather than as I am.
My first plan to get the money would fail miserably. I sent letters off to First Market Bank, Ukrops, Golds Gym (which is featured in my show - so I figured they'd be a shoe-in), our local Food Lion and Kroger. Waited. Waited and Waited some more. Chirp...chirp. I never heard back from some. Others sent me a standard rejection letter.
I decided to take matters into my own hands. I created an Action Plan for both the creation of a documentary film and then a subsequent tour through living rooms. I got the idea from, musician Kyle Vincent and my friend Noah's sister, Mica Scalin.
I then went to work. I found a film student off Craigslist who would shoot the film in exchange for exposure, and after learning how to edit the video myself, and making a 30-minute DVD, I set up the Living Room Tour for the documentary film entitled, “Glow.”.
The idea for my Living Room Tour for Glow was simple. I asked my friends and local fans if anyone was interested in hosting the film in their house or apartment. Hosts would invite over 10-15 guests who would donate $10 - $25 to watch the film. After the film, I would discuss what I was doing, perform a selection from my show and provide a Q&A.
Over the course of nine months, besides my regular tour, I ended up spending every Thursday - Sunday in a living room.It wasn’t exactly easy. I was touring with the documentary film alongside my other tour. Every weekend for nearly nine months, I was taking the DVD into a new living room and watching it on a television with various hosts and their friends.
During that time, I also continued my media goals, landing my quest in the news every chance I got. As a result, PBS was so impressed with my desire to succeed, that they lowered the amount they were requiring me to raise. By nearly 3/4's. Wow!