Radical Transparency: A Beautiful Thing

As a storyteller, I’m fascinated by how knowledge is shared and communities form. I’m constantly listening, problem-solving, and creating with the work that I do, and it’s a privilege to do so. I’ve produced my own Barcelona music web series, documented an oral history of Afro-Peruvian elders, and had my work recognized as a White House South by South Lawn nominee. At 23 years old, I’m excited to see what I’ll do next. And it appears other people are too.

A common question I hear about my projects is “how did you do that?” I’m going to show you just how I did that, I’m bringing transparency to independent filmmaking.

February 2017 marks the beginning of Beautiful Things, a queer intergenerational love story. The film follows Mona and Hazel, with a romance nuanced by motherhood, young adulthood and a Brooklyn backdrop. My team and I are using our Kickstarter campaign to fund the piece, but also as a way to inspire other creators to build their own projects. We’re doing it all through intentional transparency. Every dollar we spend goes on our public budget where everyone online can see it.

If the world can see how production spends its money, it’ll keep us accountable to our mission and to our supporters. An open access budget also gives other filmmakers a guideline to jump start their own scripts. I’m very fortunate to be in this field, and my access is the result of hard-working parents, Emmy-award winning mentors, years navigating the Brooklyn independent filmmaking scene, and a bit of well-timed fearlessness. It’s time to pay it forward, because I want to support as much inclusive storytelling as I can.

Not only is our team releasing our spending, we’re also posting filmmaking tips on our official Facebook page. If you’ve ever wanted to see what goes into a production or the difference between a DP, PA, and an AD, we’ve got you. And we’re giving it to you from a team led by queer people, women and people of color. If we’re not answering the question on your mind, feel free to message us. We want to hear your voice.

This work is a token of our gratitude, from us to our community that supports us. The Beautiful Things crew believes in the power of deciding to tell your own stories. So let’s make together, let’s learn together. We’re going on an incredible journey with this film, and will support other creators to do the same.

This article originally appeared on medium.com

By Paige Polk

Paige Polk is a queer Black filmmaker and visual activist based in Brooklyn. With projects in the US and abroad, Paige is unpacking gender, heritage, and sexuality with multimedia storytelling. They're a White House South by South Lawn Nominee, Wagoner Foreign Travel fellow, and Anthropology graduate from Rice University. In work and life, Paige is exploring where the political and the creative coexist.