Local photographer and videographer Taylor Jackson launched his Startup Community documentary project on Monday.
Jackson travels for his work, shooting locations around the world.
Now he is turning his lens on his hometown – specifically the tech community.
“There is just something amazing happening around town that I think we all take for granted here, and we don’t really notice it until you go away and come back,” Jackson says.
Born and raised in Cambridge, Jackson started his photography career by taking photos of friends who were in the music industry, and trying to get the photos into magazines.
From there, he made the transition to weddings. Every weekend, he meets new people at a special moment in their lives and gets to tell their stories.
Jackson has done short films, but his look at the region’s startup community is his first documentary.
Inspired by the startups and entrepreneurs in Waterloo Region, Jackson and his team want to uncover what drives innovation and collaboration here.
Jackson has chosen video as his way to capture the story of the local tech community.
“Through written word, you can kind of get an idea; but I find even with photography that it tells some stories [well], but video tells energy and emotion and it’s the best medium to convey that,” Jackson says.
Like most entrepreneurs, Jackson is ambitious. The making of this documentary is no exception.
He plans to have this project completed by early September, as he has his sights set on getting it into the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The festival is in January 2014.
The project is similar to a startup, in that it begins as an idea that needs to be funded and then executed. To fund it, just like many technology startups, crowdfunding is being used to raise the capital required to complete it.
Jackson strategically chose crowdfunding, as it made sense from a marketing approach and as an opportunity for the community to share in the project.
“When people have a sense of ownership over something that really connects them to a project . . . it’s something they’re connected to and they want to see it succeed, and they want to see it through to fruition,” says Lindsay Coulter, one of Jackson’s team members on the project.
The community can support this project in a number of ways: backing it financially, submitting startup stories on the project website, or simply sharing it across social media.
“Just sharing it is the main thing . . . once it’s released it’s going to just be something for the community,” Jackson says.
“If an entrepreneur wants to be, ‘Hey, this is where I’m from,’ here’s a 30-minute talk about everything you can’t say to a person.”
People who support the project will receive a copy of the documentary when it is completed and submitted to Sundance.
The project is well underway; in 24 hours of launch it had attracted nearly 50 financial backers.
“Ideas are easy; execution is hard,” says Jackson, “It’s hard to finish an idea . . . start small and make something, and then grow from there.”