42 seconds of happiness – the meaning of money

So these are the final days of our crowdfunding campaign. It is my first crowdfunder, so I didn’t know what was expecting me. For me, this campaign is already a huge success. Our pages reached almost 20.000 people, friends and fans shared it all over the world and in many different languages, many went into the trouble of translating it into their own language, we traveled in Hungarian, Turkish, Portuguese, Spanish, Greek, German, Norwegian… other like-minded projects and initiatives endorsed it, and as for me, I finally got to talk with most of my almost 2K FB friends and the 800 members of our Writers Improv Studio group and discovered some amazing people doing amazing things! Thank you, social media! Now, a lot of people only found out about what we are doing with 42 Seconds of Happiness through this campaign, and I was in awe to see how many found the time to read and comment upon the smallest details in the long text or our many perks. I have often said that since this project started, an amazing wave of synchronicity is seeing it through.

Just two days ago I posted here an experience I had, and it was so strong that it is still working in me.  The guys on that subway platform hadn’t made the most commercial decisions. They chose a suffocatingly small platform, and they had unprofessional equipment – too unprofessional for the level of their musical abilities. But for what was really happening there, it was perfect. They also did not stop singing to collect money. People put money in their case, and some did not. Most of those who did not, were too absorbed by the music, and by the experience, and they forgot. Some were probably too worried about opening their purses in public, I know I am sometimes. Some thought one more or less won’t make a difference. And that is probably right. One more or less doesn’t make a difference. And ultimately money is not what matters, and I have many times thought about the validity of this statement and whether it is hypocritical or whether one should add ‘when one has it’.

What I experienced the other day was an amazing, unique exchange of Energy – they were carrying the crowd, and the crowd was carrying them. As an artist and as a person, that is what I want, nothing less. And I know that the amazing artists that are with me on this want nothing less too. Oh, I know that the musicians need money to pay their bills. We all do. The bills are haunting us, perhaps now more than ever. But on that day, for the first time ever, it was suddenly clear to me: Money is the pretext. Without it they wouldn’t have gone on that subway platform to sing, and if they did, they would have felt a bit crazy. I will never forget the Icelandic filmmaker Fridrik Thor Fridriksson going from table to table in a restaurant in Cannes and, yes, singing 🙂 – and when he was done he gave people money. I asked him why, and he said, money is only what we have learned it is, and we can make it something else. I know, I know, he is an adorable crazy guy, and he had probably also drunk too much French wine. But he was right, in his own eccentric way. Money is what we have learned it is, and we are now unlearning everything, so why stop at money. No, we will not start distributing money 🙂 We have been producing 42 Seconds of Happiness without backers for a year now. We have had 40 sessions so far, so 40 shooting days, I have edited 40 short films from it (episodes, we call them chapters) and I am still editing, and we are still having sessions. It is a process, it is the whole process of a writer’s mind and the performers’ minds all out in the open. If the only path to find truth (and yes, true happiness) is to risk being completely cut open, then we are walking that path. As many of you have noticed, this is fairly unusual, as it is not all about the end product, it is a living project. Crowdfunding campaigns are designed in a transitional world so for end products, so our perks concern the end product, and yes, this part of the process we cannot do entirely without backing, we need a slightly wider subway platform 🙂 Still, for us this campaign is more than that, it is part of the process. And you, who have backed the project or are about to back it in these last days, even with 1 dollar or 1 euro it doesn’t matter, you are one of the crowd which is carrying us. And we are carrying you. Thank you for both!