Have you ever had a brilliant idea? A thought so big that it’s scope and sheer audacity takes your breath away? And you daydream about taking it on, what that would feel like. But then you dismiss it because you don’t know the first thing about undertaking something of that scale-it’s not even in your wheel house. So you let it go?
This is a tale of the enormous impact you can have by ACTING on that impulse instead of running from it. Deciding you were the one chosen to bring it into being, by taking a leap, by trusting yourself.
A little over a year ago I was at a dinner party in Santa Monica my friend Kerrie Finch organized. She said, you must meet my friend Andy — he’s a Kiwi. Since I’m a Brit, this is about all the intro a Brit and Kiwi need to set up a lunch — which was how I found myself at Sol Mexicana a week later getting to know the creative genius that is Andy Fackrell.
I don’t like to research new people I meet. I’d rather meet them cold and see what unfolds. Then if I’m intrigued, afterwards I do a deep dive. In this instance, I knew from Kerrie that Andy was a bit of a big deal in the advertising industry as a Creative Director, but it’s not a world I know. Kerrie thought he’d be interested in hearing about www.OverAndAboveAfrica.com a non profit I founded two years ago to bring a global awareness to the poaching crisis and how we can all play our part, however small.
Andy is immediately warm and easy. He’s funny, tells wonderful life stories and not only is he engaging, in true Kiwi fashion, he’s appropriately and affectionately self deprecating.
Our conversation soon turned somber and to the poaching crisis in Africa. We went on to discuss possibly the even greater threat to animals than poaching; the human/animal conflict. Humans are encroaching so deeply into wild animals’ habitats they literally have nowhere to go — which leads to tragedies. Children herding goats are attacked, mauled sometimes killed even, by big cats looking for food. Livestock become a meal for large, hungry predators. Elephants trample an entire village’s harvest so the villagers chase it and kill it with poisoned spears, it’s an agonizing death. It’s complicated, it’s very real and it’s tragic.
Andy wanted to know more about Over and Above Africa, how it came to be and I was happy to share the journey with him. In a nutshell, we raise funds for people and organizations in Africa who are effectively protecting wildlife from this perfect storm that has become the human animal conflict and poaching. We personally vet the beneficiaries that receive our funds, which we raise through micro-funding — $5 a month is all you need to become a member of Over and Above Africa! The orgs and people we choose then supply us with photos and video of their organizations spending our funds.
What makes us truly unique is that we are fully transparent. We film the funds we raise in use and we create mini-documentaries to share with our donors and members so they can SEE and FEEL their contributions making a difference. Andy loved its innovation and simplicity.
He shared with me that he was not just appalled by Africa’s disappearing animals, he wanted to get involved and help prevent their extinction but he couldn’t get a backer for the film and was toying with quitting his job to do it entirely on his own. He had already written a treatment for the short film and wanted to show me the rough cut to get my thoughts. If he was able to capture his own idea, he said it wouldn’t be an ad, it would be a real film, it would speak to all audiences, young and old alike. We ended the lunch on that note and went our separate ways.
It may have been a week tops, but Jennifer Pfister — Executive Director of Over and Above Africa — and I were meeting to discuss the next 12 months of O&AA when I got an email from Andy, with a link to his short film.
At that stage, it was just a rough cut — but Jen and I were both moved to tears after viewing it and we stared at each other with our mouths agape. “Holy Crap” it was so very moving and only a rough cut! It was beautiful, it was clever, it was innovative. It captured both the majesty of Africa and her amazing creatures and it wasn’t so unbearable to watch, even in its hardest moment, as it brought the message home — it was hauntingly beautiful. All of which we shared with Andy who was very pleased indeed.
Andy was so pleased he said “I am going to leave my job, make this film and I want it to be an awareness vehicle not just for Africa’s disappearing animals but for Over and Above Africa and your #AffordablePhilanthropy mandate” to protect the animals — I think we might have cried again! We were beyond grateful and very humbled by his offer.
Andy could have said, “What if I fail?” I know he had some trepidation in taking on such a serious global cause, because what if it didn’t land? He’s used to having an enormous budget on his advertising projects. This would be self funded, with huge in-kind donations and favors from very talented friends. He would be surrendering to his deepest fears… and he rose to his greater calling.
Andy did what I have spent my entire adult life doing…..trusting that the right people and occasions would show up at the right time — and they did — Andy convinced Director Sam Coleman of Giant Films to take on his vision and it’s clear they both succeeded!
Because Andy was brave, this amazing film lives. Our membership base is growing exponentially throughout the day with people donating and discovering us for who we are and what we stand for. We’re getting warm messages of how simple it is to become a member and how good it feels to help spread the global awareness message of the plight of Africa’s disappearing animals.
Think about this beautiful film the next time you pooh pooh a brilliant idea you have — the idea came to you … from where who really knows? But if the urge is strong enough within you, and your passion is behind it. Ask yourself this; if not you, then who?
THE FILM “A GUARDIAN” — By Andy Fackrell and Sam Coleman …
Complete Crew List:
Client: Over & Above Africa
Founder: Kerry David
Executive Director: Jennifer Pfister
Creative: Andy Fackrell
Producer: Shannon Worley
Art Director: Mariya Munsey
PR Director: Jessica Hartley
Production Company: Giant Films
Director: Sam Coleman
Executive Producer: Cindy Gabriel
Director of Photography: Devin Tosselli
Producer: Boris Vossgatter
Production Manager: Nella Coetzer
Editor: Matthew Swanepoel
Wardrobe: Izolina de Vasconcelos
Drone Pilot: Carl Nicholl
RC Plane Pilot: Wayne van Rooyen
Production Assistant: Bobby Kamnga
Drone Camera Operator: Simeon Hamman
Grade: Nic Apostoli
Online VHX: Charmaine Greyling
Edit Company: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Adam Pertofsky
Asst. Editor: Marjorie Sacks
Post Production: A52
Music Licensing: Aaron Mercer — Wool & Tusk