Plenty of films have focused on Seattle or used the city as a backdrop in an attempt to showcase what’s cool. If you’re still watching “Singles” and remembering why you moved here, a new short film might help define why more and more people continue to migrate.
“We Make Seattle” is aimed at letting the outside world know, in case they don’t already, that Seattle is a great city and a technology hotbed — the ideal home for creative workers and entrepreneurs. Filmmakers Scott Berkun and Bryan Zug were inspired by questions raised at a Startup Roundtable hosted by then-Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn in 2012.
“I overheard many entrepreneurs asking the mayor to help promote the vibrancy of the city to the world and I thought: Why are we asking the government to do this? We’re entrepreneurs! We’re makers! Shouldn’t we do this ourselves?” Berkun said. He enlisted the help of Zug, who founded Bootstrapper Studios, and “We Make Seattle” was born.
A Kickstarter campaign raised $30,000 from 261 backers and several local companies, including Tableau Software, Zillow, Filter, and more. After three years, “We Make Seattle” made its world premiere on Thursday night. Here is the film.
Berkun told GeekWire that the time it took to make the 4-minute film was due, in part, to the large volume of audio and video they collected.
“We wanted Seattle to look its best, so most shoots were scheduled for the summers,” Berkun said, adding, “This was a side project for all of the principals, and despite the 1000s of hours we put into this project there were times that, despite our best efforts, it took a back seat to each of us paying our bills.”
While the genesis of the film was, according to Kickstarter, telling “the story of the vibrant and supportive community we have for starting companies, betting on dreams, and chasing big ideas,” Berkun said the majority of the footage in the film is not strictly from the tech sector.
“Our belief is that no sector works in isolation from the others, or from the shared community of the city at large,” Berkun said. “While many of our backers and sponsors work in technology, the spirit of the film we’ve delivered tells a much wider story about our great city.”
In a blog post last week, Berkun wrote that since the project began in 2013, “stresses” on the community — rising rents, increased homelessness, rising tech dominance in the economy and horrible traffic — made it seem like a shift in focus might be necessary. “The future of our city depends on us all contributing to solving [these problems],” Berkun wrote. But the promise to backers and sponsors of the film was for something else thematically and Berkun said he hopes these issues can be addressed in other film projects.
The filmmakers are making all footage available for reuse, and are encouraging institutions, businesses, and residents to share and embed the video wherever they like, all in an effort to promote Seattle. Their website features resources on getting started in the city, including information on cost of living, finding a place to work, public transportation and even “the truth about weather.”