Happy Lunar New Year of the Horse!`

I had initially written this post back in January before leaving for Taiwan, but as my departure date approached I wasn't able to post it so I'm posting it now. 

The first perk of the MAKING HISTORY: The Story of Su Beng crowdfunding campaign, THE SECRETS TO THE SUCCESS OF MY CROWDFUNDING mini-ebook was delivered on January 31st which also happened to be the first day of the Lunar New Year.

It was pretty crazy trying to churn out this book in the midst of all of the preparations for my trip. Fortunately, through all of my posts on social media, I had pretty much documented everything that had happened during the campaign. As the deadline approached, I found myself working frantically to finish the book. In the process, I really looked back at what happened and relived some of the most intense moments of the campaign.

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THE SECRETS TO THE SUCCESS OF MY CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN provides useful tips for those thinking of creating and running a crowdfunding campaign. In the mini-ebook I also share some interesting insights into what went on behind the scenes at several crucial points of the campaign.

*Special thanks to Gus Adapon for creating the cover and working on the layout of the book.

 

A Victory Party for Making History!

I wanted to plan what I'm calling a Victory Party to celebrate getting the MAKING HISTORY campaign fully funded, and today I finalised the details at last. 

There is no better way to describe the feeling of getting MAKING HISTORY fully funded. It was a battle at times. So reaching and surpassing the funding goal was truly a victory in the end!

The MAKING HISTORY Victory Party will be on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 7:00pm in the downstairs bar of The Liberty NYC, which is located at: 29 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001.

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This is a party not only to celebrate MAKING HISTORY getting fully funded but to personally THANK the contributors of the MAKING HISTORY campaign. If you are or will be in the New York area, your presence is being specifically requested at this event!

All are welcome to attend and to be a part of the celebration. Please RSVP on Eventbrite by click HERE

I know that many of you who backed the MAKING HISTORY campaign will not actually be able to make it to this, but please know that on this night I'll be honouring you in spirit because it is YOU who really made this happen!

I will be leaving for Taiwan in early February.

I am truly so grateful for all of your support and generosity! 

THANK YOU!

 

Happy New Year!

2014 will be a HUGE year thanks to everyone who has contributed to and supported MAKING HISTORY: The Story of Su Beng!

I am planning to be in Taiwan in February, after the Lunar New Year since airfares will be more affordable at that time. 

In the meantime there are a lot of preparations in the works. 

I'm currently working on writing and putting together the first perk of the campaign, the mini-ebook: THE SECRETS TO THE SUCESS OF MY CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN.

I'd also like to plan a sort of victory party to celebrate reaching MAKING HISTORY's funding goal and to thank everyone who made it happen. Stay tuned for details as I am trying to confirm a venue for this event. 

Though the crowdfunding campaign for MAKING HISTORY: The Story of Su Beng has ended, this is just the beginning of the journey and I thank everyone who has been a part of it!

If you haven't already done so, PLEASE keep in touch and SIGN UP to receive updates here: http://eepurl.com/Iayab 

By joining this list you will only be emailed when there is some major news regarding:

1) Fulfillment of the Making History: The Story of Su Beng crowdfunding campaign "perks" 

2) Special events related to Su Beng or his Biographer, Felicia Lin

3) The release of Su Beng's English biography

Here's to making dreams come true in 2014 and beyond!

Update #16 on the Making History Crowdfunding Campaign

Less than 24 hours after I posted my last video on YouTube, MAKING HISTORY hit $16,000! The outpouring of support from people was really quite incredible. With the extra funding I will be able to purchase and set up a much needed new computer for Su Beng as a Lunar New Year gift from ALL of the contributors of the MAKING HISTORY campaign.

I watched the last couple of days of the MAKING HISTORY crowdfunding campaign closely. 24 hours before it closed, funding had reached $16,445!

Funding continued to come in until about an hour before the campaign ended on December 25 at 11:59 PT, which was actually 2:59am ET on 12/26. 

So in the end, funding for MAKING HISTORY: The Story of Su Beng reached $16,730, which is over 111% of the funding goal! I am so thrilled and amazed that funding actually went well past $16,000. 

Overall I would have to say that the MAKING HISTORY was a very strong campaign. There was certainly a lot work that went on behind the scenes at certain critical points in time, but it was a combination of that AND the passion of people interested in supporting the campaign. Whether support meant simply spreading word, contributing or doing both, it worked! People came out to support this project in the last 24 hours or so pushing it well past $16,000.

The success of this campaign would not have been possible without the support of so many people who really believed in this project. This is your success too!

Update #15A on the Making History Crowdfunding Campaign

Since I've announced that if funding for MAKING HISTORY reaches $16,000 I will purchase a new computer for Su Beng as a Lunar New Year gift, I've been asked if I would open up a few CO-PRODUCER credits ($300 each) on the short documentary of Su Beng. Yes that can be arranged, so if you would like one please email me privately at subeng.biographer[at]gmail.com!

Update #15 on the Making History Crowdfunding Campaign

I couldn't sleep after having this conversation with a friend of mine about the MAKING HISTORY campaign. So what did I do? I shot a video about it around 5am this morning!

Now that MAKING HISTORY has reached its funding goal of $15,000, I have really been thinking about what I can do with the extra funding.

Then I realized what Su Beng really needs a new computer or tablet. I've noticed that this need in the past. His computer is kind of old and we've had some technical difficulties during some of our Skype calls. With improved picture and sound quality it would be much easier for him to do Skype calls!

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I think this would be a great Lunar New Year gift to give to him!

So if funding reaches $16,000, I will purchase and set up a new computer for Su Beng.

I'm thinking that with over 100 contributors to this campaign, if each one asked just 1 person to donate $10, another $1,000 could be raised in no time! Or if 56 people donated $10 each, we'd reach the goal. 

So, if you know of someone who hasn't contributed to MAKING HISTORY yet, here's a good reason for them to do so!

Thank you for your continued support!

Update #14 on the Making History Crowdfunding Campaign

THIS IS IT! The MAKING HISTORY finale video! But it's not over yet! There are FIVE days left to the campaign. Funding ends December 25th!

There's still time to contribute or share this campaign with a friend who you think  might be interested in the story of Su Beng, or in grabbing a perk.

I'm excited to see that people are still contributing to MAKING HISTORY to ensure that this project gets done.

Let's finish this campaign strong and celebrate the holidays and New Year!

Update #13 On the Making History Crowdfunding Campaign

THANK YOU for everyone's continued supported of MAKING HISTORY: The Story of Su Beng! 

100% funding was reached on December 14, 2013!

For those of you who haven't contributed or who might want to still grab one of the cool perks like the revised and edited version of TAIWAN'S 400 YEARS OF HISTORY, or the short documentary of Su Beng or even THE SECRETS TO THE SUCESS OF MY CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN, there's still time to do so. 
 

What's going to happen with the additional funding?

Additional funding means that I will be able to digitize more hours of video footage and I can start thinking about putting out the revised TAIWAN'S 400 YEARS OF HISTORY out in print. 

Did you know that there's even a cartoon version of TAIWAN'S 400 YEARS OF HISTORY? 

It needs some work and that could be another side project, but the biggest, ultimate project would be to one day have a complete English translation of the 2000 page Chinese version of TAIWAN'S 400 YEARS OF HISTORY. 

The 3 volume 2000 page TAIWAN'S 400 YEARS OF HISTORY and The Cartoon Version of TAIWAN'S 400 YEARS OF HISTORY

The 3 volume 2000 page TAIWAN'S 400 YEARS OF HISTORY and The Cartoon Version of TAIWAN'S 400 YEARS OF HISTORY

Most of these things are outside of the scope of this current crowdfunding campaign, but rest assured that any unused funds will be used for other projects related to Su Beng and TAIWAN'S 400 YEAR HISTORY since as you can see there's a lot more work to be done here!

Thank you for your continued support!

Interview with Hisam, President of TAA- St. Louis

It's been amazing, all the people who have reached out to help me over the course of the campaign. One of these people was Hisam, The President of the Taiwanese Association of America- St Louis Chapter. He personally contacted me very early in the campaign and has been supporting me though his social networks, by sharing what I'm doing with the Taiwanese American community and urging people to support my campaign and work.

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Hisam wanted to interview me about my work, so we did an email interview. It's always interesting to me what questions or things people want to know about me or my work, so I thought I'd share our interview here:

 

H: Is this the first biography that you've ever worked on?

F: Yes, the biography of Su Beng is the first biography I have ever worked on.

 

H: Why did you decide to write the biography of Su Beng?

F: Actually, I when I first heard about Su Beng, many of the stories I heard about him sounded like tall tales. I wondered what would motivate a man like this and decided that I wanted to meet him. I knew that there was a story to be told and immediately recognized that Su Beng’s personal story was also the story of Taiwan. 

The first time I met Su Beng, I simply asked him if I could interview him to get some ideas to write a story. I had no intention of writing his biography. I will always remember his answer to me that first day. He said, “Yes if it’s for the good of Taiwan.” And I think that sentence pretty much summarizes the motivation behind much of what he does. 

We began meeting once every couple of months so that I could interview him about his life. I soon learned that his life is quite fascinating and complex, without having to fictionalize any of it. 

After a few months of meeting with him, some of my close friends and relatives asked if I had thought about writing his biography. Initially I resisted the idea. I thought, I’m no historian, I’m not an expert on Taiwan; I didn’t feel qualified to do the job. But at the time I was reading the Autobiography of Malcolm X. When I read what the author had written about his relationship with Malcolm X, and how it had evolved over time, I realized that I had somehow already taken on the responsibility of documenting Su Beng’s life. I had already taken on the role of being his biographer. So after about six months of interviewing Su Beng, I formally asked him if I could write his English biography. 

 

H: In the past what fundraising projects have you been involved with?

F: I have worked on fundraisers for nonprofit organizations such as Her Justice (formerly known as In Motion) and the American Cancer Society. For several years I’ve volunteered at the annual photography auction and benefit for Her Justice, which raises millions of dollars annually for the organization. Her Justice (http://www.herjustice.org) is an organization that serves women who face poverty and abuse every day. 

 

H: What advice do you have for people who want to fundraise for their projects?

F: My advice to anyone who is planning to do fundraising is that you first need to start with your tribe. Your tribe is the group who you know will be your staunchest supporters. They already identify with your cause. Do you know who they are? Do you know how to reach them? Once you have reached them, engage and involve them in your fundraising campaign. You will also need to know how to mobilize them to be your advocates and to spread the word about your cause. They will be the key to helping you get more support. 

After that, in order to broaden your reach outside of your tribe, you will need to know how to make your cause compelling. In other words, why would someone who doesn’t already identify with or understand your cause want to make a donation to your project or cause? You need to think about how you can make your cause relatable to them. What are some universal things about your cause or campaign that they could relate to? 

And finally you should have a very clearly stated outcome. In other words, you should be clear about what you are going to be doing with the funds raised. You need to offer a tangible result or plan of action.

 

H: Other than the time you've spent interviewing Su Beng and writing, what else is involved with the biography and project to document the life of Su Beng?

F: The most time consuming and challenging part of this project has undoubtedly been the translation. I didn’t have the money to pay a translator, so I took on the role of translator myself with the help of many people along the way. I saw the translation process as a part of my writing process, to really understand and accurately express what Su Beng has said in our interviews and conversations. Translating my interviews with Su Beng are also a unique challenge because he speaks a mix of Taiwanese, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese.

As a writer I am already quite nit picky and particular about the words I use in my own writing and I definitely don’t want anything to be lost in translation. Consequently, I have become very aware of the nuances with translation. In fact when my crowdfunding pitch video was translated into Chinese, and I realized that the term Taiwanese American community had been translated as"華僑美國社區", I wanted to change that immediately! In the end it was translated as "台美人社區." 

The next most time consuming and costly part of this project is the transferring of the video footage into a digital storage format. I have been shooting video footage of Su Beng since 2004. I had started to transfer some of the footage, but stopped doing that since it is an extremely time consuming process. One hour of video footage takes one real time hour to transfer.  Up to this point I have collected hundreds of hours of video footage shot on mini-DV tapes, so I will have to pay for someone to convert the footage into a storable digital format. There is really no way around this.

In the very early stage of this project I had considered learning how to do video editing, but I realized that while I could probably learn these technical skills, this is not where my strengths and talents lie. I decided that I should really be focusing on the writing of the biography of Su Beng and that everything else being collected like the audio and video recordings were secondary and will serve to support the biography of Su Beng. 

Fortunately, I met Robin Adams, an experienced cameraman, video editor and producer last year. When Robin heard about my crowdfunding campaign, he offered to shoot the pitch video. Little did he know what he was getting involved with because I have managed to convince him to work with me in creating a short documentary about Su Beng using much of the footage that I have already shot over the years.

 

H: Would you encourage other Taiwanese Americans to write a biography?

F: I think that biographies and personal stories are great ways to make history accessible, relatable and understandable. Of course I’d like to see more of this kind of work done to preserve our stories, and to increase awareness. However, writing a biography can be an involved process. I would only recommend doing it if you are extremely passionate or fascinated by your subject. Writing takes time and there may be some further research required too. 

 

H: Do you plan to write other biographies or to be a professional biographer?

F: What I am really interested in writing is a historical fiction novel. I do enjoy doing historical research and I like the idea of writing something based on a factual event or set in a particular era. In the case of writing fiction, I wouldn’t have to worry about being factually correct or accurate and I could take some creative license.

I think that I will probably not take on another project like this again, especially one that requires translation like this one did. The reason is because I don’t want to get stuck doing the translation. For me translation is a difficult, painful process and perhaps that’s because my Taiwanese and Chinese language skills are really just not strong enough. For the biography of Su Beng I have personally interviewed and talked to Su Beng and also personally done the translation with the help of close trusted people as my translators. Perhaps I am a bit of a control freak in this respect because I am a bit worried about what gets lost in the translation. That’s why I have been so hands on and personally involved in all aspects of the translation of my interviews with Su Beng. So if I were to do another project that required translation, I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable just handing over the translation to a paid translator. And that would be even more of a problem if I had to deal with a language that I had no familiarity with like Russian, for example.

As for whether or not I’d ever consider writing another biography, I suppose that I should never say never. But right now I’d like to try other genres of writing. For the right person or subject I might consider writing another biography, but it was never my intention to make a career of being a biographer. I would definitely like to make a career of being an author and to go on to write more books.

Special Thanks to: Hisam for your interest in my work and your steadfast support of the MAKING HISTORY: The Story of Su Beng crowdfunding campaign and my project to document the life of Su Beng.

Update #12 on the Making History Crowdfunding Campaign

MAKING HISTORY is now over 100% funded!

Thank you, dou sia, 謝謝 to everyone who has supported me and contributed to MAKING HISTORY! I was not at home when I realized that MAKING HISTORY had reached 100% funding yesterday afternoon. I wanted to post a Thank You video right away, but I have a limited data plan on my phone and I wasn't sure when I'd be able to get a reliable internet connection since I still had a very full day ahead with a holiday party and birthday party to attend.

I was with friends and was in a celebratory mood, when I got the news. So it was really the perfect setting, to shoot my Thank You video at my friend's holiday party. 

After this I had to go to another friend's birthday party so I had to wait until I got home to share the video online! During this campaign there have actually been several times when I felt like I wasn't able to keep up with the pace at which things were happening. Last night was definitely one of those times! But that is a good thing, allow me to explain... 

The first time this happened was when Robin shot the video announcement of new perks available around the halfway point of the campaign. When we shot the video funding was at 58%, but by the time he got around to editing the video later that same day, funding had gone up to 63%!  If you watch the video you'll see that Robin added in an update that funding had hit 63%, even though I was saying that it was already 58% funded before reaching the halfway point. 

There have also been a few times in which funding has crept up by a few percentage points right after I've posted on this blog. But hey, I'm not complaining. Admittedly this is not a bad problem to have! It is just indicative of the overall strength of this campaign and as I've said before I have SO many people to thank for the success of this campaign!

Of course Robin, my amazing video editor just had to put his spin on the THANK YOU video of course and I'll share his version here:

Last night was definitely a night of many celebrations! I can't believe it happened so soon, with 11 days left to go! I am definitely going to Taiwan in the New Year. But now the real hard work on the project to document the life of Su Beng is about to begin. 

Some of you may be wondering what happens now that the campaign has been 100% funded. The MAKING HISTORY campaign page will remain LIVE and be able to continue accepting donations until December 25 at 11:59 PT, which would actually be 2:59am ET on 12/26. Please read the fine print on this photo which indicates the funding deadline.

I want to let everyone know that any contributions above and beyond $15,000 will be reserved for work related to the documentary and biography of Su Beng or TAIWAN'S 400 YEARS OF HISTORY. Stay tuned for more announcements related to the MAKING HISTORY  campaign.