Bear with me, this story is totally going somewhere.
I first saw the film Schindler’s List when I was about fifteen. In addition to being blown away by the filmmaking and heartbroken by the story, I was also inspired. One of the main takeaways I had was that there was this dude, a business man, who used his company people. He saved lives, because at that moment in history he came to care more about people than he did about making money. That stuck with me.
At that point I had my sights set on acting as a profession, but I was still a writer. I knew that, no matter what, creating stories was going to be my future. Yet, I knew that wasn’t all I wanted to do with my life.
I wanted to be a great artist, entertain, make money and all of that…but I also knew that I wanted to leave the world better than I found it. I knew that art changes the world. That the pen is mightier than the sword. That a good story can change hearts and minds. But I knew I wanted to do something more concrete than that.
Eventually, I tucked the thought away in the back of my mind, revisiting it from time to time to see if it was still there. It always was.
The thought evolved and grew, and it was something I kept very private for a long time. I was embarrassed by it. The idea eventually got so big and so ambitious that I thought, Who the hell am I to think I could do this? I’m not anybody important. You’d need to have a bunch of money, or clout, or both to make this happen, and I don’t know that I’ll ever have either.
Meanwhile, I started to hear about businesses becoming more socially conscious. The (Product) RED line of products came out in the mid-aughts, and several corporations sold red-colored products under that brand in order to raise money and awareness for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, and they became really popular, raising millions of dollars for the fund.
While there was plenty of valid criticism of the effort, what I took away was: People want to help others. People want to spend money on things they enjoy. People are more enthusiastic about spending money on things they enjoy when they know that money is going to a cause they believe in.
And I wondered why every company wasn’t donating a portion of their profits to important causes. I wondered why, when they did, it was only one product and not all of them. I thought, this is clearly good business, people are into it, and these companies could be doing so much more good. Why isn’t Apple donating a portion of the proceeds from EVERYTHING they sell if they care so much? Why are they only donating money and not other resources? Why aren’t they doing more to parlay the “awareness” they raise into action with their huge platform?
Hey, I was in my twenties at the time, and hugely idealistic. (Spoiler alert: I still am, despite knowing more about the world.)
Meanwhile, that thought I had when I was in my teens continued to grow and evolve. How can I create stories while also helping others? And then, it occurred to me: a production company. A production company that employs from the homeless community. A production company whose entire reason for existing–other than producing stories people love, of course–is to join the fight to alleviate and end homelessness.
Yet I kept that nugget of an idea to myself for over a decade, because I was scared.
I’m starting small, and slowly, but I’m starting. Publicly. Unafraid. Because if not now, when? And if not me, then whom? Right?
Welcome to Year One of Pomonok Entertainment, where nuanced female characters come standard.
Pomonok Entertainment is a production company with a dual mission: create quality, inclusive narrative content (across multiple mediums) while being of service to those experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles.
While we primarily make narrative filmed content, we want to create a variety. That’s why we’re Pomonok Entertainment and not “Pomonok Films” or “Pomonok Studios.” We want to create content that entertains (and maybe even enlightens) you, regardless of medium or genre. And by “we,” I mean me. For now.
In this first year, my goal is to incorporate the mission of alleviating and ending homelessness into each of my projects through methods including, but not limited to: encouraging an ethos of social activism among members of Team Pomonok; organizing group volunteering at partner homeless advocacy organizations; incorporating line items into our budgets for donations to these organizations; donating surplus craft services to food pantries and shelters; and donating a portion of any profits we make to existing organizations that have expertise and experience in working with the homeless community.
Over the course of the coming year, I want to build relationships in the homelessness industry and in the realm of homeless advocacy, to learn how I can best and most efficiently help. I want to learn more about what’s needed by those experiencing homelessness day-to-day, as well as what’s needed at a policy level to combat homelessness at a local and state level.
I also want to build relationships in the entertainment industry, and partner with producers and executives who also prioritize this issue to see if we can work together toward this common mission, share ideas and resources, and maybe even spread this way of thinking to other production companies and studios. The entertainment industry is one of the largest employers in Los Angeles. How could we all best use that to be of service?
And what would happen to our storytelling if we included the voices of this marginalized demographic?
I purposely didn’t want to start a non-profit. I still want to create stories and make my living that way. I still want to help others tell their stories and make their livings. I want to create something that will eventually be self-sustaining. But I know that there’s more that companies can do to better the world that they’re not doing, and I guess I want to create example of how to do those things.
I suppose this is a bit of an experiment. I want to create a workable model where a for-profit company can create concrete, positive change in people’s lives while continuing to do good business. I want to create a blueprint others can apply to their businesses and the companies close to their hearts. Because it shouldn’t just be me.
I don’t want to be unique. I want everyone to do stuff like this, to prioritize in this way.
Eventually, there will be an official logo (currently in progress), and a separate website. There’s already content in the pipeline. But for right now, here are the best ways to keep up and support Team Pomonok:
- THERE’S A PATREON PAGE. Check it out for more information on specific projects and plans. And if you’re thinking about joining Team Pomonok, there’s an advantage to joining before 5PM Pacific Time on Friday the 5th.
- Oh, and hey, there’s a FACEBOOK PAGE and a TWITTER, too! You’ll probably want to follow those.
- There’s a YOUTUBE Channel. It’s not much to look at now, but this is where most of the video content will go, so go ahead and subscribe now so you don’t miss it. I say most of the video content, because…
- There’s also an INSTAGRAM, and I’ve already got a little something in the way of content that’s coming out tomorrow, which is specifically created for Instagram. So, if you want to experience Pomonok Entertainment’s first little bit of narrative content, you’ll want to follow that feed.
- Lastly, there’s a MAILING LIST. If you want not only to keep up with Pomonok projects, but be an active member of Team Pomonok and be made aware of ways you can be of service, this is for you!
I’ve made a career writing about other people’s stories. Now, I want to put more focus on creating my own. Join me.