Daniel Webb ’13 says that when he was invited by filmmaker and fellow alum Mark Neveldine ’95 to help explore a film opportunity that would illuminate what it’s like to go through the organ transplant process, he knew he’d be committing to a worthy pursuit.
Under Neveldine’s mentorship, Webb has joined the production team for “The Waiting List,” a documentary that will follow the journey of Neveldine’s friend Joe Mitchell, an aspiring filmmaker who is in need of a kidney transplant. Currently, the film is in the initial planning phase and is seeking backers on Kickstarter to move forward with production.
“We want to make something that’s uplifting and inspiring, and will be able to educate audiences about the whole organ transplant process,” Webb says. “So many people deal with this and it affects so many lives.”
The project’s overarching goal is to create a documentary film or documentary style television series that will detail how Mitchell lives his life while on an organ transplant waiting list and follows him through surgery and recovery. The narrative intends to show Mitchell’s network of support and how he navigates the process using optimism and humor to tackle the hardship.
In addition, the project also calls for creating a website about the organ transplant process that would supplement the film. The vision for the site is that it would be a central hub for sharing information, building community, and providing support for those affected by this far-reaching issue.
“Alongside this film we hope to inspire a movement; to create an online support system and communicative platform where people can interact, educate and inspire those who watch the film and visit the website, and ultimately shed a positive light on the donor process in hopes of convincing more people to become donors,” Webb says. “This is perhaps the most important aspect of ‘The Waiting List.'”
Currently, the campaign is seeking to raise $75,000 to fund the project, with the deadline for pledges set for Wednesday, Nov. 27. If the project reaches its goal, Webb says Neveldine would produce the documentary. Webb would be named the documentary’s production supervisor. All of the filming is anticipated to take place in the Los Angeles area, Webb says.
Already immersed in the project, Webb shot the “The Waiting List” Kickstarter campaign video. Mitchell provided the video editing and narration.
“We’re all really excited about this project,” Webb says. “We believe it has a great message.”
In the few short months since graduating from HWS, Webb says he has gone on to establish great connections in the Los Angeles area. Through networking with members of the HWS community, Webb was able to eventually land an opportunity to intern for Neveldine. Webb says he’s gained invaluable tips and insights about filmmaking and the entertainment industry by working on several of Neveldine’s projects.
“Mark is incredible to work with,” Webb says. “I’m just blown away by how great he’s been to me. He really puts trust in you.”
Webb says he’s learned from Neveldine that it is possible to do it all in Hollywood.
“Mark has shown me that you can be a writer, director, producer, and filmmaker,” Webb says. “You just have to have the creative talent and the right people around you.”
Through his experiences in Los Angeles, Webb says he’s learned a lot about creating a network of support. It’s an idea, Webb says, that harkens back to the support he felt while he was still a student at HWS. He says he hopes to extend that very support to others by helping to bring the film and website to fruition.
Webb says the notion of support and the significance of the project really clicked for him after reading an email that Mitchell sent out to the production team. Mitchell wrote, “Mutual support is needed in our most trying times.”
It was a line that had an impact on everyone involved and was important enough that the quote was included in the Kickstarter video. With that, Webb says he knew the project had the potential to tell more than a story – it could be the foundation that connects people to a common cause.
“‘The Waiting List’ is not only a film, but a powerful show of one’s survival that can bring people together,” he says. “It’s a great cause and I feel good doing it. I’d love to see this happen.”
The Kickstarter campaign of the “The Waiting List” is available at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1533907408/the-waiting-list.
In the second photo above, Daniel Webb ’13 (left) poses with Mark Neveldine ’95 at Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles during post-production of Neveldine’s latest feature film, “The Vatican Tapes.”