by Paul Bowers
In 2010, filmmaker and actor Braxton Williams got a bitter taste in his mouth when he ventured into politics, producing campaign videos for a U.S. House candidate from Sullivan's Island who lost by a long shot.
"If you're not interested in doing what they say and you have your own standing and all that, then you're basically not going to get into Congress," Williams says. "Unless you sign on board with what they want, there are basically no third-party candidate options."
"They," in this case, refers to the Democratic and Republican parties, and the candidate Williams was helping, Keith Blandford, was a member of neither. Blandford ran on the Libertarian ticket for South Carolina's District 1 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, and he was soundly trounced by Tea Party heartthrob Tim Scott when November rolled around. Scott took 65 percent of the vote, followed by Democrat Ben Frasier (29 percent) and two other contenders — Working Families candidate Rob Groce and Green Party candidate Robert Dobbs — who each fared slightly better than Blandford.
Blandford walked away with 2,750 votes, or 1.18 percent of the votes cast in the election for Republican Henry Brown's vacated seat. Blandford is on the ballot again for 2012, taking on the incumbent Scott and Democratic challenger Bobby Rose, and despite his disappointment in the last election cycle — or, rather, because of it — Braxton Williams wants to get back behind the camera on the campaign trail.
Williams is trying to raise $15,000 via the fundraising website Kickstarter so he can produce a documentary about the Blandford '12 campaign. The working title: "So You Want To Run For Congress?"
"I want to try and show people what happens when you don't want to give your soul away to the Democrats and Republicans and you do your own thing," Williams says. "You see how basically impossible it is."
Before 2010, the world of politics was unfamiliar filmmaking territory for Williams. As a founding member of TBA Productions, he has made his name writing, producing, and acting in films ranging from his own horror brainchild III to director Stephen Cone's coming-out-and-coming-of-age tale The Wise Kids. When Williams talks about his new documentary project, he talks about the frustrations he encountered in 2010: the lack of media coverage for third-party candidates, the religious zealotry on both sides of the aisle, and the impossibility of keeping up with a million-dollar Republican campaign juggernaut.
"Everyone involved with the campaign lost a lot of work, time, and money for nothing, just because they believed in a cause," Williams says.
The July 29 deadline for the Kickstarter pledge drive is fast approaching, and Williams says he might try raising money on Indiegogo if it doesn't pan out. Unlike Kickstarter, Indiegogo allows users to keep most of the money they raise even if they do not reach their fundraising goals. To make a pledge via Kickstarter, click on the link below.