So it's been a long three months or so of editing the 17 new episodes of the Across America edition but I'm happy to say the process is nearing completion. We've laughed, we've cried, we've been amazed at all the wonderful facets our subjects have revealed in the edits. All but three of the episodes are done and we're now starting to plan how and when the new series will be released. We're looking into teaming up with some larger distribution partners for this new batch and will hopefully soon have some exciting things developing on that front. Stay tuned...
What do your possessions say about you?
Twenty-some objects tell the story in this online series.
Join us as we go Across America in this special edition.
Hi all, just wanted to let you know at this point everyone should have received their rewards from our Kickstarter campaign (except those of you who chose DVDs, they won't be done till the series is released). I put in some extra helpings of kitsch and postcards wherever I could as my gift buying impulses went a little overboard on the trip. If for some reason you didn't get your reward in the mail, let me know and we'll figure something out.
Just a quick update here as we enter week two of post production. Two wonderful assistant editors have joined me on the project, Blair Waters and Allie Esslinger. Big shout out to them for their willingness to work on a low budget project and put in a lot of time, effort and talent to see this thing through. We have several episodes already nearing picture lock so things are proceeding nicely. Can't wait to see how it all comes together...
After dropping off Jennifer in LA, late July and August was a whole 'nother adventure for me driving back across the country solo to get myself and my car back to homebase in NYC. Now after a few weeks of downtime with family and friends we started in on post production with the onset of fall and that 'back to school/work' vibe.
It's really amazing to hear all the great stuff we captured on our trip with some time and distance between it. I can't believe we have 17 episodes worth of material to scour through for the gems of each person's personality. Exciting, but a little daunting too.
Also, I updated the About page to include credits for all the backers of the Kickstarter campaign who made our trip such a success. Huge thanks to all you guys, we couldn't have done it without you!!!
Waking up today to a nice surprise, we had a lot of backers come in at the last minute for our fundraising campaign and are now within just a few hundred dollars of our goal. Nice! We put together a little BBQ party at fellow filmmaker and friend Marah Strauch's place (thanks Marah!) to celebrate and help raise the last bit of cash for our trip. Turns out we went past our goal before we even got to the party, so that's a nice relief to be able to focus on the socializing (i.e. boozing ;). Good times, great people, got to connect with some of my friends in LA who I didn't have a chance to see yet. I can't believe we're at the end and our trip is officially over. I got the chance to tell various new people about our project and I felt a real sense of pride and amazement surging through me as I recalled the stories. Somehow this was not your average shoot, it felt like much more. I don't know if it's the personal project nature of it, or the fact that we were on the road for so long and in so many places, or that the interviews we were doing were particularly deep and personal. Whatever the cause, the feeling is awesome and I'm struck wondering if my life has been changed forever by this, or if a month from now back in NYC it will all seem like a surreal dream.
So this is it… signing off for a little while now. Thanks to everyone who backed and supported us, both financially and psychologically. You mean the world to me as I could not have done this in a vacuum without all the amazing people helping out. Editing to commence in August, look for the first episodes of the series to start coming out in the fall.
Today was a busy day of shooting. First off we headed over to porn actress and sex educator Nina Hartley's loft to do an interview with her and her husband, fetishist and director Ira Levine. Among other things, NIna and Ira have a walk-in closet the size of a studio apartment in NYC, a dirty photo book collection that takes up an entire wall of the living room, and an enormous play space/studio/dungeon for all their recreational and professional needs. Wow. Needless to say, they had some interesting things laying around. What impressed me most though was Nina's incredibly warm and down to earth personality. Both her and Ira were so open and friendly and well, normal, in a certain sense. I loved that going through collections of dildos and sex toys had a casual normalcy, the way I might show you my sock drawer. Sexual freedom and open mindedness indeed.
In the evening we headed over to retired hotel developer Dean Turner's pad in the Hollywood Hills. Dean retired a few years ago and built his dream house which he calls 'Angel's Gate'. The house has become the focus point for a wide ranging scene of Dean's entertainment and artistic friends who gather there for private concerts, parties, and just to hang out. Dean's focused spiritual life comes through in the eclectic objects sprinkled throughout his place, most notably an extensive collection of heart shaped rocks he began finding several years ago. Dean was another real 'find' in the series, a very soulful and humble person, with an unique home life that we may have never discovered expect for a few synchronistic connections. After our shoot we got to stay and hang out with Dean and his scene until the wee hours. Usually we are rushing out the door to let our subjects get on with busy lives, so it was nice to have many deep conversations about the impact and experience of the interview (and project as a whole) amongst us. Couldn't think of a better way to wrap up our interviews, thanks Dean.
Another day of admin work and building buzz for the fundraising. Also we confirmed not one but two interviews for tomorrow for our Los Angeles episodes. So far we've been trying to stick to one episode per city to get a nice geographic dispersion, but after meeting a particularly interesting subject last night and hanging out at his house, we decided to do a second one for LA. At night I headed all the way out to a climbing gym near LAX to get my climb on. I've been trying to climb once a week on this trip and so far I've been able to do just that. Met a cool guy to climb with and we might even go outdoors on sunday if I have time. It's interesting to me how the effects of this trip, being in the zone and able to meet anyone, anytime and make things happen, extends naturally to all facets of my life.
We're also planning a little get together at a friends house when the campaign ends on saturday to celebrate and build some last buzz. Did a phone interview with a Las Vegas blog today about our shoot there with Kye. It's interesting to see the traction this project is getting in the press and how people interpret it. I'm learning that there is a real hunger for this sort of authentic human piece. I like to say I'm putting the real back into reality TV ;)
Whoah, wake up in LA after a good long sleep. I still feel like I could sleep for a week but gotta keep cranking on things. We got to LA a day earlier than expected which is great since we have a lot to do wrapping up our Kickstarter fundraising campaign and putting together our last interview of the trip in Los Angeles. Today is a day of lots of emails and calls, getting used to sedentary life and seeing some old friends in town. I can't believe I did not get in my car and drive anywhere today. Also missing my road buddy and producing partner Jennifer as today is the first day in god knows how long that I didn't forget to lock the car and have her remind me to do so, watch her scrounge around for some jerky or an apple in our overflowing backseat, or have another great discussion about art, self improvement, or why the chorizo sliders at Bahama Breeze in Las Vegas tasted like such ass.
Kye is headed out to LA this afternoon to play with Manilow on the Tonight Show, so we gotta try and do this one quick. That proves challenging as Kye has so much to say on love, life and spirituality that I end up doing one of the longest interviews ever. I find it fascinating that Kye free associates with the pictures of the objects in his house in a way that almost no one does. Some people might see a picture of a cup and say 'that's a cup'. Most will tell you the story behind it or what it means to them. Kye's stories behind his objects all seem to invariably lead to not just an anecdote, but to the illumination of a whole philosophy and spiritual vision for how Kye lives and explores his life. He's deeply involved in founding and stewarding something called the Freedom Community which is a group of likeminded individuals who have gatherings to explore and live tenets such as integrity, love, play, and complete communication.
Hugs all around as we wrap up another great interview and grab a bite to eat. Amazingly we find some of the best sushi I've ever had at Rock N Roll Sushi on the strip. The manager Grace explains to us the great care she takes in buying the fish and commends us on our choice of all the all you can eat special (oh, we made good use of it). Again, I'm tempted to linger and do some actual sightseeing (and gambling) in Vegas, but onwards we must go. Settle in for the longish drive to Los Angeles as we travel through the baking desert, 102 in Vegas today, 98 even at 8pm when we stop to get gas in Baker, CA.