Link: The Kickstarter campaign is live! Click here to see what’s happening.
Welcome to today’s blog post.
I’m just going to go ahead and casually announce the biggest and most ambitious creative project of my career to date.
I sometimes describe myself, when pressed, as an adventure filmmaker. (Among other things.)
And for years now, Leon and I have both been honing not just our skills and experience in this field, but our reasons for wanting to work in adventure filmmaking in the first place.
Last year, on two expeditions to Iran and Patagonia, we found (and filmed) two unlikely stories – stories that went a long way beyond the antics of two hapless blokes in far-flung lands, and firmly in the direction of the kind of stories we increasingly want to tell.
Don’t get me wrong, films in the ‘rollicking adventure’ genre are fun. When they’re done well, I love them as much as anyone. The short, much-simplified version of Karun is, I hope you’ll agree, a good example.
But you grow up. Your motivations evolve. Your reasons for doing what you do morph and develop in unexpected ways; an outplaying of all the subtle alterations to the trajectory of your life that happen on the road.
I’m 31, now, and I’ve done a lot of growing up as a traveller over the last 8 years or so. And I can’t help but think that there’s got to be something more to adventure, beyond all the action and awesomeness and challenges and mishaps in far-flung lands.
Surely now I’m in a position to cast a glance around at the stories unearthed in the wake of these journeys, looking outwards instead of inwards? Surely I might find one or two that speak to more universal and – dare I say it – important concerns in the world?
2014 happened. The stories that came out of the year’s big trips in Iran and Patagonia took things up a huge notch.
The stories themselves are explained fully in – drum roll – the Kickstarter campaign we’ve just launched to crowdsource the funds to produce these two new feature-length adventure films!
Check it out and see what you think. I’m excited. And not a little nervous – we’ve got a very long way to go to reach the target…
A little more about the ‘why’ of this fundraising effort.
To do filmmaking properly – by which I mean to make a film that people will actually watch through to the end and be emotionally engaged by – requires more resources and expertise than Leon and I currently have available. And resources and expertise cost money.
We could have looked for corporate sponsorship to cover the costs. But I made my feelings on that idea pretty clear a few months ago.
Kickstarter is a perfectly-suited alternative. In 2012 I used the platform to raise just over £9,000 to publish Janapar: Love on a Bike. It was a resounding success for everyone involved, including more than three hundred happy backers.
This time, we need to reach a rather more ambitious £23,500 in pledges in order to hit the budget for these two films!
(That’s a bare minimum. To do proper justice to the films, we need more like £35,000!)
It feels whoppingly ambitious. But we can’t make it work for less. Whatever such a sum represents to you, for Leon and I it’s a job, a life and a purpose from now until the summer.
So take action now and be part of this effort. You did it before with Janapar; you can do it again for Karun and the as-yet-untitled Patagonia film!
Get involved now by taking two simple actions:
1. Pledge your support! This isn’t a plea for donations – you’ll be rewarded at whatever level you choose to make a contribution. (We think the higher-end rewards are particularly cool.)
2. Spread the word! This project will live or die based on how many people hear about it. You have the power to tell hundreds of people about the campaign with a couple of clicks – and we hope you’ll consider it a project worth sharing.
What we’re hoping, of course, is that you’ll both pledge to the project AND share it. You’ll be helping get stories told that simply won’t get a platform in any other way.
I’m unbelievably nervous about launching this campaign, because there’s a hell of a lot at stake if we fail. But I’m also optimistic. I really do think this is achievable.
We’ve got a fantastically strong community around us; not just travellers and adventurers, but all types of people who share our curiosity for the world and what’s happening in it. It’s the strength of this community that made the previous project a success, and I hope we can now prove our strength another time!
The plan for the next two weeks is this:
Both Leon and I will be publishing a new blog post every day, telling the full story of how these two expeditions came about, and what we learned by doing them and filming them.
We’ll be doing that until the campaign closes at midnight on Monday 6th April (Easter Monday).
As I mentioned earlier, for me personally these journeys were both about looking outwards for important and interesting stories that can be found and told through adventure.
Tomorrow, I’ll expand on that and talk about how the modes of transport we chose for the trips affected those stories, as well as why we chose them in the first place.
Drop back tomorrow to read all about it. Until then, let’s get this show on the road!
Questions about the Kickstarter campaign, the films or the journeys behind them? Post them in the comments section and I’ll reply directly for the benefit of everyone. You may also be interested to read Leon’s take on today’s big announcement…