Explorer, author, trail prospector & travel writer

Q&AA (Questions & Attempted Answers) About The New Film Project And The Kickstarter Campaign To Fund It

We’ve almost reached 25% of our funding goal in less than 4 days!

155 (and counting) of you absolute legends are responsible for this. Check it out here.

This is an amazing effort by everyone – but we’ve still got a stupendously long way to go.

In this post, I’d like to share some answers to the questions I’ve been receiving about the project. These range from pure curiosity to valid concerns about the films which I simply hadn’t considered. If you’re unsure about pledging, it may be that you’ll find your concerns addressed here.

Let’s begin…

1. Am I going to like your films?

Getting straight to the point, aren’t we now?

I’m going to go out on a limb and promise you that you’ll like these films if:

  • You enjoyed either Janapar or Into The Empty Quarter (my and Leon’s last two films)
  • You were pleasantly surprised at how much fun the short version of Karun was (watch it here)
  • You enjoy hearing tales of adventure in far-flung lands as much as the next person…
  • …but you’re wise enough to know there’s more to adventure than people doing cool stuff in epic landscapes
  • You suspect that there’s more to Iran than its media-fuelled representation and wouldn’t mind seeing it, actually
  • You like the idea of being instrumental in bringing to the world’s attention an environmental scandal in the Patagonian wilderness that nobody else is talking about (quite a big deal, right?)
  • You’d like to see a couple of quality adventure films get made that don’t have Red Bull plastered all over them (high five if this is you!)
  • You think that either Leon or I (or both) are moderately handsome and would perhaps like to see more of us.

So there’s lots of reasons to get involved. A £28 pledge will get you BOTH finished films as HD digital downloads, months in advance of any public release. A £68 pledge will get you two tickets to the launch party in central London later this year, with wine and swankiness and everything.

Sound good? Pledge now!

2. Woah – £23,500 is an INSANE target! Couldn’t you make the films for less?

Sure we could! Leon and I could take one film each and sit in our bedrooms/tents with our laptops for a few months and do everything ourselves, like real filmmaking professionals do.

Only joking. Trust me, there’s a good reason why you’ll never see the credits “Written, Directed, Produced & Edited by (& Starring) Joe Bloggs” at the end of any professionally-made and recognisably good film.

Editing in particular takes real skill, and a talented editor brings much needed objectivity to the footage. Particularly when you’re on screen as well as behind the camera, having someone else’s perspective is absolutely critical.

You don’t want to watch a sub-standard film, do you? And we don’t want to make a sub-standard film.

So the simplest answer is that yes, we could, but the films we ended up with wouldn’t actually have been worth making. (And we’d have to sit in our bedrooms/tents with our laptops for a few months. Not fun.)

While the budget might sound high, it’s really rather minimal for a film project, relatively speaking. (My last film, Janapar, cost more to make than we’re asking for BOTH of these together.)

The bulk of it is simply so we can pay a fair wage to the talented folk who are going to help us tell these two stories effectively. And that’ll mean that the films we deliver to you this summer will be as entertaining, enlightening and inspiring as possible.

3. The bulk of it? How much of the budget is going into your own pockets?

Ooh, you little cynic, you!

Fair enough question, though. Precisely £1,000 will go towards each of our living costs. That’s basically a salary of £500 a month while working and living full-time in central London. We’ll be lucky if that even covers food, drink and transport (let alone rent)!

Why not write in a bit more? Well, consider it a show of faith that we’re putting everything we can into these films, including money out of our own pockets.

(And let’s not mention the cost of the trips and filming them in the first place, which we’ve written off completely.)

We want to keep the goal as low as possible so we’re in with a realistic chance of meeting it – but we do need to be able to make the films the way they deserve to be made. You’ll thank us when you get your copy. I promise.

4. What happens if you don’t reach the target? (Also, do I get my money back in that case?)

Firstly, nobody who backs the project now pays a penny until the campaign ends at 11:59pm on Monday 6th April.

At that point, IF we’ve reached the goal, everyone’s credit/debit card gets charged. We get to make these films, and you get to watch it happen (and delight in being the first recipients of the end result!).

If we DON’T reach the goal? Nothing happens, and nobody pays anything. The project quietly fails, and Leon and I get the luxury of two unexpectedly empty months in our calendars. We won’t even have jobs to distract us from the fact that we now have absolutely nothing to do for several weeks. It’ll be awesome.

There’s no Plan B here. Without wanting to play the sympathy card too early, these films won’t happen at all without the support of the adventure community.

So if you care about the causes we talk about in the 4-minute campaign video, please pledge now and help us make this project happen! Here’s the link once more for good measure.

5. Why are you making these films again? What’s the big deal?

We all contribute in our own way to society. This is our way.

We’re ‘adventurers’, apparently. But we’re also idealists. We want to make the world a better place. Just a tiny bit.

I know it’s a bit whimsical. And I’m fully aware that a lot of adventure is self-indulgent (even though there’s nothing particularly wrong with that).

But sharing these broader stories beyond the adventures, and doing so through film, arguably the most powerful medium of all, has become our justification for even going on these journeys at all.

Trust me, there’s nothing that would upset and disappoint me more than arriving at the stroke of midnight on April 6th and realising I won’t be able to make these films.

I know it’s a lot of money. I know it’s going to be a hard slog to get people interested. I’m risking 5 weeks of intense, chaotic, high-stress work and preparation and hustle which might all end up being for nothing.

But I care deeply about these stories. They’ve become my sole purpose in life. I’m putting literally everything I have into making them happen.

So yeah. That’s why I’m making these films. No biggie. (Hey, you asked!)

Click here to pledge your support now and help us make this project happen.

P.S. If you’re in London and you’d like to ask more questions about the project and the journeys themselves, we’re throwing a free event on Monday night (the 30th) on the top floor of Snow & Rock in Covent Garden. No RSVP necessary – just show up at 19:30, and feel free to bring your friends!


2 responses to “Q&AA (Questions & Attempted Answers) About The New Film Project And The Kickstarter Campaign To Fund It”

  1. Larry Barnhill avatar
    Larry Barnhill

    Tom, I loved Janapar, and I’m sure I will at least like the next films. I have pledged 68 pounds, even though I won’t be able to quaff wine with anyone. Enjoy it for me and keep up the good work.

    1. Thank you, Larry, that’s very good of you!

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