The final push: camping gear, video gear, donations

UPDATE: Donation link fixed, revised scavenger hunt list below

Okay, that was a lot of talking. Thank you to UVic, UQAM, Dawson, McGill, SFU and the Salt Spring Forum for hosting. And to the Martlet, the Link, the Peak, WE, CKUT, Home Run, Phare Ouest, On the Coast, and fellow bloggers — thank you for your tough questions and justifiable skepticism.

As they say in TV, don’t tell us, show us. Time to get back in the saddle.

I’m getting ready to drive down to Hesperia, California, leaving next weekend. We’re making this documentary. The schedule is locked in. The crew has booked flights, landing October 12 in Los Angeles. I’ll be collaborating with two old friends: TIFF alumnus Evan Crowe, of East Van, and Walrus contributor , of East Van. A solid crew.

Evan’s background is in fiction (he trained at the Canadian Film Centre) but before that we worked together as video instructors, at the Pacific Cinémathèque. Candice is a writer looking to build some video skills. I’m a TV guy, used to cranking out content on the daily. It’s basically an extended internship for each of us, in different departments. My hope is this can be adapted into a model for future skills training. Everyone is working for free. Evan has purchased a sheepskin vest. It’s going to be an interesting three months in the desert.

We’re in experimental territory here. The whole “business model” is based on giving the product away for free, online. There is no distribution deal and there is no sponsor. The funding is entirely crowd-sourced, that is to say, a large number of people have each invested a small amount of money ahead of time in something we can’t tell them about yet. Call it a leap of faith. I can tell you that part one will be released in November, part two should come out mid-December, and we’ll drop part three after New Year’s. If we do our job properly, you won’t have to look for it. It’ll find you.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, all of them private citizens (many of them folks we’ve never met), we now have the cash to start production. We do not have the cash to finish production. If you want to see where this goes, and you can part with a few bucks, the easiest way to donate is through this blog. However, the more camping and film equipment we can source in-kind — that is to say, borrow from you — the less cash we’ll need. If you live anywhere between Vancouver and San Bernardino and you can lend us anything on the list below until Christmas, please send us an email.

Video gear

– 2 x production cameras – Sony EX-1, Canon XF300 or similar UPDATE: An anonymous benefactor has generously lent us a Canon 7D. Now looking for accessories … rigs, lenses, a monitor …

– 12 hours of HD recording time cards (256+ Gb of SXS cards for Sony or CF for Canon)

– Sennheiser wireless kit  UPDATE: Both wireless lav kits secured. Thank you to Ryan Mullins and the gents mentioned below …

Shotgun mic + XLR, boom, zeppelin   UPDATE: Two anonymous, awesome dudes have committed a full sound kit!

– LED lighting kit + Chimera

– Fluid head tripod + monopod

– Flexfill  UPDATE: Dave Henderson-Hean has lent us his flexfill, and a card reader for good measure

– 2x GoPro + rigs (Gorillapod, magicarm)

– MacBook Pro / FCP / 4  3TB external storage UPDATE: Candice has decided to shell out for a laptop. Power move.

Digital sound recorder (Zoom, Edirol, Marantz etc) UPDATE: Roderick Matte has come forward with a recorder. We’ve never even met the guy. Many thanks to Laurie Cooper for getting the word out.


– Tuneup, alignment and fluid check for Ford Ranger  UPDATE: Kim Or, Candice’s former auto shop teacher at Britannia Secondary, has offered to give the truck a full inspection and tuneup. All Brit-Temp beef forgotten!

– Canopy or waterproof cover, standard 6 ft. bed UPDATE: Found one on craigslist

– Locking toolbox for pickup (to hold production gear)   UPDATE: Found one on craigslist

Camping gear

Pop-up tent trailer, old-school, not too heavy  UPDATE: Hugh Patterson towed his self-built Burning Man trailer over on the ferry from Pender Island to lend us until Christmas. He even paid the insurance, and left us a full propane tank. Also, it has memory foam!

– Bicycle repair kit UPDATE: Wayne Nagata and Max Sample were able to lend us the essentials.

Water filter, metal water barrel  UPDATE: Alex Walker met me at JJ Bean with an MSR filter. If you run into Alex, know that he is partial to the Chai Latte.

– Diesel generator

– Coleman 2-burner propane range

– Fire extinguisher


– Insurance

– SIM card for iPhone 4, US cellular / data plan

– 3g wifi stick

You’ll be able to follow our adventures (and keep track of your gear) on this blog and on the Tyee.

We’ll publish a full financial report at the end of production and all supporters will get a credit on the documentary. If you wish to remain anonymous, just let us know.

I have to admit it’s been pretty incredible to feel the groundswell of support this summer, not just for this project, but for the better model we all want to see for training, information gathering, production and delivery. What I’m trying to do is offer people an easy choice. On the one hand you have a product that you pay for by watching ads, bound to a network schedule, a product that reinforces a bankrupt status quo. That product is designed to distract you and make you anxious, but will never offer solutions. On the other hand you have a product that is as free as possible, that you can download whenever you like and share forever online. It’s going to be more surprising, relevant, and fun to watch than most of the stuff you’ll see on TV. And it will introduce you to someone who just might change your life. Along the way, it’s bringing a community together — and it’s designed to share skills and lessons for the next project and the next one after that. What would you rather watch?

This documentary is a microcosm of the experiment being carried out across the country and around the world, in sectors far beyond journalism or film. If my theories are correct, and so far you’re doing an amazing job proving me right, I think we’ll have something really solid to build off. Everything we’ve done so far was supposed to be impossible, but what’s gotten us here is trust, and a network of support far beyond my imagination. It feels amazing. We have everything we need to pull this off.

Thank you very much.


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