Tuesday, April 21, 2009

If you are just tuning in...

Last May we traveled from our home in Baltimore, MD to Portland, OR for a long weekend. It had been a while since we had seen Ryan, one of Emily's oldest friends, but he was about to leave town to do a short tour of the Oregon coast with his band, Blind Pilot. So we tagged along and had the pleasure of meeting the rest of the band and seeing their live set three times. It was after the first of the three shows that they started talking about the bike tour they were planning to take starting that August. On a whim we asked if we could film it. For some reason they agreed.

We wanted to film Blind Pilot’s bike tour because we were moved by their music and their adventurous attitude towards life, and thought that by filming the bike tour they were planning, we could help others realize how great both of those things were. This was before they were an iTunes band of the week, before NPR fell in love with Oviedo, before anyone knew that Blind Pilot wouldn't end up being another brilliant band that no one would get to hear. By the time last July rolled around and we came out to film the bike tour, iTunes had happened, NPR had happened, even a standing ovation opening up for Aimee Mann at the Aladdin had already happened, but we decided to do it anyway.

We were also feeling a lack of excitement and spark in our own day to day lives last May, and saw this project as a way shaking up our own existence. They no longer needed the promotion or exposure so much, but we still needed the adventure, and they were gracious enough to hold up their end and let us film their bike tour. And even though we are now engulfed by the prospect of turning the 250 hours of footage captured on tour into a single film, we are really glad they did. It was inspiring to witness what happens when you stretch your comfort zone, allow yourself to be vulnerable, and let the world take care of you.

Since the tour ended, we have been in post-production in a small town in Northern California and staying with a friend of ours from college. We have continued the adventure started on tour, meeting a wonderful group of people here. We recently moved back into the tent we lived in on tour and onto the property where we are helping our friend build his cabin. We move between a nearby music studio, where the Garden Community Land Trust has generously allowed us the space to set up our computer and several hard drives and edit, to an also generously donated carport for cooking and eating and general social merriment, and back to a tepee and our tent to sleep in the so far hospitable Mendocino Interior wilderness. Buzz the traveling cat has familiarized herself with all of the structures and spends most of her day sleeping out of the sun under a pile of lumber. We both found ourselves part time jobs to support our living expenses and be more involved in the community here (Emily is a pizza chef, Max is a small-engine mechanic) and we have discovered how busy you can be when you are engaged by your environment and largely in charge of your own schedule.

Somehow we are still finding time to edit the film. We even managed to leave the valley to catch up with Blind Pilot on Monday, April 13 in San Francisco at their last show of their first van tour at Café du Nord. The show was tight and fast. Ryan contracted food poisoning right before they went on, but he pounded heroically through the entire set. We are sad to report that there was no skinny dipping after this tour ended, in fact, it seemed like the trip had been exciting but also draining for all of them. That said, the tour also seems to have been a huge success for them, and there were many highlights, including a great interview on NPR's Morning Edition, all of which they covered on their website. They will be continuing on an exciting 2009 tour through Europe and the US with the Decemberists and the Counting Crows and playing many festivals - see their tour schedule for information.

Now that spring has arrived and the days are longer, our inspiration is renewed by warmer weather and fast approaching festival deadlines. The goal of finishing the documentary is very high on our priority list (as well as taking some time to use the National Parks pass that we bought last July before it expires). We appreciate all the emails, comments and interest in this film and hope to be able to share what we think will be the happiest documentary film of 2009.

We are still self-financing this project and although we are extremely optimistic about the chances of this film being picked up, there is nothing certain in life and we still want to be able to show the film to all of you who have been so supportive of this project. We have to return back East for Max’s sister’s wedding over Labor Day weekend and are hoping to have a screenable “work in progress” cut that we can tour as we drive east in late August, and possibly raise funds. If you have any suggestions of places that would like to host a screening, contact us and let us know, we will be traveling with a projector and would love to appear for an impromptu screening on a white surface near you. Look for information about those screenings and (hopefully) festival screenings either on our blog, the film website, or our Facebook page.

1 comment:

Matt said...

just saw the trailer... pretty cool.... besides the mustard, i work at caspar inn as doorguy, maybe BP play there someday... are you guys traveling via bikes ?-- when you shot the doc. that is ?...anyway, i'll send back an email
right on
matt ramsay