About this project
Thanks so much to everyone who made the INSIDE TRACKS campaign such a success!
If you missed the campaign and are interested in purchasing the Kickstarter edition of INSIDE TRACKS (with some of the cool rewards listed below) please visit: InsideTracksBook.com
If you are looking to purchase the retail bookstore edition please visit: amzn.to/1rgteVD
"You are as powerful and as strong as you allow yourself to be, and the most difficult part of any endeavor is taking the first step, making the first decision." - Robyn Davidson, Tracks
My name is Rick Smolan and I'm a former Time, Life, and National Geographic photojournalist. When I was twenty-eight, National Geographic Magazine sent me on the assignment of a lifetime: to document the 1,700 mile journey of a mysterious twenty-seven-year-old woman named Robyn Davidson, who was trekking across the Australian outback alone with four camels and her dog, Diggity. During Robyn’s nine-month journey I tracked her down five times, spending about three months traveling with her and shooting tens of thousands of photographs.
"Australia harbors more things that can kill you in extremely nasty ways than anywhere else" - Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
I was fascinated by Robyn's courage and her intense desire to learn from Aboriginals about their culture. I had never witnessed a love affair like the one she had with her Kelpie pup, Digitty (who she had rescued as a puppy from an animal testing lab two years before her trip began). And I was constantly amazed by her perspective on life, on friendship and her brutal honesty with her own short comings. Most of all I was fascinated to spend time with someone who, instead of running away from her fears, faced them head on, constantly challenging herself.
Even though Robyn had spent two years preparing, the outback had many ways of testing even the most capable traveler; she was attacked by wild camels, took paths that led to dead ends, got lost, arrived at wells that were dry and almost died of dehydration. Every time I left her out there, I worried that I might never see her again.
When Robyn’s story appeared in a 32-page cover story in National Geographic it caught the world’s imagination, reaching over 50 million readers.
TRACKS (the book): Robyn went on to write a book called TRACKS which her publisher expected to sell modestly, with an initial print run of only a few thousand copies. TRACKS went on to become a global phenomenon, selling more than a million copies in 18 languages. It won the "Thomas Cook Travel Writing Award" and the ignominious honor of being the year's “Most Stolen Book”!
This description from TRACKS is a wonderful overview of why her story has captivated readers around the globe:
"Robyn Davidson went to the dead heart of Australia in pursuit of a dream: to cross the desert alone. Her journey took her across an ancient, secret land and the outback worked its magic on her life in strange and subtle ways. From an Aboriginal tribal elder Robyn learned desert sense, and from an Afghan camel herder she learnt to master, ride, outwit and care for the camels that became her pack animals and adored companions.
Her voyage led to the discovery of self as well as to the profound beauty and nobility of a threatened land and its indigenous people."
TRACKS (the movie): Given the power of Robyn's writing, I shouldn't have been surprised when the Oscar-winning producers of The Kings Speech reached out and told me they were going to turn Robyn’s legendary adventure into a feature film. They cast Mia Wasikowska, a wonderful twenty-four-year-old chameleon-like actress (Alice in Wonderland) as Robyn, and Adam Driver (Lena Dunham's heartthrob boyfriend in HBO’s GIRLS ) as yours truly, the photojournalist.
Here is the trailer for the movie, TRACKS, which begins reaching theaters this fall.
The movie is being distributed by the legendary Weinstein Company and has been generating rave reviews around the globe.
Which brings me to my Kickstarter Campaign for a brand new book I'm producing called INSIDE TRACKS:
INSIDE TRACKS: When I found out that Robyn’s story was being transformed into a feature film I called Robyn and we brainstormed the idea of my self-publishing a large 224-page landscape coffee-table book (30-inches wide when open) which would enable readers to feel as if they are joining Robyn on her journey.
She loved the idea and we came up with a book that would weave together three experience of her journey: memorable quotes from her book TRACKS, the best of my photos plus striking images and screenplay from the TRACKS movie.
INSIDE TRACKS is three books in one:
1) The first half of the book is a visual story using my images, many of which have never been seen before, and inspiring quotes from Robyn’s best-selling memoir, TRACKS.
2) The second half of the book features fascinating images from the movie TRACKS, screenplay excerpts, behind the scenes / making-of images, as well as short essays reflecting on the journey written by Robyn, John Curran the director of the movie, and by me (Rick Smolan).
The images in this section were shot by Matt Nettheim, a fantastically talented set photographer, and Mandy Walker the film’s Director of Photography. Because many of the film's scenes were based on my original photos, it’s almost impossible to tell which images are from the movie and which are from the original trek.
3) The most delightful component of INSIDE TRACKS is the integration of HP’s Aurasma technology. Readers will be invited to download a free smartphone app (available on iTunes & Google Play). You simply point your phone or tablet at specially marked photos and immediately (and I mean immediately) you’ll see a clip from the movie showing how that photograph was brought to life in the TRACKS movie.
Use of Funds
INSIDE TRACKS is a labor of love.
I envisioned INSIDE TRACKS being printed on heavy matte paper in six colors (most books are printed in only four) plus a spot varnish on every photograph to make the color pop off the page.
I pitched the concept of INSIDE TRACKS to many publishers but, while many shared my enthusiasm for the book, I couldn’t find any publisher that would commit to the quality of production that I felt this book deserved.
So, I am turning to the Kickstarter community to help fund the considerable expenses involved in self-publishing and publicizing INSIDE TRACKS.
INSIDE TRACKS is not like most of the illustrated books you find in stores these days. Most publishers are very conservative - they play it safe, keep costs down, and think that "average" quality is good enough. INSIDE TRACKS is not going to be average, it’s going to be spectacular. The book will integrate a level of printing and production quality that you rarely see in bookstores anymore.
To achieve this goal I had all of the original Kodachrome slides drum scanned at extremely high resolution and tasked Michael Marquand, a color correction wizard to optimize each image. Diane Murray, a wonderfully talented art director and designer, spent months seamlessly weaving together the original trek photographs, the images from the movie, and the new Aurasma App technology that brings the original images to life. Brad Zucroff, a printing expert, is supervising the print run.
Finally, I've engaged Holly Jacobus, a brilliant marketer, to focus on raising awareness of INSIDE TRACKS in the publishing, photography, film, technology, and smart device communities.
If funds are raised in excess of my goal (fingers crossed!) the money will be used to expand the awareness of INSIDE TRACKS through additional marketing and publicity plans throughout the upcoming holiday season.
My greatest hope is that INSIDE TRACKS will help expand the audience for Robyn’s inspiring story and the underlying message of her journey, that “an ordinary person is capable of anything”.
SOME UNIQUE REWARDS TO SAY THANKS
To thank backers of my Kickstarter campaign I’ve put together some rewards that will only be available to the Kickstarter community
***Note*** When a reward says SIGNED it means signed by Rick Smolan. All backers of any reward level will be thanked on the project website as a supporter.
The INSIDE TRACKS Team would like to thank the following organizations and individuals for their support in helping make this Kickstarter Project possible.
All prints made for this Kickstarter campaign will be printed by Digital Silver Imaging on paper provided by Hahnemühle USA. Thanks to Eric Luden at Digital Silver Imaging and Carol Boss at Hahnemühle.
Thank you to Erick Schonfeld and Edo Segal at Bmuse for the Touchcast recordings.
Thank you to Open Road Media, publishers of the TRACKS ebook.
Last but not least, interactive element of INSIDE TRACKS wouldn't be possible without HP'S Aurasma technology!
Thanks to all of the organizations listed below for their support in making our INSIDE TRACKS Kickstarter campaign such a success!
Risks and challenges
The book world today is incredibly competitive and this fall more than 100,000 different books are being released by numerous publishers large and small. It's a real challenge for any one book to stand out - let alone an expensive coffee table book like INSIDE TRACKS.
The only way for a book to be successful is through publicity and word of mouth. The only risk is my own: self-publishing a book means if the book isn't successful I will end up with a warehouse full of unsold books.
The photographs in INSIDE TRACKS have already been shot and the Aurasma technology to trigger video clips from the still images works flawlessly. The only risk is my own, because I am self-publishing the book and taking all the financial risks if the book doesn't sell.
I am personally involved with every aspect of this book including the scanning and fine tuning of the original Kodachrome slides, the selection of images extracted from the TRACKS movie, editing the screenplay excerpts, and approving of the color separations.
There is minimal risk for any backer to be associated with this project. If this campaign is funded then INSIDE TRACKS and the other rewards will ship to backers in November 2014. Thanks for your support!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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