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A stunning Smartphone enabled coffee table book based on Robyn Davidson’s legendary 1,700 mile camel trek across the Australian Outback
A stunning Smartphone enabled coffee table book based on Robyn Davidson’s legendary 1,700 mile camel trek across the Australian Outback
A stunning Smartphone enabled coffee table book based on Robyn Davidson’s legendary 1,700 mile camel trek across the Australian Outback
452 backers pledged $60,450 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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INSIDE TRACKS: Alone Across the Outback

$60,450

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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

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"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

INSIDE TRACKS featuring images from Robyn's original journey
INSIDE TRACKS featuring images from Robyn's original journey
INSIDE TRACKS featuring images from Robyn's original journey
INSIDE TRACKS featuring images from Robyn's original journey

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).

INSIDE TRACKS featuring scenes from the movie
INSIDE TRACKS featuring scenes from the movie
INSIDE TRACKS featuring scenes from the movie
INSIDE TRACKS featuring scenes from the movie

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.

My son Jesse proudly displaying an early sample of INSIDE TRACKS
My son Jesse proudly displaying an early sample of INSIDE TRACKS

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.

Special Heavy Duty Kickstarter Edition Mailing Carton
Special Heavy Duty Kickstarter Edition Mailing Carton

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. 

Video editing provided by Max Worrin, footage courtesy Radical Media, Media Storm, Touchcast, Sean Hardaway, and See-Saw Films.

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!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    IT ALL STARTED HERE:

    A PDF of the original 32-page 1978 National Geographic cover story featuring Robyn Davidson on the cover. This was the first time the world learned about "the Camel Lady".
    This PDF will be included in all rewards below!

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    Pledge $18 or more About $18

    BOOK CLUB PACK: 29-Page TRACKS BookClub companion PDF — a powerful discussion guide to INSIDE TRACKS, Robyn Davidson's best selling memoir TRACKS and the TRACKS movie. // CREDITS: Your name on website as an official supporter

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    BOOK BACKER: Signed copy of the 224-page INSIDE TRACKS book + Tracks BookClub companion // CREDITS: Your name on website as an official supporter

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    Reward no longer available 100 backers
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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    BOOK BACKER: Signed copy of the 224-page INSIDE TRACKS book + Tracks BookClub companion // CREDITS: Your name on website as an official supporter

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    TRIPLE PLAY: Signed copy of INSIDE TRACKS + ebook of Robyn Davidson’s memoir TRACKS + TRACKS BookClub companion
    //CREDITS: Your name on website as an official supporter

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    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    ONE TO KEEP; ONE TO GIVE: Two signed copies of INSIDE TRACKS //CREDITS: Your name on website as an official supporter

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    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL!! Signed 8”x10” archival print (retail $450) + TRACKS ebook + Signed copy of INSIDE TRACKS //CREDITS: Your name on website as an official supporter

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    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    DOWN UNDER BUNDLE: Rare signed first edition of 
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF AUSTRALIA + Signed copy of INSIDE TRACKS + Signed 8”x10” archival print
    CREDITS: Your name on website as an official supporter

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    Pledge $180 or more About $180

    KITCHEN SINK EARLY BIRD SPECIAL!! A rare SIGNED original copy of 
the May 1978 National Geographic with Robyn Davidson on the cover (NOTE: Our Smartphone App will trigger movie scenes from images in this NatGeo issue) + 8x10 Archival Print + TRACKS eBook + Signed copy of INSIDE TRACKS
    //CREDITS: Your name on website as an official supporter

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    Pledge $180 or more About $180

    ONE TO KEEP –– THREE TO GIVE: Four signed copies of INSIDE TRACKS + four copies of Robyn Davidson's TRACKS ebook //CREDITS: Your name on website as an official supporter

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    Pledge $220 or more About $220

    PRINTER PROOF PACK: One of 200 unique numbered and signed printer proofs + TRACKS ebook + Signed copy of INSIDE TRACKS + BookClub companion
    //CREDITS: Your name on website as an official supporter

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    Pledge $525 or more About $525

    PERFECT PRINT PACK: One signed 10”x13” archival color print (retail $1450) + TRACKS ebook + Signed copy of INSIDE TRACKS + BookClub companion// CREDITS: Your name on website as an official supporter

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    Pledge $795 or more About $795

    COLLECTOR'S PACK: One-of-a-kind Kodachrome slide from Robyn’s 1977 trek + Signed 10”x13” archival color print (retail $1450) + TRACKS ebook + Signed copy of INSIDE TRACKS + BookClub companion // CREDITS: Your name on website as an official supporter

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    Pledge $885 or more About $885

    ULTIMATE COLLECTOR'S PACK: Signed National Geographic + Original Kodachrome slide of Robyn's journey + Signed 10”x13” archival print + TRACKS ebook + Signed copy of INSIDE TRACKS
    + BookClub companion//
    CREDITS: Your name on website as an official supporter

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    DINNER PACK: A private screening of the TRACKS movie in your home over dinner with Rick Smolan and your guests. Available in NYC, SF or LA + everything from the $885 level.// CREDITS: Your name on website as an official supporter

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    Pledge $8,500 or more About $8,500

    OUTBACK PRINT SET: Boxed set of ten 11”x14” archival prints signed by Rick Smolan (retail $15,000) + everything in the $885 level

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Funding period

- (30 days)