The National Park Service
A documentary telling the stories of our nation's Park Rangers as they celebrate the 100th anniversary of The National Park Service.
The history of the National Park System in the United States is one of the greatest stories we have to tell. Ken Burns' brilliant and inspiring documentary series, The National Parks: America's Best Idea, taught us how close we came, too often, to failing to protect the most precious pieces of our country and keep them in trust for future generations. But we didn't fail, we succeeded!
Today the National Park Service overseas 409 park units across every state and territory. Next year, in August 2016, the Service will celebrate it's 100th year of protecting the greatest collection of natural, historical, and cultural wonders anywhere on Earth. This is the setting for the documentary I've been laying the foundation for over the last 6 months, the documentary I'm raising funds to create in 2016.
With each new park I visited this year (and throughout my life), I would constantly encounter the most interesting, insightful, generous, and patriotic Americans as the face of each and every park. Being a Park Ranger is an enormous responsibility, with challenging duties, and amazing rewards; each Ranger has their own story to tell, and these stories craft a phenomenal tapestry of 'serving one's country.' Service isn't simply in their title, it's in their bones and blood, and the common thread of the stories I intend to collect.
'The National Park Service' will be a collection of actual first person histories, narrated on camera by the Park Rangers who lived them, filmed entirely within the Parks in which they've worked. It will be a brief (90-120min) but powerful snapshot of service within our National Park System 100 years since it was created; an inspiring message for those who'll serve in the next 100 years.
The media you've seen throughout this campaign is but a mere fraction of what I was able to capture in my 15,000 mile road trip across America to lay the foundation for this documentary project. The route I took passed through 43 National Parks and dozens of National Monuments, National Historical Parks, and National Memorials.
I met dozens of Park Rangers along the way, setting up the framework for on camera interviews for the documentary.
My goal is to compile the best possible documentary in the most efficient and cost effective way; which in many ways is one of the greatest challenges of any filmmaker. The $60,000 goal is the minimum amount needed to produce a product of professional, broadcast quality media to tell the stories of National Park Rangers. Whatever amount you can help us raise above that heightens the bar, allows the crew to gather more compelling stories, and improves the finished work.
Key to the success of this campaign are the VERY SPECIAL rewards I've listed to the side, and the concept of first-person funding/participation in the creation of this documentary.
You are invited to join the filming schedule either as an adventurer or as a part of a photography class, designed to improve your skills with a camera while traveling through America's most majestic landscapes.
Risks and challenges
In preparation for filming this documentary I set out to visit 44 National Parks within six months between May and October 2015. Only one of those parks was unaccessible at the time I'd scheduled to be there (rough seas on Lake Superior prevented me from reaching Isle Royale National Park in Michigan). Having done research within the parks before setting out to create the documentary is invaluable to ensuring its successful completion over the course of 2016.
One of the major challenges, filming a documentary of this type, 95% of which will be filmed outdoors (in nature), is weather (and the seasons). Flexibility in scheduling is a requirement when dealing with Mother Nature, and the experiences I've collected from the last six months will greatly increase my ability to predict when each Park will have ideal windows to film in specific settings.
By giving myself one full calendar year to capture the material I'm able to take advantage of the seasonal changes to film in specific locations that are only possible within certain months. Telling the stories of the Park Rangers also involves filming their environments, as they work, during both calm and difficult times of the year. I intend to challenge myself by recording stories from Park Rangers in times of year when visitation at certain parks is low, but landscapes remain breathtaking (Alaska in December, Death Valley in July, Yellowstone in February, for example).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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