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American Volunteers TV Pilot's video poster
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This project was successfully funded on October 24, 2011.

About this project

About

American Volunteers tells the ongoing story of two gentlemen of consequence, forged in the heat of New Orleans’ hurricane recovery, quenched by years of cheap liquor and sultry jazz, and sharpened on the whetstone of wanting more.  Returning from building schools in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the two reunite where they first met, in New Orleans, to renew their shared passion for service and volunteerism before hitting the road again to seek out forgotten and under-served corners of the world.

THE APPROACHAmerican Volunteers is a TV show documenting everything volunteering can offer: a chance to serve while traveling, serving to travel, or traveling to serve.  And it goes beyond individual responsibility, for in volunteering with organizations, it promotes them, raising awareness for related causes, drumming up brawn for related projects, and building upon the charted map of known service opportunities.

Volunteerism is more than just the act of volunteering. It’s about working in your own community, if not living in another, with people who may be of entirely different races and creeds.  It’s about learning to not only serve that community but to enjoy the people, the food, the drink, the culture and the dramas that unfold therein.  Our cast learns and grows as they travel the country and world, participating in service-oriented work and reflecting on their experiences together.

We’re making this show for two reasons.

1)  To illustrate the ease and accessibility of volunteering to all people, to all ages, to all skill levels, in any location.  It’s a way to experience the people and culture around you, and to become part of a community in a deeper, richer, and more meaningful way.

2)  To show that you don’t need to be a saint to do this kind of work.  We’re American volunteers. We work hard, and we play hard. This is volunteering as we know it.

PROGRESS
In May 2011, we filmed a pilot capturing four days of working hard and playing hard in New Orleans.  As a finale of sorts, it documented the last week before Aaron’s departure for a Teach For America position in Colorado and Brendan’s disaster response to the March 11 tsunami in Japan.  Mike was left to fend for himself, juggling hours of footage, a primary job, and other personal engagements.  Four months later–having settled from the aforementioned life changes–we’re ready to push the project to the next level, ambitiously brandishing a two-pronged approach of pitching to networks and submitting to film and TV festivals.  And this is where we need your help.

We’ve employed Mike’s full-time services to begin the process of editing and packaging the pilot.  With your pledge we can continue working on getting American Volunteers off the ground and out to the larger audiences.

This Kickstarter campaign is an effort to raise the necessary funds to support the completion of the pilot.  We appreciate any support you can provide even if it's clicking "Like" on our Facebook page (right panel).  We'll be budgeting the money as follows:

$2500 for video editing and motion graphics
$500 for photography and graphic design
$500 for travel expenses (since we're spread over all corners of the country at the moment)

WHO WE ARE:

AARON – In January, 2005, Aaron Frumin dropped out of college in an existential crisis that had him seeking "something more." A 27 year-old product of the suburbs of San Diego, California, Aaron began his career in public service during his initial year-off from college, when he joined the American Red Cross in response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.  Aaron has spent a majority of his time since then working with non-profits and governmental organizations around the country and world, leading and working alongside fellow volunteers from all walks of life on innumerable service-oriented projects.

He is currently a Teach for America corps member, where he continues his AmeriCorps pledge to "carry his commitment with him." Aaron is a self-described “charming young man with boyish good looks, who just can’t turn it off.” He drinks Budweiser and likes to work hard.

BRENDAN – Brendan hails from the north in general and Vermont in particular.  He moved to New Orleans in 2007, serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer and eventually staff member for Habitat for Humanity.  Reentering the AmeriCorps ranks as a Volunteer In Service To America (VISTA)—specifically designed to fight poverty—he struck out to help low-income home owners reduce energy bills and access the green building movement.  

Following the completion of his VISTA year in 2010, Brendan has worked the fields of both non-profit and government aid in New Orleans and Haiti, most recently concluding four months in Japan in the aftermath of the March, 2011 earthquake.  An impulsive man of 27--fascinated by neglected architecture and outdated design--Brendan enjoys riding bikes, pranks, drinking whiskey and playing the occasional tune on his dust-collecting bagpipes.  

MIKE – Upon graduation from film school in 2007, Mike ignored the advice of his professors and classmates and, despite having no prior construction experience, signed up for a year-long term as an AmeriCorps volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans.  Much to his surprise, this ended up being one of the best decisions he ever made.  He worked alongside Aaron Frumin and Brendan Gordon in New Orleans’ upper ninth ward and the adjoining St. Bernard Parish, and most recently reunited with  them for an All Hands volunteer trip to Haiti in winter of 2010.

Since returning to his home city of Portland in 2009, Mike has produced and directed commercial spots for Portland design firm the Brewhouse Studio and crewed on several feature films...and none  have excited him more than American Volunteers.

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    19 backers

    A Special Thanks listing in the credits.

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    A free digital download of the completed pilot.

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    A copy of the completed pilot on DVD.

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Funding period

- (35 days)