Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 22, 2013.

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Traveling city by city across the United States, discovering what makes people's lives worth living.

Synopsis:

Driving July is a documentary about discovering people. By driving 10,000 miles across the United States, three friends will drive city to city, connecting with people they have met online. Their mission is to experience what is outside their comfort zone, bridge a gap between very different people, and to understand how much more the world has to offer.


By creating a documentary around this adventure, the trio hopes to encourage their audience to experience if for themselves. It is their belief that only by breaking your routine and exploring life can you truly understand and embrace it.

Our Motivation:

The planning of this documentary was sparked when, I, Aaron Arkens was diagnosed with endocharditis during the fall of 2012, and was forced to undergo open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve. With a new lease on life, I began traveling for the first time, and crossed paths with Isaac Koenig, a friend I had known from high school. Realizing the possibilities of combining my new sense of adventure with my talents in film, Isaac convinced me to plan a documentary surrounding it. During the documentary's planning, Nathan Jenkins took interest in the project, and felt called to join us on the adventure.

It is our belief that human emotion, while often very similar worldwide, is expressed very differently from place to place. In piecing together this film, we will be creating a story that shows how we relate these new perspectives to issues we currently have with our own lives, from our health to our relationships, and everything in between.

While it's difficult to admit, all three of us are in a period of our lives where there is a lot of confusion between what we want out of our future as well as how to deal with issues we've had in our past. We believe there are a lot of people our age who can relate to this and, after watching the film, can use our experience to understand how important it is to connect with people and to take risks for something that is important to them.

How we're going to do it:

This film is being described as "reality cinema". Wanting to immerse our viewers in this experience, we set out to find camera and audio equipment that replicates the way human vision and hearing works. Due to this, we've decided to use primarily wide angle (11-16mm) and standard (30mm) lenses as well as a stereo microphone to make sure we don't miss anything important. This will allow us to capture the vast majority of everything that happens both visually and audibly, from the vast landscapes, to the long and tiring drives.

Much like the "lost footage" films that have emerged in the past fifteen years, we intend to have the story lines grow organically as the three try to overcome their own struggles, both immediate and internal. While we will find the settings fascinating, the film will not be about the locations themselves, but more-so the people that live there. It is because of this that we are determined to travel as much of the United States as possible.

We intend to piece our footage into a roughly 90 minute film, documenting how we grew not only as friends, but as individuals. Coming from a video production background, it's common to pair two films together to understand our intentions. While this is hard to do, as it has a very unique premise, I would likely say Driving July is the storyline of Stand by Me meets the cinematography of Project X. I mean this in the sense that, like Stand by Me, the film will follow characters with very real issues as the embark on a new era of their lives, but will be filmed in a way that will allow us to make a very cinematic experience out of "amateur" footage. 

It's important to us that our generation has a voice as they enter adulthood, and we want to be the ones to provide it. By being open and honest with ourselves on this journey, as well as distributing this on a medium that can directly connect with a very large audience, we believe we can do just that.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Our goal of $2000 will only cover the bare minimum to make this film a reality. We genuinely hope that we will find enough funds to make this highly successful, and find the means to connect with as many people as possible, but as of right now, our first and foremost goal is to get the film made. Likewise, a lot of investments have already been made between the three members (such as the Canon 60D camera, and Rode Stereo Videomic Pro) so we are on a shoe-string budget. Once we have the start up cost, however, we will be able to make the film without suffering any loss of quality. The next challenge will however come when it comes time to distribute it effectively enough to reach a large market.

After this film is successfully funded, we will be traveling to places we are not familiar with along with meeting people we do not know. There is always the potential that something happens to us, but we are taking the necessary safety precautions to keep us out of harms way, whether that's from people, the scorching hot southwestern deserts, or even wildlife in the areas that we visit.

After we film it, I will be left with the task of editing and marketing this film. Practicing video production for close to a decade, I feel very comfortable with this task. In the end, a lot of heart and soul is behind this project, so I'm confident in not only my abilities as a filmmaker but also in the friendships that I have made in this field to make this a film worth watching. While it is a significant challenge to have a workload such as this, it's something that I embrace with open arms and am thrilled to have the opportunity to do so.

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    A sincere thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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    A personal thank you, combined with a production diary/photos in pdf form after we return.

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Funding period

- (30 days)