Photos and Videos by Jon Jost
Filmmaker Jon Jost began shooting a series of films in 1973 hoping to capture in them what the US was at the time each was made. The first two have been realized in the form of 1973's Speaking Directly and 1987's Plain Talk and Common Sense (Uncommon Senses). The third film, Plain Songs, will explore what America has become since 1987; what undercurrents have predominated. In some ways this will be a surveying of the wreckage.
Jon was planning initially on making this project himself but grew discouraged at the admittedly limited commercial prospects of an extremely long unconventional film and decided to throw in the towel. Dan and Brian, who know Jon through the internet and Occupy Wall Street, volunteered to help finish the unrealized project working from Jon's initial notes, fleshing them out, and adding some sequences of their own. Jon thought this sounded reasonable and agreed to mentor and provide his support on our initial journey while he gears up for his own. Hence the Plain Songs Kickstarter.
Here is a recent blog post from Jon detailing his own plans for the project and his relationship to us. It is a must-read:
The plan is this: Dan and Brian drive around the US for two months and film as much as possible both realizing already conceived visuals and seeking out others that might come up organically. They'll be in contact with Jon throughout though Jon won't be on the road with them. Jon will venture out on the road in the near future to continue shooting. While many of the sequences are already meticulously planned out, we're open to any opportunities being on the road might suggest.The film is going to to be long. We've been thinking about what it is we're attempting to do and visualizing ways to go about it for almost two years now. This is where we execute it.
This is also where you come in. We're going to be making this film without any of the bells and whistles customary to commercial filmmaking, things like a reliable place to sleep. We're going to be living out of a car most of the time and for food, well, we may be dumpster diving a lot. However, gasoline, SD cards, cameras so all three people shooting have footage that matches and can be edited interchangeably, car maintenance, and unexpected circumstances do cost money, and with your help these things can be obtained and the film can be made. The incentives on the sidebar are also pretty nifty. Please consider giving what you can.
Everyone who helps out in any way, be it by providing a place to sleep, contributing funds, or otherwise will be given a special thanks in the credits.
Feel free to send us any questions you might have.
Risks and challenges
Brian is leaving a full time job with health benefits and Dan is putting his used book business on hold for the time needed to make the project so there is a financial risk. While some difficulties will be unavoidable, the funding helps to avoid as many headaches as possible.
Our experience in non-fiction filmmaking is that if you're friendly and humble with people and keep things low key (they're a crew of 2 max after all), most things work themselves out if you're flexible.
We're going to be keeping a blog of our progress while on the road so if any big difficulties come up we'll keep y'all posted.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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