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A video journey into America, continuing the themes of two classic essay-films: "Speaking Directly" and "Plain Talk & Common Sense"
A video journey into America, continuing the themes of two classic essay-films: "Speaking Directly" and "Plain Talk & Common Sense"
58 backers pledged $3,785 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

$3,785

58

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.

WATCH: AMERICANS (An example sequence from Plain Talk and Common Sense)

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:

READ: "Time to Reboot" by Jon Jost

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.

WATCH: FOUR CORNERS (Another sequence from Plain Talk and Common Sense)

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.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    To express our gratitude: All who help with funding, places to stay, or anything else will get a thanks in the credits of the final film.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Recieve a special signed run of Daniel Levine's Occupy Wall Street memoir "Everytime I Check My Messages, Somebody Thinks I'm Dead..."
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Receive 2 custom made postcards from photos we take on the road. One will include a message from us if desired.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    A digital stream of 'Plain Talk and Common Sense: Uncommon Senses' on Vimeo.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Receive a framed 8x10 photo of your choice, or randomly selected from the best of what we take.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Full set of DVDs of the project as soon as it's completed. This will be a couple DVDs as the project will likely be around the 12 hour mark. $5 extra shipping outside the US.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Receive a portfolio of photographs from our trip.

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    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    A screening hosted by Brian and Daniel of Daniel's first documentary "Acquaintances", a couple shorts by Brian, maybe a teaser of "Plain Songs", and who knows, maybe one of Jon's features.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Brian and Daniel will travel to your location (U.S. Only), which will be featured in the final project, and your portrait is guaranteed to be featured in the 'Americans' sequence. In addition we will buy you ice cream.

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Funding period

- (30 days)