About this project
What FOMO is:
FOMO is a popular abbreviation for the phenomenon known as the Fear Of Missing Out. It's the sensation of feeling like whatever you're doing, wherever you are, you could be doing something better somewhere cooler. Symptoms of FOMO include obsessively checking social media, regretting your life path, and watching Netflix.
In our internet saturated, hyper-connected world, it's nearly impossible to go through a day without feeling a little bit of FOMO. Whether it be the news of the day, a video of a puppy and a kitten snuggling, or your friend's sister's wedding announcement, FOMO is a fun way to describe the uncertainty of something happening without you.
The journeys, cultures, lives, and political beliefs of young adults in the United States reaches a historical juncture in the summer of 2016. Politically, young people (deemed "Millennials" by the older population) are faced with their second presidential election, and their first election in which they are the largest voting block. Culturally, Millennials are disrupting the workplace, sharing their lives online, and flocking to music festivals.
As the video above notes, there is a difference between how older Americans view Millennials and how Millennials view Millennials. Even more, there's a difference in how young people describe themselves and how young people describe other young people. My project aims to produce profiles of these nuanced perspectives: a book about young people, for young people, by a young person, during an apex of their cultural and political growth.
To be exact, I am renting a camper van and traveling all around the United States to find and interview other Millennials about their lives, beliefs, and politics. I'll be spending time in numerous cities, attending eight music festivals, and going to both political conventions. I hope to talk to hundreds of young people, learn about their worlds, and share my experiences in a book, FOMO 2016. I'll also be posting updates on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter via their respective FOMO 2016 pages.
I plan on selling the e-book on Amazon's online bookstore and producing a physical versions via Lulu.com's self-publishing service. The physical books are (for now) only available to campaign investors.
Who I am:
My name is John Brunett. In May, I'll be graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in journalism. My most recent professional role was with the Los Angeles Times as an associate producer for the High School Insider project. I've written multiple longform stories, such as the history of fraternities at Ithaca College, journalists' role in shaping the controversial 2000 election, and the extent to which Millennials rely on journalism 'opiates.' You can find those projects on my website, here.
I grew up in Palo Alto, California, and plan on moving back to the golden state after this journey. In general, I think I'm like many other people my age: just trying to find my path in life. I enjoy writing about culture (a fancy word for everything), reading about politics and sports, and playing lacrosse.
The festivals and conventions:
At the center of this project are the eight music festivals and two political conventions. These ten events will serve as chapters for the book, in addition to an introduction and conclusion. I am attending two festivals in each of the four major regions of the United States:
South: May 20 - June 6
- May 20-22: Hangout Music Festival, Gulf Shores, Alabama
- June 4-5: Free Press Summer Festival, Houston, Texas
Northeast: June 7- June 26
- June 10-13: Mysteryland, Bethel, New York (original site of Woodstock)
- June 16-19: Firefly, Dover, Delaware
Midwest: June 27 - July 17
Conventions: July 18 - July 26
- July 18-21: Republican National Convention, Cleveland, Ohio
- July 25-26: Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (cut short so I can get to Colorado in time)
West: July 27 - August 14
- July 29-31: Bass Center, Commerce City, Colorado
- August 12-14: Splash House, Palm Springs, California
As stated, there will be 12 chapters in the book, divided into five sections. Most chapters will be centered around an event--either a festival or a convention. Each chapter will feature at least two Millennial profiles, at least one personal vignette of my journey, a review of the event, and pertinent information about the host city (including senate/house races, major political or cultural topics specific to the region, Millennial demographics, etc). I'll also begin each chapter with shorts reviews of current events (especially with regard to the presidential campaigns) that shape the perspective of the people I am interviewing.
This is a rough outline and is subject to editorial changes based on my experiences on the road. If there's something worth writing about, especially with regards to young people, I'm going to write about it.
Budget and what I'm asking for:
The total budget for this project is about $13,000 for the trip and up to $1000 to produce and ship the rewards, depending on the demand.
Here is a rough breakdown:
- The van rental: $8000 -- I'm using escapecampervans.com, renting a Maverick van from May 18 to August 1. To cut costs, I'm dropping the van off in Las Vegas after Colorado and traveling to the last festival via carpool with my friend. This price includes car insurance.
- Gas and tolls: $1500 -- The total miles is about 6800. I'm rounding up to 7000, dividing by 20 (miles per gallon), and multiplying by 3 (dollars per gallon, roughly) I get $1050. I added $150 for tolls and $300 for emergency/insurance. According to this Gas Buddy forecast, I'm overestimating the cost, but I'd rather stick on the safe side.
- Food, toiletries, YMCA drop in fees: $1800 -- Based on $20 a day for 90 days. Again, I should be able to undercut this by a few hundred dollars (I typically eat PB&J's and pizza for nutrition), but in case of emergency I've left it as is. I'll be utilizing local YMCAs and other community/camping spots for showering and hygiene.
- Festival tickets: $1800: this cost is covered, as explained below.
So, why am I only asking for $4000 when the total cost is roughly $14,000? A couple reasons:
- I'm personally financing the camper van rental, which is the bulk of the budget.
- My loving and gracious mother gifted me $2000 for my college graduation. I've already used this money to lock down tickets and the down payment for the camper van. This leaves $3200 left to account for.
- The funds I receive from Kickstarter cover that cost, plus about half the potential cost of production & shipping.
I'm going on this journey and creating this book for myself as much as I am for others. As such, it's important to me to have skin in the game. I'm fortunate enough to not have a restrictive amount of student loan debt, so whatever I don't raise in this campaign I'll be financing myself. Of course, my stretch goal is to have the project completely funded via this campaign, but if I only reach my initial goal of $4000, I'll happily fund the rest of the production and the book. I guarantee to backers that their investments will be honored.
FOMO 2016 is a trans-media story, sharing young people’s stories online as well as in the book.
- I’m using Instagram, @FOMO2016, to share photos, quotes, and quick stories from the journey.
- I’m using the handle @FOMO2016 on Twitter to give festival and convention updates, interact with readers, and report news pertinent to production.
- Finally--yes, the trifecta--I’ll be sharing videos and extra profiles from the journey on the book’s Facebook page, FOMO 2016.
Why this matters:
If you haven't gathered it already, I'm passionate about journalism. I believe that I can produce these particular stories with more validity than most, both in age and independence. The message matters, but the messenger matters, too. In taking on this project, I'm offering my perspective in how history can view my generation, and, by extension, myself. As with all journalism, there is a degree of narcissism at play here, but I believe that to be a motivating factor rather than detrimental to the project's success.
I want to note that Millennials are already shaping the way history (and the present world) sees them everyday on social media. This project is about confronting my generation about their lives wholesomely (online and offline), interacting with young people on a human level, and deriving narratives from that. The difference between our life stories and our social media accounts might be slight, but it's important to distinguish when producing this book.
Once I have the book produced and on the Amazon marketplace, 10 percent of all of the proceeds will be donated to Kappa Sigma's Military Heroes campaign. (Note: this money will come from the proceeds of the finished product, not the funds from Kickstarter.)
Risks and challenges
First and foremost, since I am taking this trip (for the most part) alone, I run the risk of something happening to me or the van that seriously derails the schedule and/or my ability to complete the project.
Second, there is always the risk of something going wrong in terms of publishing and shipping the final product, which might delay the estimated delivery date.
Third, this is my first Kickstarter campaign, so there is risk of not being funded or underestimating the scale of the project. However, I have done extensive research to this point, and feel confident in my ability to deliver a project worthy of this campaign. Thanks!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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