Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
The Mysterious Question Film asks one lovely, encouraging and heart-filling question.  Answering that question brings people to joy.
The Mysterious Question Film asks one lovely, encouraging and heart-filling question.  Answering that question brings people to joy.
The Mysterious Question Film asks one lovely, encouraging and heart-filling question. Answering that question brings people to joy.
122 backers pledged $14,484 to help bring this project to life.

About

The Mysterious Question Film project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

The Mysterious Question Film

$14,484

122

We did it!  SUCCESS!!  And success with our first stretch goal!  Thank you! Would you help us reach a SECOND STRETCH GOAL of $14,000 which will add two more weeks of filming to finish secondary shots in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas?  See Stretch Goals below.

---------------------------

The goal of this project is to create a shift in people by asking this one infectious and encouraging question.

I have traveled around the USA in a VW Vanagon and interviewed 132 people I have met along the way. Interviewees light up sharing their answer to this question and their words have always opened my heart. I want to bring that experience to you in a film and website.

This Kickstarter Campaign aims to raise funds to finish filming interviews for The Mysterious Question Film and website – 68 more for a total of 200 interviews.

The Mysterious Question Film will be a full-length documentary featuring interviews with people about this simple, yet profound, question. Everyone has an answer to this question and everyone loves the chance to talk about it, but we rarely do. 

This film will nudge us to talk.

 project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

What is the question?  Why the mystery? 

The question that is central to this film will stay a mystery until the film premieres and the website launches, but I understand the desire to know the question! 

I keep the question a secret because we live in a fast-sharing digital world. I want to honor what the interviewees have given me and wait until I’ve made it into a cohesive whole before sharing it. 

I do not tell the interviewees the question before the interview. I don’t want them pre-thinking their answer. Sometimes, that makes them very curious, and sometimes they aren’t too sure about saying “yes” to an interview. But once I turn on the camera, I ask the question immediately and they understand the wait. Now, they are helping me keep the secret!

Who is making this project and how did it begin? 

My name is Barbara Ryersen. I am doing this project because every answer to the question expands me and I believe every answer will expand you.

This project began in my last semester getting my master's degree in Film Production at USC. A professor asked “If you only get to make one film in your life, what would you want to add to the world?”  This is that film.

When the professor asked that question, I took the challenge. I asked myself: What do I want most of all? I thought about it for a few days and the question that has become this project came to me. I could see how it could encourage. I could sense how it might unfold.

For the class, I filmed twelve interviews and edited a quick compilation. When my video finished, two students stood to start talking over others. Everyone was smiling and wanted to share their answers. I knew then that this idea was worthwhile.

The technology I needed for the website and film that would become this project was not yet available when I received my MFA in 2001. I worked briefly in the film industry before leaving LA in 2003. I went back to working as a carpenter – building, managing, teaching – and worked on this project when I could, letting it steep and develop. In 2010, the technology was getting closer to what I envisioned, so I bought a camera and got back into filmmaking.  

How do you meet people?

I meet people by following my curiosity, doing new things, and waiting until I get a feeling in my gut, like a tap on the shoulder – “that is the person to interview.”

  • I met John waiting for Chinese take-out in Rapid City, SD. 
  • I met David, Aaron and Vivian pulling out invasive species in Vancouver, BC. 
  • Because of their fabulous laughter behind me when I was eating pancakes in Eugene, OR, I met Stacie and Stephanie. 
  • I met Brian, Sharon and Shannon when I tried Contra-dancing in Boone, NC.
  • Fleeing mosquitoes in Grand Chenier, LA caused me to meet Jimmie, Lennis and Mickey. 
  • I went to a Women in Agriculture Conference in Spokane, WA and met Vicki, Beth and Julianne - and many other fabulous women!
  •  …and I've met plenty by just walking up to someone and asking if I could interview them.

How much has been done already?

  • 132 out of a total goal of 200 interviews have been filmed.
  • Secondary shots (“b-roll”) have been tested in editing. 
  • Design of the website is finished – a paper “wire frame” that shows the look and interaction of pages and buttons has been done. 
Aaron in Mountain View, Arkansas
Aaron in Mountain View, Arkansas
Judy in Vancouver, BC
Judy in Vancouver, BC

Why a website? Why not just a film?

The website will be seeded with the 200 interviews. When you visit, you will be able to view more complete answers by any interviewee AND you’ll be asked to upload your own answer or film it right there on the website. 

The film will get the idea – the question – out there, but the website will take that idea and invite you and everyone to answer the question for themselves. 

You will enjoy answering this question. You will want to know how others in your life answer this question. And then I believe you will go take a look at the answers of people who are unlike you. 

I have grown tremendously because of this question – both by answering it for myself, and from listening to other's answers. I believe we are wiser than we know and my intent for this project is for you and everyone to discover your own wisdom and how wise we all are. 

Barbara and Wayne, just after the interview, in the Big Cypress Preserve swamp, Florida.
Barbara and Wayne, just after the interview, in the Big Cypress Preserve swamp, Florida.
Brittany and Barbara just after the interview in Houston, Texas.
Brittany and Barbara just after the interview in Houston, Texas.

What this Kickstarter Campaign will do

  • It will fund the filming of 68 more interviews (132 have been done, 200 is the goal).
  • It’ll put me back on the road in my VW Vanagon to find and film these last interviews.
  • And yes, the Vanagon is my home on the road; it is a VW Vanagon Westfalia camper. 
Transferring footage after a day of filming.
Transferring footage after a day of filming.

Where and when will you go on this trip?

  • I will be going to new places where I have not yet done interviews.
  • My Vanagon is stored in Huntsville, Alabama. I will pick it up at the beginning of May and travel through the beginning of October.
  • From Huntsville, I will head east and north toward the East Coast, following curiosity and joy to meet interviewees. May/June?
  • New York is a destination in which to meander for interviewees and meet supporters like you for coffee (see rewards!).  July?
  • Next I will meander toward Boston, where I can stay with friends, and I'll get to meet more supporters like you for coffee (see rewards!).  July/August? 
  • Canada’s next, because I haven't been to Eastern Canada and would love to interview more Canadians. August/September?
  • West to Toronto to stay with another friend and meet more supporters like you for coffee (see rewards!). September?
  • West to Lansing, Michigan to stay with another friend. September/October?

Stretch Goals

We reached our original goal!!! Thank you to all the backers!  Because of that success, we get to dream bigger – thank you for this opportunity! These stretch goals are to fund me to return and film secondary shots with interviewees I have already filmed.  

  • Stretch goal #1 is to reach $13,000 ($1000 more) and would send me to Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.  
  • Stretch goal #2 is to reach $14,000 ($1000 more) and would send me to Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas.

How did you figure the budget for the trip? 

I’ve taken three such long trips to get interviews in my Vanagon. The budget to support me on the road averages $2000/month. I camp and cook meals in the Vanagon. It will take me five months on the road to get these last 68 interviews. That is $10,000 plus Kickstarter fees and the costs to fulfill the rewards, which brings the Kickstarter goal to $12,000. 

I own all my own equipment, so there are no rental fees. And it’s just me, no other crew to feed and support.

Rewards

I want to share this trip with you and the rewards are designed to give you a sense of being on the road with me and meeting interviewees.

All the rewards are based on this trip and will be delivered this year.

AND I'm offering this handsome and mysterious T-shirt in some of the rewards. It is the first T-shirt I've had made and will be exclusive to supporters of this Kickstarter campaign. The logo represents the mysterious question and will be the logo for the website. 

T-shirt's FRONT with the website's mysterious logo.
T-shirt's FRONT with the website's mysterious logo.

Gratitude

Thank-you to my feedback team - these dear friends who have supported me with honest feedback: Laura, Kate, Jim, David, Elyn, Ellen, Mallory, Shane, Sandy, Lori, Meri, Kathy, Cathy, Ann, Michelle, Nancy, Carie, Reed, Valria, Judy, Barb, and Alicia.

Thank you always to the interviewees. You have given me more than you know. 

And thank you to my early donors for believing in me at the beginning.

More Information – 

www.barbararyersen.com 

Facebook: The Mysterious Question Film 

Risks and challenges

Every project has risks and challenges. One of my recent favorite movies (and the book too) is “The Martian.” If there are problems, I’ll take a breath (maybe I’ll yell), and then “science it out.” There is a solution to every problem and I am not on a planet by myself. I’ve been on the road many times and I know people are kind.

This campaign is to put me back on the road to finish filming interviews. Having done this before – this will be my 7th trip filming interviews, I am confident that I can solve every problem or get help solving it. I have met wonderful people on the road solving such problems. And, yes, interviews have resulted from what I first thought was a delay in my progress. I love how that works.

And if any snag delays my progress, I will communicate with you.
THANK YOU!

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    Mystery Supporter

    Thank you! You will be thanked on the Mysterious Question Film Facebook page and your name will be posted on the Gratitude Page on my website. Please let me know if you’d rather not be thanked online; I will say your name (quietly!) in gratitude in a forest of redwoods.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    10 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Mystery Lover

    Wonderful! You will receive a private link to stream a video compilation of interview moments from this trip you are supporting. This compilation will amuse you and keep you guessing about what the question is: “That Which Keeps the Mystery Alive.”

    Includes:
    • Mystery Supporter
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    19 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 40 or more About US$ 40

    Mystery on a T-shirt

    Fun! A 100% cotton T-shirt that will boast (in small writing that invites curiosity) “The Mysterious Question Film.” The T-shirt will also feature the website’s logo which represents THE question – more mystery! See the T-shirt over in the left column on this page. This T-shirt is exclusive to supporters of this Kickstarter Campaign; it will be blue with white printing.

    Includes:
    • Mystery Supporter
    • Mystery Lover
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    16 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 60 or more About US$ 60

    Post Card from the Road

    You’ll receive a unique postcard made from a photo I will take on this trip you are supporting. I’ll write you something joyous from my day on the road. The photo might contain a mystery, but the postmark will give away my location!

    Includes:
    • Mystery Supporter
    • Mystery Lover
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    9 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Mystery Story Shared

    I’ll write you a handwritten letter from the road about how I met an interviewee. It’s always a mystery how that happens and I’d love to share that with you.

    Includes:
    • Mystery Supporter
    • Mystery Lover
    • Post Card from the Road
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    22 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 200 or more About US$ 200

    "How Does She Do That?" Mystery Solved

    You’ll receive a private link to stream a video compilation showing a week on the road with me. It will be from this trip you are supporting. What will happen? Many mysteries will be solved: How does she lift that van roof up? How long does it take to set up two cameras, lights and microphones? Where does she plug in her Vita-Mix? Does she still recycle?
    The T-shirt only ships to the USA and Canada.

    Includes:
    • Mystery Supporter
    • Mystery Lover
    • Mystery on a T-shirt
    • Post Card from the Road
    • Mystery Story Shared
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    8 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 300 or more About US$ 300

    Meet for Coffee and Vanagon Tour

    I will make coffee or tea for us and we will sit by my Vanagon during the trip supported by you. We’ll talk about the film and around the mysterious question. I’ll give you an hour to try to pry it out of me, but I will instead entertain you with stories of how I meet interviewees and how I travel in the van. To meet in person, the location must be in or around the cities of New York, Boston, Toronto, or San Francisco. If we can’t meet in person, we can meet and chat via Facetime or Skype and I will give you a virtual tour of the Vanagon.

    Includes:
    • Mystery Supporter
    • Mystery Lover
    • Mystery on a T-shirt
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 600 or more About US$ 600

    Breakfast cooked in my Vanagon

    I will cook breakfast for you and two others on my VW Vanagon’s two-burner stove during the trip supported by you. I’ll flip pancakes or eggs, cook oatmeal or make it raw and green to distract you from the mystery of the question. I will make you laugh with stories from the road and how I stumble sometimes in my attempts to meet interviewees. The location must be in the parts of the USA and Canada where I am traveling next - basically, north and east from Tennessee to Nova Scotia, perhaps 200 miles north into Canada. T-shirts, thanks and the Mystery Lover link for each of the three of you. If you want to add other guests, $100 each for food, laughter and a T-shirt.

    Includes:
    • Mystery Supporter
    • Mystery Lover
    • Mystery on a T-shirt
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1,200 or more About US$ 1,200

    Become an Interviewee!

    Yes! I am offering to interview you (which means you will learn the question!) during this trip you are supporting. I will come to your home and interview you (or someone of your choosing!) for the film and website. Be advised – you may or may not be in the final film – just like all the other interviewees! After the interview, the person interviewed will be sworn to secrecy with a special ceremony in front of their loved ones. The location for the interview must be in the parts of the USA and Canada where I will be traveling on this trip - basically, north and east from Tennessee to Nova Scotia, perhaps 200 miles north into Canada. Other travel arrangements would be at an additional cost.

    Includes:
    • Mystery Supporter
    • Mystery Lover
    • Mystery on a T-shirt
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)