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Exploring a 2,500 year old practice of freedom in the land of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Exploring a 2,500 year old practice of freedom in the land of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
276 backers pledged $30,270 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates

2017 Update


Hello all! I hope everyone is well and happy.

I just wanted to provide an update about Seeking Heartwood as post-production moves closer to completion.  

First off I just must say again that I owe everyone a really big thank you for funding this Kickstarter at the end of 2012. That funding successfully carried me through the production phase, which wrapped up towards the end of 2013. The past 4 years I've been engrossed the in the post-production process. Definitely a long time - longer than I initially estimated and I'm extremely grateful to those of you who have been patient. This project was the first time I ever tackled any sort of video production project at all and the cost and amount of work involved has been daunting. From everything I've heard the average doc takes about 4 years to complete (that's for people who actually have experience in video production), and post-production costs can easily rise to several hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Obviously it's taken me longer than the average at this point, especially since I'm funding the post-production phase myself.

Fortunately, I've found the best way to pay for post-production is to utilize the production skills I learned from this doc to work in the film and TV industry. Unfortunately, the work is all seasonal travel work which means I'm on the road working over half of the year. The upside is that I'm learning a tremendous amount that I'm able apply to Seeking Heartwood. In between seasons I continue on with this doc - working my way through an extremely lengthy transcription phase, dealing with some good editors and some that unfortunately haven't followed through, finding out that the way I filmed interviews created additional editing work, occasionally making big leaps in progress, and sometimes going over budget and having to pay off the difference when resuming the next season of work.

Currently I'm on the road working until March, but after that I should have enough time and funding to get through the final phases of editing. Following that I'll be able to move into other areas of post including sound, color, and music.  

I have set a hard deadline for myself in the fall of 2018 to have the film finished. I'm going to do everything I can to meet that deadline. After that, it's probably going to be up to a distribution company to decide when it's actually going to be released. I was actually planning on releasing a trailer by now, but as I find out more about distribution pathways, I'm learning that the project will be better served by waiting at least until the edit is locked, if not until after a distribution plan has been established.  

Again, thank you all for your support for this project. I realize it's been a lengthy amount of time, but trust me, no one wants to get this project completed more than me. I'll provide more frequent updates in 2018 as the film nears completion.

Latest updates on the film

Just wanted to post a quick update here on Kickstarter.  I've been keeping up blog posts on my website  There you'll find the latest information on my travels, who I'm interviewing, and pictures from around the country.

Here's links to a couple of the most recent posts:



Bikkhu Bodhi, Buddhist Global Relief, and a Bhikkhuni Ordination Ceremony

From my blog post here:

I can hardly believe it's been over a month since the Kickstarter campaign ended, it feels like a lifetime ago. An update is long overdue and I'm happy to finally get a new post up after a lengthy and much needed meditation retreat at the peaceful and secluded Jikoji Retreat Center in Northern California. During my retreat I was able to pull together a substantial amount of photos from the event's I've been filming over the past month. 

 You'll find the pics on my blog here including lots of pictures from Bhikkhu Bodhi's tour of Southern Cali for his Buddhist Global Relief's Walks to Feed the Hungry. I wrote a previous post about the mission and aims of these walks which you can see here. 

 Additionally, you'll find photos from a historic Bhikkhuni (Buddhist nun) ordination ceremony that was held at the Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara in Los Angeles. I was also able to squeeze into the Deer Park monastery for a second time during a recent Buddhist monastic conference. Unfortunately, since I'm not a monastic I didn't get to see much, but I had some great conversations, made some new friends, and snapped a couple pics of the local wildlife.

Stay tuned folks, things are going to get real interesting around here as I begin my last big push to complete filming on the project. Thanks to your generous support I'll be heading to the East Coast later this week to begin a whirlwind tour of interviews with some of the biggest names in American Buddhism including Joseph Goldstein, Lama Surya Das, Charles Prebish, and many, many more.

Speaking of support, those who made donations during the Kickstarter campaign should be receiving surveys to collect the information needed to send out your rewards. If you haven't received an email regarding your donation yet, you will very soon. If you have, please fill out the questionnaire so we can get your reward out to you. Thanks!



Last Friday, with the incredibly generosity of everyone who wants to see this movie happen, my Kickstarter fundraising goal was met. This means that I officially get to keep all of the funds and anything additional raised between now and this Thursday, the 11th.

Words simply cannot express the gratitude and excitement that I’m feeling right now. I’m just so humbled and inspired by all the incredible support this project has received. I traveled all over this country and know very well how difficult times are for many right now. Every time someone pitched in some of their hard-earned money or emailed me just to say that some kind words of encouragement, it reminded me how important it was to take this opportunity to do everything I can to make this world a better place. This film is the a first step in that direction, and it’s a step I can confidently make, knowing that the most common quality I see in people is kindness.

So many of you shared this project with your communities and I can’t thank you enough. All of this exposure over the past 5 weeks has resulted in a huge number of emails from all over the country filled with amazing teacher recommendations and inspiring personal stories. I’ve got a plethora of new and diverse filming opportunities and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Seeking Heartwood featured in local paper

I recently did an interview for the local paper in my new home base of Long Beach and wanted to share it with you guys. I’m really doing everything I can to get support for this project but I still need your help. Please consider sharing this project with others and encouraging them to make a contribution. Together we’ve raised over $14,000, and all of this will return to the donors if I don’t meet my fundraising goal by the 11th. 

Check it out here at the Long Beach Post:

Today I’m off to interview the highly regarded Shinzen Young. He’s a meditation teacher well practiced in all three major Buddhist traditions and holds a Ph.D in Buddhist studies from the University of Wisconsin. Shinzen is known for his “innovative ‘interactive, algorithmic approach’ to mindfulness, a system specifically designed for use in pain management, recovery support, and as an adjunct to psychotherapy.”

Since I’m continually asking for donations during this fundraiser, I thought it might be relevant to provide some comments about what Buddhism says about generosity and giving. The following is a from the renowned monk Bhikkhu Bodhi, who just released his latest translation of the Numerical Discourses of the Buddha, which is now widely available:

“The practice of giving is universally recognized as one of the most basic human virtues, a quality that testifies to the depth of one’s humanity and one’s capacity for self-transcendence. In the teaching of the Buddha, too, the practice of giving claims a place of special eminence, one which singles it out as being in a sense the foundation and seed of spiritual development. In the Pali suttas we read time and again that ‘talk on giving’(danakatha) was invariably the first topic to be discussed by the Buddha in his ‘graduated exposition’ of the Dhamma. Whenever the Buddha delivered a discourse to an audience of people who had not yet come to regard him as their teacher, he would start by emphasizing the value of giving. Only after his audience had come to appreciate this virtue would he introduce other aspects of his teaching, such as morality, the law of kamma, and the benefits in renunciation, and only after all these principles had made their impact on the minds of his listeners would he expound to them that unique discovery of the Awakened Ones, the Four Noble Truths.”

"The gift of these teachings excels all gifts; the taste of the teachings excels all tastes; delight in the teachings excels all delights; the eradication of the source of discontentment overcomes all ills.” – The Buddha