30 December 2010

$10 Perk

29 December 2010

Mix CD: Track 8

So the challenge didn't work. That's ok. I'll hold on to the clip and maybe we can do a different challenge closer to the end. Or I'll just release it when I was originally planning.

But here's what we're doing. Earlier today I had an idea while I was editing. You know what would be interesting? To really take a better look at those perks. Maybe someone's on the fence. Sometimes a paragraph isn't enough to explain why a perk is so cool.

So let's take a look at some of them. Up first, the $50 perk.

Oh, and here's track 8 of the Mix CD.

8. Dogwalkers of the New Age
Artist: Breathe Owl Breathe
Album: Magic Central

I could talk for days and days about how amazing Breathe Owl Breathe. They're 3 people in Michigan who's primary instruments seem to be a guitar, banjo, and a cello. They write songs about the woods and animals and nature.

Oh, and they're the best band you've never heard of. Unless, of course, you've been within a mile of me, and then you've heard me talk about them and chances are I've forced you to listen to them.

Yeah, I'm kind of a superfan.

The new album is great, as is Canadian Shield and, well, all of them. It's all great. Kieran Roberts and I spent a good amount of time sitting in a car and waiting for it to stop raining during the filming of Up Country, during which time we would listen to Breathe Owl Breathe for inspiration.

Seriously, trust me on this one.

And if you don't, well then here's some video for you. First is this song, and then some of what's on YouTube. Enjoy.

Really, just go on YouTube and search "Breathe Owl Breathe". You can thank me later.

1. On the Road (Jack Kerouac)
2. The 50 States Song (Sufjan Stevens)
3. No Cars Go (Arcade Fire)
4. Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again (Bob Dylan)
5. I Know Every Street (Lohio)
6. Power (Kanye West)
7. Between Days (Red House Painters)

28 December 2010

A Challenge!

Couple things for you.

1. Our friends at Film Courage have run an article on the project by yours truly. Check it out.

2. We've laid down a little challenge that should be of particular interest to those of you who backed my film Up Country. Basically, if we can get to 50 backers today, tomorrow I'll release a rough cut of a scene from Up Country.

So...tell your friends. It's a win-win. Details can be found here.

Oh, and here's track 7 of the Mix CD.

7. Between Days
Artist: Red House Painters
Album: Old Ramon

If you saw Almost Famous, then you're kind of familiar with the Red House Painters. Basically, they're the brainchild of Mark Kozelek, who played one of the band members in Stillwater (the one who isn't a famous actor or the drummer). Anyway, Kozelek is awesome, be it via the Red House Painters or Sun Kil Moon or his solo stuff.

I find it's the sort of thing you can easily lose yourself inside of, and before you know it the album is over and you're playing it again.

1. On the Road (Jack Kerouac)
2. The 50 States Song (Sufjan Stevens)
3. No Cars Go (Arcade Fire)
4. Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again (Bob Dylan)
5. I Know Every Street (Lohio)
6. Power (Kanye West)

27 December 2010

Film Threat

Maybe you saw this earlier, maybe you didn't, but we've become a Certified Film Threat in Progress, which basically means that the good folks at Film Threat think this is a project worth watching. It's some pretty high praise. They did a nice interview with yours truly. Check it out!
If you're scoring at home, that means we've been "endorsed" by the following: Film Courage, Film Threat, the makers of TILT, The Cutting Room Floor, Film Snobbery, and Script Chat, not to mention dozens of individuals. Hopefully we can convert that into backers and make this a reality.

Oh, and here's track 6 of the Mix CD, which is definitely NSFW.

6. Power
Artist: Kanye West
Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Surprised? I would be too. The thing is, this album is really stunning. It's everything you could ask of a genius megalomaniac narcissist like Kanye West. The whole thing teeters on the edge of complete disaster. It's the sort of ballsy album people don't make anymore, especially not major mainstream stars like Kanye. And, man is it catchy. I can't get it out of my head. And I'm not really into hip hop since they stopped throwing their hands in the air. But you can't deny greatness.

Did I mention the album (and the song) is very, very NSFW?

There's a video for the song, sort of, and it's as ambitious as the album. Actually, it's a teaser for what is supposed to be some sort of 40 minute short film built around the song, kind of like the 35 minute one he did for "Runaway" (trust me, just go with it).

The Runaway video:

1. On the Road (Jack Kerouac)
2. The 50 States Song (Sufjan Stevens)
3. No Cars Go (Arcade Fire)
4. Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again (Bob Dylan)
5. I Know Every Street (Lohio)

26 December 2010

Mix CD: Track 5

Remember how I said we might have one of these on Christmas? Yeah, that didn't happen. But, if you can't take Christmas off, then when can you take a day off?

Oh, make sure you check out our friends at Film Courage, every Sunday at noon PST (psst...that's today).

5. I Know Every Street
Artist: Lohio
Album: History, the Destroyer

Lohio, a Pittsburgh-based band, has been compared to Wilco. Of course, much like Wilco, it's really hard to summarize their sound so easily. Unless, of course, that word is "infectious".

If you had to bet on one Pittsburgh artist to "make it", I'd put my money on these guys.

Check out (some of) them playing a different song on KDKA:

1. On the Road (Jack Kerouac)
2. The 50 States Song (Sufjan Stevens)
3. No Cars Go (Arcade Fire)
4. Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again (Bob Dylan)

24 December 2010

Mix CD: Track 4

Merry Christmas Eve! (Unless you're Jewish...and then....hi!) We might do one of these tomorrow, but probably not until the evening. Definitely not until after the Celtics' game.

4. Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again
Artist: Bob Dylan
Album: No Direction Home: The Soundtrack

I'll tell you a little secret. This album is fantastic for a solo road trip. The beauty of it, besides the fact that there's a ton of great songs on it, is that it's fresh versions of classics, which I find helps keep me awake when driving through Hartford at 3am. Also, the album is just begging you to sing along at the top of your lungs (hence, the solo part) in your best Bob Dylan impression. Time just flies. Plus, it's Dylan. How can you go wrong?

The Scorsese documentary is pretty awesome too.

There's surprisingly few Dylan recordings on YouTube, but the song does appear in Todd Haynes' I'M NOT THERE, a pretty much perfect biopic film.

1. On the Road (Jack Kerouac)
2. The 50 States Song (Sufjan Stevens)
3. No Cars Go (Arcade Fire)

23 December 2010

Mix CD: Track 3

If you haven't noticed the pattern, we're doing one of these a day. Enjoy!

3. No Cars Go
Artist: Arcade Fire
Album: Neon Bible

A purist (a.k.a. a jerk) will quickly interject that "No Cars Go" was originally released on the self-titled EP. Who cares? I like this version better.

There's a ton of Arcade Fire songs you can put on a mix, but we're kind of going with a travel theme here, so "No Cars Go" wins out over "Keep the Car Running" (which is also really great). Why? Because it's longer and if we're doing a road trip mix, those extra minutes count. Plus, I think this gives a better picture of how big Arcade Fire can be. But, maybe that's just me.

Anyway, here's a live performance from back in the day.

For extra fun, check out this super cool Arcade Fire video for the album's title track:

1. "On the Road" (Jack Kerouac)
2. The 50 States Song (Sufjan Stevens)

21 December 2010

Mix CD: Track 1

If you've ever been on a road trip worth a damn, you've passed the time listening to Mix CD. Of course, everyone has their favorite mixes. You know, the ones where you've listened to them so much that you no longer think of the songs in their original album context. But, I think they're a lot more fun when it's an old mix that you don't really remember. The next track is a mystery. It could be one of your favorites, or it could be a song you haven't heard in years. So...without further adieu...a Mix CD

1. On the Road
Artist: Jack Kerouac
Album: Reads On The Road [track 3]

You can't imagine an American road trip without Jack Kerouac. And if you can, well, I don't know what to tell you. This track, from a spoken word album of old Kerouac home recordings. is a song Kerouac composed after staying up all night writing. To quote his introduction: "I'm just reading what I wrote all night. There are better things coming than what I wrote all night. Straight from the mind to the voice". Years later they added a haunting guitar and--voila!--magic.

18 December 2010

We gamble on Kickstarter

My buddy Ben and I are road tripping from Charlotte to Maine over two days. An hour into day 1, Ben bet me a beer we wouldn't hit $1,000 on the Kickstarter campaign before we got to Harrisburg. He lost.

Now, he wants a rematch. Let's win that bet too.

15 December 2010

Cornelius, NC (15 December)

The last time I was in North Carolina for any significant period of time was back in 2001 when I did radio play-by-play for the Geneva College basketball team. We had a tournament at Gardner-Webb University, where our NAIA school very nearly beat their NCAA Division I team. I didn't see a whole lot of the surrounding area, and remember even less.

This time, I'm about an hour away, holed up in my buddy Ben's apartment, editing Up Country. I'll be here a week, and then we'll drive up to Maine for Christmas festivities. I don't imagine I'll get to see much of the area, but that's ok. I have way too much work to do if we're going to get this project off the ground.

The Kickstarter campaign is humming along, and the time spent writing the Bizarro World bios offers a nice change of pace from rigors of editing.

So this isn't much of a report, but what's there to report? I'll try and get a video update later this week. Maybe even from outside. In the meantime, check out the campaign. The widget is over on the right sidebar.

13 December 2010


One question we've gotten as the word of A Year Without Rent is how are we going to choose the projects to work on? Well, it's really rather simple: there is no system.

Basically, we're going to try and fit in as many of them as possible, regardless of size and/or importance. It's not a question of budget or prestige or anything else. It's really a matter of a couple of factors:

When & Where

Really, this is obvious. If we're in Nevada and your project starts tomorrow in Florida, we're probably not going to make it. But, we might be able to get there for part of it. We've got someone (her name is Heather) dealing with the logistics. She'll try and make it work.

What to pick?

Hopefully, a situation will come up where there's two different projects and there's no way to get both of them in. In that case, it'll probably be a judgement call. Everything else being equal, we'll choose the one that's more interesting to us and that fits in better with the overall narrative. And, yes, we'll give our backers priority. But you probably could have guessed that.

What about?

Money? Nope, that's not a factor. If your film is paying, then we'll put the money toward staying on the road, but that's not going to be what does it. Part of what we want to accomplish with the Kickstarter campaign is to make it so that we can simply take the best project.

So that means we don't really care what kind of project it is. A feature, a short, a music video, a documentary, whatever. It doesn't really matter. We want to help these films get made and seen. We want to help them connect with a larger audience. That's it. There's no ulterior motive to that.

We've got some projects lined up already (there's kind of a first-come, first-serve situation at play), and more are coming in.

Hopefully that makes some sense. Stay tuned.

08 December 2010

The bizarro world

Years ago, in Point Hope, Alaska, a young Phil Holbrook was captivated by the Coen Brother's FARGO. After seeing a mere glimpse of a warmer climate, nothing could keep Phil from heading south. He landed in Brainerd, Minnesota, where his enthusiasm for the town quickly landed him a job at the Brainerd Lakes Chamber Welcome Center. He gives tours of Brainerd--epic, sprawling tours known to last for hours--and meticulously touches up the paint on the Center's Paul Bunyan statue.
Spoxx came to America from Germany three years ago. He first touched down in Pittsburgh, which was supposed to just be a connection, but it was a long flight, and he was so tired of being in the plane (can you blame him?), that he decided to explore the city. Only, he got lost. Eventually, he found his way to the HofbrÀuhaus, where his authentic German-ness allowed him to be hired on as a consultant. He was also in charge of teaching the waitresses how to correctly pronounce items on the menu. But, he couldn't shake the lure of show biz. He signed up to fill in for the guy who sings the drinking songs in the big hall. Before long, there was a line around the block. Now he's the hottest ticket in town.
Adam Woods fell in love with New Orleans during his first trip for Mardi Gras. The next year he was back in force, only this time his car was full and he wasn't leaving no matter what. During Hurricane Katrina he could often be seen in the background behind Jim Cantore, mugging for the camera in his The Only Good Bush is a Reggie Bush t-shirt. These days, Adam makes a living re-selling beads to tourists and survives primarily on Kickstarter perks.
I wonder what we'll write about you? There's only one way to find out.

03 December 2010


We're live on Kickstarter. Here goes nothing.