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Narratives Worth Exploring

Banff, Cycling, Film Festival, Film preview, Interview, Mountain Film, Podcast / 16.02.2010

An interview with adventure filmmaker Dominic Gill

I don’t know about you. But I’ve got a hard time getting motivated, especially when it comes to doing something hard, something that might take a lot of time, cost a bit of money or might even be a little scary. Life’s journey can be tough enough just trying to get by making it from day to the next. But every once in a while, someone comes along that prompts you to action. They get you psyched up and excited because you can see they’re going places and the next thing you know you get swept up in the momentum and just like your own life’s journey heads in a whole new direction. You follow that person right down a new road of adventure. Last fall I met a guy just like that. Dominic Gill was one a one of a few dozen movie producers I met during the 2009 Banff Film Festival. His documentary called Take A Seat follows his two-year journey by tandem bicycle over 20,000 mile of open road. Asking total strangers to pedal behind him on what his calls the stoker seat his travels brought a fresh sense of adventure into hearts and minds of everyone he met or who tagged along for the ride.
Capital Region Business Journal, Madison, Magazines, Music, philanthropy / 15.02.2010

Gabrielle Seals is an aspiring piano student with big ambitions. “I want to go to Juilliard,” she says. “But for my career… my career, career I want to go to Harvard to be a forensic anthropologist.” This Madison sixth grader, age 11, only started taking piano lessons in September. And despite her family’s economic challenges she’s already making plans for the future. Thanks to a unique program called Piano Pioneers Gabrielle can include training in music on her application to the Ivy League. “I’ve done some research and Harvard is a really good school,” she says. “Graduating from there I’ll be eligible to go anywhere in the world.” Bright and precocious -she skipped the 1st grade- Gabrielle is one of many children in Dane and five adjacent counties who receive free piano lessons. They are also provided with a used instrument from the Steinway Piano Gallery of Madison so they can practice at home.
Diversity, Environmental Justice, Interview, Podcast / 09.02.2010

An interview with Peggy Shepard executive director of West Harlem Environmental Action Inc.

Racism is a word that seldom comes up in a discussion of environmental protection. Clean air, water and soil are universal human values that transcend ethnic identity or the color of one’s skin. But in metropolitan centers around the United States minority communities are being inundated with a disproportionate burden of pollution. Industrial waste, municipal garbage and sewage treatment plants are routinely deposited in areas predominately populated by low income African Americans and Hispanics. In 1988 a community organizer named Peggy Shepard was asked to help address concerns around the creation of one such sewage treatment plant. A facility built in the New York City burrow of Harlem.
#ORWinter, Influencers / 04.02.2010

A detailed summary of the social media conversation during the outdoor industry winter trade show

By Channel Signal Analysts James Mills, David Sweeney and Paul Kirwin At the 2010 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market boosters of specialty products and services had a unique opportunity to participate in a conversation about the show, brands and events. Broadcast over the #ORWinter Twitter feed hosted and monitored by Channel Signal, even outdoor professionals who couldn’t attend the event were able to login and share the flow of information “From my perspective, it was great to be able to participate with OR, without being there,” said William Roth (@williamroth), social network coordinator of the National Outdoor Leadership School in Lander, Wyoming. “I liked seeing twitpics with new/conceptual products. I was able to learn about #guerillapanel and build my outdoor industry base of twitter users. It also made me realize just how much I need to be attending OR in the summer.” By simply including #ORWinter in their entries of 140 characters or less Twitter users shared photographs, videos and abbreviated links to blog web sites. Anyone on the planet with Internet access could see and follow the comment stream in real-time throughout the four-day event, including the on-snow demo. And on the show floor, exhibitors and key industry influencers were able to use the power of social media to generate excitement and drive traffic to their booths.
Banff, Film preview, Interview, Mountain Film, Podcast, Video / 01.02.2010

An interview with adventure filmmaker Bryan Smith

It’s been more than a month since the last podcast. Thanks to everyone for all the emails and Facebook messages asking for the next edition. After an action packed first season of production, the realities of life came crashing down like a devastating wave. The recession of 2009 made times a bit tough. Simply put the project was placed indefinite hold while I scrambled together a few odd writing jobs through the end of December and all of January. I had to work to make enough cash to pay our property tax bill. I’m happy to say that I recently wrote a fat check to city of Madison and now the project is back on track.

[caption id="attachment_2487" align="alignleft" width="358" caption="Bryan Smith"][/caption] I’ve learned a lot through that first season. With the collapse of traditional media, as newspapers and magazine continue to fold up under the weight of an antiquated model of communication, I’ve discovered that this form of storytelling, sharing music, art and adventure online is the wave of the future. With many creative souls out there building new high quality content for Internet there’s no shortage of great stories to tell. If you’ve been following along on the blog and on Facebook, you’ll know that I’ve been more than a little busy still traveling and finding new subjects to share with you. And in the process I’ve become thoroughly inspired by the work of many others who are pushing the boundaries of creative expression as they explore the heights and depths of the human spirit. You’ve heard me mention my friend Fitz Cahall. He’s the creator of my favorite podcast The Dirtbag Diaries. Fitz has new project that recently posted the Internet, a series of short films that depict the lives of adventurers chasing their passion through course of a year, a season. I connected with Fitz toward the end of last year during the Banff Mountain Film Festival. There I saw the premiere edition of the 22 part film series The Season. It’s an exciting yet, moderately paced thoughtful contemplation on what motivates ordinary people who do exceptional things in the outdoors. At the Banff Centre for mountain culture, in Alberta Canada, I also met Fitz’s partner co-producer and director of the Season Bryan Smith. Produced exclusively for distribution online, the Season brings Internet adventure storytelling to a new level. Directed by Bryan Smith this new film series illustrates the narrative behind the lives of people like each of us who aspire to lead a rich live in adventure.