Make It Happen: DIY Across America

Make it Happen: DIY Across America is a documentary series about creative people engaged in awesome indie projects.

We kicked off production in 2007 by quitting our full time jobs at Current TV and hitting the wide open roads of America. In the true spirit of DIY we left San Francisco with lots of enthusiasm, and very little money.

Process

Make it Happen is a completely independent project. To cover our travel costs we used a combination of savings and donations that we solicited through our blog. The project started pre-Kickstarter, so we used a Chipin widget on our blog for donations and we kept a record of all of our supporters in the sidebar. We blogged daily, and produced vlogs detailing our progress. Particularly generous benefactors were rewarded with shout outs in our vlogs.

We also licensed our Make It Happen pilot documentary, Sisterz of the Underground to Current TV, which gave us a small boost in funds towards the end of our travels. The bulk of our support came from family and friends, who helped us buy gear and offered us shelter on the road.

Production

We traveled the highways of America for four months in our Honda Civic Hybrid, which was packed full of road food and camera gear. In that time we produced stories about Lowcard Magazine and Sisterz of the Underground in San Francisco,  Austin Craft Mafia and the artists at Okay Mountain in Austin, the folks who run the Lost Film Festival and Evil Twin Booking in Philly, the New Orleans poet Chuck Perkins, the Poor Pony Collective in Lake Charles, TBC Party in Baton Rouge, and Bling Kong, a Brooklyn based choose-your-own-adventure rock band.

Production was done with a two person crew consisting of Jeremey Lavoi and Abby Berendt (now Lavoi). We handled video and audio with two Canon XH-A1 HDV cameras, Sennheiser G2 wireless lavaliers, Rode NTG-2 shotgun mics, and Manfrotto 501HDV tripods. Natural light was our illumination of choice. For a few night shoots, we mounted Canon on board camera lights.

Status

Make it Happen: Lowcard was featured in the 1st Annual Skateboard Film Festival in Seattle, WA 2009. It has been shared all over the internet and boasts over 1 Million Hits on Youtube.  It was also awarded a Bronze Telly in the 31st Annual Telly Awards.

Make it Happen: Lost Film Fest was featured on Lightning in a Bottle and The Next Hope.

The remaining stories are on hold for now.