What we've been up to, and what's on the horizon.

Behind the Scenes with Les Voyageurs

We've been busy behind the scenes of NW Documentary's next original production. Here's what we've been up to!

A 1,000 mile journey

They say a 1,000 mile journey begins with one small step... but from that point, it's thousands and thousands of more small steps. Things have been moving forward. Steady and sure. It's the largest, most complex project we've undertaken. It's led us down the Colorado River, across France, and now--to the most challenging location of all--our edit chairs.

A dedicated team of volunteers has been grueling toward the final stretch of the transcribing stage. Meanwhile, trusty Story Advisors have been offering feedback on the very initial script outlines. Once complete, we'll begin to piece together outline and soundbites, forming the very beginning of a first draft. Right now it feels a little daunting and unwieldy, but that's the fun of the creative process, the giddy beginning of seeing something take shape.

Each day it seems we get a new email from someone who wants to help. It's inspiring to be part of a creative effort where so many people, from so many backgrounds, skills, and experiences can come together to share in the collaboration of telling this significant story.

It'll be rewarding to see the film complete and share it when it's all said and done--but I think as soon as that happens, we'll all be a little whistful, wishing we could be back at the moment we are right now.

If you haven't seen the 4-minute trailer, you can here.

Some Days Are A Sprint, Others A Marathon

This month marks the one-year anniversary of Jenn Byrne's commitment to Les Voyageurs. She shares what keeps her going:

Over the past 365 days, I've tackled a wide range of tasks from securing sponsors and maintaining those relationships, to helping plan the 31-day river trip for a crew of 12. Most recently I have been organizing the tremendous amount of footage we captured and sorting all of our audio. With only voices guiding me, I rename every audio clip and assign it to it’s respective video clip, then sync the audio with video, preparing the 6 terabytes of media for edit.

Although the task of organizing our media may seem daunting at times, the process allows me to relive the trip down the Green and Colorado rivers. The production trip in September was my first experience working on a production of this size and scope. The opportunity to work with a team was exhilarating and educational. Day in and day out, I was running alongside class-3 rapids, life jacket buckled, camera and tripod in hand, aiming to get the best shot possible. The trip was both an adventure in filmmaking and a life experience I will never forget.

In this stage of post-production, some days are a sprint, others a marathon, but everyday I am so proud to have contributed to bringing the project one step closer to completion.

Spring Paddle Festival

It's hard to believe that this time last year director Ian McCluskey and Lilah Cady set out to try to learn something--ANYthing--about kayaking. That's how we crossed paths with Paul Kuthe, who immediately invited us to check out Alder Creek's annual Spring Paddle Festival. It would be the fist time Ian ever climbed into a kayak.

Anyone in the Northwest who wants to get their toes (and bum) wet for the first time in a kayak and get an overview of all things kayak related at the weekend of free workshops and demos, should check out this year's Spring Paddle Festival, April 27 and 28th. Say howdy to Paul and all our pals at Alder Creek who have supported Les Voyageurs. But be warned: their passion for kayaking is contagious. You might find yourself with some new summer plans.

Transcribing from a French Point of View

We'd be lost without our team of French volunteers who have been helping us with our interviews that were shot in France. Volunteer Eric Poli has logged hours and hours transcribing the interviews. He shares his experience:

Working on this project has been and is still a learning experience. I'm giving my skills and receiving in return new knowledge. First, looking back at the French history during the 30's and 40's through the prism of the story of three adventurers and their kayaks. A fundamental period in the modern history of this old civilization. Second, following the film director work, interview after interview, and realizing that he has probably the final cut of the documentary in mind. Smiling at how eventually he put in the mouth of the interviewed person exactly what he wants them to say. Third, being amazed of how people, countries, and passions can be linked by a story that opened the outdoor activities, recreation and pleasure for all of us.

What's Next?

Last summer, when we started planning for the great river trip, we photocopied every page of the Belknap River Guides and laid them end-to-end to make a 50-foot long visual of our entire route.

Now we've turned our entire office window into a creative board, mapping out tasks rather than miles. It's great fun to pull a 3x5 card off the window with each completed task. There's a lot of cards ahead, and you can help be part of the fun.

You can join the creative process by:
  • Hosting a rough cut screening in your home, business, or special location. Invite your friends or colleagues to watch early cuts and be instrumental in helping shape the story.
  • Volunteer your talents to be part of the team: PR and marketing specialists, web developers, event planners, and fundraisers--you can help.
  • Make a tax-deductible financial contribution to help us complete the project. We have raised just over half of the total project budget--a great accomplishment--but we still have work ahead and need your support.
Please contact us if you can help! Merci beaucoup!
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