Here is a moment you didn’t see in Paddle to Seattle. Over the next month, we’re releasing some big developments at Dudes on Media. One of which is our new website, where we’ll be realeasing more of our favorite behind-the-scenes “Paddle to Seattle” moments. The new site will also be the official launch pad for our third adventure documentary, Go Ganges.
It’s with great honor that Dudes on Media announces the release of our next film, “Go Ganges!” It’s the third installation from our production company, and we’ve got high hopes riding on the shoulders of this international adventure. As we construct the 50-hours of footage captured during the expedition, we’re growing more confident that this will be our best film yet!
This is our first adventure film where we took our skills accumulated in wilderness settings to a natural wonder that is not wilderness but just wild. One year ago we set out to learn about a river and the people that consider it a god. We didn’t have the slightest idea of how it would all turn out. In the end we traveled the length of the Ganges River by foot, rickshaw, rowboat and scooter embracing the Indian culture, literally winging it and putting ourselves at the whim of their engaging culture. “Go Ganges!” is going to be the product of this spontaneous adventure.
Stay tuned: Feature Film coming January 2012!
In D.C. Double Lives, we’ll introduce you to a series of Washingtonians who have moved beyond the confines of cubicle life to start passion projects in addition to or instead of traditional nine-to-five jobs.
Traveling India’s great Mother River by any means possible.
Crashing down a rural road, I throttled all willing horsepower from our 125cc Indian Vespa. She roared with the death moans of a body about to expire from this earthly world. It had been a venerable battle of wills trying to coax our $400 scooter the final 1,000km to the end of the Ganges. Our adventure, more than 40 days in the making, had only 10km remaining. The Vespa had been crashed, dissected, and reassembled almost daily. I hated that scooter. Here she was so close to the end when—thud!—it happened, she was dead…
Six months ago when our last film, “Paddle to Seattle” was growing in popularity. We were continually asked what’s next? This was a particularly challenging question for us. We had created our own small legacy of traveling through wild places for months on end. We felt we’d reached a high point for ourselves under those conditions, and we weren’t content to rest on our laurels. For us the next big thing had to rip us from our shells and slam us against the wall.
At a screening of “Paddle to Seattle” in the Pacific Northwest, Josh was taken in by the owners of a theater. “You have to do another one.” The kind couple prodded Josh. They went on to share an adventure they’d had in India. They recounted their fascination of a natural resource that was more than just a body of water, but also seen as a god – a river so holy she had the power to remove sins, a river so polluted she was classified as the dirtiest on earth, a place where English would only take you so far. Josh was captivated and I unapologetically took the cause as my own as well.
“The Vespa had been crashed, dissected, and reassembled almost daily. I hated that scooter.”
It was settled: We’d travel The River Ganges. As a river she posed insurmountable obstacles. From her glacial emergence in the Himalayas, across the agricultural plains of the sub-content, to her diffusion into the largest delta on earth – there seemed no one way she could be traveled (in fact a complete float on Ganga has never been done). We needed to reinterpret how this could be possible.
Then it hit us; we would travel the river by any means possible – by foot, cycle rickshaw, rowboat, and scooter. Of course we didn’t have this plan when we departed. As we saw sections of the river for the first time, we debated what would be the best method to move forward. As India’s great river changed, so would we. We would see the in-between areas, where the foundations of the larger cities are upheld and life depends on the rivers. It was the uniting sinew that we were looking for.
Craving attention, our always fantastic cameraman Dave Costello salutes the end of a successful scout.
So in the 11th hour with just 10km to the end, a dead scooter, and a final chapter waiting to be written, we punted. Our Vespa was dead, but our adventure was not. Just as Ganga changed one final time before her exodus into the Indian Ocean so would we. I won’t ruin the end, but the solution involved a strip of cotton, 4-hiking shoes, and 3 glorious coconuts. You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out what happened.
Josh, JJ, and their deft cameraman Dave were traveling The River Ganges on a scout for Academy Award Nominated filmmakers Sean and Andrea Fine. The scout was the first step in a 4-part series that will travel the world’s Mother Rivers by any means possible.
Last weekend National Geographic Weekend host (and Traveler columnist) Boyd Matson interviewed documentary filmmakers JJ Kelley and Josh Thomas about their current trip: traveling along the Ganges River…
This video was shot before The Dudes departed for The River Ganges. Looking back, they had no idea what the adventures they lay ahead.
Josh and JJ proud behind the handlebars of their new purchase, a 1995 LML Vespa.
After spending a week in Varanasi recovering from our 400km row and a variety of gastro-intestinal ailments, Josh and JJ bought a 15 year-old scooter and put me along with a camera and the bags in a hired car/go-cart with an incompetent madman. The phlegm-like sea foam-green scooter, which runs on a miraculously small and cantankerous 2-stroke engine, has no front brake, no headlight, no taillight, and is entirely incapable of idling. We’ve now somehow managed to hobble our way through the Bihar, the birthplace of Buddhism, which has the rather unexpected self-proclaimed title of being India’s “Lawless State,” and are now prepared to finish our journey through the world’s largest delta to the Indian Ocean.
“Scooters are not in fashion,” the previous owner of the scooter warned us back in Varanasi, eyeing Josh and JJ suspiciously as he handed them the keys. “I don’t know what you have been told, but nobody wants to drive scooter. Only poor who can not afford motorcycle do.”
Before buying the scooter Josh and JJ collectively owned one motor between the two of them, and that was in a chainsaw back in Wisconsin. “Be careful. Josh is terrible with a clutch,” Josh’s sister, Sarah, warned us in a Facebook message on our first day with the scooter shortly after Josh had, coincidentally, popped the clutch, skidded out of control, and crashed into a parked semi-truck, bending the steering column…JJ drives the scooter now.
JJ assumes all driving responsibilities after learning Josh is terrible with a clutch.
There are two inescapable truths we’ve found while traveling with the scooter. The first— The scooter WILL break down every day. We’ve come to accept and expect this. The second—The driver of our hired car WILL NOT help. In fact, he will likely drive ridiculously far ahead, then back-track the wrong way up a 4-lane highway, stop to ask bums, beggars, and small school children for directions when there is only one road to take, and swindle you out of as many rupees as he can. Then, he will demand a tip. We’ve come to expect this now, but I still have a hard time accepting it, personally.
“Life is suffering,” I remember JJ telling me when we first started this trip. “Once you accept that, you can do anything.” I laughed. Now, at least when you’re riding through Northern India on a second-hand scooter, I think he may be right.
“Paddle to Seattle” is available for HD download on iTunes in time for the Christmas season.
Disputes have ended between longstanding iTunes holdouts, Dudes on Media and the Beatles. As you probably know, the parties had been locked in a deep-rooted cold war, each party refusing to make their work available on iTunes.
Media conglomerate Apple, who owns the digital download site, had been pushing both sides for a deal, stating, “The absence of works like “The White Album” and “Paddle to Seattle” represent a major blemish in our archives.”
The disagreement started several years ago. Reportedly Ringo Starr and Josh Thomas were seen having an altercation outside a Santa Barbra smoothie shop. No one was seriously injured as a result of the fight although Mr. Starr was taken to Cottage Hospital for x-rays, which came back negative.
“You’ll always regret this Starr.” Thomas was heard shouting as police took him into custody for questioning. Charges were never filed, but lawyers from the two parties could not reach a resolution on the iTunes holdout.
Earlier this month the Beatles were the first to fold making available their vast library on iTunes. The announcement came after mounting pressure from holiday shoppers.
Dudes on Media producer J.J. Kelley was encouraged by the news and promptly tweeted, “It’s time to end this.” Reached by phone from his hotel in Kolkata Kelley told the AP, “It just felt like the right thing to do.”
Now—for the first time—Paddle to Seattle is available for HD download on iTunes. In a statement released from Dudes on Media they said they’d like to thank their supporters and anyone who buys the film, and yes you’re welcome Steve Jobs.
This goat is tired of cold, restless nights, and is contemplating suicide.
Months ago, when we started planning to follow the Ganges River, we knew then that we wanted to do more than just have an adventure. It couldn’t just be about us…it needed to be about something bigger. But what?
During our two months on the Ganga we’ve been looking for answers. We owe endless gratitude to the 400 million people and countless animals that depend on Ganga. It’s been a lot of brainstorming, but we’ve finally done it!
We are very proud to announce our best idea. A non-profit started by us: “Happy Hooves.” “Happy Hooves” is our commitment to provide warm sweaters to all the goats in Northern India. Winters here can be harsh. Nighttime temps sometimes drop as low as 50F. By Indian standards that’s kind of cold. It’s nothing to warrant a parka, but definitely a nice cardigan.
The idea came to us through close observations of this new world that surrounds us. We couldn’t help but notice the hopeless expressions on some of the goats we met. “That’s just how goats look,” Our cameraman, Dave, kept saying.
We noticed that not all of the goats looked so glum; some where happy. But why? It quickly became obvious. All the happy ones were wearing sweaters or sweater-vests. In India, goats are over-shadowed by the Holy Cow and we want to let the goats know that as Americans, we care.
This goat is happy, relaxed, and knows that people really do care.
We can’t do it all by ourselves, though. We’ve partnered with designer “Manoj Lauren” and “Little Hands,” a small manufacturing company which is taking some big steps. “Little Hands” is a group of children volunteering to personally knit every sweater. Because the child-staff are all volunteers, all the profits go directly to naked
goats. Unfortunately, their donations are not enough.
If you want to help, you can purchase our last film, Paddle to Seattle.
Thanks in advance.