Frequently Asked Questions
We started this unusual genre of adventure filmmaking in to highlight our joy for the natural world with the goal of inspiring other to pursue their own adventures. We think we’re hitting the mark, because we get a lot of questions about how we do it. As always we couldn’t make our films without you, so thanks and keep the questions coming!
What types of cameras did the guys use for Paddle to Seattle?
We shot all HDV. It was 2008, and just before “tapeless” formats were truly ubiquitous. We used all Sony, the A1U, V1U, HC9, and Alpha 350 DSLR. The cameras held up for HD TV broadcast and in film festivals, we mastered the material to an HDCAM SR tape.
What types of cameras did the guys use for Go Ganges?
We shot all “tapeless” for Go Ganges. Using the Canon 5D Mark II for cutaways and beauty shots where sound was less important. We also carried two GoPros for plunging in the river and mounting just about anywhere we could dream up. Our primary camera was a Panasonic AG-AC160 which allowed us to run two wireless microphones. Because we didn’t know where we’d find our next power source we carried several extra batteries for each camera, and charged up whenever we could. Of course because we were in India we needed plugin adapters for wall plugins. We managed all of our media through a 13 inch MacBook Pro and backed up on two 1 terabyte LaCie Rugged hard drives. Believe it or not, we could fit this whole arsenal in our packs along with gear.
We are all very experienced with the outdoors, but not kayaking. What do you suggest for beginning paddlers?
Not a big deal, the biggest thing you can do is be prudent in your choices on route and when and when not to paddle. Carry marine radios and check the weather. Other than that I would consider using a double kayak or two, just in case there’s soreness or injury. You’ll be able to keep the group together and maintain a faster pace.
What do you wish you brought or wish you didn't bring on Paddle to Seattle?
I’m sure you know how rainy it can be in the southeast. We had packed one tarp (10′ x 12′) and I wish we had brought two. We had no trouble with resupplying, as you know there are small towns/villages spaced nicely along the route. We didn’t wear dry-suits, and never felt the need to have one, but there is no doubt that they are the safest thing to wear and can be a lifesaver if things get sketchy.
How do you guys find sponsors?
In terms of gaining sponsorship, gauging the money needed and documenting the trip; a good start would be to “brand” (give it a name) your expedition/idea and go public on a website or blog. Lay out your intentions and motivations for doing such a trip with a nice “one-liner”. The sooner you start posting the better it will look to a potential sponsor. At these earlier stages, your posts could be about planning, what life is like for you now, why your motivated by this idea. Things like that are going to give people something to relate to. It also gets you started on organizing how you’ll document the journey. Hopefully you’ll find you enjoy this process too, because it is important. You’re going to have lots of time on your trip to reflect; documenting will be a great creative outlet!
What do you look for when deciding what to document?
If you want to share it in a video, one big thing that I’ve learned is that people love to see interactions and meet the folks you’re meeting along the way. Naturally they want to see you too—it can be hard to talk to the camera, but remember your audience wants to hear about what your doing; you’re taking them on an adventure!
Did you need any sort of papers or permit for Paddle to Seattle?
No papers; we just needed to check-in with customs when entering Canada and when entering the USA again. It’s just a phone call or a call on your marine radio.
Where did you camp in Paddle to Seattle?
About 99% of our camping was impromptu wilderness camping. We would choose spots like islands where we could reduce our interactions with bears. Most of the time we had to clear an area for our tent.
Where exactly in Alaska did you start when you paddled to Seattle?
We started in Skagway. If you are looking for another place to start, I would suggest Juneau. It’s the state capital and much easier to get to. There are regular flights and it is a regular stop on the ferry system. Keep in mind that Juneau, like many towns along the route, is land-locked and does not have outside road access.
Is there any place where we can charge our phone on the Inside Passage?
Most of the time your cell phone won’t have service and on average you’ll be two weeks between towns with electricity.
How do you keep food fresh (like eggs, meat, etc)?
We eat a lot of produce, dehydrated meals, cheese, and nuts. We like to travel in cooler climates so meats and cheeses with a low moisture content will keep for up to a week. Most importantly, make sure you have lots of food to eat. This will keep your spirits high, give you the energy you need and you’d be surprised how an argument can spring when rations are low.
How do you heat your food on trips?
Our cook stoves were designed for camping. There are several types to choose from.
What do you suggest for someone new to the outdoors who wants to do a big trip?
I would strongly recommend that you become very familiar with camping/living outside. We have spent over 600 nights traveling through wilderness areas and camping. Our first trip together was the Appalachian Trail and that taught us a lot about camping and learning to live outside. Of course you don’t need to be an expert to start, but easing yourself into an adventure with knowledge and a gentle immersion is always the smart thing to do.
What's the secret for not killing each other on these 90 days on your own?
To answer it, Josh and I actually don’t get a long today. In fact he’s not getting along with anyone, because I put the poisoned some jambon in a sandwich I fed him on Paddle to Seattle. I just couldn’t take it, and I don’t tell this to many people. It was just too much having to listen to him squawk all day, and for three months! With the amazing capability of computer imagery, we just used footage from our first film Pedal to the Midnight Sun and animated him in; it’s really quite easy. We can even do 3D Josh moving forward. We had no problem “bringing Josh to life” in our forthcoming film, Go Ganges!
Of course, I’m only kidding, but keeping a healthy relationship is very important on a long adventure. Oftentimes you’ll be relying on one another for basic tasks that keep you alive. For Josh and I, we both love what we do; we actually met on a 5 month hike across the United States on the Appalachian Trail. Both of us started on our own, and we met about 500 miles into the trail. We hit it off so well that we finished the trial together as well as 3 other cross continent adventures. What we have is pretty special, but it works because we both love adventure, we’re capable on our own but enjoy each other’s company. Now of course we don’t always get along, and that’s why I keep threatening to poison his sandwich.