How it All Began
Our maiden voyage to Key West, Florida to kick off our project is nearly here, only a few months away. As we gear up to travel across America to make this exciting documentary, we've been reflecting a lot on what this project means to us and how it all began, so we thought we'd take you with us down memory lane.
In early 2012, I was hunting through a list of classic books I'd never had a chance to read and my wanderlust connected me with "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac. I picked it up from the library before I traveled down to Florida to visit friends, and I read it non-stop for the next few days. I remember being struck by his adventurous spirit, and how his call to adventure was sparked by something more than just "I want to get out of here" or "I want to see things". He wanted to experience America and he sought wisdom and inspiration.
I decided at the time that I wanted to follow (some of) his footsteps by recreating his trip. I thought of ways to modernize it, to allow a thirty year old woman in the 2010s to experience that same sense of capturing the essence of America. But the trip never materialized, and I never had that sense of drive that Jack did, the fire to fuel the engine.
Leading up to the 2016 election, I was talking with some of my dear friends about the way America had been changing. We spoke about how disconnected we felt, about how divided and disjointed the country seemed to be. And this led to a conversation about the "American Dream". In social studies classes growing up, they always taught the concept as it was in the 1950s- a nuclear family with a dad who works a steady blue-collar job for 40 years until he retires, a mom who stays at home to care for her family (two kids and a golden retriever of course), and a modest home with a white picket fence in a peaceful neighborhood where they could live out their days.
In 2016, that wasn't the case.
Even thirty years earlier, in 1986, that wasn't the case.
This conversation sparked something inside me, finally something to light the fire. I wondered what the "American Dream" looked like today, to Americans of all walks of life, from all over the country. How did it change based on your generation? Your race? Your religion? The environment you grew up in? The environment you lived in now? It seemed a natural fit for my cross-country journey, and the pieces all began to fall into place.
My partner and I spent the past year putting together the bones of the project- what it will look and sound like, what the questions are that we want to answer, who and what we want to feature. Thanks to all of you, we've been able to fill in the blanks and develop this into something really incredible.
When we hit the road in January, we will be traveling from the farthest corners of our country, all fifty states, big cities, small towns, and everything in between. We want to cover it all, so that we can really give ALL Americans the chance to have their voices heard about what the "American Dream" is to them. What better time to take a snapshot of the dreams of Americans than the months leading up to (and shortly after) the 2020 election, when our vision of what we want for our future is most strong?
We can't wait to talk to all of you as we come to your hometowns, and we can't wait to showcase your hopes and dreams as we create this film about our country. Be sure to follow along on our social media to find out when we'll be in your area, and sign up on our website if you'd like to be interviewed. Also, if you'd be interested in assisting us when we're in a city near you, please send us an email. We can always use some help!
Thank you for all of your support through the long journey to making this project happen. We are so excited to see you all (SOON) on the road!