Q. Why did we Instagram once a day on Voyage?
The main reason we chose to Instagram once a day was to inform our families and friends that we were alive and well, still afloat, and steadily approaching our destination. Instagram allows users to share special moments with friends and family, and while we did not want to litter the journey with a trail of social media photos from 16 different crew members, we certainly felt compelled to elect one moment per day to share with our faithful followers and loved ones back home.
Q. Was there an emergency phone on Voyage?
We did have an emergency phone on Voyage, and we designated one crew member to check it once daily, as well as upload the Instagram photo for the day. This served two primary purposes: 1) It allowed families and friends to contact the crew in the unlikely event of an accident back home during our three week trip and 2) There were multiple 50 – 100 mile stretches along the river (a long distance by boat) without marinas, boat ramps, or civilization of any kind, proving the need for some form of emergency communication device.
Q. What’s the big deal about ‘No phones’?
It’s no surprise our culture is obsessed with constant connection. Today, cell phones and social media engulf our everyday lives. Still, the crew members on Voyage understand the usefulness of these tools; however, we’ve become increasingly aware of the negative impact these tools can have when used irresponsibly or without moderation. Just to see how truly reliant we have become to this source of constant connection, we encouraged the crew to put them away for a few weeks, leaving it up to each individual how often they would check in. Almost everyone took advantage of this unique opportunity to step away from the temptation to be in constant communication, and upon doing so, each claimed how liberating that decision was.
Q. Why the Tennessee River and Tenn-Tom waterway?
Voyage utilized the Tennessee River and Tenn-Tom waterway which serves as the shortest distance between the Gulf of Mexico and Mid-America. Although this route can be completed much quicker, we chose to stretch this journey over three weeks. This pace offered a chance not only to conserve fuel, but also gain perspective and more fully absorb our surroundings each day.
Q. How did we acquire three boats for Voyage?
After committing to our September launch date, the next step was acquiring boats. We purchased a 30-foot pontoon boat to carry our gear. Then all we needed was a way to get 16 people from Knoxville to the Gulf of Mexico. Enter – Malibu Boats. We’ve worked with Malibu Boats and Axis Wake Research in recent years and can attest to the dependability of their products. Upon hearing the message of the film, Malibu and Axis were excited to be involved and gracious enough to provide us with two brand new boats.
Q. Where did we sleep at night on Voyage?
Each day, as the sun began to close in on the horizon, our crew usually split up for about two hours. While half of the crew capitalized on magic hour lighting, the other half peeled off in search for a campsite. As often as we could, we stayed on publicly owned islands. A few nights we found ourselves settling for primitive camping at the Army Corps of Engineers camp sites. Fewer still, we spent a couple nights at undisclosed locations praying we would not wake to the sound of unwelcoming land owners firing off warning shots over our tents.
Q. Why has Voyage taken nearly five years to complete?
As you’ll find when you watch the film, the actual making of Voyage was the true test. Since the initial idea five years ago, this film went through innumerable ups and downs as the concept was fleshed out. Doors opened and closed, some quietly, others not so much. For JAOPRO, shutting down normal business operations for almost a month is not as easy as one might prefer. For crew members with children, wives, and full-time jobs, finding a convenient three week window for a river trip is laughable. All in all, Voyage reaches far beyond the logistics of just taking a three-week river trip. Its about pursuing passion at any and all costs and sharing a message of hope for those fallen victim to routine. We think Howard Thurman summed it up pretty well saying, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Q. Who went on Voyage?
The Voyage crew was a carefully selected, yet totally unexpected group of artists. As the story develops, you’ll find that what began as a group of loose acquaintances ended as a tight knit family sharing their natural talents and love of life.
Q. How was the Voyage crew selected?
The Voyage crew was selected over the course of the six months leading up to the September departure date. Each crew member involved was hand picked because of their determination to pursue their passions in life regardless of fame or fortune. The crew was also chosen on the basis that each member would step away from the routine of their lives, regardless of position or status. While most of the crew readily embraced this shared vision, we found that some people have more difficulty letting go.
Q. Is Voyage an action sports film?
Voyage is NOT an action sports film. Voyage is the story of adventure, not merely a three week adventure, but the adventure of life. It’s about finishing what was started and accepting conflict as the very fabric of a story. One cannot journey down the river unwilling to accept its ebbs and flows, nor can one enjoy life without embracing all it has to offer. This was the story of our voyage, and we hope to encourage viewers to pursue their own dreams, regardless of the inevitable obstacles.
Q. When and where will Voyage be released?
Voyage is schedule to be released by April 2014. Following the Knoxville premiere, Voyage will be available for digital download. We also hope to make the film available on iTunes, Netflix, Vimeo On Demand, and more.
Q. Will there be a tour for Voyage?
We would be thrilled to premiere Voyage at multiple cities throughout the country, though nothing has been finalized yet. Tour dates will be released immediately upon finalization.
Q. How long was the Voyage trip?
While the Voyage trip lasted just over three weeks, the journey itself will last every bit of the five years it took to make this film. Our hope is the film’s message will encourage viewers to embark on their own voyage, propelling the adventure forward into timelessness.
Q. Who sponsored Voyage?
Voyage was blessed to have multiple product sponsors for the trip.
While two of the boats were provided by Malibu Boats and Axis Wake Research, much of the camping gear was provided by ENO (Eagle’s Nest Outfitters), ORCA Coolers, Camp Suds (Sierra Dawn), and Klean Kanteen.
General boating gear was sponsored by The Wake Shop in Knoxville, while boat mirrors were provided by PTM Edge Watersports.
Camping apparel was sponsored by Mountain Khakis. Scenic Helicopter Tours helped us acquire some breathtaking arial coverage of Knoxville and Chattanooga.
Camera tech support was made available by Showcase Video & Photo in Atlanta.
Boat tech support was provided by Etco Marine, a Malibu Boats and Axis Wake Research dealer (thanks Borba!).
Last, though certainly not least, Sweetwater Brewing Company provided some of the finest craft brew in the south, keeping us cool on the hot days and warm through the cold nights.
Our sincerest thanks and appreciation to all the sponsors who believed in the project and were willing to help us realize a five year dream.