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We just added the final working script under the film’s bonus features. This script is actually a scanned archive (notes and all) from Oct 2012, used during an 11 hour recording session of what would be the narration track you hear in the film.
As a...
We just added the final working script under the film’s bonus features. This script is actually a scanned archive (notes and all) from Oct 2012, used during an 11 hour recording session of what would be the narration track you hear in the film.
As a...

We just added the final working script under the film’s bonus features. This script is actually a scanned archive (notes and all) from Oct 2012, used during an 11 hour recording session of what would be the narration track you hear in the film.

As a special thank you, entering “SCRIPT” into the discount area saves you 30% when unlocking the film’s bonus features. Which we are always adding to. That’s one awesome thing about unlocking the bonus features now, anything added in the future is yours also! Speaking of, which features would you like to see added?

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Let’s keep this short and sweet. 

Starting as of now, FOR THOUSANDS OF MILES is free to watch. Free to share. Free. 

Thanks so much for all of your unending support. We can’t wait to hear everyone’s thoughts on the film. 

Here we go. 

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Eluvium has just released a sneak peek of the film’s soundtrack, and to celebrate, I wanted to speak about an aspect of the film that I often get asked about, the story behind the film’s original score. 

The Role that Music Plays in ‘For Thousands of Miles’

Not many documentaries are known for their beautiful original scores – at least when compared to the long list of narrative film scores – a few personal favorites that come to mind are ‘Fog of War’, and ‘Thin Blue Line’ (both of which were done by Philip Glass), there’s also the 2004 documentary ‘Tarnation’, which has an amazing theme written by Max Avery Lichtenstein. 

I knew long before production ever began, that this film would rely heavily on music, if not for any other reason than the main idea behind the film boiled down to two simple but opposing things: 1) the wide, birds eye view of a biker alone on the open road, and 2) the “sound” of missing that experience long after it’s over. 

Whatever that sound was, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you at the time, but I knew the way I felt about missing my own cross country bicycle experience, that feeling of nostalgia was musical in a way that I could never place. 

The Song in His Headphones Would Finish, and He Would Play it Again

The musical tone within For Thousands of Miles really began to take shape during the early writing process - only months after returning from principal photography, I would sit at my typewriter and search for music… 

I would search through my iTunes library, hoping to find a song that took me away from all the crushing debt I had built up over 64 days of filming on the road; something that took the hundred-plus hours of (seemingly random) footage and helped to simplify it, bring it together. 

There was one piece in particular that I had come across, and I found myself playing it on repeat night after night - it never grew old, never lost its charm, even as the months turned to years. If anything it created a kind of signal, always returning me to zero no matter what else was happening in my life; that was a song called ‘Zerthis Was A Shivering Human Image’ by Eluvium, from his 2003 album Lambent Material

Deep Breath. Hit Send. 

The writing and editing process both had a lot of overlap during post-production, I would sketch out an idea for a piece of narration on the back of a Taco Bell napkin while sitting in traffic on the 405, and then I would come home and dig for footage that helped support that idea. One would often inspire the other, a long night of editing and logging footage would sometimes lead to a burst of script pages. 

It only made sense that the one piece of music I kept coming back to while writing, made its way into the edit of the film as a temp track. Temp tracks can be a dangerous thing for filmmakers, often times you can get hung up on a piece of music you either can’t afford or find impossible to replace, but I’ll speak about that more later. 

For years the opening of the film made heavy use of Zerthis, and I began to daydream about writing Eluvium and asking him to create an original score for the film. The idea always seemed like a pipe-dream… but, like many pipe-dreams, if you find yourself heavily deprived of sleep, you might just be wired enough to go for it all the same. 

My first email to Eluvium was more personal than it was professional, I figured honesty about the film being independent and self-driven was more important than anything. 

…For as long as I can remember, I’ve listened to your music to help lock myself into a tone. Especially the song Zerthis Was A Shivering Human Image.

I have such strong memories of when I used to take the bus to work every morning, this was back in 2007, and I would sit down, and I put on Zerthis, and it was all I could hear the entire bus ride (the bus ride lasted about 10 minutes), and I would think about the film that *entire* bus ride with that *one* song on - day after day, after day.

I told him I had written nearly every word of the film while listening to his music… I hit send, and I waited. 

On Working with Eluvium

We only spoke on the phone once - after that everything was done in writing. He would ask me what a certain moment should sound like, and I would send back notes saying, it should sound like “breathing”, or another moment should feel “sad and hopeful” at the same time. 

It was frightening at first, I don’t know much of anything about music – how to talk about it, how to read or write it, how to sometimes say how it makes me feel – still, he couldn’t have been a more inviting person when it came to helping me relax, and learning to embrace my naivety with simplistic one or two word descriptions. For all the time I had spent searching for just the right words in the narration, it was liberating to narrow down the meaning of a scene into just a single word. 

90% of Directing

At this stage, I had been cutting to temp music for three years, and going in, there was a worry that I would have a difficult time letting go of the old music for the new music. 

Elia Kazan is famous for saying that “90 percent of directing is casting”, I learned on this film that selecting the right person to create your film’s score is much like selecting the right actor for a role – it doesn’t matter how you wrote the scene, or how many times you imagined the dialogue being performed a certain way, when the right person comes in and does something all their own, suddenly you couldn’t imagine it any other way. 

Eluvium would send a rough idea for a piece of music, and it instantly became that part of the film… as if it revealed something that had been there the whole time. It was such a rewarding and exciting experience - like getting to see my own film for the first time all over again. 

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I hope you enjoy this preview of the film’s score - this track is one of my favorites. 

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For those of you living near Bend, Oregon - our first bike shop screening event is coming up May 21st (9PM) at the McMenamins Old St. Francis School theater, an old pub and theater just down the street from Henry at Pine Mountain Sports, who helped...
For those of you living near Bend, Oregon - our first bike shop screening event is coming up May 21st (9PM) at the McMenamins Old St. Francis School theater, an old pub and theater just down the street from Henry at Pine Mountain Sports, who helped...

For those of you living near Bend, Oregon - our first bike shop screening event is coming up May 21st (9PM) at the McMenamins Old St. Francis School theater, an old pub and theater just down the street from Henry at Pine Mountain Sports, who helped organize this special event. Also! Everyone who attends will be helping to raise funds for the Central Oregon Trail Alliance.

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Two important announcements! 

The first being: FOR THOUSANDS OF MILES will be released on May 22nd

Some details about that date - the release will start on VHX (with Kickstarter backers and people who pre-ordered the film gaining early access), with the film then going live on BitTorrent, Vimeo, YouTube, Gumroad, and others to follow. It will be a DRM, world-wide release, and (which brings me to)… 

The second announcement: the film will be free. Free to share, free to download, free to re-mix. Free. 

Why!? How? 

This film could not have happened without so many people’s unending support – that is in no way hyperbole – the film (only) got off the ground in the first place through outside support; not investments, but support - the kind that never happens; the kind where people expect nothing in return but the finished film, and the excitement of being part of a production - even if that production is a very independent one. So… it’s yours already. I am forever in people’s debt for their kindness, for their patience, for their advice and feedback. In that sense, this film isn’t much, but it is a start. A way to say thank you. 

Will there be any way to support the film going forward? 

Yes. The film itself is free, but there will be a handful of different extras (commentary track, original script, interviews, etc) set up via a pay-what-you-want model. But!, and this is important, and cannot be stressed enough, more valuable than money is our relationship to those of you who like (even love) the kinds of stories we make. 

This film will go on to have a life of its own, but as for us, the people who made it, we’ll go on to our next project, and knowing that you’re out there and excited about our next big undertaking, that’s important in a way that is almost impossible to measure. So, if you haven’t already, join our mailing list (we send one about every two months) and say “hello”. 

Add Yourself to the List

Till then, we’re looking forward to May! Hope you are as well. 

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This marks the last part to the film’s Making-of series, it is a look back on the film overall, and what I’ve learned after years and years of fighting to finish FOR THOUSANDS OF MILES.

For some of you, 64 Days was your first introduction to FOR THOUSANDS OF MILES ; “64 Days” being the nickname given to the feature-film’s making-of series. The series is set apart from many other films’ behind-the-scenes footage by the narrative approach to sharing the experience of a first-time filmmaker.

Sixty-four was the exact number of days spent on the road during principal photography; there was a time when that number, 64, dominated the life of this project, filming a nearly 5,000 mile bicycle journey was a massive undertaking, but when compared to the struggles of post-production that soon followed the road, it was a breeze.

When 64 Days was first released, the story within it was still unfolding - and what I thought 64 Days would mean when I started this, and what it came to mean by the time the film was finished, are two very different things.

All of which was very fitting, considering the film itself was originally intended to be something very different in style and in structure - but, like any documentary , the story is likely to shift under your feet.

Both projects, FOR THOUSANDS OF MILES as well as 64 Days, were incredible learning experiences - both had quite an impact on the other, in terms of lessons, structure, tone, and process. Hope you enjoy.

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