Production Questions

So, you've been asked to be part of "500ft Ahead" and want to know what's involved? You're in the right spot. Below are answers to all the questions we thought you might ask.

Why was I contacted to be featured in "500ft Ahead"?

Jason Calhoun, the director and editor of "500ft Ahead", has spent most his life vacationing in the California Redwoods. During pre-production for the film Jason created a list of places that had become a part of his family's traditions. Your establishment was on that list and we would love to have your story as part of this film.

What is the overall theme of this film?

"500ft Ahead" is a positive film that tells the story of three friends who question the speed at which our society moves by asking the question, "What's worth stopping for?" We want to encourage people to slow down and be curious while understanding that, despite what social media might say, people and the things they make are worth more than a "like."

What would "being in the film" involve?

We will schedule a specific date and time to shoot at your location. A crew of three will arrive on location with everything needed to complete the shoot. Those individuals who will be appearing in the film will meet with the producer to discuss themes and lines of questioning. Any topics or themes you don't wish to discuss will be addressed at this time. Your comfort in the telling of your story is our top priority and we will ensure the conversation starts and ends in a way you are comfortable with. During the shoot we will capture additional footage of you and the location as if it were a "normal day." We want to highlight you, your story and the effort you have put into your attraction.

How long will the shoot take?

We have a small array of filmmaking equipment which can be scaled up or down depending on your schedule. A full setup and shoot will take approximately 2-3 hours but we can also employ a much leaner setup which can be done in as little as 30 minutes. Let us know what works for you when we schedule the date and time of the shoot.

What will we talk about on film?

We want to hear about you in as much detail as you are comfortable sharing. We want the good along with the bad. We want to hear about your best days and your worst. How did you become the person you are? What does your business mean to you? What does it mean to others? How does your location impact the visitors you get? What would change about the world of travel and tourism? How has technology and services like Trip Advisors or Yelp impacted your way of doing business? Where do you think roadside attractions are headed and what does that say about our culture?

What should I wear on the day of the shoot?

Wear what you would normally, but keep these things in mind: Solid white, black, red, checkered and striped shirts don't work well on film. Other solid color shirts work great. Dangly jewelry can make unwanted noises and can be distracting. Try to avoid visible logos or brands on clothing, except for your own company logo.

Where will this film be seen?

This film will follow a more traditional film festival and submission path in hopes of landing an agreement or sale with a distributor or network. Being an independent production, the film will more than likely end up being distributed through a movie streaming service or a video sharing platform. We will work our hardest to get the widest viewership, but cannot make any guarantees that you will see yourself on or near a big screen.

Will I be paid for my time or interview?

As with all monetary conversations, this question is a bit controversial. Strictly speaking documentary subjects are not compensated for their interviews. Audiences expect and assume that the subject sharing their story is doing so out of their own desire to be heard and remembered without coercion or payment. With that said, if we were asking you to drive somewhere that you would not normally be or if we were conducting the interview over a meal, those expenses would be reimbursed through a stipend. We do not anticipate any such scenarios on this film.

Will I have to sign away all my rights to contribute to this film?

We make films to tell honest stories about people contributing to the larger story of California. We love our state and we love the people who have made it the place of imagination, invention, entertainment and wonder that it is. Our goal is to do right by California and by Californians. It's never enjoyable when paper work and art work collide, but for us to tell these stories we have to make decisions. Lots of decisions. Seriously, thousands of them. It's impossible to make a film if every decision has to be agreed upon by every person involved. We are asking for your trust and we understand that's no small thing. As a symbol of this trust you will be asked to sign a very standard, very non-scary release that gives us permission to use the footage we captured on the day of the shoot in whole or in part to complete the film.

Did we miss a question?

If you still have questions or would like to discuss your involvement with "500ft Ahead" further, we will be placing a follow up call or email soon and would be glad to talk as long as you would like about the project.