Between Home - Download!

Dear all, After several years, and a ton of work, Jack Rath has released the documentary Between Home, a feature length film on the voyage from which this blog grew.

The film is available for purchase as an immediate, DRM-free download, and has been released in this way to reflect the spirit of freedom and independence, much like the voyage itself. I hope you enjoy it, and if you do, please leave a note or email Jack - This is the result of his hard work.

More information on how to purchase the film is available at the official Between Home website.

Thank you to all who supported this voyage during it's undertaking, and thank you everyone again for supporting independent film and your continuing your interest in the voyage of SV Constellation!


Between Home - Update

In my last post, I mentioned I was unable to attend the screening of Between Home in Berlin... However, just two days before the film was set to screen, my sailor friend Rob (who I met the first day I saw Constellation, and whom also believed in my trip from the very beginning), sent me an email and said 'I cannot believe you're not coming... I'll pay half your ticket!' - Within the hour, a ticket was purchased, and the next day I flew off to Berlin. Picked up at the airport by a festival chauffeur, I arrived just 1.5 hours before the premier started. Watching oneself on the big screen is unexplainable. For a few moments, I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to sit through the entire film, I was so nervous... Thankfully Jack was too, so we consoled each other, watched audience reactions, and laughed at memories the film brought back.

Thank you: Rob for getting me to Berlin, Jack & Regina for hosting me, my friend Ben for traveling up from Austria (and loaning me his coat jacket, so I had at least a minor air of respectability), Vanilla for posing as my producer to get me onto a new flight (after my original one was canceled due to weather), Karen for flying over from the UK, the Achtung Berlin film festival, Angela for her driving, and Marty for holding the fort in my absence.

After spending six days and Berlin, it was time to fly home... Until I realised I'd barely gotten over jet lag... So I decided to take a share car down to Austria, and see how my old friend Ben was living, in the alps... Here is a little clip of our days walking, hanging with his son, and slacklining in the mountains.

For those wondering when the film will be public - Please don't ask me, as I have absolutely no idea! It's Jack's film, so it's probably best to ask him :)

Between Home - Premier

Six years ago I started working on a dream to sail most of the way around the world. It was very hard. I didn't really know how to sail that well. I had no money. I was living in a country where I couldn't speak the language. The odds were against the entire project. Nature was against it. Friends were against it. Family were against it. Pure economics were against it. So what does one do? Sail on! In a bar one night, I met a fellow Australian. His name was Jack. I told him about this ridiculous idea I had... And a week or two later he started filming. Why not? If I failed, it would have been interesting. If it was a success, it would have been even more interesting.

Jack, with as little money as me, kept filming, and this month, two years after I finished sailing and sold my beloved boat Constellation, his film will set sail and begin a life of its own.

Unfortunately due to money, I am unable to attend, however I hope my German friends will get the opportunity to be there on my behalf. Be sure to say hello to my good friend Jack, and please buy him some rum, he needs it. It's been a hard slog for everyone... Albeit a crazy, enjoyable, mad, wild, insane, and life affirming one. Thank you to everyone for working so hard on making this small idea, into a story which will be shared forever.

I've seen this film. And it is a very hard film for me to watch. It's highly personal. It's 95mins of Nick. I hear myself, I see myself, I see my mistakes and my weaknesses. There are many things you will learn about me as a person, and about my trip that you didn't know before. I hope those who are able to attend will enjoy it.

For those not in Berlin, soon enough it will be available to everyone to see via the official website, (hopefully) next month. Stay tuned!


Between Home - Getting close

After many years, and many miles, Jack Rath is very close to finishing the film 'Between Home'. There is still no set release date, and also how it will be released is still unknown. With any luck it will end up on places like the iTunes & Amazon stores. Tomorrow I return to Europe to see Jack, and will be in Berlin for the first time since I left some years ago to start sailing to Australia. The flight is 8,949.58 nautical miles, which is expected to take a little under 24 hours.

A promotional film poster has just been produced for the film:

I will update with any further news...


Fundraising in the 21st Century

It wasn't long ago, that aspiring adventurers would shimmy up to the Royal Geographical Society, with polite invitations, noble yet firm handshakes, and an air of sophistication, to charm the powers at be for possible funding and support for their proposed wanderings. Devoid of Powerpoint presentations, I imagine Shackleton during that heroic age of antarctic exploration, standing on a small stage at a Society function, fumbling with large dusty globes, charred maps and stories of a theoretical point on the earths surface he planned to reach - Pitching a journey from England across the oceans and ice pack, in order to trek to a point on earths surface, where the imaginary lines of coordinate parallels all converge into one: The south pole. Today it's a little different. For those that have watched my journey since this blog began in 2006, you may have remembered that I had a Paypal donate button (controversial for some, apparently!). I had asked people who enjoyed my writing, videos, and photos, to make a contribution to keep me going. I figured it was like a voluntary donation for reading a free book... Some months ago, I pulled all the data down from Paypal, and put it in a spreadsheet. I was surprised to see that over my sailing and blogging heyday, I had raised close to $10,000. It only ever trickled in; a few dollars here and there (with a few notable exceptions), but it really added up, and my trip probably wouldn't have happened without it.

Some may or may not know, that I also work with Roz Savage on her website - Through my company, we sponsor Roz by building, hosting & maintaining the current incarnation of her web presence, which is her primary medium for getting her environmental message out, and maintaining contact with the outside world while she rows across oceans.

With all this in mind, we recently we launched an early release web application to assist in adventure fundraising, coming up with the idea over a few drinks at a dim bar in Melbourne, when Roz flew through en route to Perth and explained her by-the-mile dilemma. The current implementation was rapidly deployed to fit with Roz's departure schedule some weeks ago - The project is called Nomaddica, and is currently still in private testing, but with any luck we will add features and make it public in the not too distant future. You will see Roz has been using this app to raise funds by the mile for the last several weeks, and has been quite successful... If you're interested in learning more in the future, sign up by clicking the 'get invite' link located on Roz's project page - Perhaps while you're there, consider supporting her efforts! You could also contact me personally if you had a specific and upcoming project in mind where Nomaddica might be useful.

And so on the topic of fundraising... My friends Ben & Teresa from the US East coast are raising funds to go on an epic sailing voyage in search of an iceberg, and to make a documentary on sailing, simplicity, adventure and the environment. They're using Kickstarter to raise awareness for their project, and in just 13 days the campaign ends - So if you love sailing, want to see more documentaries from grassroots sailors and documentary film makers... Then pretend you're at the Royal Geographical Society, sipping cognac and watching adventurers pitch their ideas at the monthly dinner banquet... And watch their pitch video:


Update on the film process

It's been a long time since my last update... I've obviously returned from San Francisco, where I spent three weeks on a work/holiday, and had the opportunity to sail Harmony for the first time. She's a gorgeous boat, and even better than I had anticipated. I intend on sailing to Mexico later this year (2011). News: I recently did an interview with the nomadic Aric S. Queen. And...

Jack has sent through a detailed write up and a few pictures on how the film Between Home is progressing - Be sure to visit the film homepage and get on the newsletter to receive updates on the film release. From Jack:

"After our final shoot with Nick, in early 2010, I spent close to three months, digitising, viewing and logging (making notes), over two hundred hours of material, which consisted of a combination of Nick's footage and my own.

During the Berlin summer of 2010, I rented studio space deep in Berlin's east, in the city of Lichtenberg, where mixer, Jacob Ilgner, had his studio in a crazy old margarine factory, which was built around 1900. It's been a very interesting environment to work in, with a diverse range of people – From re-training programs for the jobless, and artists, programmers,a motorcycle club over the road, a pool hall down stairs and thai boxing gym next door. It's also nearby the famous The Dong Xuan Center, an enormous Vietnamese market which maybe the biggest in Europe.

By mid-summer I'd compiled and assembled a three hour rough cut in Final Cut Pro. Editor Hagen Hinkelmann, then joined me in the editing suite, and we began reducing my initial three hour cut; boiling it down, going back to the original material, adding new shots and deleting others... Rinse and repeat... I believe it's what Walter Murch calls the 'spaghetti sauce' approach: Refining, shaping and crafting the story of the film. After around two months we were down to a two hour edit we were happy with. With the film still in rough cut form, and using pre-made music, we screened it to colleagues for feedback, and then went back to work. Often the film would get longer, and then we'd shorten it back again - The process was a fine balancing act between addition and reduction – Always seeking to the essence of things.

The entire process was intense, as we delved deep into the central protagonists mind (Nick's), spending lots of time with him in some kind of weird, strange, and oftentimes frustrating way. Overall the process was fantastic and the best edit I've lived through to date and Hagen – I believe he feels the same. They say sometimes when you look away, it's only then that you really see, and we really felt that with this film. Our rhythm consisted of early morning starts, lots of coffee, cooked hot lunches, and then more work late into the afternoons. Often I'd stay on into the night and continue to review material, polish and write narration text, while Hagen would go and collect Lewis his young son from kindergarden.

Eventually we had a tight edit, and in an offline state, we began the process of music and graphical voyage maps etc. My good friend, Jörg Diernberger, who's does many things - Guitarist, writer, actor and director came in, and we began talking about music. Conceptually we'd agreed that idea was to use single guitar; a wooden instrument with metal stings not unlike some forms of boat, solo – Like the sailor in the film. While this worked well, it was soon clear that additional music needed to enter the soundtrack alongside it's design.

Hagen and Jörg play serious guitar - Certainly a few of notches above my abilities... Hagen is also a member of Juri and the Gargarians. In Hagen's rehearsal space, with some warm valve amps and vintage mics, Jörg and Hagen began laying down tracks. It was an amazing experience. Hagen, who was responsible for the 'art of recording', mixed the tracks and integrated them into the edit as a layout. Once we'd achieved 'picture-lock' (Meaning a fine cut where no real changes to the picture should be applied), we could enter the sublime and complex realm of sound design.

Jacob Ilgner, my friend and colleague, who's studio is next door had shown great interest in taking on the sound, but was disappointingly booked out... Another collegue, Markus Stemler who I'd worked with before, saw the cut and really like the film – He offered to come on board as sound-designer. This was an extraordinary and enormous undertaking – A process not only involving design, but also the complete dialogue editing, which means all the sound one hears; primarily voices and atmospheres, with a surround mix coming from the front speaker. Lots of work; and in this case, even more given the amount of wind at sea hitting the mic and other difficult sound issues associated with filming outdoors in the ocean.

But with a stroke of luck, as Markus began compiling sound archives for the project on Protools, Jacob's other film was re-scheduled, and he entered the process as dialogue editor. I began exporting the tracks from the edit, compiling other additional atmospheres from the 'raw' material, and the two began working. Markus, in his studio 'tonstudio warns' in Berlin's Moabit, and Jacob working in Lichtenberg, collaborated with each other remotely. Markus also felt that sound needed focus on screen and suggested we record foley's – Creating live action sounds with a foley artist, that would blend into the final mix. Foley work requires a large amount of space and sound-post production to be done well. Markus and Jacob are currently in the middle of editing, equalising, filtering and creating a sonic 'Tour de Force', like wizards – Or better still, alchemists; simultaneously on two different systems, bouncing mixes to one another though a speedy back-bone server.

Philip Samartis, Australian sound artist and academic, has also been able to offer some very unique sound recordings for the Australian component and other environments.The sound post-production is leading toward a full 5.1 cinema mix that will be mastered in March 2011. Presently the ongoing work involves recording my own narration, composition of additional music, the final picture color grading, graphic layout, and cartographic map animation work.

I cannot express my gratitude enough to the people who collaborating in the making of this film. They are giving there time, skills and knowledge in good faith, and at no cost, in the firm belief that this story of the young man who follows his dream to sail around the world, is well worth telling. It's amazing all round! I know it's way too early to roll any credits, but here's just a few specific thanks: Jack's co-producer Gunter Hanfgarn, associate producer Selin Yaman, editor- associate producer-composer Hagen Hinkelmann, composer Jörg Diernberger, sound designer Markus Stemler, dialogue editor Jacob Ilgner, graphic design Willow Berzin, map animation layout Yoann Talle, motion graphics Georg Rück, colourist Ralf Ilgenfritz and colourist assitant Moritz."