The First Month and Next Steps

The next steps for Three Days in Paradise…

So I come to you today with an update and a few requests (see the CAPS below)…

Like many of my fellow Butte County citizens, the last few weeks have been a swelter of new developments, conflicting emotions and questions about the days to come.

Despite everything we’ve all been going through, it’s still hard for me to accept it was just 6ish weeks ago Paradise, Magalia, Concow and more were stolen from us by an inferno. But here we all are together in the aftermath.

Since then, I’ve been working on two fronts: 1). Getting my family a livable, safe place to live and some return to a feeling of normality and 2). Putting together the pieces on the filmmaking front to allow me (and many of you) to tell this story (now called Three Days in Paradise) in the most meaningful, compelling way possible. We live in an era where every new week drowns us in new media, and I’m committed to make sure our story is not lost in that sea.

1). On the personal front…
I’m happy to report my family and I are in an apartment in Chico. My sons are back in school (or will be after Christmas break).

2). On filmmaking front…
Because of the overwhelming response of all of you, things are very hopeful and I wanted to give you an update.

We know there are at least four other professional filmmaking crews in Butte County. One is from Netflix, the exact focus of which I’m not yet sure about. One is from Ron Howard’s documentary filmmaking division, purportedly focusing on the rebuilding of Paradise. One is from ESPN, about the PHS football team, and another is an advocacy film talking about the climate change aspects of these fires.

But as I’ve committed here, my story is the story of us all… what our community was like before, during and after the fire. We know our story best, and are in the best position to tell it right.

Here’s how that’s going:

Since November 15 (between helping my wife put our family’s life back together) I’ve been shooting B-Roll in Paradise, Magalia and Concow. I’ve also begun interviews and am lining up more in January.

I’ve also been in contact with several production companies and networks to find a way to get this production paid for in a full, professional way (which our story deserves) and to get it marketed and presented in the best way once production is finished. While it looks like Netflix is already spoken for, we live in an age of a million media players, so I have high hopes we’ll find something.

The plan now is to shoot through January and edit together a sizzle reel to give potential funders an idea of the quality we’ll be delivering. What shape that funding might take is still being worked out. It might be Hollywood-connected production companies, media-tech companies like Hulu or Amazon, more traditional art foundation grants (the Ken Burns avenue) or even a crowd funding source like Kickstarter or GoFundMe.com

If we do decide to the crowd funding route, we’re thinking now of creating a non-profit company which would fund the production of the series then take any profits and direct them towards relief efforts. But all of that is coming. We will be showing the sizzle reel online if we decide to go this route.

Know this: If I ever come to the internet for funding, I will make it 100-percent clear where the money is going even before I ask. I’m not doing this to get rich (which is true of every documentarian to be honest… a little documentary humor…)

SO HERE ARE MY REQUESTS (caps for emphasis)…

1). PLEASE KEEP SENDING ME YOUR STORIES. If you’ve experienced or heard something which touches your heart, sent me your story. You can email us at ThreeDaysInParadiseTV@gmail.com

2). PLEASE SEND ME YOUR VIDEO/PICTURES FROM THE #CAMPFIRE. Networks and streaming services are VERY interested in projects which can boast ‘never before seen’ video, and having a wide variety of video from your experiences will make this much more immediate and impactful.

3). PLEASE SEND ME YOUR PICTURES/VIDEOS/FILMS FROM BEFORE THE FIRE. I want to show Paradise, Magalia, Concow and more from BEFORE the fire. We are more than this awful disaster. I can convert video tapes or 8mm film and super 8 Film to HD video, and will do it for free. I can also convert slides and pictures at museum quality and will give you the digital versions if you allow me to use your pics.

Keep in touch with us. Find us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Set your Facebook so you get notifications on our posts. We’re not going to spam you, but want you to be involved with us.

That’s all for now. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and see you all soon.

Three Days in Paradise – A Docuseries of Paradise and the Camp Fire

Hey everyone,

I’m writing today to invite you onto a special project, something I hope will bring some meaningful hope to us all in the wake of the Camp Fire.

Like all of you, in the past three weeks I have lived through a tornado of emotions.

From the first minutes on November 8, driving my son to school when I realized that there was a fire nearby, to the rushing escape with everyone in town, to losing our home and realizing nearly everyone we knew had lost theirs as well, these days have been a trial of shocks, both bitter and sweet. Like nearly everyone in Butte County, these weeks will leave a mark on me until my days’ end.

But now, with the fire out and life settling to a new normal, we’re all sharing a new experience: Wondering what’s comes after. What do we citizens do after the Camp Fire has done its searing work?

I’m a filmmaker. I can’t rebuild a house, rewire a neighborhood or mend the wounds of people and animals injured in the fire. I can tell stories and that’s what I intend to do here.

And I’m starting with this post.

In the next months and years, there will be a lot people from around the country and the world looking to make programs about November 8, highlighting its details as the most destructive wildfire in US history, citing the deaths, the destruction and drama. They will be wanting to tell the story of the Camp Fire.

It’s my plan to tell the story of our community… What Paradise, Concow and Magalia were like before the flames, how we lived through the Camp Fire and how we will survive after.

Theirs will center on the fire and its drama. Ours will center on the people, and endurance (though it will get plenty dramatic). This community means something to us all, and will be dear to us long after film crews from Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York have left.

I’m calling this project Three Days in Paradise, as all disasters happen over three days.

The first day is made of all the days that come before. The history, the people, the choices, the mistakes that made what happen… happen.

The second day is the catastrophe. That’s the Camp Fire and I don’t need to remind anyone here of all its awful details.

The third day… and days… after the disaster when we knit ourselves back together and forge on with a new life, a new future, and a new town.

My plan, still in its formative stage, is to produce a documentary series equal in storytelling and production value to best of those found on Netflix (Wild, Wild Country, The Staircase), HBO (The Jinx), ESPN (OJ: Made in America) or PBS (The Civil War, The American Experience).

It’s a high bar I’m confident we can clear together.

So how can I help tell your stories? There are a few things we can all do together.

First, we need to gather all the stories out there to be told. We’ve all heard a lot of dramatic, moving, inspiring tales… but we’ve also all heard of even more which haven’t made it into the newspaper or on TV. Please feel free to send me messages, emails or tweets with your stories of the stories of those you know.

Second, we need pictures, video, footage of Paradise before the fire. Do you have film or pictures of Paradise from years past? I can get them transferred to video. Do you have video you’ve taken of loved ones in Paradise? Shots you took of the town as we all knew it? I would love to see them. I’m setting up the ability to gather images, videos, films and more of our communities before the flames. That will be coming to this, ThreeDaysInParadise.TV

Third, let’s get to know each other. While I’m a filmmaker who has traveled the country for my work, my home is here. My sons went to school in Chico and Paradise. Del played for the Bobcats. When I was lucky enough to be recognized for what I’ve done, I brought my Emmys home to Paradise and one of them is in the rubble of my home. I’m making it my work to get this story told.

To help I’ve created a variety of ways to connect and engage with this project. That’s all here…  Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/pg/ThreeDaysInParadise ), Twitter account (https://twitter.com/3DaysInParadise ) Instagram account ( https://www.instagram.com/threedaysinparadise/ ) and email (ThreeDaysInParadiseTV@Gmail.com). And, of course, YouTube ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX7g1vY3luGQ8GY19p8C0XA ).

I’m here, and I’m not going anywhere. I want to help us all tell these stories in a way the whole world will watch. So Paradise, Magalia and Concow aren’t known just for the fire, but for the communities we all knew and still love.

– CAS