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.