Well, I've never filmed a documentary before and I didn't really know where to begin, but I did know that I really wanted to make one and I that may know the right people to help me make one. Thankfully I was right!
Since March 2016, I had the idea engrained in my mind to travel to Colorado to visit my cousin Craig, a licensed addiction counselor and skateboarder, and work with his clients providing Therapeutic Skateboard Sessions. I also knew in my mind that I wanted to capture this experience to showcase the healing power of skateboarding. But who was the right guy for the job?
In December 2016 I had stayed with an old friend of mine, Madison McKamey, during my visit to LA. We had met at Camp Woodward when we were 16 and I hadn't seen him since, we had always kept in touch through Facebook so when we reconnected 6 years later it was like we've been friends all along. He casually mentioned that he was a freelance filmmaker and I always kept that in the back of my mind.
It was around March of 2017 now and I was eager to plan my trip to Colorado. First I confirmed with Craig that I can stay at his place and he nonchalantly replied "yeah, just come through whenever" or something along those lines. Next was getting a filmer to agree to this project, which at the time was just my crazy idea, Madison was my go to so I gave him a buzz. I remember explaining my idea to him while walking around in circles through my living room, we were both so excited about the idea we, In my head I knew it was going to happen and I couldn't believe it. He agreed. In April I bought my ticket out for July 9, 2017. I was going to make my crazy idea a reality.
(Craig testing out one of the custom Skate.Now decks at Boulder Skatepark with an Ollie to fakie)
The next step in my mind was getting other organizations on board with my Therapeutic Skateboarding idea. I drafted up a proposal about what my skateboard therapy clinic would offer and forwarded it to Craig. I was really nervous because what if I went all the way to Colorado and the organizations out there weren't interested or they thought it was too much of liability issue and wouldn't work with Skate.Now. Craig gave me the approval for North Star Transition, an adult recovery agency in Boulder Colorado, he also sent my proposal out to a few other local organizations.
To my surprise, the proposal was a success and it spread like wildfire, the treatment centers and rehab organizations were starting to get back to me one by one! By June I had 7 clinics lined up from the week of July 10-July 14 and even some local therapists reached out for one-on-one sessions for their clients. I even had to turn down two agencies because, franky, we would only be working there for 5 full days and there wasn't enough time for everyone. We had skate clinics for all walks of life, sessions for children and adults with developmental disabilities, children and adults battling addictions and family problems, troubled teens, adolescents and adults battling homelessness.
I was hyped because I knew an experience like this would change my life and I was eager to meet these people, hear their stories and try to use skateboarding to put a smile on their face and help them out in any way possible.
I called up Madison and told him the great news, he was psyched as well but the only thing was that he still hadn't bought his plane ticket yet and the trip was in 2 weeks, he also informed me that he wanted to bring his buddy Kenny along to help film. Not a problem with me, I had previously set up a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to help pay for the expenses of the trip. I was just starting to worry they would flake out at the last minute.
I was starting to get even more nervous that they still hadn't bought their tickets yet, I couldn't show up at these organizations solo. There were so many factors going into this trip that could possible go wrong I was starting to have trouble sleeping. I hadn't even told the treatment centers I was bringing a camera crew and filming a documentry because I didn't know how they would react... and wouldn't take no for an answer after working so hard to make this happen.