This week, the crew from Crank Tank Productions graced my living room. Our paths crossed on Twitter when the director, Grant Peelle sent me a tweet back in February and asked if I would be interested in being filmed for their documentary, "I'm Fine, Thanks." I watched the trailer where Grant described the premise for the film.
"I'm Fine, Thanks" is a feature-length documentary that follows Crank Tank's Grant Peelle on a journey across the United States as he learns from experts and everyday folks how to battle the epidemic of mediocrity that defines so many lives.
Grant, a college theatre major and native of Wilmington, Ohio, has always been at home on the stage. So much so, in fact, that he'd turned his own life into something of an act, in which he made "sensible" business decisions, such as dealing in real estate and running a used-car business. It was a good life.
"Recently, though, his dream has been to make movies -- but he hadn't been doing anything to move that dream forward. "I'm Fine, Thanks," not only looks at the broad epidemic of settling into a "normal" life, but specifically addresses Grant's design to break out of the mold and create a film, one with lasting impact."
Grant also produced a poem based on the same title:
I'm a big believer in paths crossing for a reason, so I explored more about their film and landed on Adam Baker's site, Man vs. Debt. Now here's a guy living life with passion-- and few possessions. Adam and his wife sold their crap, got out of debt and now make their living from a laptop. They've traded the debt-laden crap for the freedom to live life on their terms.
So that's how five guys landed on my doorstep on Tuesday morning on the last leg of their U.S and Canada trip covering nearly 15,000 miles of terrain. Besides Grant and Adam, the crew included Bryan Olinger (cameraman), John Cropper (cameraman) and Dustin Koester (production assistant). They were interested in sharing my story of finding my passion again for barefoot water skiing.
Prior to the filming, I was faced with a dilemma. I was recovering from ACL reconstruction and the doctor was adamant that there would be no barefoot water skiing for me until July. The filming was set for April 4. My custom-fitted brace was not ready. I thought long and hard about this decision and waffled back-and-forth on it. I took a lot of flak from friends for even considering it. But the more I thought about it and prayed about it, the more the decision became clear. Another sign came from a fellow barefooter via a text: he went back on the water just three months after his ACL surgery. A few days before the filming, I was filled with a quiet confidence that I had my answer-- I was going to go ahead with barefooting for the film. I slapped a thigh-to-ankle brace on and hopped on the water for two short runs. It was a perfect, sunny day. The crew filmed two of my buddies, Kevin O'Connell and Tom Hart (he's turning 60 next month!) doing some barefooting stunts on the water. Grant and Bryan braved the 58 degree water and tried some barefooting too.
Working with the Crank Tank Production crew was simply awesome. Adam posed some great interview questions and had me working hard. Without a doubt, their documentary is going to inspire some folks to take a good hard look at their life and erase some complacency and mediocrity. I have friends who have been living the "same old, same old" lives for ten years now-- I hope this shakes 'em up. Before the crew left, I invited them to write on my daughter's wall. They each left some great quotes. Adam summed it up well with this quote from Ben Franklin:
"Many men die at 25, but aren't buried until 75."
Don't let this be you.