“WWOOF! The Movie” is about a collective of organizations that go by the acronym WWOOF: World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. My wife and I have traveled around the globe for the last 5 months and videotaped our experiences within the organizations of France, Japan, Italy, and India. We are considering including more destinations in the film (specifically, Canada and the US), but right now, my priority is on editing and achieving funding. We will be making regular posts on CUpS, and future updates will be available directly from the website: WWOOF: The Movie The tentative delivery date for the whole sha-bang is next June, 2010.’
My wife and I were married in July, 2008. The month before, my soon-to-be father in law gave us $15,000 to spend on the wedding. But my wife and I have that old-fashioned, American entrepreneurial philosophy that if you want something done right, you do it yourself. So we made everything ourselves from the cake to the wedding video, and our friends and family lent their expertise for things like bartending, cooking the food, the photography, etc. Even the officiate was a friend of ours. When all was said and done, we still had about $12,000 left over. Wooohoo!
So before settling down and making babies, we decide we should see the world. Shouldn’t be too difficult with $12,000, right? First off, we consider plane tickets. “Let’s see, we’ll go to Australia, Japan, China, Thailand, India, Madagascar, Kenya, South Africa, all over Europe, Brazil, Ecuador, then come home. $35,000?!?! Okay then, just Japan, India, Kenya, and all over western Europe. $7,000? Okay that’s do-able.”
And then we go from there:
• Passports and visas- $400
• Shots for Diptheria, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, etc.- $500
• Eurrail passes- $3,000
• Sony PMW-EX1 XD-Cam with 2 SxS cards and 2 infolithium batteries- $7,000
“Excuse me?! You bought WHAT?” That’s the wife talking, of course. I tell her it’s a business expense. I mean, this is the trip of a lifetime. I owe it to us to capture it in HD. Besides, I come home with all this amazing footage from around the world, I make a small fortune selling it to stock footage companies, I post a few brilliantly artsy montages on my website, then I just sit back and let the customers flock to my door. That’s how it works, right?
Now we’re in debt before we get off American soil. And we haven’t booked our hostels, travel through Asia or Africa, or taken into account how we’ll buy all the little knick-knacks that we want to pick up along the way. You know…like food. And unfortunately, those magic plastic cards have their limitations. Especially in France, come to find out. Apparently they don’t trust our American credit system. What’s that all about, I wonder? Anyway, what do we do about this?
A friend of mine spent a Summer touring through Europe a few years back and I remember hearing him talk about an organization called “WWOOF”: World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. He would work for a few hours a day on the farm in exchange for room and board, then he would go sight-seeing when he was done. It was a great way to explore local culture, learn about agriculture, and commune with nature… and a membership is “dirt” cheap.
So we look into it. Each country has it’s own WWOOF organization, so we join in Japan, India, France and Italy. We also join “WWOOF Independents” for countries that don’t have their own WWOOF organization. This gives you access to places like Kenya, Greece, and Croatia. So we figure that into the budget:
• WWOOF membership fees: $100
• Not having to pay for food and lodging: Priceless
Of course, we still manage to make room for the touristy things when we can. It is our honeymoon, after all.
Now, I’m the kind of person that works best when I have a goal. The idea that I was going to do anything worthwhile with my new toy while overseas was a little unrealistic without a true objective. WWOOF gave me that. Not only was it a fun project to shoot, the subject matter is pertinent and more important today than ever before. I only hope to complete the project with the urgency that it deserves.
That being said, here’s where I’m at with “WWOOF! The Movie”:
• I’ve made a trailer to exhibit the nature of the film in a nutshell.
• I’ve created a website where people can go to stay updated on the project.
• I’ve joined social networking sites to build the hype.
• And I send e-mails to WWOOF hosts, volunteers, administrators, and other fans of the movie on a monthly basis to maintain interest in the film.
Now the fun part: editing the 40+ hours of footage we’ve shot. In the meantime, I will be applying for grants, holding fundraisers, and appealing to investors, producers, and sponsors for funds. I’m also submitting a call for entries from other WWOOfers to incorporate their videos into the final project, assuming they give me footage that is rich and compelling enough to maintain viewer interest on the big screen.
Ashley Terry graduated from the University of Montana in 2004 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Media Arts. Since then, he has worked in broadcast news, commercial and television production houses, radio, and internet broadcasting. In 2007, he started “AT Films” as a professional wedding and event videography service provider and the business has since branched out into the world of documentary and short film production. He is currently working on a documentary called “WWOOF!” about the collective of organizations that make up the World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms coalition.