There are so many awesome geeky things out there, but I want to tell you about one close to my heart. JourneyQuest. This is a webseries I had the joy of working on. It has a special place in my heart because it was the first non-convention geeky project I worked on. I was on the set the weekend before PAX East 2010, the weekend before I got the name “Dammit Liz”. There is something so special about working on projects like this. JourneyQuest has a story, getting it made was not an easy feat. The original script had many more episodes, many more characters, more locations.
The first week of filming was in Oregon at a state park. I had a day job at the time and I couldn’t take the time off. I contributed what I could, coordinating all the craft services supplies, buying food and additional items at Costco, loading them up in bins. John Moore the Art Director was driving the truck down to Oregon and stopped by my work to pick up the bins I had assembled. It was so great to meet him. In appearance he reminded me of a roadie or metal band bouncer. He was big, long hair, tattooed and a little intimidating…at first. As soon as he spoke you could tell he was as sweet as a teddy bear. His faced lit up as he talked about the plans for the shoot. It was going to be like summer camp. Old and new friends were descending on this state park to make a clever, witty and fun series. As he spoke I saw that passion I have, the passion of working on something you love. It’s a special kind of joy that not everyone can have on a daily basis. It’s that joy that keeps me going when I think working without a steady paycheck is not an easy thing.
I helped John load the truck and he drove off to Oregon for the shoot. Watching the truck drive off I felt both jealous (of the fun in Oregon I was missing) and excited for the filming in Seattle that I would be a part of. I looked forward to working with John and finding out more about how he became involved with this project.
A few days later I got a shocking email. While at the state park, John had a heart attack and died. The details of the event aren’t mine to tell. Just know that it was a sad day on the set and they decided to cancel production. The joy and excitement turned to sadness at the loss of such a wonderful person and valuable part of the team. I wish I had known John better, but I am thankful for that brief interaction I had with him.
JourneyQuest took a break.
I was not hugely involved in the production, just helping out as I could. It was sad to lose someone and at the same time also the project that brought everyone together. What to do in this type of situation? Do you stop? Operating with a tight budget can mean it’s a one shot deal. Do you insist on sticking to a schedule despite such a loss? Emotions run high and if it were me, I’d want to do what’s right by everyone. I assume it’s not an easy decision. I got an email saying that they wanted to try again. The budget was smaller and many adjustments had to be made to make this a go, the scale of the production would be smaller, there would be half the episodes. Reading that email I saw the passion again. This team of people wanted to finish this work, they wanted to create something fun and amazing and dedicate it to John. Even if it couldn’t be exactly as they had originally imagined, it was going to be something wonderful created by friends for the world to enjoy.
And that’s what happened.
I tell you this story because I think it is important to share. I am fortunate enough to work on projects I love and with people I enjoy. A passion for my work is important to me. JourneyQuest is an example of that. Despite the fact that season one of the series was cut short, it is still an entertaining story. I want to see season two as it was intended, a full feature-length season with many more characters and guest appearances. There is a great story here, we just need the resources to get it out there.
If you would like to donate to the cause and help JourneyQuest be the series originally imagined, go to the Kickerstarter page: LINK