I’m Filming a Documentary… And Need Your Help!…


That’s right, folks. It’s time to announce the next big project around here.

I’m partnering with my good friend and amazing storyteller Grant Peelle to film, create, and distribute a full-length documentary.

The working title is I’m Fine, Thanks and we’re exploring the plague of complacency in everyday life.

In laymen’s terms, we want to dig into why so many of us WILLINGLY compromise our dreams and passions as we get older in exchange for a routine, scripted life. AND, we want to feature why it’s never been more important to make those dreams more of a priority in our lives moving forward.

We’ve alluded to this struggle dozens of times on Man Vs. Debt and it played a huge role in my recent TEDx Talk. I’m completely stoked to take this to the next level with the documentary.

How are we going to pull this off?

We’ve compiled a documentary team of 5 to tour the country for 6 weeks.

We’ll have Grant (director and lead), me (for my good looks), two cameramen, and a sound professional. I’ll introduce the other members of the crew more in a later post. 🙂

Our new production company is called Crank Tank Studios, and we’ll be updating various aspects of the documentary and project on the Crank Tank Facebook page (I’ll do some big updates here, but that Facebook page is the best place to follow all the updates of the filming process).

We’re going coast-to-coast starting later this month from:

  • Ohio (starting next week)
  • NYC (2/27-3/1)
  • Washington D.C. (3/2)
  • Asheville (3/5)
  • Austin, TX (SxSw)
  • Grand Canyon (3/12)
  • Phoenix (3/13)
  • San Diego (3/15)
  • L.A. (3/16-3/17)
  • San Francisco (3/19-3/20)
  • Portland (3/22-3/23)
  • Seattle (3/26)
  • Vancouver (3/29)
  • Yellowstone (3/31)
  • Back to the midwest

Sound familiar?

That’s because it just so happens to be almost exactly the route we followed in the RV! 🙂

Only issue is this time Courtney and Milli won’t be joining us (I’m sorry to let everyone down!).

Who is going to be in the film (maybe you)?

We’ll be sitting down with experts, bloggers, authors – as well as everyday families and people we meet along the way. Here are some of the personalities we have confirmed:

  • Chris Guillebeau
  • Jonathan Fields
  • Nik Tarascio
  • Danielle LaPorte
  • Steve Kamb
  • Pam Slim
  • Pat Flynn
  • L.A. Homeless Program
  • Hundreds of people at SxSw
  • Dozens of families and individuals along the way

And these are only the people we’ve confirmed dates for. We’re still emailing people this week to schedule times!

But here’s the most important thing…

We want your input!

Leave a comment here or email me at [email protected] and let me know your suggestions. We’re still finalizing the list and would love your input.

We’re looking for experts and personalities to provide perspective, but we’re also looking for everyday people.

We’re especially interested in people who feel trapped from years of putting off their dreams. People who’ve built a decent life, but feel they’ve sold out their passions for a scripted life.

Is that you? Let us know, we’d love to talk with you! 🙂

The Kickstarter Campaign…

We’re planning on running a Kickstarter campaign for the film in early April.

For those of you who don’t know, Kickstarter is a website and community that helps fund creative projects. You set a goal for funds needed to complete a project, outline the details, and set different creative rewards for people who pledge specific amounts to help accomplish the goal.

Kickstarter is absolutely exploding and is a perfect fit for a documentary project like this.

In fact, a couple weeks ago, Grant and I filmed a sample Kickstarter video we were considering launching BEFORE the road trip. After consideration, we decided that most people would really enjoy seeing the actual footage from the personalities in the film and the road trip itself.

For that reason, we decided we’d wait until at least the halfway point of the trip to create a trailer for the film and launch our Kickstarter campaign. This meant we had to assemble a team to help with the upfront cost of travel, tons of gear, and paying a staff of professionals… but the trade-off is well worth it.

Trust me, you’ll know when our Kickstarter goes live in early April – but in the meantime you can check out a fun video Grant and I shot about the topic for a potential campaign (we won’t be using this, but I knew many of you would really enjoy it):


10 ways you can help bring the documentary to life…

In order to make this happen, we need YOUR help.

  1. Nominate a person or family for us to interview for the documentary.
  2. Nominate YOURSELF as available to talk to us for the documentary (don’t be shy, do it!).
  3. Help us find lodging in New York City from February 27th through March 1st… Yikes!
  4. Help us find lodging in Austin, TX during SxSw… Double Yikes!
  5. Host a documentary crew of 5 really nice guys for a night in a city we’re filming in. 😉
  6. Help us find a unique and creative place to film while in your city.
  7. Help us schedule a fun event, attraction, or experience while in your city (or along our route).
  8. Submit your music or work for use in the movie soundtrack.
  9. Like Crank Tank Studios on Facebook (we’ll be sharing updates from the road).
  10. Join the Crank Tank Street Team (by email) here.

We’re going to need a lot of connections to make this documentary shine.

Here’s how to reach us:

As always, I’ll owe you guys a lot for your help with the project.

No idea is too big or small. Reach out, we’d love to hear from you!

Premiere in July!…

With an intense production schedule (from the full crew), we plan to premiere this in early July.

We’ll be using a very open, low-cost model for distribution. A digital, HD download of the film will be only $5.

We really want as many people as possible to have their eyes opened by this message.

I plan on things being normal around here, even while I’m on the road. I’m taking my podcast gear, will continue to write posts and updates, and am excited to meet up with as many of you as possible again.

This is a big undertaking for Man Vs. Debt (and for me), but I’m super excited.

Special thanks to Courtney, whom is fully supporting me leaving for more than a month, missing our anniversary and her birthday, all while she’s 7 months pregnant. When I say that having a supportive family and spouse is one of the most important factors for success… I mean it. 🙂

More updates soon, but buckle your seat belts… this is going to be a fun ride!




54 thoughts on “I’m Filming a Documentary… And Need Your Help!…”

  1. I would love to see Gary Vaynerchuk (Grant was able to lock down some time with him with the RenMen show) and Michael Ellsberg (author of “The Education of Millionaires”).

    Love the idea guys, cannot WAIT to see this as it’s made, and when it comes out!

    – JC

  2. I love this idea. The video was great. I think this will hit home with a lot of people. I am one of those who has been trying to follow my bliss. Living and working abroad and choosing not to buy a house or have kids like a lot of my friends. Not that there is anything wrong with that…just simply not what I choose to do in order to pursue the life I want to lead.

    Good luck on the journey, I’ll be looking for updates!

  3. I believe that we get stuck in scripted lives ‘cos that’s how we’ve been programmed – by our parents, schools, government etc. Breaking free from this conditioning is near impossible and stigmatises. Humans are just one notch above clones! I’m in the UK and it’s no better here than in any other part of the world – daring to be different is a risky business when mortgage misery is the norm!!

  4. Baker,

    Wow. “We wake up and a decade has gone by” that line is one of many from this video that makes me want to go out and conquer my dreams. I was just thinking about this the other day, it seems like I have been stuck in a rut for the last decade.

    I am excited for you and your documentary. I know many will benefit from this.

    Way to go!!!!!!

  5. Suggestion: make sure your film editing doesn’t leave your documentary full of rapid hard cuts,shaky camera syndrome, and special effects – I think that would only take away from your work.

    Good luck to you, sounds like fun.

  6. Wow this idea is so great!!! And Chris and Pat are going to be in it? Amazing! I think FEAR is what keeps us from living our dreams, and with time we start believing we are not smart enough, fast enough, positive enough. I would like to see you explore this idea in your movie – how to actually get over the fear. Thanks!

  7. I love this idea. I can’t wait to see it! You’re not coming to Chicago? I would totally love to talk to you guys for this. Our story – waking up to what’s possible in the face of foreclosure – landed us as caretakers of a 1910 farmhouse on an island in the Pacific Northwest… living rent-free. We were slapped awake by foreclosure. And now we’re living a life in pursuit (not in spite) of our dreams. Every day is a new challenge. So… I nominate me.

    I also nominate friends of ours who happened to be our Realtors. They sold their house and have been living in their RV in Malibu. Very interesting story. If you’re interested, I can put you in touch.

    I also nominate blogger extraordinaire Therese Schwenkler of The Unlost: http://www.theunlost.com/about/

    and Rachelle Mee-Chapman of Magpie Girl (Seattle): http://www.magpie-girl.com/

    I hope you interview people of ALL generations for this project. I think that people facing retirement today (and unable to retire) have an especially unique perspective. Exploring the way different generations relate to dreams would be telling, for sure.

    Have fun! Good luck!
    Stephanie Walker
    Author, Love in the Time of Foreclosure

    1. We *may* come to Chicago. With a super pregnant wife, I have some restriction on HOW LONG we can be on the road. 😉

      We’re thinking more and more about adding wisconsin and chicago to the stops. Will keep you posted!

      1. I totally get it. When I was 7 months pregnant, we were living on San Juan Island and my husband was commuting to San Francisco every week for work. Home only on the weekends. But at least I had him on the weekends. I’m sure Courtney is going to miss you. And this is such an exciting project. It’s great that you have such an awesome partnership. If you come to Chicago, let me know!

  8. This is a fabulous idea and I can’t wait to see it! Just what is needed! Kickstarter is excellent and I will most certainly be a backer.

  9. Hooray!!! This is the best news I’ve heard in ages! It’s not impossible to break free, it’s just incredibly hard without the right support. I make my living helping people get unstuck and pursue their passions (my business is called REBOOT) and let me tell you, I’m quite certain this is going to be required watching for most of my clients when it’s released. Yay Baker and crew! Way to change the world! I love this project x a million.

  10. I hope that not too many people feel they were “suckered” into their spouse and kids because they simply conformed to a scripted life. The video seemed to have negative overtones toward a family-based lifestyle. I know that’s probably not the case since Baker is a family man, but that’s just what I sensed. My suggestion for the documentary would be to interview at least a couple families that have managed to break away from what’s oppressing them and have found ways to pursue their goals and passions as a family. The constrains on breaking away from the mainstream and your job are unique with having a family and there is a great need with helping such people.

    I’m excited for the project. Best of luck to you guys!

    1. RFC, really surprised to hear that. Guess it depends what you mean by “family-based lifestyle.” If you mean the traditional family life of kids growing up in houses with two over-worked, stressed parents who consistently model conformity of conscious choice… then we do have negative overtones to that. 🙂

      But I serious don’t know anyone – nor know of anyone in the film that feels “suckered” into a spouse and kids. That’s not my style, nor anyone I work with. 🙂 The point of all of it is BECAUSE of the family, not in spite of (for us at least)!

      1. I apologize for overstating my comment, as if the video had several references to the family lifestyle being part of the script (it only had one, and I was also pairing that with one of the first comments left). I also didn’t mean to sound like the video upset me because I am super excited about it.

        My path for freedom was also inspired with the birth of my first child. You should see the looks I get from people when I try and explain that I refuse to put money into an government regulated education account for my kids and that I don’t want to raise them thinking they HAVE to go to college. In fact, I may even discourage it : )

  11. Unfortunately, you aren’t going to be anywhere near me while you’re traveling, but I do have a suggestion for you.

    Several years ago, my kids and I did a 5 week cross county trip, and of course, Yellowstone was on the list of places to visit. While we were there, we discovered a brand new way fix pizza, which was delicious.

    If you’re feeling a little adventurous, try sauerkraut at this little place:


    You won’t be sorry!!

  12. Hi Baker, although I read a lot of American personal finances blogs, this post is the first one I’ve read that’s ever made me wish to live there, just for the chance to physically help you guys make the movie.

    Well, I know I can help by contributing to the kickstarter fund, by buying the download when the film is released and spreading the word through facebook or twitter, but damn, I wish I could be in your movie or help in some way; the last ten years of my life have been about putting my dream to one side while I work the 9-5 to pay bills, and accumulate debt through poor choices, and you know what, apart from getting married and having a beautiful daughter, most of it has sucked because I’ve let myself procrastinate or get myself distracted from what I should be doing. Part of the reason for this is fear, and I take full responsibility for letting opportunities go by, but I don’t want my daughter to see me grow bitter and resentful because I was scared of failure, or that I did what I was “supposed to do”.

  13. Hi Adam,

    I’m very impressed with your level of ambition, and excited for you and Crank Tank Studios! I only wish that more people would at least take a day or 2 a month and do something that they wouldn’t do otherwise, it’s a shame to see complacency sink it’s teeth into so many lives and reduce the affected to a series of safe routines.

    As I live in England, I won’t be able to see you guys on the road, but my best wishes go with you. I’m all for helping others discover their true inner lights, so this adventure has my full support 🙂

  14. Hi,
    When is your next Podcast coming? Sorry, but a big fan! I have listened to all podcasts on debt payment/finances and yours is by far the most practical/helpful…

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  16. Hi Adam! Perhaps I missed it but I’m really surprised no one mentioned Kickstarter. You can actually post your project idea on their site and raise funds for the whole project that way. Since you’re well known and have a killer website I’m sure you’d get funded with no problem. Can’t wait to see how your film turns out!


  17. I missed you and your family the last time you visited the Grand Canyon. I will be moving to Alaska at the end of the month so this might be my last chance to meet you.

    Seeing as most of my family lives in New England, I guess you could say that I have given up on the “routine scripted life” and am just winging it, doing my own thing.

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  19. I have made a life of what your website advocates. It was only 30 years ago that young people believed the path to grownup started with a significant road trip into the unknown. The New York Times reported today that young people are now glued to mom’s sofa, life is passing them by, so I am pleased to see your site. I’m writing this from Bangkok, my husband and I — we’re oldsters who have devoted our lives to new experiences — have found a way to live a Life With No Fixed Address splitting earning income with doing it our way. So good luck. It’s possible. I also think it’s necessary, the old timeline, university, job, marriage, kids, debt, heart attack doesn’t work anymore. The unemployment stats show it.

  20. Love this idea! Excellent project. I’ll shoot you an email with some ideas on places to stay along the way. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, check out couchsurfing.org.

  21. Loved the poem!

    I suggest interviewing people nobody has ever heard of. Different stories from different types of people. Search for people who’ve already done great things off line, and follow them as they seek their own name online.

    Best, Sam

  22. Baker,

    It’s kind of crazy, but when I first found this blog you were still working to get out of debt, and so was I. Now, I check back in with you after a spell and see that you are contemplating the “plague of complacency” in our society – and so am I. I posted about this very topic just yesterday! How interesting that being debt free as we are makes you start to question just about damn near everything else in life, too.

    My story, should you care to read it:

    As for me, I was once an aspiring photographer and rock singer. I took the requisite cross country journey to find myself. I was determined to live differently. But as the years went on I got tired of being broke, and I needed medical and dental insurance, so to the well-beaten corporate path I went. All the other trappings just sort of followed. I wonder how many others share my story? I can’t wait to see your film and find out.

    If you are ever in the RI area, look me up. I’d be glad to be a resource to you in any way I can.

    My best,

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