9:09 AM, Sunday, May 3rd, 2009:
And the tally of cool shit just keeps on rising. Linda is pitching a radio piece for NPR about me being the World's first Video Blogger... however she's blowing my mind so much with the angle she's taking that it's literally changing my entire view of everything:
"You actually made it before you even got to LA. Uploading a certain video, labeling it Entry #1 and the subsequent videos to follow cemented your place in history."
I made it before I got to LA. That... that concept is making my head spin like you can't imagine. In fact, just read her pitch:
The Truman Show 2.0
In 2000, aspiring actor Adam Kontras set out in a trailer from Ohio to Los Angeles with his wife Jessica and tranquilized cat named J-Dog. He had plans to make it big! Little did the Greek crooner know then, but he had already secured his place in history before his rickety trailer had even reached California.
It all started on January 2nd, 2000. Adam lugged a hefty desktop computer and monitor into his Springfield, Missouri hotel room. Determined to document his journey, he spent 10 minutes uploading a 150k compressed video onto a web-based journal entry. It's of Adam smuggling their drooling cat onto an elevator and into their hotel room. The video isn't brilliant. It's grainy and is just shy of 15 seconds...
(nat audio from first video blog available)
But, it was this very video blog that would later earn Adam the accolade: World’s First Video Blogger. Since then, he has kept the updates going in what’s now easily the longest running video blog in history. It’s called “The Journey” and it reads like Greek Drama, capturing Adam’s highs and lows- all in intimate video vignettes. He's zoomed in on his breakdowns as he sacrifices auditions to slave away at multiple 9-5 gigs, captured the highs of falling in love, the jitters of pregnancy scares, the pangs of deceit, and the tragic loss of his most beloved pet dog. From his big-time offer to host a CBS late-night talk show (which later fell through), to two marriages followed by two heartbreaking divorces --- nothing in his life is beyond the camera and internet's reach.
(numerous video clips and self-written songs to choose from)
Adam writes in his intro to The Journey: "I'm telling the story of trying to make it in LA and you actually see it unfold. I'm honest to a fault and try desperately to chronicle how I feel no matter how stupid, arrogant, scared, lazy, insincere or pathetic it makes me look. My purpose is not to make people like me, it's to make people know me." He adds, he hopes to show how the process of trying to make it changes a person.
It appears that the process of updating “The Journey” website itself is what has most changed Adam. There was some point in this whole effort where “The Journey” sort of became the journey. In other words, Adam would set himself out on crazy adventures just for the sake of having something cool to video blog about.
It’s nearing The Journey's Ten year birthday and Adam still hasn’t made it big in Los Angeles....but, he's come pretty damn close on multiple occasions. As he hits the ten year mark, Adam has decided that he needs to do something big... like, really big. That’s why this June he is heading out on a real journey to sub-Saharan Africa. Not wise for an olive-skinned Greek pretty-boy who has a sordid love affair with hungry mosquitoes. But, he’s determined. I will be joining him on this trek and can both document that voyage on tape and have him reflect on “The Journey” along to way.
Bigger theme to explore:
We've all heard the trite phrase: the journey is the destination. In this case, it absolutely rings true for Adam. Part of me believes that his thousands of fans secretly relish in his video-posts and his non-stop struggles.... if only because it is amazing to see how he continues to fall, yet continues to get up again. He has become for so many this lovable anti-hero who refuses to give up on his dream -- even after nearly a decade of personal and professional failures.
Some questions to explore:
What does fame mean to Adam? How far will he go for the Journey? How has "The Journey" and the journey changed his definition of success? Does HE want it to end?
Also, What is the true definition of a fan in this age of internet intimacy? Artists and politicians are now attempting to draw people into their pseudo-intimate lives by getting twitter accounts (even Sarah Palin now). This is after they have established fame. But, what about in Adam's case where he has already established this intimacy and has an internet encyclopedia of his deepest fears and happiest moments?
It's funny, she was asking me some questions about the site and brought up how often I cry in it. And I stopped her with "woah, woah, woah - I've cried like 3 times in 10 years on this site...don't exagerrate"... and then she proceeds to send me that treatment and of course, I record it... and I freaking cry. (sigh)
LOL - It's just incredibly overwhelming to me that this many years later... people get it. I cannot express how insane people thought I was when I was doing this at the start. How dismissive and isolating it felt and how I seemed to be the only one who saw the project on a bigger level. I kept it up through everything... and to see it get recognition after a decade? Recognition that only could have happened because I kept doing it? Emotional overload.
Even cooler? In her scheming to find more stories for us to cover in Africa the old addage of "...the journey not the destination..." smacked her in the face and it looks like she found one. Knowing her tenacity, you will absolutely hear this piece on NPR in July.
Words can't express how appreciative I am... but that's what tears are for.
PS - you know, I use the "words can't express" line all the freaking time... just after I wrote hundreds of words of appreciation within that same entry. That's stupid. Words can't express how stupid that is.