Hey all, starting in late February my partner (director) and myself (Adam Baker - producer) decided to stop putting off our dreams of making a movie and actually do it. So we did it - in 4.5 months. :)

It's called I'm Fine, Thanks.

We toured the country with a team of 3 other newbie filmmakers interviewing people on how they got stuck in complacent lives and careers (and in some cases what changes they made to get out).

Our Kickstarter became the most-backed documentary in Kickstarter history (at the time) with just under 4,500 people backing it. We didn't set records for most MONEY raised, but most total number of backers (which we are proud of).

We offered the full HD download for just $5 during the Kickstarter (DRM-free) which contributed to so many backers joining up to support us.

We still sell the movie for $5 here: http://imfinethanksmovie.com

Our Kickstarter can be found here (obviously over): http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cranktank/im-fine-thanks

Proof: https://twitter.com/AdamCBaker/status/289809315563446272

Feel free to ask me anything about creating the documentary with NO experience, funding, kickstarter, business, blogging, premiering, our distribution model, etc...

We did hundreds of things wrong, but a bunch of big things really well. Was a life-changing process.

If I can help (or be interesting) I will be. I'll get the other team members in here if needed. :)

Comments: 101 • Responses: 32  • Date: 

tjango17 karma

Most of the interviewees in your doc seem to be accomplished in their relative fields and wealthy to an extent, making it easy for them to follow their true passions. What about those who are dead broke or in debt?

b4k3r8 karma

Hey, this is partly true.

A couple of the people interviewed were talking about their decisions in the past - and certainly have had success since their live changes. However, many of them went through debt broke and in debt to get their after the switched.

Among the people who come to mind who aren't well known (or who are more currently going through the changes):

*Most of the filmmakers (including my story) *Will Jackson - is success in his career now but certainly went through tough times in his transistion into freelancing. *Matt & Betsy - just short sold their house and moved in as renters. Doing really fun work now, but far from "wealthy". Paid off a bunch of debt. *Victoria - lawyer from Austin toward end. Great income, but still trapped financially - lots of debt, feels stuck. *Josh Orem - professional volunteer. Almost no income. *Commodore family - paid off lots of debt, had great income, but spent 18 months living on a bus as a family of 8 to pay it off and lower expenses. *Karen Putz - Again, doing amazing work now, but had to work hard for years to get sponsorships for her barefoot skiing and to find work freelancing.

I'm sure there are a couple more, but MOST of even the successful people now went through some really lean years of sacrifice even after they chose a different path. :)

Janube11 karma

What would you say was the greatest lesson you learned about complacency?

b4k3r30 karma

That it's 80% the people you surround yourself with on a daily basis.

Most people get stuck on a specific life path because how they are educated and raised. When we are young we have less options who we spend most our time with and our influenced by. We also have a bigger pull to do "what's right" and to "fit in" as we get into high school, etc...

But out in the real world (college and the first decade of independent life) the biggest factor in whether someone was happy, complacent, depressed, thrilled, inspired, held back, etc...

...was the people in their lives.

When they spent time with complacent, conformed people - they tended towards that. Sometimes that's o.k. - if it fits your current needs and wants. Many times it DIDN'T fit that - yet people still did it.

Once they surrounded themselves with people who blazed a more unconventional path, or made choices differently than the masses, they saw more opportunity and were influenced to do the same.

In short, for better or worse, we truly are the bi-product of who we choose to spend our time with.

onejoey6 karma

My question isn't about the making of the film but hopefully it'll slide. I supported this project on Kickstarter and thought the film was great. That said, the attention it's received has been largely limited to the lifestyle change/minimalism crowd. What kind of efforts (if any) are you taking to spread this film outside of that crowd?

b4k3r9 karma

First, thanks for supporting us - I sincerely appreciate it.

Breaking into more household markets is a very tough, uphill battle. WE've considered trying a theater distribution, but have been warned by just about everyone inside the business that it's almost always a money losing situation for anyone NOT a major studio. Some movies intentionally lose money for publicity, hoping to make it back on DVD sales or future projects.

That's a possibility for us - but we're unsure we want to roll the dice there.

Another option is to continue producing the best work we can moving forward - knowing that the original documentary that started it all will continue to gain momentum from our new work.

Being that we have limited creativity and time, this is a great option as well - but the base film won't grow as quickly as we want this way.

We're considering iTunes as well as other platforms. While we love selling it ourselves and keeping it DRM-free (which we would still do even with iTunes) we have thousands of supporters and fans who would consider leaving reviews for us on iTunes.

We've gotten hundreds of testimonials via email - and turning those into iTunes reviews could really give us a boost inside a platform that has millions of documentary sales. Again, there is pros and cons - but this is an option.

Ultimately, we have a 12 point bullet list of ideas for 2013. We've only hit the tip of the iceberg for getting the word out - and will be testing several of these ideas this year.

SwampJew5 karma

Hey, not interested in the doc itself but the subject and the method really, really strikes a chord and I want to congratulate you on the serious meta-win.

b4k3r4 karma

Thanks for leaving this - we worked hard on the way we told the story, the way it's delivered, etc... We put a lot of thought into it! Appreciate that you noticed!

PKJ1115 karma

What was your most successful means of getting the word out about your project?

b4k3r6 karma

Hey, by far - it was an existing network of bloggers and online writers. I had blogged for 4 years at http://manvsdebt.com - and through that process knew a lot of other bloggers/writers.

When people heard we were doing a movie - and the compelling topic of complacency - it was easy to highlight it to their audiences. That helped a ton!

Janakatta4 karma

Advice on finding what you are passionate about in the first place?

b4k3r13 karma

This is a loaded question for sure, but I'll do my best to answer it in this space.

Tips I've found to help include, thinking back to when you were a child. What did you love, connect with, and adore back then. This doesn't always work, but can get you on the right path.

Also, you've got to disconnect from your day-to-day hustle and bustle to remember/brainstorm what your passion is. It's almost impossible to step back and evaluate when you are caught up in the busy-cycle of every day life. That's why retreats are so popular in business and self-help circles - it does help to get OUT of you environment and look back into it.

Also, just because you love tennis - doesn't mean you should play tennis professionally. Sometimes that works for people, but other people have strengths that are more hidden.

For example, I have a passion for educating/teaching. That doesn't mean I should go teach elementary kids - or go to college for education. I've found avenues for this through entrepreneurship that is hugely rewarding, but a bit outside the box.

Again, tough to fully answer in a reddit text box - but hope this helps get you started.

hometimrunner3 karma

What are your plans now that this is complete?

b4k3r5 karma

We have the website up where people can download the movie, get DVDs, etc... and that was a big step. We're stilling selling every day, which is great.

We have two choices, we can build a community around this movie, or we can leverage our knowledge and connections now to focus on future projects.

We're a small team (and only 2 partners - Grant and I), so our biggest limited resource is our time and creative energy. Ultimately, we want to continue to spread the word about this project - but we also want to move the ball forward and creative even more art that helps change people.

We're strongly considering an episodic television show based around the same topics we discussed in the movie. We'll see! :)

triztriz2 karma

is grant solely doing video stuff with you, or is he and alan still doing the real estate stuff?

b4k3r2 karma

Not sure, we haven't spoke about the details. It's my thought he still is active in his real estate operation. And he's definitely active in working on new video projects for 2013. :) We only converse about the movie and future projects in this industry!

triztriz2 karma

did alan participate in the movie at all or did he stay back in Ohio?

b4k3r2 karma

Alan makes a sneak appearance, but only in old footage setting up Grant's background. He wasn't involved in shooting the movie. :)

davidrab2 karma

just bought it. looks great.

question: what would you recommend to someone that feels stuck going through the motions of a normal life and wants to do something different, but doesn't know what to start since he/she doesn't have a passion or something they want to pursue?

b4k3r5 karma


What worked in my own life was to minimize my overhead. By this I mean, financial overhead (paying down debt, downsizing living space, selling your excess crap). Without all this burden, I could fund, see, live a lot more flexible options than with it all.

Overhead can also mean stress, bad relationships, destructive habits, etc... Anything that really weighs down your flexibility. Most of the people I know (and most in the movie) that have made positive changes - made those because of the flexibility they created in their life.

You don't know? That's o.k. - when the opportunity does arise, being flexible enough to jump on it seems to be key! :)

immadodis2 karma

Was funding done strictly through kickstarter? if no, what were you sources? Investors? How did you approach them?

b4k3r3 karma

We originally approached a few investors that we knew with the vision for the film. We did a write-up of everything from the concept, to the budget, to the marketing and kickstarter plans.

We didn't approach "investors" per se - but rather people we knew who were in a position to help us get it off the ground. Aka, people in our networks. These people helped loan the funds in exchange for benefits and in some cases interest on the money.

We needed to do this first, in order to film most of the footage BEFORE the Kickstarter. Most of the successful doc's had footage already taken - because it's much better to show someone a trailer, than to tell them about what you're thinking. It made Kickstarter much more real.

The Kickstarter funds were applied to post-production, making the DVDs, downloads, website, and hosting the cross country premiere we held.

redditeurope2 karma

What Kind of cams did you use?

b4k3r2 karma

Hey, it was shot almost exclusively on Canon 5D Mark II's. I'd say 90%+.

We have some GoPro 2 (Hero) in there for some of the kayaking and water skiing, etc... (and some of the van footage).

We had a 60D for slow motion, but I believe very few slow motion scenes from the 60D made it. I'll check with the people smarter than me if there was anything else! :)

brancasterr2 karma

Commenting so I can look at this later.

b4k3r2 karma

Great, let me know (even if later) if you have any questions!

davidrab2 karma

how did all of you meet?

b4k3r3 karma

Grant and I met via my blog online. He was starting a video blog with a separate partner and interviewed me while I was traveling in Thailand with my family.

We're both from the Midwest and have a lot in common & we stayed in touch/formed a friendship. We decided to take this one together.

Bryan and John were from the same small hometown as Grant. Bryan has gone to film school and was working as a DP on some shoots in L.A. John was a photjournalist for the local paper.

Dustin was a long-time friend of mine from when we were kids. He had no formal training, though he's a amazing drummer (who has worked in music for years). So audio was a great fit.

yobria2 karma

My you live an un-complacent life - Ancient Chinese curse.

b4k3r1 karma

Then curse me! :)

MsLynn2 karma

Hi Baker, HUGE fan and backer of "I'm fine thanks" - my husband and I are in the process of selling all of our crap (paid off all our debts) to do what we love... travel. We set sail in 2014 but it'll have been a 4 year process to mentally prepare us to make this leap. I want to thank you for all your advice and putting yourself out there as an inspiration to others. On the documentary front, I feel that "I'm fine thanks" touched on the huge mental overhaul it takes to "wake-up" but I wish it would've gone deeper or maybe even showcased one person/family as they made that shift from the beginning so we could connect to them more emotionally. Seen their day to day in a job they hated to the juxtaposition of what their days look like now. I feel that you're on the precipice of breaking this thing wide open with "I'm fine thanks" and want you to press the envelope even more! Everyone I love and care about needs to know that it doesn't have to be this way, that if they're unhappy they can change it, to be brave enough to step off the cliff and know that it'll all be ok. I have loaned out my copy of "IMT" but if there were an episodic show about complacency, consumerism, debt, getting to the root cause of the why's & how's no one could stop that awesome train. I'm hear to just say that your gut is right, move forward with that thought. ;) I look forward to seeing what you & Grant come up with... as a pure enthusiast if I could lend a hand in any way please don't ever hesitate to ask those of us that owe you alot. Thank you for the wake-up call.

b4k3r4 karma

Wow, thank you very much for your support and kind words. Means a ton to us.

We wanted to go a bit deeper, as well, but found it difficult to get permission to follow people INTO work when dealing with a film about how they hated their current life path, hehe. We actually tried to get permission from a couple cubicle farms. No surprise they didn't want any part of it! :)

Our follow-up (if done) would go a bit more into the individual process and stories - and episodic format fits this perfectly as we could feature 1-2 people and be more well-rounded and deep into their story.

All said, we sincerely appreciate you - and your encouragement isn't taken lightly! We're on it. ;)

mrsquares2 karma

Can you tell us of your educational backgrounds?

b4k3r2 karma

Sure, I have no formal background in education (though I come from a family with teachers).

I learned my passion for educating through blogging for several years. I first started writing about my own journey, before quickly being thrust into a role helping others through the same issues.

As I wrote more and more, I got interested in formal courses, training, etc... How to deliver them for best results, how to get to the core of a problem and present solutions.

I guess I've always been a big consumer of education and information myself, which may play a role in why I like discovering new ways to deliver it back to others.

tl;dr no formal background, self-taught over 4 years writing/teaching.

tokengingerkid2 karma

If you were to go back and change one thing about the process (correct one "mistake"), what do you think that it would be?

b4k3r6 karma

Hmmmm, very good question.

I think we would have done MORE pre-production, especially researching the people we were interviewing better. We flew by our seat most of the tour - and interviewed people as they came up and as our schedules would allow.

Getting to know them better before hand would have saved us a lot of wasted time, let us get better material from them, and made the documentary even more compelling.

Maybe Grant's answer to this is different - but we could have planned our subjects and interview better to save us in lots of areas. :)

The flip side to that is we did it. We went on the road - and we started interviewing. Some people get stuck planning and planning and never actually do it.

webdevcrazy2 karma

Which was harder - The creative process of making an engaging documentary or finding ways to raise funds for it?

b4k3r4 karma

The creative process was 1000x harder for me. That may or may not be true for everyone.

I had a lot of connections to help this due to years of writing and connecting with writers online. That helped a ton in marketing and finances the film. So that's a strength of mine.

Many times (not always), but many times if you're able to communicate the creative vision for something, your life will be so much easier when it comes time to fund something.

But I think it takes a mix of both. You can be the most creative person in the world, but with no business sense - you'll have a tough time. And being a good "business" person or great at funding - will leave you broke and in debt if you have no creative vision to make it happen.

I like to think Grant (director) and I have a mix of both that has helped us accomplish a film we're proud of and the funds to get it off the ground.

Nalla50072 karma

sounds like a great project, adam! i love making films, used to do it in high school :)

what drew you to that subject? was your dream to make a movie or did that subject inspired you into making the film? and also, how did you pull it off? were people spoke gladly about it? sound like a pretty intense thing to ask and get into. did it made you reconsider your own career choices?

wow lots of questions, your post made me curious :)

b4k3r5 karma

Wow, tons of questions. I'll do my best. :)

I have blogged for about 4 years on my wife and my journey to get out of debt. That process led us to have thousands of conversations about careers, life paths, and complacency (how we get stuck, how getting out of debt can help us be less complacent, etc...)

So I've always been researching and writing around that topics - just not on it exactly.

Through the blogging process I started to get more and more into video. Video blogging some and using video to tell stories. My partner (and good friend) Grant, had a burning passion for video for several years.

It was more of his specific dream to make a feature-length movie or documentary, but I found it fascinating and inspiring as well. I really thought it could move people to change more than just another blog post - and I like stretching myself creatively to make it happen.

We pulled it off with 4 months of 18 hour days. Lots of relationships over the years. And huge, burning vision. That sounds foo-foo, but is very true. We just bulldozed our way through it.

We were surprised at how WILLING people were to talk about their own lives. Even when it was a taboo topic like feeling stuck or trapped in careers. People don't get a chance to talk about it often and really opened up to us.

I did make me reconsider my choices. I had been an entrepreneur - and still am - but I actually went to partner with the production studio that helped us edit the film. In the future, I'm passionate about telling even more stories through this medium - something I never really thought I would do. :)

You can't interview 50 people about living passion-filled lives without reevaluating yourself on a daily basis!

stakoverflo2 karma

Did you have a camera before kickstarter, or did you just propose the idea on there and then did everything? It sounds like you did everything then made a kickstarter, if I'm reading the OP right.

What kind of camera did you use? My roommate has a major in video production, has a decent passion for it, but doesn't have the money to get a camera. I tell him all the time to use his tablet, it can shoot 1080p but he doesn't think it's good enough to warrant trying.

b4k3r4 karma

Several of the team members we assembled had camera. Almost all Canon 5D Mark II's. We also funded a 7D (I believe - I'm not a gear head) for slow motion possibilities.

With the way phones and tablets are going, it's not unrealistic to shoot on them (some projects have used them completely). You can get DSLR's for $1,000+ (even under that in many cases) these days. The prices are coming down and down for filmmakers really.

papichino2 karma

Is Grant the same guy in the Still Motion video: How to Light An Interview for $26?

b4k3r2 karma

Yep, that's correct. Both Grant and I are doing work with Stillmotion now - an emmy-award winning studio that helped us do post-production on the film.

Grant's working on new original projects and I'm running their training and education moving forward. ;)

ArabRedditor1 karma

Wow, i watched your trailer, im definitely agree with the message and will be buying to support you guys and help spread the video and message.

b4k3r2 karma

Thanks, Grant & John worked hard on the trailer. I'll pass your kind words along.

bannanacup1 karma

This sounds really interesting. I will buy it and watch it tonight or tomorrow IF you promise it will be worth my time. None of that 'if you don't like it I'll give you your money back' jazz, if I give you $5, you're keeping it, I just need to know if it's worth it.

b4k3r1 karma

I wouldn't have devoted my entire life for 4.5+ months (longer counting the website) to publish something I didn't believe in.

At worse, it'll stimulate some deep questions. At best, it'll be the spark for some major life changes.

If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't have put my name on it. :)

Hope you enjoy it!

firekissed1 karma


b4k3r1 karma

Hey, I answered this a bit below. But to recap, the crew we all knew. Only 1 of the 3 had worked on a shoot before. John was a photojournalist (which helped) and Dustin was a professional musician (he ran sound).

John, Bryan, Grant, and myself had DSLR cameras. We purchase gear once we funded a budget for the rest. :)

Contra30 karma

Well, you are a writer. Favorite Portland bar?

b4k3r1 karma

Not too familiar with Portland yet - and I mostly stick to coffee. I enjoy Barista and Coava.

cschase0 karma

Just by watching the trailer on your kickstarter page, it seems like almost all of the people you interviewed were white. Is there a reason you chose to only focus on this one group of people as compared to finding a variety of ethnic and racial groups?

b4k3r2 karma

We've had this pointed out to us before. One of our main character is African American and another character married into Native American (they took us through an amazing small at-home ritual). We also interviewed Indian, Jewish, Christian, Atheist, etc...

Some of the diversity got cut out, strictly based on criteria not involving their race. We honestly didn't consider race in our cuts - and in hindsight most of our interviews that made the final film are white.

It wasn't intentional or not intentional. We didn't intentionally try to include people because of the color of their skin, not did we cut people because of the color of their skin.

atoMsnaKe0 karma

nice, gonna watch it first

b4k3r4 karma

Sweet, let me know what you think. It's just over 60 minutes - so it won't take all day. ;)

buddy_bay2-2 karma

Well aren't you humble.

b4k3r2 karma

I'm guessing this is sarcasm, but my detector doesn't always work well! Sorry if I came across in a bad way, genuinely trying to provide value if I can (or just talk about an interesting project). :)

bananahead-6 karma


b4k3r3 karma

You've uncover my ingenious plans to get rich off of $5 downloads on a reddit AMA. Darn it, I almost got away with it too!

Or, the no experience part is crucial to why I'd thought I may have something valuable to share with others. One or the other - depending on your world view.

breeyan-6 karma

that's the most vague topic for anything, ever

b4k3r2 karma

Sorry, I didn't go into more detail about the story lines and topics covered in the movie - I only had so much space.

It follows Grant's story to make a movie primarily and we speak with several people about the influences that got them stuck at jobs they hated or lives where they felt complacent. And many of the people spoke about the moment when they decided to change - and what that included.

There's more information on the website and on the Kickstarter that's less vague. :)

d-nj-8 karma

Given that documentaries tend to be boring as fuck, how did you manage to get so many people to kick in money?

b4k3r3 karma

Haha, well - I think primarily we touched on chord with our topic.

I believe that our societies tendency to force people into complacent careers and conformity is an issue EVERYONE deals with at some point in their lives. The desire to live a life true to yourself - and not everyone's expectations is very compelling.

We also had lots of relationships and connections to existing audiences. You can't underestimate how much this helps.

We also made it very accessible. $5 for a full HD download, drm-free, no b.s. is relatively unheard of on Kickstarter. The low entry got lots of people involved - and once involved - people went out of their way to share it with their family and friends.