Hi reddit. A bit about me: I was a film student at USC, then started sneaking into music festivals using all sorts of different methods, got invited on the road with Mumford & Sons, captured content all along the way and turned it into a documentary that is coming out soon. An unofficial trailer was leaked that has led to some inquiries about the film. I'd love to answer any questions anyone has.
You can check out my official site here: http://www.jamesmarcushaney.com


PROOF: https://twitter.com/marcushaney/status/493951800316145666)

Hey everyone, thanks for all the great questions! Unfortunately I've got catch a plane to Montreal for a screening of the film up there tomorrow. Woohoo!! Be sure to catch it on MTV end of August!

Comments: 339 • Responses: 63  • Date: 

Dofleini154 karma

How are you going to feel when I pirate your movie?

MarcusHaney141 karma


sansez135 karma

Are you expecting us to believe it was leaked unintentionally?

MarcusHaney-93 karma

The thing that got leaked last week has been passed around for a long time now under a password protected link. We originally cut that as a pitch trailer - never intending it to be .seen by the public. It got a load of views when it was even password protected and then, as you saw, got posted publicly by someone

holein349 karma

Why should I pay you to see something that you decided you didn't want to pay for? What you did may not have been harming anyone directly, but now you want us to pay you money to compensate you for seeing something the general public would have had to pay to see (live) in the first place.

MarcusHaney-48 karma

Do you or anyone on your block have basic cable? If so, won't cost you anything!

throwawayfestivalguy45 karma


I work at one of the festivals you snuck into.

Would you be interested in being hired to test our security? We could always use some advice on how to improve what we do.

I personally have no issue with what you did, but you have to realize you put yourself in serious danger. You could've gotten seriously hurt.

Moreover, if there was a whole group of you, sneaking in could seriously hurt someone else. At Ultra Music Festival this year, a security guard was nearly killed after people decided they wanted to get in the festival without paying and didn't care who they hurt in the process.

You're telling a really heart-warming coming of age story, and that's great, but the whole YOLOSWAG attitude of being willing to steal, deceive, etc. to get what you want is putting all the fun and good times of these events in jeopardy. Food for thought :)

MarcusHaney-44 karma

Hey throwawayfestivalguy, you bring up many great points. First off, yes, I would LOVE to consult to festivals on how to beef up their security. That basically means getting paid to sneak into festivals to find the weak spots right? Count me in.

I do not condone using any violence or dangerous measures of sneaking in whatsoever. What happened in Miami (no, I was not there), is really unfortunate and dumb. The whole point is to enjoy an amazing experience at the festival. By putting people at risk by taking it too far completely defeats the purpose.

Itsaschooner39 karma

So you snuck into festivals without paying while I saved up money to go and now you want people to pay you for your story?

MarcusHaney-45 karma

I'm not telling anyone to pay for it. Get in any way you can. ;)

atiaya28 karma

So is this apart of the obvious but well thought out marketing plan?

MarcusHaney-42 karma

This AMA? To be honest, it's more of reaction to the marketing plan. MTV told me they were going to release all the details today, and I wanted to jump on a little early to be available for questions if there were any. It's nice to have a direct line of communication like this.

Trickbballin2327 karma

Hey James - saw the screening and really loved the documentary.

Not sure if you saw, but the trailer was on the front page of r/videos last week, and a lot of the comments were calling into question the authenticity of the movie (i.e. not all the footage was from your cameras, especially since it was being produced by MTV), and others were criticizing your methods, compared to the "legitimate" approach that most photographers have to take to earn a press credential.

What's your response to these two criticisms?

MarcusHaney-26 karma

Hi Trickballin, yea - I've been sent a lot of links to both of those issues. Let me start with the first one: authenticity of the movie. 90% of this was shot by myself, and the rest of it (mostly shots that I appear in) are shot by my friends. At no point was there an external film crew involved. The entire documentary was made before MTV got involved. They are the distributor of the film. I'm super stoked we're partnering up with them to get this film out there.

As for the methods of gaining the footage and photos I did - well, I wouldn't go back and change anything. If people are angry that I didn't go about the traditional ways of things, they have their right to be angry. No one was hurt, no one was exploited...

kawasaki191127 karma

Did reddit give you a bulk discount on the fees for putting you on the front page twice?

MarcusHaney-29 karma

When I first hit front page a couple weeks ago for the Bear's Den music video, I honestly didn't know much about reddit at all. This time around, people are helping me understand what it is. (a wonderfully democratic and sometimes vile place is what I'm gathering..)

two_off25 karma

How did you get the licenses to all of the music that is in the movie?

Was there any issues with you taking images of an event that you didn't have authorization to photograph those images in?

MarcusHaney-53 karma

Licensing was an adventure all its own. Took a year of chasing down bands and getting the film in front of them. The mantra, "Don't take no for an answer" became something to live by. And in the end, some how some way with lots of help from lots of people forwarding the film on, we got the music cleared. Alex Patsavas in particular was a massive help.

notyourcupoftea16 karma

How good did your legal team have to be?

MarcusHaney-41 karma

I imagine they have to be pretty good. Luckily they haven't had to be called to action yet :)

theresacakeinmyboots13 karma

Did they confiscate any of your cameras? If so did you ever get it back?

MarcusHaney-42 karma

Luckily, no cameras confiscated. I did get my memory cards taken away at a Jay Z show though end of last summer... Luckily he had seen a rough cut of this film by then and gave the CF cards back to me :)


I think I actually have a pic of you at one of these fests. It was at ACL. Can you confirm? http://i.imgur.com/mCuukUj.png

MarcusHaney-22 karma

That's me! One of my best disguises ever...

BrutallyHonestDude10 karma


MarcusHaney-21 karma

What was that? One more time?

quietly418 karma

Hi, did you ever consider just releasing the documentary online on a bit-torrent site? Was the reason you went with MTV the money? Completely understandable if it was, just curious if there was more to it like having their lawyers on your side. Thanks.

MarcusHaney-39 karma

Yea I did consider just putting it up on vimeo for awhile. Many reasons - MTV has the platform to get it out far and wide, they can market it more than I ever could, and yes, they have a very beefy legal counsel. :) Money was never a consideration.

bucketofrubble8 karma


bucketofrubble12 karma

I mean, why a documentary about sneaking into festivals?

MarcusHaney-40 karma

Hi bucketofrubble, when I was filming the majority of these festivals, I had no plans to make a documentary... I was merely using the camera as a prop just to get in and see the shows. Since I was there and I love photography and film, I ended up shooting quite a bit...

grizzlecarpizzle5 karma

What festival is the hardest to sneak into?

MarcusHaney-24 karma

For me, Coachella is pretty tight on security.

justanotherfriendly1 karma

Hi Marcus,

Would you be interested in speaking at a youth conference about your experiences? We've found your story quite interesting, and we know there are a lot of great messages that you could spread to teens and children alike.

Please PM me if so.

Thanks! :)

MarcusHaney1 karma

Sure! PMing you.

praunstar1 karma

Looking back, would you do it again or change any of your methods?

MarcusHaney-1 karma

I certainly learned a ton along the way - about sneaking in and how to do that more efficiently, about the music photography world, about the music industry. Sure there were loads of mistakes made, but I wouldn't change them.

welcometobdude1 karma

What were the best and what were the worst experiences with the security team?

MarcusHaney-28 karma

Best experiences - the ones the security don't know about. Worst - would have to be getting kicked out of Bonnaroo and escorted out via farm golf cart 4 miles offsite and dropped on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere..

thewholeisgreater0 karma

Hi James! If it's not going to spoil the movie too much could you give us a brief rundown of the most successful ruses you employed to access the festivals?

MarcusHaney-1 karma

Be confident, wear running shoes in case you need them.

MR_FirstName0 karma

I can't wait to see the documentary. It looks amazing. What are some things you learned about filming and photography that you didn't really learn in school? What were those things you only learned by going out and doing them?

MarcusHaney-1 karma

Almost all of them.

BrutallyHonestDude0 karma

So, groupies. Yes or no?

MarcusHaney1 karma

I'll let Grim Grim answer this: "Yes, please!"

TenderGourd0 karma

Hey James! This is crazy, I live in Arcadia. I'm high school friends with your brother Turner.

I just wanted to know where you first got the idea to do something like this, and what it is about that kept you so determined to keep doing it, regardless of the legal issues?

MarcusHaney0 karma

Hi TenderGourd, the idea to make a feature doc came after shooting most of this footage. The majority of the time I was using the camera as a prop to get into the festivals and shooting because I love shooting.

freyjakittylord0 karma

Which festivals were your favorite? Also, what was your scariest experience?

MarcusHaney-1 karma

Answered this earlier :)

jroache-1 karma

How Censored is this documentary going to be once it appears on MTV? Im sure there are tons of things you filmed that can't be shown on television. Will you release an uncut uncensored version later on?

MarcusHaney-17 karma

MTV is only going to bleep out some of the "fancier" language and cover up some nudity when someone goes skinny dipping in Austin. The uncensored version should be avail online at some point and hopefully we can bring it to a theater or music venue near you and put it on the big screen!

iMediaMonster-1 karma

Hey Marcus, why MTV?

MarcusHaney-11 karma

MTV is where I discovered music growing up and they can get the film in front of a massive audience.

thoughtfilms-1 karma

hi marcus- if the CIA asked you to train their agents in infiltration techniques what would you say? (saw the movie last week- inspiring and beautiful!)

MarcusHaney-4 karma

That's the DREAM!!

liamorocks-1 karma

Which act that you snook into was your favourite?

MarcusHaney-8 karma

Way too hard of a question - there are too many good ones!

MrMajewski-2 karma

Which camera yielded the best results?

MarcusHaney-40 karma

All the cameras I used served different purposes. I think my favorites were my grandfather's Super 8mm camera and the Arri S 16mm camera I "borrowed" from film school.

aixat-2 karma

Hi Marcus, What was your reaction when MTV contacted you about the film? P.s. you should have a screening in Atlanta!

MarcusHaney-14 karma

Would love to screen it in Atlanta! Grim Grim wants to come too (he's the white-bearded man at the end of that leaked trailer.) The Fox Theater would be so cool to have the screening at.

trumpleps-2 karma

what was your favorite festival that you have ever been to? Favorite act you saw?

MarcusHaney-18 karma

Man that is such a hard question. So many festivals are so different. It's hard to pin down a favorite. And favorite act?? Don't think I can answer that one either - that question is too hard! Sorry!

ireallyjustwannaknow-2 karma

Marcus, did you ever feel at any point that you had "turned a corner"? I can imagine that most of it felt unreal––the nerves, the risks, the excitement, the rewards, all of it––but when did it start feeling like "I guess this is my life now"?

Also, Stockholm sends its love and misses the Venice bunch very much.

MarcusHaney-16 karma

I think one corner turned was getting invited rather than having to sneak in. The first time I was ever supposed to be anywhere was on the Railroad Revival Tour. That was a mindf***.

I want to come to Sweden BAD!

InTupacWeTrust-4 karma

What was the most amazing thing you shot for this documentary?

MarcusHaney-12 karma

Oh man, that's hard. SO much of this adventure was good. The train tour was something that will probably never be matched. But also on a personal level - having all of my friends out on the road together and finally making it to our destination after many hurdles and finally all of us getting into the festival together... that was pretty mega too.

BrosAtTheBar-4 karma

Who gave you the idea to submit footage for "Life In A Day"? That genius totes made your career.

MarcusHaney-12 karma

I just saw the youtube call for entries and happened to be out fishing with my dad that day. We came across this wonderful elderly man - a 93 year old cowboy still working his ranch. Seriously one of the most amazing people I've met to date. That was a really rad project.

BrosAtTheBar-1 karma


MarcusHaney-11 karma

I do recall someone sending me the link to that open call for entries... shoot, can't recall exactly who it was now...

HotSwat-4 karma

Just wanted to say I love your work. I found your music video for Elysium absolutely inspiring and I immediately did a quick study (digital painting) of one of your photos from the Faroe Islands.

here it is :D

Keep doing what you're doing, I'm a big fan.

As far as questions go, I love your taste in music...so;

What is a great band I probably haven't heard of who I should listen to?

MarcusHaney-9 karma

Dude that is so cool! Wow, that is rad.

Hmmm band you may not have heard of yet that is the most insane live experience ever... Diarrhea Planet. No camera is safe at their shows - it's the wildest ever.

ColinOnReddit-4 karma

How did you get such gigantic balls?

MarcusHaney-7 karma

Bought mine at Play It Again Sports...

Sock13-5 karma

What was the scariest situation you encountered?

MarcusHaney-28 karma

Rod Stewart looking at me and saying, "Who the f*** are you?!"

SummerLloyd-5 karma

I see that this will be airing on TV. Since it's on MTV, did you have to cut out or change anything?

MarcusHaney-26 karma

Astonishingly, no. I was extremely lucky in that MTV ordered no changes to the film. There will be the usual addition of commercials and some censoring of foul language and possibly some nakedness, but other than that, MTV is showing the film that I made, without changes.



MarcusHaney-22 karma


quokka426-5 karma

Marcus! Saw the film at The Wiltern - love love loved it and have been telling everyone who will listen that they need to see it too but no one's sure how. When does it come out on MTV? And are you looking at mass distributing it at all (in theater or on DVD)?


MarcusHaney-6 karma

Hi Bonnie!

Thanks for coming to The Wiltern! MTV will release it on their network August 29th. Blu Ray to come after that I hope. I'm also hoping to do a bunch more screenings all over similar to The Wiltern, with bands playing afterwards.

Oh and here's a photo from The Wiltern night - can you see yourself? :) http://instagram.com/p/rA2GCOgjNF/?modal=true

CelineDionSucks-5 karma

Hey James- I loved the trailer, can't wait to see the film! Do you have plans for similar projects in the future or will you go with a more traditional documentary/filmmaking technique?

MarcusHaney-14 karma

I don't have plans to make another sneaking into music fest doc. At least as of now..

Trivale-6 karma

Were you actually sneaking in to the events (doing some Splinter Cell shit like tapping the doorman on the shoulder and dashing in when he looks away) or were you entering the events normally and just sneaking in cameras?

MarcusHaney-10 karma

There has been quite a bit of "Splinter Cell shit". There was never a normal entry. Jumping fences, posing as different people, crawling under fences, dashing through truck entrances, sleeping under truck trailers, in porta potties, etc.

thepeteyrich-6 karma

If you could ride into battle on any animal...Which would it be?

MarcusHaney-23 karma


Justint1312-7 karma

Loved the movie, saw it last week at the screening at the Wiltern. I've been telling all my friends about it - but will it have a wider release at some point? Or when do you think it'll be on mtv?

MarcusHaney-15 karma

Yes, it will premiere on MTV August 29.

rsully-1 karma

Will it be released on Bluray?

MarcusHaney-13 karma

Good question - I have no idea!

MarcusHaney-11 karma

I really want to take the film on the road - it would be super fun to take it around to towns and cities and screen it in music venues, old warehouses etc. and have bands play afterwards. We just did our first one at The Wiltern and it was probably one of the best nights of my life.

clns-9 karma

  • What was your workflow like on the road? Was there a big adjustment?
  • Which gear did you bring with you?
  • How much raw footage did you end up with (hours/gigabytes)?

MarcusHaney-20 karma

Workflow was a mess. There's just no time to offload footage and get organized! I usually brought 4 cameras with me - one digital that can do both stills and video, and a few other analog film cameras. Raw footage - TOO MUCH. The original cut of the film was 3 hours long - we obviously had to cut out a bunch of stuff.