Let us introduce you to Kelly, Will and Adam:
Kelley is from Butte, Montana and is a storyteller/filmmaker. “Butte is full of rich history and many colorful characters and stories,” he says, “The only thing that I love as much as filmmaking is Mountain Biking, but I don't think I'll be turning pro anytime soon. Mountain biking is the thing that keeps me sane.” You be the sanity judge at Kelley’s decision to join the IM48 team.
“Before I took the leap and decided to completely dedicate myself to filmmaking, I was struggling to find my place. I had a degree in Marketing, but no desire to work for a corporation. I also didn't like the idea of becoming a salesman, or working for promotions. After a failed attempt at joining the Peace Corp (long story), I decided to go to grad school for film, literally two days before the semester started. Three years later, here I am.”
“I was working as a NOLA (New Orleans, LA) Pedicab Driver in the French Quarter when I learned that Mario was looking for a filmmaker to accompany him and a couple other guys on an epic four month road trip to ‘ignite entrepreneurial communities across America.’ I'd been following IdeaMensch ever since I heard Mario speak at one of my undergrad Marketing classes at The University of Montana in Missoula. This is my first crack at documentary filmmaking, so I've been learning at a ridiculous rate. Not only am I capturing footage, in what I hope to be beautiful and cinematic, I am also the sound recordist, and video editor.
Kelley says San Francisco has been the most interesting place on the road trip so far. “It was our first stop and I'd just posted onto Facebook that I was in San Francisco. Within five minutes I get a random response from a theatre friend of mine from Missoula who was also on a cross-country adventure. It was July 4th so my friend and I went out for drinks and met up with a couple other theatre folk... actually they were all mimes.” Kelley ended up crashing at a dance studio with the mimes. “Fun way to kick off the trip. Hopefully that doesn't happen in NYC, I might not make it back.”
Will has been a water quality scientist, and is currently working on his MBA at The Rady School of Management at UC San Diego. It was Mario’s inspirational speech on campus that connected him to the IM48 Road Trip. “At the end of his talk he mentioned that he was organizing a road trip across the nation and I knew I had to be a part of it, Will recalls, “I could give you a lot of logical reasons why I joined the project, but to tell the truth my major motivation was that I had always wanted to explore America and I knew I would probably never get a chance to do something like this again.”
He sees it as a once in a lifetime project to meet unique people he never could have imagined and to get front line experience, “Besides all the exploration, the best thing for me is seeing the energy that gets created at our events. At some stops there have been times where I've been so tired I could barely stand up straight, but once speakers finish and everyone starts socializing it can be like getting a shot of adrenaline.”
“What the end result of this trip will be for me I have no clue, but I do know that it has changed my perspective on what's going on in America already and that in itself is invaluable.”
Adam Unger is a 19 year-old sophomore at Ithaca College, and a budding entrepreneur (a “wantrepreneur” as they are sometimes called). He joined the Road Trip after his father alerted him of the project. “I immediately sent Mario an e-mail and crossed my fingers every day until he replied back with confirmation that I was in. Mario immediately threw me into the world of cold-calling and cold-emailing for potential sponsors for the tour.” Will says Adam has way more energy and personality than a 19yr old should be allowed to have. “The constant stream of Red Bull running through his veins probably doesn't help, but I only have myself to blame for that.” says Will.
For Adam, he loves to travel, so this adventure seems like a good fit, “…having the opportunity to travel the country is my favorite part. If you take that and add in the amazing people I have met along the way, it turns into the best summer that I could ask for.
“If Mario has taught me one thing it would be to do your best to help others and you will be amazed what comes back to you. As a student myself, my goal for the coming years will be to try and use the knowledge, experience, and contacts that I will have gained on this trip to help students in anyway that I can.” Adam has sold over $25,000 in sponsorships, and sees these connections as opportunities to turn into internships and eventually jobs.
So there you have it. Four guys, searching for ideas across America, and finding the road trip of a lifetime.
Will and Adam, on the road, planning the next IM48 event