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The Inspiration for Aimless
Pizza! The Movie
This movie means a lot to me, not only because I am in it but also because it is probably the original source of inspiration for Aimless. I learned a lot about how documentaries can take shape and evolve by following filmmaker Michael Dorian's journey making this film. Michael had a vision before he made the film, and that vision caused him to criss-cross the country for a year, visiting one pizzeria after another, with a factory here and a trade show there. Ultimately not many pizzerias made the final cut because, frankly, pizzerias are not very exciting places. But, as the movie reveals, everything else having to do with pizza is intriguing. Pizza! The Movie ended up a very interesting and extremely funny exposé of the people and places Michael encountered while filming (including me), and it is all tied together through the common bond of pizza.

Pizza! The Movie reviews:
That's amore: DocFest loves up pizza, pageants, and pinball
By the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

DocFest: Pizza! The Movie
By SFist (a San Francisco cultural and what-to-do web site).

'Pizza! The Movie' is a terrific tale of the industry
By pizzamarketplace.com.

Pizza! The Movie, A Review by Albert Grande
By pizzatherapy.com.

New York Times Readers' Reviews
As of 7/27/06, there are no reviews here.

[Link to pic of Michael & Anna outside Studio on the Square]
Pic of Michael and his girlfriend Anna
outside Studio on the Square in Memphis.
We were waiting for a cab to take us to the
festival party. Sorry about the red eyes, Anna.


Wanderlust
Wanderlust is a documentary about road movies. I actually have only seen about half of it because it was the spark--the lightbulb--that got me thinking about everything. When I start thinking about things like this, I become intensely focused, which is why I only saw about half of Wanderlust.


Morgan Spurlock and the first episode of 30 Days
30 Days is a series on FX. In each episode, one individual fitting a specific profile must spend 30 days living in someone else's shoes. In the pilot episode of 30 Days, Spurlock and his finance (now his wife) set an example by living as low-wage workers on the west side of Columbus, Ohio. (Coincidentally, that's where I'm from, although farther west than where they temporarily resided.) They began from scratch, as if they actually were dirt poor, with only several hundred dollars in a bank account to simulate the reality of living in poverty. They had to stretch every dollar by living in a dump of an apartment and going without many of life's necessities, like health care, and they had to work low-wage, labor intensive jobs in which there is essentially no upward mobility.

This particular episode inspired me because it involves leading by example, which I believe is one quality of a true leader and the most effective way to educate people. Instead of preaching about inequality from the luxurious surroundings of their own lives, like so many other activists, they went out and forced themselves to live in poverty for a month, making an extremely important statement about social stratification and inequality that largely seems to have been ignored by the people it desperately intended to reach: middle class Americans who fool themselves into believing that every American has an equal chance to lead the good life.


Barbara Ehrenreich and Nickel & Dimed
Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of Nickel & Dimed, a book very similar to the pilot episode of 30 Days. In case you're wondering, Nickel & Dimed came before 30 Days, and it was probably more of an inspiration than was 30 Days because it was not edited and manipulated to attract a primetime audience.


Random 1
Random 1 is a documentary series that aired on A&E. If you have not seen it, you've really missed out. The following passage is the mission statement copied from Random 1's FAQ page: The mission of Random 1 in real life, on television, and on the web is to make a positive difference in the lives of strangers picked "at random". Random 1 LLC is a media production company that documents the stories of helping people.

In Random 1, two friends drive a beat-up truck from city to city looking for one person they can help in each city they visit. Once they randomly pick out a person to be their temporary subject for the episode, they ask him or her: What can we do to help you help yourself? And once the subject answers the question, the Random 1 guys and their team of behind-the-scenes helpers get to work, trying to make it happen. The catch is that the Random 1 team cannot give the subject anything. No money, no stuff, nothing. They have to call local businesses and ask these businesses to donate whatever the Random 1 subject requires. It may be a prosthetic leg, a washing machine, or sometimes just a little understanding from estranged family members.

Months ago I found myself really wishing I could be either a member of the Random 1 team or one of the people they randomly help because I needed help and I love helping people. As neither or those things was an option, I kind of decided to become my own Random 1 team, meaning I get to help me. And I'll tell you what: It's a lot more difficult to successfully solicit assistance to help yourself than it is to successfully solicit assistance to help strangers. When you try to help yourself, people are less inclined to trust you, and reasonably so, because you might be trying to scam them. But you know what? I'm going to succeed, and I'm not going to scam anyone.

I think Random 1 is an incredible show and an incredible organization. They selflessly do the small things that make this world a better place. It's heartwarming. It makes me feel good and usually brings a tear or two to my eye.


Penn & Teller's Bullshit!
Unfortunately I don't have Showtime, so I only get to see Bullshit! whenever Dish Network offers free Showtime previews for non-subscribers. Bullshit! is a great show because we live in an age of some heavy duty bullshit, and Penn & Teller have the balls to expose bullshit for what it is, while the mainstream media keeps trying to make us believe such bullshit as legitimate. I think one of the best things about Bullshit! is that a lot of bullshit peddlers come onto the show thinking they'll just spew their bullshit to the masses like they do on mainstream media outlets. But Penn & Teller actually take the time to research the claims of their guest bullshitters, and they provide evidence that either suggests or proves how full of shit these people really are.


Jay Rivers, Guitarist Extraordinaire
My longtime pal Jay is one bad-ass guitarist. He's always on the lookout for new guitar students, plus he's trying to launch a consulting business.
Aimless needs your help!
If you like what you've seen here, I humbly request that you send an e-mail to a friend, inviting him or her to Aimless. That's all I ask of you. You may not believe such a small favor can make much of a difference, but I know your cooperation could spark an intense snowball effect. I sincerely appreciate your assistance. Thank you.

Watch the Trailer



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