How did you two first meet?
TERESA: We met when Benji was selling his Nor’sea 27 to buy a Bristol Channel Cutter. I was curious about the Nor’sea and inquired. After a few emails, I thanked him for answering my questions and wished him luck in selling his boat. I told him not to consider me as a potential buyer, however, he wouldn’t stop emailing me. Eventually we became Facebook friends (I actually created a FB account because of him) then talked on the phone and finally met in person. I never bought his boat, but a few months later, with his encouragement, I did buy a Nor’sea. He and I traveled on our two boats (both Lyle Hess designs) for two years, sailing solo, but in convoy.
BEN: I was selling my Nor’sea 27 and Teresa inquired. Although she decided she couldn’t buy it, I thought it very intriguing that a young woman was interested in such a boat. I figured that this woman warranted more investigation, and I kept emailing her. I did some mild stalking, and found nothing. So I eventually broke down and unabashedly asked “Do you have an internet presence?” She shared her Facebook profile with me and I became even more interested so I proposed a get-to-gether.
Big Idea’s seem to morph and take shape as they go along. What were some of the early versions or inspirations of this idea?
TERESA: Originally we didn’t intend to create a full length film. We wanted to spend a summer sailing, but with a purpose. We came up with the idea of doing a series of short web videos about the environment in the areas in which we traveled. Ben speaks French and so we made our destination St. Pierre and Miquelon, the French islands near Newfoundland. Then I learned that we might see icebergs. I was teaching Marine Science at the time, so I created some lessons on icebergs and found that they are incredibly interesting. I wanted to learn more, and I wanted to see one. Our new destination became “to see an iceberg” no matter how far north we had to go. We teamed up with Doctrine Creative, a production company, and decided to do a full length film. The focus changed from local environmental issues to more of a lifestyle piece, and one that shares the true ups and downs of life aboard a boat. The idea organically grew from there.
BEN:Teresa loves to make movies. We had made several short ones of our trip to the Bahamas. We were eager to ramp it up a bit, push the video boundaries. At the same time, I was also interested in France and all things French and knew of St. Pierre, a French colony that is not too far away. It seemed like a good idea to head up there. We wondered if we might see an iceberg. That idea developed and became more interesting than St. Pierre. I learned of icebergs and global warming and all the other interesting science associated with ice caps and glaciers, etc. As we talked about the movie, I was inspired by “Jean De Sud” and wanted to make a movie like he did that really captures the essence of what sailing really is. Not just all the sunsets and rum punches, I wanted to capture the real life aboard and all the ups and downs.
Teresa you are known for your simple life advocacy and Ben more for marine biology and both obviously for your live aboard life style and love for sailing and the sea. Would you consider the film to be a hybrid of these two interest?
TERESA: I hope that the film will offer some science facts about icebergs. They are incredible. As for the simple living, well, I write about it from a personal exploration perspective, which is exactly what this film is about…personal exploration. Benji, and my blog readers, are always teaching me about simple living by presenting me with challenging questions and new perspectives. That’s the beauty of a personal exploration. It lends itself to constant growth. However, I don’t intended to advocate for one lifestyle or another. Instead, it simply shows another way of life, its pros and cons, and how it inspires us.
BEN: Well, I don’t think I’m known for Marine Biology. I did study it a lot, but never really pursued it after school, except as an interest. But I think that it will always be a part of me, from an ecological standpoint. I think the movie is more a story about the love of sailing, the lifestyle, and getting out in nature for adventure.
On long journeys like this a question people always seem to ask is “What do you do all day?” While any adventurer knows there is usually very little down time. Time is spent by simply trying to continue to exist. While cruising the boat is in need of attention almost 24/7. Can you address how adding the filming process to all of this has been?
TERESA: At first it was very strange to have Chris, the cameraman, aboard and filming us all the time. I was way to concerned about the cameras and saying the right thing. I was also concerned about making Chris comfortable. He had never been offshore sailing before and our boat is pretty small for three people and a cat. Hindsight is always 20/20 and of course some of the best moments and grandest storms happened when the camera was packed away. However, we did get a lot of great footage. Chris, Larissa, and Derek (the three camera crew) were excellent and constantly filming even when they were tired, physically uncomfortable from holding awkward positions for long periods of time, and even seasick. Ben and I also did some filming and I was very interested in learning all about it. Ben and I are both solo sailors, so most of the time at least one of us was free to do other stuff. There were only a few wicked storms where we both needed to be tending to the boat.
BEN: I think you are absolutely right with the fact that there is always something to do. Without running water, a gas station on every corner, a convenient store on the other corners, you spend time thinking about, planing, fixing, and thinking about the systems and supplies. So adding filming into that mix was interesting because I wanted to capture all that day to day living. It was fun to try to film everything..every little nuance of life aboard. When there was downtime, it was fun to set things up, re-do somethings, and review footage to learn more for the next time. Our camera crew was an asset. It wouldn’t have been possible if we had tried to do it ourselves.
In my opinion one of the big reasons people do big adventures is to come face to face with the very core of who they are when every thing is stripped away. In the film synopsis mention of an unexpected twist that helped you realize how your quest to see an iceberg, like the iceberg itself, has so much more below the surface. Can you give us any clues to or hint at what that was?
TERESA: I read books and watch movies to be taken on adventures of thought. I hope that people watching the film will see more than just a journey to an iceberg. I hope it will stir something in them, just like adventure does for me. I walk away from the theater having seen movies that inspire me to make a change in my life. Sometimes its in lifestyle, career, pastime, friendships, etc. And sometimes that feeling doesn’t last long other times it does. But films allow me to step away from myself and what is familiar and think about something new.
BEN: I love sailing solo, but geez its a hell of a lot easier when you have two people aboard who know what they are doing. But I think there is also the potential for becoming a little more lackadaisical. So I had to constantly be on guard for that. I think I like to push a little harder than Teresa, sometimes foolishly, so it was good to work together to strike a balance of pushing hard and staying safe. And Teresa was very good about making me wear my tether. She was a stickler about it.
We expect the film to be finished this summer. That is our target release date. People will be able to buy a DVD from our website and we are hoping to show it at film festivals. If someone is interested in the film, the best thing to do is visit our website and sign up for the e-newsletter. We send a newsletter out about once a month, sometimes less. They can unsubscribe at any time and we never share our email lists.simplequestionmovie.com