Gifts: Photo-print T-shirts

First and foremost we’d like to thank Vanessa Smith and Tony Shaff for contributing to our INDIEGOGO campaign!

While we don’t believe this short film will break blockbuster records, we do believe there are people who will connect with our story and continue to share it.

By supporting this film, you are adding another voice to the on going conversation about diversity, tolerance, and acceptance amongst our peers in our ever shrinking global community. We are not changing the world but are whole heartedly trying to tell stories people feel are not being told.

ありがとうございました, Vanessa & Tony!

Your gift deserves one in return.

Because we know money gets tight and inflation is always on the rise, we want to make sure you know how much we value your support!

Along with the tax write-offs for your donation, you’ll get a gift from us as a token of our appreciation and as a momento for helping us make this film.

Check out this video update to see how we’re personally hand making one of your potential gifts!

The actual photo ink we’ll use is made by a company named Lumi Co.

Our Prototype from the video!
Our Prototype from the video!

From Jamie:

Step 1
Step 1

“I came across Lumi Co by accident while perusing the internet. I found them through a Mend’s website. They’re based in Africa and they were using Lumi’s Inkodye to put images on their handmade canvas tote bags. As resources in Africa can be difficult to find, the Inkodye made it possible for them to add these images with little impact on the environment.

What I like about inkodye is the process. It’s light sensitive ink that soaks into natural textile fibers. It doesn’t sit on top of fabric as does screen-printing. Therefore the image is preserved for as long as the textile is in tact. The image, once set into the fabric, won’t even fade or crack over time as screen-printing does. The inkodye also has low toxicity and environmental impact. In fact, the only chemical you have to be concerned about is ammonia, and that’s in most household cleaners. As long as it’s being applied in a well-ventilated area, and you’re wearing gloves as a precaution, it’s super safe.

Step 2
Step 2

Here’s how our campaign shirts are made. We create a negative image of the logo on a 11×17 transparency film. We take our desired fabric, in this case a t-shirt and put either foam core or a wooden board between the front and back. We then apply the Inkodye to the fabric (which must have mostly if not 100% natural fibers) in a room; which is well-ventilated, but has little to no sunlight. The transparency is placed over the treated fabric and pinned or taped to the board that’s under the image. Once that’s done, it’s time to be placed in the sun for 8- 15 minutes depending on the sunlight. If it’s cloudy, the exposure time will be longer. Direct sunlight is best and fastest.

After the shirt has been exposed, it is brought back indoors in no sunlight for the negative to be removed. The shirt is the thoroughly washed so any and all unexposed dye is washed out. Then the shirt is dried, packed and put in the mail for you! The whole process takes about 20 minutes per shirt.

Step 3
Step 3

Fun facts about Inkodye uses:

It can be used

  • With a negative transparency of a photo image
  • Shadow art (by placing objects on Inkodye treated fabric and exposing it to sunlight)
  • As a tie dye. Bind your fabric up, add inkodye and put it in the sun!

We chose to use Inkodye because it allows us to apply the images ourselves. Each image will have it’s unique properties. Therefore, it has that handmade quality that can’t be found from mass produced screen-printing. It gives our shirts a personal touch.”


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Campaign Week 1: The Campaign Begins!


Some film students believe in order to be successful at most of the popular films schools you need money, talent, and an obsessive hunger to be a storyteller. Sounds about right, right? Or is that a little too simplified; a little too idealistic, maybe?

I found out, very quickly, what you really need is support from your family and friends, an open mind, patience, to check your ego, to develop thick skin, some luck, and (yes, absolutely) a lot of money or access to lots of money.

In film school, you are taught film history, film theory, and how to do most jobs that exist on a real film set. No one teaches you about life or the politics of the world and it’s micro-chasms.

You have to figure that part out on your own.

My personal “clapper/slate” that has been used in multiple web, tv, and short film productions.

Professionally, I work as a freelance camera operator and cinematographer. I have always had a passion for visual art and have had formal training in the fine arts. In concert with my love of photography is my passion for story telling. I love the cinema.

I want to tell stories that inspire me, stories that make me think, and stories that are just fun. It doesn’t matter if it’s scripted, reality, or a documentary. I want to tell these stories and share them with anyone who will see them.

Back in film school, a producing instructor once told me, “Don’t wait for someone to let you direct. You have to take control of your own career. Nobody is ever going to let you do anything. You’ve got to hustle for everything you want, yourself.”

I took those words to heart.

Promotional still from the short film “American Hikikomori”

I realized he was also telling me, “talent” and skill don’t mean anything outside of film school. It always comes back to who you know and who they know, every time. Relationships. Flush all those ideals down the toilet and buckle in for a hard ride.

When my thesis film was rejected by the school for a DGA (Directors Guild of America) screening, I was devastated. I thought my potential career was over before it started because I had nothing to show. But this same producing instructor came back and said, “This school is bullshit. And no one cares about what you did in film school.” he continued, “If you’re hungry for what you want, you’re not going to stop until you get there. Always stay hungry.”

And I have.

I am.

Film school challenged me in ways I never thought possible that made me a stronger person. It also gave me meaningful relationships with people I still keep in touch with to this day.

I’ve worked on major network shows and a lot of cable shows you’ve never heard of but they’ve all been fun and the people I’ve worked with through the years have been amazing in their own right.

I’m still here working in the industry and writing my stories because I’m still hungry.

I’m making this short film because I’m still hungry.

Who wants to eat with me?

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Production Blog #11: Something encouraging…

Growing up, my parents made it a point for me to never take anything for granted. I wore some hand me down clothes, wore my shoes until they fell off my feet, and I damn sure ate everything on my plate. They made sure I knew that anything I wanted I was going to have to work hard for it.

So far in my short, but still promising, life I can’t help but notice an overwhelming sense of entitlement people tend to have from time to time. It’s one thing to take something for granted. We all do it. But expecting something to be handed to us without much effort is out right ridiculous; almost insulting.

The amazing but (sometimes) frustrating thing about making movies is that (in general) there is not one way to do it. Two weeks ago, I was feeling a little frustrated and apprehensive about the next few steps I have to take for this film.

Then, I saw this posting on a PR stream in Facebook and followed the link.

Maybe it's the turbulence on our journey that makes the destination of our goals so sweet and worth this journey.
Maybe it’s the turbulence on our journey that makes the destination of our goals so sweet and worth this journey.

Right after reading it I said, “Damn straight!”

And refocused my efforts; embracing my challenges.

Food for thought?

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Yokosuka, Japan – Kanagawa Prefecture Pt.10

You have to see Mount Fuji when you visit Japan.

You don’t have to go there but you have to see it. Somewhere between Yokosuka and Kamakura, along the coast, there is a place to pull over and view Fuji-san in the distance.

View of Fuji-san near Kamakura

Fyi- I zoomed in all the way in on a 200mm dslr lens to get this photo. It’s a good ways away.

Still amazing.

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Yokosuka, Japan – Kanagawa Prefecture Pt.9

We’ve got another treat for you if you head into downtown Yokosuka!

Once you’ve had some 焼き鳥 at our favorite skewer stand (see blog) get back on the main road and walk towards the base. On the right you’ll see another favorite from my wife’s childhood… いまがわやき (pronounced e-mah-gah-wah-yah-key / Imagawayaki) although the owner calls it みかさやき (pronounced me-kah-sah-yah-key / mikasayaki).

Imagawayaki exterior
A humble shop on the main road…

“Imagawayaki (今川焼き?) is a Japanese dessert often found at festivals, also eaten in Taiwan (where it is called chēlún bǐng 車輪餅 or hóngdòu bǐng 紅豆餅). It is made of batter in a special pan (similar to a waffle iron but without the honeycomb pattern), and filled with sweet azuki bean paste, although it is becoming increasingly popular to use a wider variety of fillings such as vanilla custard, different fruit custards and preserves, curry, different meat and vegetable fillings, potato and mayonnaise.[1][2] Imagawayaki are similar to Dorayaki, but the latter are two separate pancakes sandwiched around the filling after cooking, and are often served cold.
Imagawayaki began to be sold near the Kanda Imagawabashi bridge during An’ei years (1772 – 1781) in the Edo period. The name of Imagawayaki originates from this time.” – Wikipedia

Imagawayaki interior
He actually gaves us permission to snap a few photos inside…

Despite the wiki definition, my wife says the filing has been typically red bean. We came back to this shop about three times. It’s so good. Every time we seemed to attract a few foreigners who would have normally walked by, which was awesome.

Imagawayaki cooking
White bean and red bean both sweet and delicious.

The business is family owned and apparently the same cook/owner has been doing this for more than thirty years.

Imagawayaki flip
An artisan at work…

International magazines and multiple tv shows have covered this humble snack place so the owner is not shy in the least but don’t talk his ear off because (like most Japanese) he’s a dedicated pro and is running a business, so there’s not much time for small talk (in the native tongue of course).

Eaten imagawayaki
Eat it hot! Love the red bean filling…

Next to dorayaki, this is by far one of my favorite Japanese deserts.

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Yokosuka, Japan – Kanagawa Prefecture Pt.8

So it turns out that most cities and towns in Japan have a mascot and regional dish. Yokosuka’s mascot is a duck and the regional dish is curry. Obviously the duck has something to do with regional naval history but I’m not sure about the curry.

The city’s mascot holding the regional dish.

One our friends is from Kumamoto and their town mascot is a bear. I forget what the regional dish is.

Do you have a regional mascot and dish?

I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland our regional dish is steamed blue crab or crab cakes. Our official state bird is the Oriole and unofficial the Raven.

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Yokosuka, Japan – Kanagawa Prefecture Pt.7

On our way to get lunch, we came across some street performers in front of the subway station.

Street performer 01
Street performers! Act 1

We stuck around for the first and second acts but couldn’t hang when a really cold wind came blowing through.

Street performer 02
Street performers! Act 2

According to the misses, the performance had something to do with celebrating the New Year. I tried to follow up but she was already booking it for the door. I followed and forgot about when I saw… lunch.


Maybe some one out there could fill me in on the New Years celebrations?

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