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Misty Forest

How to Survive is a heartfelt survival comedy that introduces Luke and Beanie, a pair of travel vloggers torn between staying relevant to their audience and the growing feeling that they are wasting their lives "chasing the algorithm". As if their self-doubt weren't bad enough, (and it's BAD), their plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness. How to Survive is the film Luke and Beanie create while they are stuck in the woods. 

 

How to Survive bridges the gap between big blockbusters and independent films, combining stunning Hollywood visuals with the imaginative narrative and cinematic techniques found in online content creation.


How to Survive is about more than just surviving in the woods. The film is an expression of disempowerment and isolation; the feeling that up against insurmountable odds we have lost meaning in our lives. But this film is more than a helpless scream into the void. It’s a hopeful shout from the mountaintop; a story about creating our own meaning and purpose amid all the chaos in the world.

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Luke

Luke is the charismatic, good-looking face of the channel. His audience loves him almost as much as he loves their validation. Although confident and charming on the outside, Luke struggles to maintain the persona his audience has come to know.

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Beanie

Beanie works (and lives) behind the scenes of the vlog, travelling alongside Luke but rarely sharing the spotlight. Beanie is a creative genius and talented at observing and documenting life, but her insecurities prevent her from participating in it herself.

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Our eyes are glued to the latest episode of a beautiful and cinematic travel vlog. Through gorgeous cinematography, epic sound design, and captivating editing, we are transported to far-off places with our charismatic and fearless vlogger, Luke. We follow him as he skydives in Egypt, swims with sharks in Bali, and rides dirt bikes in Canada. He stays in gorgeous hotels and meets fascinating people. He talks to us about seizing our dreams, exploring the world, and making the most of our lives. Creating this cinematic travel vlog is Beanie, who we see briefly behind the scenes of the vlog. Secretly, Beanie believes Luke is self-centered and egotistical, caring too much about what his audience thinks about him. Luke, in turn, thinks Beanie is too reserved, shying away from taking risks and not living up to her full potential. They never discuss these qualms with each other, preferring to keep their relationship professional. Deep down, they fear their lives could have more purpose and meaning.
 

The latest episode of this travel vlog is sponsored by Destination Canada, who have hired Luke and Beanie to chronicle some of the adventures and destinations Canada offers. At the beginning of the episode, Luke and Beanie board a small commercial plane traveling across Canada. Flying over British Columbia, one of the engines catches fire. The plane veers off course in search of somewhere to land safely, but crashes on the shore of a remote lake in the British Columbia wilderness. Luke and Beanie are the sole survivors of the crash. Surrounded by towering mountains, they have no cell signal or WiFi. Luckily, their film equipment is intact - solar chargers included - so they continue to film their vlog as they get their bearings. Beanie flies her drone as high into the air as it can go to look for signs of civilization. Nothing but wilderness stretches as far as the camera can see. We have to admit, while tragic, this is making for some engaging content.

 

Luke and Beanie realize their plane deviated from its flight plan, meaning search and rescue teams will be searching in the wrong place. They must choose: climb a 10,000 ft. snow-capped mountain to get a cell signal, or wait near the plane wreckage in hopes of being rescued. They decide to wait and keep filming their episode. Luke and Beanie carry the bodies out of the plane and cover them with a tarp in a nearby cave. They move into the plane, using it both as shelter and their editing studio. The pair are desperate, and not just because they’re running out of airplane food. They depend on their vlog for their livelihoods, their self-worth, and their sense of purpose. Afraid that they will lose subscribers, Luke and Beanie decide to film a new series, “How to Survive in the Wild”, in hopes that its popularity will regain any lost followers when they eventually get out of the forest.

 

Luke and Beanie embark on a journey that pits them against the Canadian wilderness and their own self-doubt, and they must rely on their creativity in order to find ways to survive. Needing to forage for food, they go fishing with their drone. Needing to cook the fish, they start a fire using a camera lens. Beanie discovers a newfound talent for surviving in the wilderness. She becomes confident sharing the spotlight with Luke, who, separated from his viewers, is able to shed his online persona and find his true self.  Luke and Beanie become partners - and friends. Despite being cut off from their audience, creating the vlog gives them a reason to live, and their videos become more imaginative, whimsical, and personal. Despite their triumphs, Luke and Beanie’s growth is overshadowed by their struggle to survive. They can’t stay in the woods forever (and they’re running out of hard drive space) so they eventually leave the safety of the plane to find a way out of the wilderness on foot. As they attempt to reach civilization they must overcome their own insecurities and their struggles with each other if they stand a chance at making it out of the wilderness alive.

Image by Wilfried Santer

How to Survive is a heartfelt survival comedy. It's a feature film structured as a vlog, but it's not a grainy found-footage film. This "vlog" is beautifully filmed and creatively edited with tricks and techniques unique to content creation and vlogging. The film combines wonderful imagery, impeccable sound design, and surprising narrative structure.

It’s a story told as a vlog - which means the "creators" of the film, Luke and Beanie, interact with the audience in unpredictable and often hilarious ways. As the characters are faced with life-threatening circumstances, the audience gets a glimpse into their hearts and minds through the filming and editing of the vlog.

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Hover to play examples of the look and feel we're envisioning.

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Image by Jakob Owens
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Far-Off Locales

The locations at the beginning of the story are all over the world, but they have something in common - you wish you were there. From rainforests to music festivals, Luke and Beanie seem to travel somewhere new and exciting with each flight.

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The Remote Wilderness

Luke and Beanie become marooned in the interior of British Columbia, a rugged landscape marked by snow-capped mountains, dense forests, and fast flowing, deep cold rivers. There's a feeling of isolation, but also freedom for the pair to explore and document their revelations in the remote wilderness. 

Image by Chris Ensminger

We used Midjourney and Runway AI to create concept art for what we think the world could look like.

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The wreckage.

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With How to Survive, our goal is to create a big-hearted, cinematic adventure comedy set in the Canadian wilderness, and do it in a unique and exciting way. It’s our modern spin on the classic lost-in-the-woods stories we grew up with, and it explores themes and sentiments that resonate today.

How to Survive has been in our heads and hearts for close to ten years. It began by imagining a character similar to our childhood heroes; TV personalities like Steve Irwin, Les Stroud, and the Kratt Brothers. With a new adventure every episode, these on-screen explorers showed us the wonders of the world, making us dream about what it would be like to travel with them. Over the years, our story evolved. We realized the characters we found captivating weren’t the long-lost childhood heroes we had, but a new type of world traveler that had emerged - travel vloggers and content creators. Millions of subscribers like us ritually watch their videos and vlogs on social media, invested in their lives and adventures. We asked the question, “If a famous travel vlogger got lost in the woods, would they film the whole experience?” That opened up a new world. A film structured as a vlog. We immediately realized new and unique possibilities for the way this story can be told, filmed, and edited. We knew it could be wildly creative, meaningful, and fun. Fun to write, fun to create, and fun to watch. More importantly, we saw the story’s themes of isolation and disempowerment become more relevant over time. Everywhere we looked, we saw people struggling to find meaning and purpose in a chaotic world. We knew this was a story that might inspire audiences who are trying to create their own purpose in life. It’s a film we wish we could watch right now, and people we talk to about it feel the same way. 

 

Creating a film is like setting out on an adventure. You and your companions are plunged into the unknown, striking off in what feels like the best direction. We want to go on this journey with a community of passionate people who can help us bring this fun, big-hearted story out of the woods and onto the screen. 
 

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"How many subscribers do you think we've lost?"

Image by Matt Howard

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