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.

 

This “vlog” being created by our characters bridges the gap between big blockbusters and independent films. It combines 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 disconnection; 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 defiant shout from the mountaintop; a story about creating our own meaning and purpose in all the chaos of 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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Act One

Our eyes are glued to the latest episode of a beautiful and cinematic travel vlog. We’re following our charismatic and fearless vlogger, Luke, as he swims with sharks in Bali, sky-dives above the pyramids in Egypt, and summits a mountain in Canada. He talks to us about seizing our dreams and making the most of our lives. Despite his hubris, we can’t help but like him. Luke briefly introduces us to Beanie, the wildly talented filmmaker and editor who creates their vlog. Beanie, who suffers from paralyzing social anxiety, rarely appears in their episodes. While filming out the window at 30,000 feet, the engine of their plane explodes. The plane crashes in the British Columbia wilderness. Luke and Beanie are the only survivors. Luckily, the film equipment is intact (solar charger included). There’s no cell signal or WiFi, so the pair can’t communicate with the outside world, but they continue to film their vlog episode while they wait to be rescued, figuring it will make for an epic episode they can upload when they get home. We have to admit - while tragic, it’s making for excellent content. But days later, no rescue. The pair begin to panic, and not just because they’re up against exposure, starvation, and the local wildlife. Luke and Beanie depend on the vlog for their livelihoods, their self-worth, and their sense of purpose. They decide to film a new series, How to Survive in the Wild, in hopes it will regain any lost followers when they eventually get rescued. They empty the plane, set up a makeshift vlog studio inside, and begin their new journey. 

 

Act Two

 

Luke and Beanie use their hustle and creativity to battle the wilderness. Faced with starvation, they go fishing with their drone. Needing to cook the fish, they start a fire with a camera lens. But cut off from their audience, Luke and Beanie struggle to find a sense of purpose in their survival. They’re forced to ask the questions: what’s the purpose of creating if no one is going to see their videos? What’s the point of staying alive if they don’t have a purpose? As they search for answers, they find new meaning in their lives. Beanie discovers a newfound talent for surviving in the woods. She gains the confidence to share the spotlight with Luke, who, without millions of viewers scrutinizing him, becomes more vulnerable as he sheds the burden of his persona. Forced to rely on each other to survive, Luke and Beanie develop an IRL connection. The vlog becomes wildly creative and hilariously fun. But the wilderness pushes back. Constant struggle and desperation eventually brings out the worst in Luke and Beanie. They air their past grievances and unresolved anger with each other. Now, winter is approaching and they’re running out of disk space. Luke and Beanie leave the safety of the plane to escape the wilderness on foot. But their dynamic changes. Luke reverts to his old self, and treats Beanie as his filmer, not his friend. It enrages Beanie. They fight and split up, but not before Luke snatches the harddrives containing the vlogs they’ve created, threatening to edit Beanie out of all of it. Luke and Beanie are pitted against one another, each feeling like these vlog episodes belong to them. Beanie hunts Luke with a spear attached to their FPV drone. Luke fends the drone off and escapes, but falls into a chasm. 


Act Three

 

Hurt and alone, Luke utterly breaks down. He scolds us, his viewers, and blames us for where he is. It’s brutally awkward and heartbreaking. Then Beanie shows up. She’s come for the harddrive, but she decides to save Luke. Together, they make it to a village. But it’s abandoned. As a forest fire sweeps up and engulfs the town, they find a car. Luke takes the camera, Beanie takes the wheel. In the nick of time, they escape the wilderness together. 

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
Image by Rolands Varsbergs

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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Image by Ruben Hutabarat
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Image by Josh Seff
Image by Alex Gorey

The Remote Wilderness

Luke and Beanie become marooned in the interior of British Columbia, a landscape marked by unmapped mountain ranges, forests, and 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 AI to create concept art for what we think the world could look like.

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Luke and Beanie sky-diving in Bali.

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The wreckage.

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Luke yells to Beanie from the plane.

"Chicken or fish?"

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The new studio inside the crashed plane.

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Luke and Beanie play Guess Who? with IDs and passports they've collected.

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Beanie sighs.

"They lost my luggage."

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

Image by Sami Takarautio
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With How to Survive, our goal is to create a funny, big-hearted, cinematic survival film set in the Canadian wilderness, and do it in a completely new 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 disconnection 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 disillusioned 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. 

Everyone has seen a thousand films and has become their own well-informed critic. How to Survive is grounded in a familiar three act structure, but it aims to smash any preconceived notions about its filmmaking or narrative style. It’s a feature film structured as a vlog, but it’s not a grainy found-footage film. It has Hollywood visuals infused with the imaginative filmmaking found in content creation that breaks the rules of traditional film. Non-linear narrative, acrobatic drone shots, animation, musical numbers, a party consisting of clones of our characters dancing - How to Survive can use the full library of cinematic techniques to surprise and delight audiences.

How to Survive is the fresh content you stop doom-scrolling past and click on, but we want it to be more than passive entertainment. Our goal is for audiences to see themselves in the characters and feel things they aren’t able to put into words. At its core, the story is an articulation of feelings about disconnection and disempowerment. Up against ecological disaster, corporate greed, and societal collapse, our generation feels like we’ve lost control over our lives, and the fate of the world. Our characters cope with this disillusionment the same way we do - with distractions. Beanie and Luke try to escape their insecurities by traveling and creating new content, but they end up feeling more stranded and stuck in their lives, feeling like what they are doing is pointless. The magic they possess is the ability to create their own meaning. The world may be falling apart, but like Beanie and Luke, we get to decide what matters in all of the chaos.

 

Creating a film is like setting out on an adventure. You and your friends 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, creative people who can help us bring this fun, big-hearted story out of the woods and onto the screen. 
 

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Image by Matt Howard

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