75 days. 25 cities. 5 countries. Approximately 170 interviews, with people ranging in age from 12-74, representing at least 25 countries. I spent my summer following U2 around the world, meeting incredible people, hearing inspiring stories, and immersing myself into an amazing community. Working on “Dream Out Loud” was a dream come true, and it’s no exaggeration to say it’s been life-changing. I’ve been home for a few weeks now, but I am still processing all that’s happened, and will probably continue to do so for a while.
I took on this project in the first place because it was something I was passionate about. I didn’t see a down side to mixing my work with two things I love – travel and U2 concerts. It turned out to be everything I thought it would be, and more. Of course, it wasn’t without its challenges – several long days of work and travel, dealing with heightened security at the different venues, fighting weather issues, etc. And, for some reason, the band didn’t invite us to travel with them on their private plane, so we drove thousands of miles across the US in a PT Cruiser. But, we easily overcame those obstacles (with the exception of the incessant rain in Berlin), and they won’t be what I remember when I look back on what we created with this documentary. Instead, I will cherish the experiences I had, the connections I made, and the lessons I learned.
“Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own”
One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with my entire life is accepting help. I’m stubborn. I believe I can do everything myself, and have worked really hard to prove that I can. As I get older, however, I have started to accept and appreciate help in the right circumstances. Throughout this journey, I was blown away by the kindness of others. People in every city went out of their way to help – many stopped by to see how we were doing and offered us kind words of support; some brought us food, raincoats, or helped carry the gear; some even gave us concert tickets to thank us for our hard work. Those in the U2 fan community often say, “We get to carry each other” (from the lyrics to “One”). I witnessed this first-hand, and felt what a difference it made to embrace the assistance rather than push it away.
“This is Where You Can Reach Me Now”
I am always urging the importance of clear communication in business and personal relationships. This was especially significant while working on this film, due of the volume of people and locations that I needed to coordinate. In addition, many of our subjects were not native English speakers, did not have American cell phones, and/or did not have access to WiFi or cellular data on the interview days, which surely complicated matters. We often had to make last minute changes, and I had to figure out the best way to notify each individual – I couldn’t just send out one blanket email and hope everyone got it. But, I applied my standard communication rules – be clear, concise, and friendly – and everything ran pretty smoothly.
“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”
One of the main reasons I went into business for myself was to have more freedom and control. I wanted the ability to work on different types of projects and to surround myself with the right people. This summer was a profound reminder that I made the right decision. It was also a strong motivator to keep searching for work that makes me feel the way I did while making “Dream Out Loud.” It’s so easy to get complacent – to get used to a routine, a job, or a method – instead of pushing for that thing that really makes us feel fulfilled. As we navigate our lives and careers, I think we’re always searching for clarity about what that is. Now that I’ve had a taste, I’m more excited than ever to keep looking for more.
Wrapping production was bittersweet. We accomplished so much in such a short time, and I’m proud of what we did. But, it was also sad to say goodbye to all the new friends I made along the way, and to return to “reality.” I am happy to be home, however, and am ready to start the next chapter, whatever that may be. Throughout this project, whether it was about an achievement or a challenge, people often heard me say, “It’s all part of the adventure.” Ultimately, that’s what I believe this was – one truly great adventure that I’ll never forget.