Saturday, February 18, 2012

Update -- Big Things Afoot

I realized it's been awhile since I posted about what's going on in my life, and seeing as blogs are ultimately meant to feed your ego by pretending your life is more important and interesting than it really is share your life with others, I figured I'd go ahead and let any of you who actually read this know what I've been up to lately.

The short story is that life is unbelievably awesome right now and I can't believe how lucky I am.

The long story goes a little something like this:

Since early January I have been back in Seattle working as an intern with Fitz Cahall and his company, Duct Tape Then Beer. Fitz is the creator of the highly successful Dirtbag Diaries, as well as a host of other awesome outdoor/adventure media projects including The Season, The Love Letter, Fringe Elements, Tracing the Edge, The Classics, etc. He has also been something of a hero of mine ever since I first started listening to The Dirtbag Diaries a couple of years back, and I still can't believe that I somehow finagled my way into working with him and his amazing wife, Becca.

Now, internships usually involve doing a lot of boring and menial tasks for people who consider you less important than their morning coffee, and I was recently asked by climber/writer Blake Herrington how my experience has compared to that of Kramer's intern in a legendary Seinfeld episode. If you haven't watched that episode, it is absolutely classic, but fortunately my experience with Fitz has been unequivocally awesome so far. I've had the opportunity to help film for some upcoming video projects, wrote a series of articles on Outdoor Research's Verticulture website for the recent video series The Classics, and am currently editing a video about disabled climber Craig DeMartino for submission to film festivals, as well as writing and producing an upcoming episode of The Dirtbag Diaries. I've learned a ton about everything from filming with DSLR cameras on the side of a cliff, to setting up audio correctly for video interviews, to the inner workings of the Outdoor Industry's media ventures. And I'm even getting paid for some of it :)

The other recent big news in my life has been the unexpected success/popularity of my video, A Desert Life. This was the first real video/film I had ever made, and I honestly created it to do nothing more than practice my nascent editing skills and share with a couple of friends. I had NO idea that it would receive 40,000+ views on Vimeo, be featured on the websites of the Discovery Channel and Outside Magazine, or generate dozens of emails from random strangers thanking me for making the film. I even had the chance to do an interview with Alpinist Magazine about the piece, and have begun the process of submitting it to a number of mountain/adventure film festivals. It's been a thoroughly enjoyable, if somewhat crazy, experience, and has me psyched to make a lot more videos and films going forward.

Speaking of new videos, I just returned from an amazing two weeks of filming down in Ouray, Colorado. I was working with my good friend Matt Van Biene, a photographer and fellow Washingtonian who I had originally met in Indian Creek last fall. Through some of Matt's hard work, we had the opportunity to make a video for Alpine Mentors, an awesome new program created by elite alpinist Steve House, as well as another video for Skyward Mountaineering, the guide company run by Steve and his friend and fellow badass, Vince Anderson. I have been a huge fan of both of these guys for a while, and the opportunity to work closely with them was a wild experience. Despite their "hardman" personas, they're super nice and friendly people who know how to have a lot of fun out in the mountains. We spent a lot of days hanging on fixed lines while these guys crushed it, and I think we got some pretty sick footage. We also did a ton of filming for another video about ice climbing culture in and around Ouray, which will either come out very soon or at the beginning of next ice season. Here are some stills from some of our footage:

Right now I'm hard on the edit train here in rainy Seattle, and I'm actually pretty psyched to make these videos come together. It's always fun to go out and shoot the footage, but I really love the editing process and making a vision become a reality.

Not only have the past six weeks been unbelievable, but the future is gleaming bright as well. I can't share any specifics right now, but there are a handful of video projects I might get to work on over the next four months that could take me from rural British Columbia, back down to the desert southwest, and back again up to the Cascades here in Washington.

And of course, I've already begun planning what I hope will be another 3-4 month climbing road trip for late summer/fall. After ticking off some classics and maybe even some FAs in the Cascades this summer, I'm hoping to hit the Bugaboos, the Rockies, the High Sierra, Tuolumne/Yosemite, and the incredible sandstone of the Desert Southwest.

If you read this far, thank you for reading and for your support. I hope all is well in your world, wherever you are.

Livin life and lovin it,


shoo said...

Holy shit Dak, nice going! If Fitz is looking for more material, you should totally create Dirtbag Dakqueries, in which you just get shitfaced and ramble about climbing. Also been thinking about doing a Douchebag Diaries for AssholeClimbers.

Matt Van Biene said...

mmmm... chocolate

Luke said...


Austin Siadak said...

Thanks Luke!

Noah - I love the Dakqueries idea. What's your Doucebag Diaries idea?