One of the great challenges of producing a documentary is trying to include enough detail to respectfully and authentically tell a story, while also keeping the story engaging and moving. I first met Joe in summer of 2012 and over the next four years we filmed hundreds of hours of footage and dozens of interviews which were eventually had to be edited down an 87 minute film.
My greatest personal struggle during the process was that so much of the great content about Joe and his story had to end up on the cutting room floor during the edit because we just couldn’t include it all. If we had it probably would have been a 30 part docu-series!
The rest of the story:
Enter, Peter Frick-Wright a writer, creator, producer, storyteller, and radio maker from the Pacific Northwest. He’s a graduate of the Salt Institute, where they teach radio storytelling, and also a mountain biker, bug-eater, and frequent contributor to Sierra, Men’s Journal, Outside, and Bike.
Peter had been producing a podcast series called Thirsty Minutes West aka 30|m|w and recently joined up with Outside magazine to launch The Outside Podcast. The first miniseries is on the Science of Survival, which is just like it sounds: stories of life and death, specifically how our bodies respond to heat, cold, being struck by lightning, and being trapped underwater.
We were thrilled to learn that Peter had connected with Joe last fall, just as we were completing the final production of It’s Raining, So What. He was interested in learning more about Joe’s life and experiences surrounding his accident and recovery which ultimately resulted in this great two episode podcast in the Outside series.
So whether you have seen the film or not, these two riveting episodes, created and produced by Peter, really shed a light on many of the aspects of Joe’s story that we were not able to include in the film. When I listened to them for the first time I was in awe at the level of detailed storytelling and knowing Joe, his family and Amy as well as I do, I could visualize every moment of our journey all over again. I actually had the thought at one point that this would make a great movie some day!
Like what you heard? Share it with the world!
We are so honored to share this great podcast with you and encourage you to let us know what you think about it, what you liked, and what you learned. If you like it please share it with everyone you know!
Can you think of a song that immediately brings back a special memory? Have you ever noticed how quickly the first few notes can put you in a totally different place or stir up a strong emotional feeling?
The power of music has always intrigued me and drawn me in. As a visual storyteller I have a great appreciation for the significant roll the right music can play in truly enhancing and conveying the emotion and impact of a film.
When we first set out to produce this documentary, Joe and I often talked about our deep connection to music and how it plays such a major role in our lives. For Joe this was especially important throughout the course of his rehab and recovery. In many ways music actually can actually become the soundtrack for our lives, allowing us to replay memories and change our emotions in an instant.
As we near completion of the film, one of the last aspects of a production is creating the soundtrack and score. This is such a special time because of the incredible relationship between the story, the sounds, the music and the visual imagery. Everything has to work together to create the right emotional experience. To help us make that happen we are thrilled to announce that Korby Lenker has joined the It’s Raining, So What production team as our music director, composer and supervising producer.
MEET KORBY LENKER
Originally from Twin Falls, Idaho, Korby now makes his home in Nashville, TN. As a well established indie singer, songwriter, performing artist, author, and multi instrumentalist, Korby approaches songwriting with a unique sense of curiosity, as if each time he writes a song he is journeying into unknown territory, never really sure where it will lead. That sense of adventure, simplicity, and spirit of pushing up against the boundaries of his comfort zone to write meaningful emotion filled songs is one of the many things that led us to him as a great fit for our film.
“I like it simple,” says Lenker. “I just do. As soon as there’s a weird chord, I’m like, ‘Why? That’s all been done. Who cares?’ What’s really hard is to hit people in the heart and to reach them. That’s what I’m trying to do: make music that’s easily likeable, but with a kind of secret sophistication. I’m always trying to write a song that you can hum along with on the first listen. You’re like, ‘Yeah, I’d like to hear that again.’ Then maybe you hear it 20 times and you’re like, ‘Damn, that’s actually something I’m going to think about now.'”
But there’s a lot more than that to his instinctual, unorthodox journey from being brought up as a mortician’s son in rural Idaho to being recognized as one of the more innovative voices in Nashville’s current music scene. Korby has recently returned from touring in Europe, and has opened for artists like Chris Isaak, Willie Nelson, Ray LaMontagne, Nickel Creek, Keith Urban, Susan Tedeschi and Tristan Prettyman, and others. He is currently working on his seventh studio album “Thousand Springs” and just got his book “Medium Hero” published.
Over the years he has developed a great network of passionate and talented musicians, songwriters and artists and we will be collaborating with some of them as we create the soundtrack and score for the film.
I recently had the great pleasure of recording a podcast with Korby talking about his background, life experiences, and his creative approach to songwriting, film scoring, his latest book release “Medium Hero” and much more. We invite you take a listen to it and share it if you know someone who may also enjoy it!
Through my conversations with Korby we discovered how the same concept of running up against “perceived limitations” is very much present in the world of creative artists as well. I was fascinated to learn about some of the times Korby runs up against obstacles in the songwriting process, and what he does to acknowledge them, push through them, or go around them rather than giving in to them. This has led Korby to ultimately write and release songs that have had a significant impact on so many other people, thereby becoming a part of the soundtrack of their lives.
One such song which is very much a part of my soundtrack and definitely many others as well, is Korby’s song My Little Life. Check it out and see what you think!
The most exciting part of all of this is that we are getting very close to releasing this film with a very special emotion filled soundtrack! Additionally we are working on producing a soundtrack album which will feature music from, and inspired by the film It’s Raining, So What. We are happy to have you with us on this journey and we will be sharing more about some of the artist who will be featured in the film and on the soundtrack album as we work on it. So stay tuned.
In closing I have to share this quote from Korby, which I felt was so perfect for this blog post
“One of my favorite musicians in the world, bassist and composer Edgar Meyer once said in an interview ‘The boundaries of music have been and always should be limitless.’ I couldn’t agree more.”
What song brings back a significant memory for you? We would love to know. Feel free to let us know in the comments below!
You can check out Korby’s website www.korbylenker.com where you can find his albums and other super cool merchandise, as well as his touring schedule and some other fun surprises.
I recently had the pleasure of talking to Amy Rosendahl, Joe Stone’s fiancé, about some amazing life lessons she learned while training for the upcoming IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene, which she’ll attempt on June 28, 2015.
In 2009, Amy had little to no running experience. She started setting bigger and bigger goals in the next few years, running five marathons and a few sprint triathlons. Just last year, she completed her first 70.3-mile Half IRONMAN in Boise, ID.
Through her experience supporting Joe in his IRONMAN attempt in 2013, Amy gained a full appreciation for the dedication, hard work and determination required to accomplish such a feat and decided to give it a try this year. For the past eight months, she has committed to a strict six day a week training regimen as she prepares to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles — all within 17 hours.
Through this challenge, Amy has learned a lot about what it takes to successfully train for and continuously move towards accomplishing such a large personal goal. The process has revealed many incredible secrets and breakthroughs that can be applied to all areas of our lives.
Here are Amy’s top five life lessons learned while training for an Ironman.
Find what you’re passionate about and pursue it — love what you do and you can accomplish anything.
Always set a bigger goal — be proud of your achievements, but keep trying new things. The sky is the limit! With the right training and mindset, you can do anything.
Push through your mental blocks — don’t give in to the voices in your head telling you to quit when the going gets tough. That said, be smart and know your limits.
Don’t allow the skeptics to stop you — don’t listen when others tell you your ideas are too crazy. Even if you fail, it gives you the opportunity to find a different way to accomplish your goal.
Be patient — know that if you put in effort, everything will turn out the way it’s supposed to.
UPDATE: On June 28, 2015 Amy successfully completed her first full IRONMAN triathlon. She covered 140.6 miles in 15 hours, 51 minutes and 20 seconds pushing through temps as high as 105 degrees! We are very proud of you Amy! Congratulations!
IT”S RAINING, SO WHAT Podcast: Episode 1 – Learn more about Amy’s personal experiences and insights gained on her inspiring IRONMAN journey. Recorded May 21, 2015
One of the many incredible people we have met along the journey of making this film is our great new friend Laura Backus. Laura is not only pushing through boundaries and doing what many say can’t be done, but she is inspiring, educating, supporting and encouraging so many others along the way. It is a true privilege and honor to have Laura as our guest blogger this week.
Single Moment in Time – By Laura Backus
Life is a series of single moments. Some moments are so common that you don’t even notice them pass you by. Some obvious memorable moments – marriage, the birth of a child, graduation – are easy to pick out and are defined by joy. Sometimes memorable moments come from tragedy. HOW you respond to those moments DEFINES you. And some moments are just simple ordinary moments that just make up life, seemingly just another ordinary moment, but with extraordinary consequences.
In Nov 2013, I was ending a pretty low-key practice swim just days before Ironman Florida. I was pretty much in a daze, not quite believing that I had made it to Ironman, and I was soaking up every moment I could. From meeting new and old friends, to taking pictures everywhere of everything! “Ooh look an Ironman sign! Oooh look a bike rack! Oooh look the clock!” I was giddy at even the mundane.
You see, I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a connective tissue disorder that has many complications which require modifications to accomplish the seemingly ordinary. My arches collapse and my hips subluxate when I run. My hips, elbows, or shoulders subluxate (and occasionally dislocate) while I swim or bike. I have cervical instability that can cause an instant migraine that lasts for days. In general EDS is a high pain disorder. So the idea of an Ironman to those with EDS can seem beyond farfetched. Many other EDSers have chastised me for even talking about doing triathlons, they tell me to stop bragging. I had given up on even trying finding others to help me to navigate this bizarre disorder. Instead I focused my time and ‘motivation’ on my “other” community – the larger, slower athletes. Writing about my exploits for some reason motivated people, and created a community.
Returning back to that ordinary moment in Florida: As I exited my swim, I saw 2 people on the beach, one with a really sweet camera and another woman just staring off into the ocean. I’m nosey so just walked right up and asked what they were doing. This is how I met Kevin May and Amy Rosendahl. Joe Stone was out for a swim and they were watching for him to return. This one ordinary moment had some extraordinary consequences!
Kevin told me about Joe and about the film, and I have ZERO clue how we started talking about my own challenges, but we did! Maybe it was my nails that I had painted with zebra stripes? Or maybe it was our similarly named websites?
Finding similarities in differences
Joe’s blog at the time was called “An Ironman’s Journey” whereas my blog is “A Fatgirl’s Ironman Journey”. This was the first of many parallels in our seemingly very different lives. Over the next 5 days we talked and I learned just how Joe would ‘do’ a Triathlon as a quadriplegic. First was his interesting ‘merman’ wetsuit. I don’t really use my legs all that much on the swim because if I kick, I will subluxate or partially dislocate my hips (or my elbows/ shoulders if I pull too hard). I reflected on how we actually swim in a very similar fashion.
An interesting parallel with Joe was how he needed some sort of wrap to hold his hands on the hand-cycle. Prior to meeting Joe, I thought I was the only one that had to ‘do something’ with my hands to be able to cycle comfortably! When on a road bike, I cannot ride more than 30 minutes or so without being in pain from my hyper extended wrists. I found that triathlon bike aero bars held my hands in just the perfect position to not cause pain!
While watching the trailer for It’s Raining So What, I reflected on how Joe had to re-learn how to breathe. He had to consciously think about each breath; it was not something that his body would do automatically. I have similar issues with some muscles. I know it is not BREATHING, but it is an interesting parallel to my own body. I have to think about every pedal stroke on the bike to see if I am using my hamstrings or glutes at all. For some reason they do not work on their own.
All in all though, I have figured out how to overcome my perceived limitations, just like Joe. It takes determination, motivation, and lots of improvisation to make it happen, especially when faced with physical challenges.
The power within all of us
I recall the day that Joe mentioned they were including me in his film. I couldn’t understand for the life of me, WHY!? Joe is doing amazing things; he became a quadriplegic at a pretty young age and he’s challenging the mindset and encouraging others to overcome their perceived limitations. He’s not only getting himself out there, he’s taking an entire community with him! I did ask him WHY ME? He said that different people are personally inspired by different people and actions. It took me a while to understand that fully, but I get it now.
I’m overweight, I’m (older?), I have a genetic disorder, I’m VERY slow, yet I’m out there. Every chance I get, I am pushing someone to follow their dreams; to DO what they dream of doing.
Joe encouraged me to really step into the light with those with Ehlers Danlos. It is a tough crowd, as many are in such pain and and its easy to have a negative mindset when you’re in pain or feeling limited by your own body. I have been yelled at on many occasions to stop ‘flaunting’ my abilities. After meeting Joe, I just KNEW there were more out there like me. We were correct. We now have a growing EDS community focused on activity. It may be 5 extra steps, 5 extra miles, or an Ironman. Each little bit of defeating “I Can’t” just adds to the community of those who seek to overcome perceived limitations.
That one ordinary moment in time, on a beach in 2013, where 3 people started talking about a camera completely changed my perspective on how to encourage others and and how to share my journey to the fullest.
Against all odds, Joe Stone sets his sights on becoming the first wheelchair using quadriplegic to complete an IRONMAN inspiring many on this amazing journey.
Following Joe Stone’s and other peoples’ incredible life-changing journeys, the documentary “It’s Raining, So What” will change the way we perceive options in our lives.
This powerful film shares how individuals facing adversity can push through boundaries of perceived limitations to find out what is truly possible.
A true story of the human spirit overcoming everything that tries to hold us back.
Our website is currently undergoing a redesign. Thank you for your patience. We are excited to share this incredible story with you as the film is being completed. Stay tuned for updates, behind the scenes videos, photos and posts. Thanks very much for your support!
This past Labor Day weekend 2013, we had the great opportunity to travel to Teton Valley Idaho and take part in the 4th annual Wydaho Rendezvous Mountain Bike Festival hosted by Grand Targhee Resort. Joe loaded all of his IRONMAN gear and an off road hand cycle into a trailer, and along with this trusty companion Henry Dog, he embarked on one of his first solo long distance drives from Missoula to Driggs, ID.
While at the event we teamed up with the Kurt, Ryan and Michael from Teton Adaptive Sports to help spread the word about adaptive outdoor recreation and demonstrate some of the equipment Joe will be using for IRONMAN Florida. On Saturday the great staff at Grand Targhee Resort, our friends from Teton Adaptive Sports and resident photographer Eric Helgoth, all teamed up to get Joe, his hand cycle, and our film crew on the chairlift to the top of Fred’s Mountain. Once up there, Joe and Ryan did the first ever downhill runs on off road hand cycles at Targhee! It was one of the most incredible experiences for all of us! It also validated the fact that the new trails they are putting in can indeed work for hand cycles.
Sunday our good friend David Treinis introduced us to Geordie Gillett, owner of Grand Targhee Resort. Geordie had heard that we rode Bullwinkle Trail the day before and suggested we might try their newest flow trail called Otter Slide. We loved the idea but realized that it was not yet accessible for hand cycles because started half way down the mountain and was usually accessed from other trails. Not wanting to miss this opportunity to make things work, Geordie offered to get a pick up truck and load Joe, his hand cycle, 5 other riders, our bikes, and our camera gear. He then drove us up the mountain so we could give Otter Slide a try.
That is exactly what we did and it was truly one of the greatest highlights of our weekend!
It was a perfect example of the what Joe Stone, as a quadriplegic, is so passionately trying to promote; pushing through the boundaries of perceived limitations to discover what is possible. We all had a great time enjoying outdoor recreation together and learning more about what is possible, no matter what your physical ability or type of gear you use.
We are very excited to announce that the Telly Awards has named Joe Stone as a Silver winner in the 34th Annual People’s Choice Telly Awards for their piece titled “Joe Stone’s 2012 Adaptive Adventures”. With nearly 11,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries, this is truly an honor.
This video is a short film about Joe Stone produced by Joe and a team of his friends. In August of 2010, Joe was in a speed flying accident that left him an incomplete C7 quadriplegic. “Even though life is very different now, I have been determined to get my outdoor lifestyle back. This past summer I carried my GoPro HeroHD camera with me while I pushed myself in the outdoors again. This video has white water rafting, fly-fishing, off road hand cycling, road hand cycling, and some freewheel action. All of this footage came from both Minnesota and Montana”.
The Telly Awards was founded in 1979 and is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, the finest video and film productions, and online commercials, video and films. Winners represent the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments in the world.
“The Telly Awards has a mission to honor the very best in film and video,” said Linda Day, Executive Director of the Telly Awards. “Joe Stone’s accomplishment illustrates his creativity, skill, and dedication to the craft and serves as a testament to great film and video production.”
For more information on Joe’s latest pursuit of becoming the first wheelchair-using quadriplegic to complete a full IRONMAN triathlon, and the upcoming documentary IT’S RAINING, SO WHAT, Folwow us on Twitter @rainingsowhat and Like us on Facebook