Behind the Premiere Party

You know it’s a great party when you get to bring your dog, mule and wagon…and don’t have time to take photos. Here, I’m signing a book for David while avoiding stepping on Snookie’s tail. (Wendy Hamil photo)

You know it’s a good party when the film maker (me) leaves the movie’s premier party without any photos. Thanks party hosts Will and Deni McIntyre and Wendy Hamil for the the Lost Sea Expedition premiere party pics! Plenty more snaps and the story right here.

How it all got started

A few years ago,  I decided to film a mule wagon voyage across America.  So I built a small wagon, grabbed a movie camera and loaded my mule Polly on to a trailer.  We drove to Neptune, Saskatchewan and started walking south.

How mule Polly, Julia and I arrived at the Lost Sea Expedition premiere party. Julia is holding her Haflinger Pickle. This is the same trailer I used to haul Polly and the yellow Lost Sea Expedition wagon to Canada, the voyage’s starting point.

Polly and I began our voyage across America in spring. We headed through the wheat fields of Saskatchewan. Across the Canadian/US border. Over the Montana prairie. We traveled without a film crew, sponsor or chase vehicle.

The route across America.

Days turned to weeks which turned to months. The voyage became an obsession to capture the Great Plains experience. The loneliness and emptiness of prairie America drove me ’round the clock to document the people, animals and weather of what was once called the Great American Desert.

Heading across the prairie. Mule Polly outside Antelope, Montana. Our voyage took us to some of America’s remotest Great Plains communities

Most of life’s distractions – shopping, checking email, keeping up with the news – fell by the wayside. Only one thing mattered: take care of mule Polly as we made our way, one plodding mile after the next, across America.

Okay, one other thing mattered, too. I had to film the voyage.

And I did. Over the course of the next 394 days, I filled my 21-square foot wagon with thousands of minutes of film footage.

Drone? Aw hell no, I was the drone. Here, standing on the wagon roof to film the solar panel view of the South Dakota Badlands.

Flash forward a few years. Back in western North Carolina, I edited all that film footage in to the 4-part Lost Sea Expedition TV series. I complete my original goal of letting viewers travel with me across America in a mule wagon.

A lot of help from my friends

While the series is about a solo wagon voyage across America, I don’t kid myself that I did it alone. Making a TV documentary sucks up money like a thirsty mule.  That’s where I want to thank all that Supporters that helped pay for things like audio engineering ($50 per minute), closed captioning and Errors and Ommission Insurance ($3,200). Thanks guys!  Without your help, I’d be contemplating a second career as a forger. (In case you’re worried this could still happen, you can make a donation toward the series right here.)

Or you could just watch this Travelin’ Thanks video I filmed straight off the Lost Sea Expedition wagon.

Enter Will and Deni

Then there are Will and Deni McIntyre.  Will and Deni produce (among other shows) the incredibly successful PBS program David Holt’s State of Music. They shepherded me through the entire project, from brainstorm to release party.  Here’s the condensed version of how it went.

Bernie: Will, I want to film a wagon voyage across America.
Will: Cooooool! You should do it.
Bernie: I don’t know much about filming and I need a camera.
Deni: Cooooool! Just buy what you can afford.

A few years later
Bernie: I need to turn this footage in to a TV series.
Will and Deni: Cooooool! We can help.

A few more years later:

Bernie: Holy Smoke! You guys helped me turn this crazy idea in to an amazing series.
Will and Deni: Cooooool! Let’s have a party.


So… are the party pics.

Mule Polly with Ronald Hudson. Ronald is my mule skinner hero. He has owned mule Polly three times. When he brought her home the fourth time, his family told him, “oh no you DIDN’T!” Mule Polly lives and works with Ronald when she’s not on the road with me.
Here Ronald is helping me hitch Polly at the party. Ronald and I have plenty of stories to share from pack saddles to vomit saddle bags . (Wendy Hamil photo)


They ride, they play the make Public TV. Party hosts Will and Deni McIntyre. (Patricia Running Fisher photo)
Will is an avid horseman. Here he sets off in the Lost Sea Expedition wagon with the same enthusiasm as when he gallops a quarter horse across the open range. (Patricia Running Fisher photo)
Will escaping the Lost Sea Expedition wagon. He decided that, after a lap of the barn, he would stick with saddle horses and making Public Television. (Patricia Running Fisher photo)
A great time to meet with some new friends. Here, Wendy Hamil enjoys a bit of Polly time. Thanks for the photos Wendy.
A premiere party without music is like a mule wagon without a mule. Here, David Holt of the PBS series David Holt’s State of Music plays the banjo with friends and family. (Wendy Hamil photo)
The rotating cast of players and listeners. (Wendy Hamil photo)
Even something to keep the horses entertained. Punch and Duke, Will and Deni’s horses, give mule Polly and pony Pickle the Big Eye.
Waiting for the Lost Sea Expedition to premier (Wendy Hamil photo)
Julia Carpenter proposes a toast (Wendy Hamil photo)
Cheers! The Lost Sea Expedition, after years of work, makes it to the screen. (Deni McIntyre photo)

Thanks to everyone that made this party great. What a way to see the Lost Sea Expedition the final step to the screen!

If you weren’t able to join us at the party, hey, you can still check out the Lost Sea Expedition trailers.

The first one is about 2 minutes long.

If you’re in a hurry, check out the 30 sec version.

The Lost Sea Expedition airs on Rocky Mountain PBS (Colorado) in January 2018. It will be available on DVD and via streaming.

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