For principle photography, we traveled through ten states (California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Arizona) and actually shot in seven of them (California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Texas).
At it’s largest, the production was traveling with around 27 crew and cast members (sometimes a few more, sometimes a few less) with two RVs (one for actors to change in, one as a production office with a storage section in the back), a five ton grip/electric truck, two picture cars (Supra and Volvo), one mini-van, one 4-Runner and two personal crew cars.
At it’s smallest it was two people and a camera.
The river at the bottom of the Rio Grande Gorge was cold.
The director has four cameos in the film: Three times as a body part (hands) and for exactly three frames (two of which are blurry) in a time-lapse shot of a school parking lot near the end of the film (along with the cinematographer, Douglas Glover and two of the producers, Troy Paff and David Vendl). There are also a handful of shots that he’s in but you can’t see him (hiding in the back seat or driving a car in the distance).
The running time of the rough assembly (all the shot material cut together in order for the first time) was over two hours and forty minutes long.
The river at the bottom of the Rio Grande Gorge was very cold.
While director, Daniel Mellitz and producer, Kathy Mattes were scouting locations in Arizona, they were broad-sided by an elk the size of a horse. They were on a highway outside of Flagstaff at night when it came out to the forest and hit the divers side door, shattering both windows and throwing the side view mirror all the way across the car to the passenger floor. If they were going slightly slower or the elk slightly faster, they would have hit it head on and most likely been killed. It’s unknown what happened to the elk.
A dawn shot was planned for the Bonneville salt flats with the Volvo parked on an endless expanse of white salt in the dry lake bed. The night before shooting cinematographer, Douglas Glover, went out to scout the location and found it under six inches of water in all directions. So... we improvised. The result is some of the most beautiful photography in the film.
The river at the bottom of the Rio Grande Gorge was so cold, we almost rewrote the scene right there on the spot. But we didn’t.
Though we experimented with different methods of achieving time-lapse photography other than using film, ultimately we went with just shooting it normally with the HD camera and speeding it up in post. As a result of the 65 hours of footage shot for the movie, nearly 10 of that is 20 to 50 minute uncut takes that were accelerated to 5 to 20 second shots for the final cut.
The sand dunes were shot in two different locations, weeks apart. The fist location, where most of the guys running and playing was show is the Dumont Dunes near Death Valley in California. The second location was the Great Sand Dunes National Monument in Colorado and was used for the dramatic shots at the top of the dunes. The Colorado dunes are where the characters are actually supposed to be in the story and the tallest dunes are over 700 feet high. Yes, we climbed to the very top. At least, most of us made it.
All of the zoo animals were shot by the director and the cinematographer at the Los Angeles Zoo. It was also all shot with a standard definition camera at 24 frames per second.
Locations in Salt Lake City, Utah were okay with us filming there on the condition that there was no kissing.
The cast and crew attended a high school football game in Blanding, Utah where they were surprised to discover they were the highlight of the game.
Scenes at the top of the St. Louis Gateway Arch were shot at the top of the Gateway Arch. While open to the public. There was no crowd control. Tourists often ignored the camera and would push right up next to the actors to look out that window while we were shooting.
There were two Toyota Supra’s used in the movie. The first one completely died at the end of the first week. We quickly bought a second one that died on a highway in the middle of Missouri. We towed to to St. Louis where we managed to get it to limp through the last two days of shooting. The Volvo died the second to last day of shooting in Taos, New Mexico, conveniently the second to last day we needed it.
The original Supra we bought was white but, out of fears of how HiDef would handle white in bright sunlight, we had it painted blue. The blue turned out awful so when it died and we bought a second car that was also white, time and aesthetics resulted in us leaving it white. The main differences between the cars was that the second car had black bumpers and a longer antenna. The blue car is still in the movie, though, in all but one night scene, it has been digitally changed to white.
Due to scheduling logistics, the movie was shot almost entirely in reverse order. In the story the guys start in St. Louis, Missouri, pass through Colorado, meet the Girls in Taos, New Mexico, and wind up in Salt Lake City, Utah before heading home. In real life we started shooting in Los Angeles, California, then went to Salt Lake City, down to Taos, then through Colorado to finish in St. Louis.
The shot of the ocean was done with a MiniDV camera in “tiles” that were then “stitched” together in post to match the resolution of HiDef.
One of the cameras had a dead pixel that wasn’t discovered until after the edit was completed in a low resolution and then reassembled in HiDef for the online. As a result, two thirds of the film was processed through a filter to fix that one pixel.
All of the visual effects were done by the director using Adobe After Effects. This included numerous “invisible” effects like stabilizing hand held shots, speeding up footage to create a time-lapse effect and, of course, replacing dead pixels.

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