NEVER STOP EXPLORING. NEVER STOP DISCOVERING
Here at Mancel Studios we've made a career out of telling stories. The usual format is video but the real content, the story, is the same as if it were in the pages of a book. As the founder and creative director of Mancel Studios, this got me thinking. What if I could combine an ordinary day of exploring with a fictional story while drawing from my own life and experiences? However, I didn't think about this until sitting at a coffee shop reviewing everything I wandered to that day. This added another ingredient to the story that proved to be a very interesting way to pick which photos would be chosen so not to completely take over Instagram's feed - right away at least. More details after the story...
My time in San Francisco was completely played by ear. Aside from the one meeting and reason for even making it out there, I had absolutely no plans. Not even a place to stay. And let me tell you, when the sun goes down in San Francisco, you really start to want a warm place to stay. The first night I found using the app Hotel Tonight to give me the best price, even comparable to Airbnb. The second night I wasn't so lucky but did have three options approved on Airbnb. I chose to not utilize any of them and continue my journey into the early morning hours seeing as much as I could. After a 12 mile walk/hike this quickly becomes a questionable choice around 2am. Exhausted and freezing (it really does get cold) I took the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to the airport. My flight was a full 10 hours away and security wasn't even open. I found a spot on the floor, took a 45 minute nap, and then began to build my story for Instagram.
I chose one photo at a time creating the sentence or two to continue the story to the next. I knew how the end looked visually (Golden Gate Bridge) but I didn't know how many photos it would take to tell a story that made sense and inspired me on some level to make the next 8-10 hours worth my iPhone tapping time. Each photo and subsequent section of the story created new possibilities of where I could and couldn't take it. When I as done editing a photo and it's section of the story I immediately posted it to Instagram. In this way, the photos I took helped create the story as much as my own references and imagination. It also locked the story in. I guess I wanted to keep the theme of the weekend and continue to play it by ear, letting one thing lead me naturally to another. In the end, it made for a way to tell a short story quickly, without second guessing, and the ability to finish in one sitting. It simplified a potentially very complicated situation.
The story itself is fictional, even though I chose to speak in first person. I drew from some of my own experiences and personal growth over the years. I was feeling a bit like The Goonies after my big day and search for gold - a bridge in my case. By combining a search for something 'golden' with the obvious association with the city, I was able to sprinkle in questions of personal growth, spirituality, truth, awakening, perseverance, and myth/legend. Every photo was hash tagged with #sanfrancisco so there was no question where it was leading. The only concern was the story. As the audience, we knew where we were and where we were going. But no one, even me, knew how to get there. Once I entered the woods and trails I chose not to use my GPS or other references to find my destination. Almost the whole day was like this and it made exploring a truly visceral experience.
At it's core, this story is a sort of hero's journey that reflects the trials and tribulations of starting something, overcoming obstacles, trusting your instincts, and forging ahead for greater purpose than you might have originally set out. It's about small accomplishments and saying to yourself "I wonder what's on the other side" - To never stop exploring. Never stop discovering.
See this story on Instagram by searching: #goldendreams051713
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