What Exactly is Project Highway?
Project Highway is the journey of two stand-up comedians with vastly opposing personalities and temperaments, have a minimum of one year to perform comedy on the road in all 50 states, surviving on only their talent. Traveling together through rural America, they intend to inspire other people to rediscover their own dreams while documenting it all for broadcast. Performing outside of major metropolitan areas and focusing on smaller towns and cities, their goal is to perform in all 50 states one stop at a time, highlighting and working only with American owned, locally owned, "Mom and pop" type establishments.
Starting from Colorado, they'll travel through America, discovering new people and places and performing comedy wherever they can find an audience. The entire journey is filmed and edited into episodes that are then broadcast on the internet.
PROJECT HIGHWAY IS...
From a comedy industry point of view it is important to relate to your audiences. What better way to gain this knowledge than to travel and meet people one-on-one? Project Highway is about sharing an inspirational message but also two comedians taking charge of their careers by performing in on-the-spot shows in unexpected locations all over the nation, so that material and presence evolve organically. Performing "guerrilla comedy" of this nature, by choice, and for such an extended period of time is simply unheard of. This is a brutal path for comedians, but will be the most valuable in that what everything we learn comes from the best teacher of all: experience.
"PART SOCIAL EXPERIMENT"
A major factor of Project Highway is supporting other people's dreams. Everywhere they perform, eat, and find lodging will be utilizing only American owned, locally owned, "mom-and-pop" type establishments. These started as a dream of someone somewhere, and by showcasing these businesses and getting the word out about them, they are helping keep the dreams of other's alive and moving forward. This is very important, because most everyone has dreams they've set aside, thinking, "It's too difficult... I can't... it will never happen". The best dreams are the ones others call "impossible" or "unrealistic". Seeing others following their dreams often inspires people to take action themselves. The best thing about following your dream is realizing that the hardest part is over once you say "I can... I will", and then you act. When that happens, things begin to fall into place, and one day you look back and you are in the midst of actually living your dream; both Mike and Barb know this from experience because they changed their entire lives at some point to chase the dream of stand-up comedy.
One of the most important (and fun) aspects of Project Highway is to be an example of proof that no matter your background or mindset, once you take that first step, achievement is not only possible, it's inevitable. We will be meeting and interviewing total strangers about their own personal dreams and what they've done to set them into motion, or why that have let them fall away.
Another very real aspect of the "Social Experiment" is how people react to them, their message, and how many total strangers get behind Project Highway in their mission.
Project Highway will be filmed, not quite 24/7, but very close. No scripts, no props, just real life and real people. There won't be any contrived drama, no re-takes. Living on the road and the accompanying arguing, the morning hair, the uncertainty... all will be filmed while it happens and any editing will be for time and continuity purposes only. No hired professional cameramen or editors, Project Highway is as raw and real as you can possibly get.
What is the money being used for?
The initial goal will be used for daily necessities like gas, food and equipment. As stretch goals are reached, more episodes will be produced, using higher grade recording equipment; more money for gas means more stops in the itinerary and longer distances traveled, and more people can be interviewed. Ideally, stretch goals will allow us the ability to secure an RV so that living out of a car will become unnecessary and the trip can be more self-contained, saving money on things such as food, lodging, showers (REAL ones, not ones in truckstops), etc.
Critical to the success of Project Highway are the two comedians, known as "Travelers". Their appeal to the viewing audience lies in the fact they are traveling together despite being complete opposites in temperament and personality; one is a true free-spirit, with an outgoing personality, who is comfortable with the outdoors and deals with anything that comes her way with a smile; the other is a New Jersey native who is cynical and regimented, finding himself more at home in an urban environment than in nature. Both have fully committed themselves to Project Highway and they are ready for a full year on the road, traveling by vehicle around the country in a well thought out pattern. Outside of NYC, both are relatively unknown, ensuring the challenges they face and people they meet will not be artificially affected as they would if they were "famous" comedians.
Searching for a life that fit, Barbara Perez spent most of her years trying to discover herself. In 2009, a close friend was instrumental in guiding her to realize her self-worth and value and encouraged her to finally chase the dream she'd held onto since childhood. At this time, she finally yielded to what she always knew was her calling: a career in stand-up comedy.
Since then, she won DenverÊ¼s Top Comic in 2010; has lived and performed in NYC for over 3 years, appearing weekly in major NY comedy clubs like Broadway Comedy Club, Greenwich Village Comedy Club, New York Comedy Club, and The Stand. Barbara worked as an assistant to one of NY's most respected veteran comedians and club managers, Dustin Chafin, and currently hosts the weekly hit internet radio show "Comic-To-Comic". With her endearing and engaging personality, Barbara has had long-form interviews on her show with some of comedy's biggest up and coming names like The Greg Wilson, Joe Materese, Joey Gay, Mike Britt, and Vanessa Hollingshead. She is also an on-air personality with United Stations Radio, and you can hear her on the acclaimed "The Ed Tyll Show", broadcasting over 20 stations across the country to over 1 million listeners each day. Barbara has appeared on NYCLife TV, and ABC's "The Revolution".
The youngest of two children from her fatherÊ¼s first marriage, Barbara spent her childhood living between her parents; from rural Colorado under her motherÊ¼s staunch Pentecostal watch to her alcoholic fatherÊ¼s home, precariously situated in the middle of one of DenverÊ¼s roughest neighborhoods. A non-conformist, she constantly felt out-of place, bouncing from one crazy lifestyle to another; but always finding her solace in people. Believing that everyone has a fascinating story, Barbara will be found chatting up strangers. Whether itÊ¼s dishing with the check-out clerk at the grocery store, or sharing a meal with any of NYCÊ¼s homeless, the one place Barbara has always felt at ease is in the company of people, listening to others talk about their lives.
Mike Motz is a veteran of the NYC comedy scene who has performed at some of the top comedy clubs in the city including Caroline's, Gotham, and Greenwich Village Comedy Club.
In his mid-30Ê¼s he left the corporate world behind to pursue his dream of being a comedian, and he has not looked back. Now backed by many years of comedy experience, heÊ¼s decided to travel the country to build his fan base by meeting people one at a time.
The youngest of three children, Mike grew up in the suburbs of central New Jersey in the 70Ê¼s and 80Ê¼s. A State Champion athlete in High School, Mike won an athletic scholarship to Rutgers University from where he graduated in 1990. After college, Mike held a series of corporate sales positions, started up a few small businesses, then eventually focused completely on his comedy career.
In addition to performing at popular NYC comedy clubs, Mike co-starred for over four years with Emmy Award winner Ted Greenberg in the hit off-Broadway comedy show "The Complete Performer", and is also a senior member of the internationally acclaimed Nat Turner Revue Improv Group. He is an On-Air Performer for United Stations Radio Networks, served as the official Spokes-Comic for sports and leisurewear provider Bowling Concepts, and is a contributor to the satiric online news site "What Exit NJ?".
The initial start up funding of $5000 is what's needed for daily expenses as well as to travel and produce, edit, and broadcast approximately two months of video footage for the first series of 6 Project Highway webisodes. We have secured a significant Radio and Internet presence to assist with marketing and raising awareness of the campaign, but additional money would be invaluable:
$10,000: We will be able to upgrade our in-car and portable video equipment systems and produce another 2 months/6 webisodes. At this point, every backer that contributed $100 or more will receive an additional bonus of a Project Highway Crew customized baseball cap.
$25,000: We will be able to purchase a used RV which will allow us to travel further and for a longer period, at less expense. Additional footage will be produced and edited for broadcast, and if this goal is reached, anyone sponsoring at $100 or above will also receive an autographed DVD containing out-takes from the road.
$50,000: Any funding over this amount will go towards the expenses needed in every aspect; to fulfill the long-range goal of a minimum of 8 months to one year on the road and to pay for upgraded professional editing and production services. It is desired, and obtainable, to see Project Highway picked up as a series by a major network. Interest to this effect has already been expressed by people in that industry. Anyone at the $250 or above level will receive an additional bonus of an autographed, 2-disk DVD set of edited episodes.
Risks and challenges
There are a few challenges: It is impossible to foresee audience interest. Daily living on the road will be exhausting. Personal conflict between the two "Type A personality" traveling companions is inevitable. Additionally, unforeseen expenses could arise such as vehicle malfunction/repair; natural disasters that would potentially impede travel i.e.: tornadoes, floods, etc.; however, it is our belief that these very issues will make t