More Than Just Parks (MTJP) is a project started by brothers Will Pattiz and Jim Pattiz, founders of Sea Raven Media. We featured the first 3 short films from this awesome project on ADAPT here, here and here, but if you missed them, I’ll post them in this article as well. MTJP was started by the Pattiz brothers, originally from Georgia, with the simple but meaningful goal to encourage more people to get out and experience what’s theirs. While the goal might be simple, the execution is certainly not. Travelling across the entire US to all 59 national parks is a monumental adventure in itself and takes careful planning and time. However, you cannot raise awareness effectively through travelling alone. The pair are therefore using their media skill set to capture the beauty of the parks in breathtaking fashion. Just take a look at their first outing in the Pacific Northwest, where they produced a stunning short film of Olympic National Park.
The idea behind the project was born out of Will and Jim’s love for America’s National Parks and enthusiasm for engaging multimedia.
In an email to ADAPT, Will writes “This past year we decided to put that passion to work using our talents to produce captivating short films about the parks; so far we have covered Olympic National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and now Joshua Tree National Park.”
“Our mission at More Than Just Parks is to raise a greater awareness of America’s most treasured possessions – our national parks. In doing this we hope to inspire exploration and conservation of these incredible natural wonders and the great outdoors. To accomplish our mission, we have embarked on an epic, nationwide journey to each of the 59 US national parks. We plan on creating a short film for each park, showcasing the things that make each one more than just a park.”
To further their goal and effectiveness of the short films, the team has supplemented the videos with engaging online interactions, and breathtaking imagery, eventually completing an archive of go-to media for every national park. Pretty cool right?
Check out the second excursion from MTJP below, this time showcasing Great Smoky Mountain NP in a gorgeous Fall/Autumnal outfit.
To finish off the first three films in the 59 part series, the MTJP team chose Joshua Tree National Park. This video (below) is epic and went viral within the online adventure media.
When attempting a outdoor project as big at this, it makes sense to work around the country step by step. But these first three national parks, Olympic, Smoky Mountains and Joshua Tree are about as far apart geographically as the parks can get!
In an interview with Adventure Journal, the Pattiz bros explained, “We really want to give folks an idea of the incredible uniqueness of these parks and to do that we chose, for our first three short films, parks that were about as geographically diverse as possible. Olympic was specifically chosen for our first film because of its incredible diversity as a park with glacial peaks, temperate rainforests, and wilderness coast – all within a day’s drive! How many places like that can you find on this planet? Moving forward, this sort of diversity will be a guiding factor in our choice of parks.”
Steve Casimiro from AJ also asked how the project is being funded.
“So far MTJP has been funded primarily (99 percent) out of our own pockets,” Will and Jim explained. “While it is certainly not an inexpensive venture by any means, we feel it wholly worthwhile. My brother and I own a media firm, Sea Raven Media, the proceeds of which help to fund MTJP. Although we have been fortunate enough to receive equipment from several supportive companies, we are actively seeking sponsors to help fund our project.”
You might remember our report on national park photography charges being brought in for certain commercial projects. So has this effected the MTJP project?
“At this point we have received nothing but kind words and generous support from our friends at the Park Service. In fact, the superintendent of Joshua Tree National Park, David Smith-Evans, took the time out of his busy schedule to thank us for our work via the Vimeo page for the Joshua Tree film. He is not alone as a representative of the National Park Service in doing so. I do feel strongly that clearer and more open rules about photography in the parks are needed. What better way is there to promote the parks than through visual imagery?”
I can also attest to this. Olympic USFS tweeted their support in response to a tweet from ADAPT:
— Olympic Forest (@olympicforest) April 6, 2015
Capturing such amazing images requires a selection of different equipment. That being said, from the photos on the MTJP website, a lot of imagery so far looks to have been captured using a range of SLR cameras (though some filters are used). This should help inspire people to go out and capture nature themselves using their own equipment. Furthermore, in an email from Will, he said “it is amazing how much a park visitor can see just from the main road.” To shoot such immersive footage however, requires the team to hike and camp deep into the parks.
So what’s next?
In an interview with Men’s Journal, the guys said, “We want to shoot Glacier National Park sooner than later. The glaciers are melting and we want to film it so down the road people can see what Glacier used to look like. We are heading out to film at our next location in April (so this month). We like to keep it under wraps, but I can tell you it’s going to be very different from Joshua Tree.”
If you are interested in becoming involved in the MTJP project or furthering the team’s efforts in any way then shoot them an email to [email protected], and/or donate to their cause on the More Than Just Parks website!
I’ll post up the next video on ADAPT as soon as it’s released. Looking forward to it!