This blog is an extension of The Limitless Generation Documentary. This is a community of authentic, creative and resilient Millennials who share their stories to help empower a generation.
My kid brother is pretty awesome. I probably shouldn’t call him a kid, seeing as he’s almost 22 and four years into his mechanical engineering degree at Cal Poly Pomona, but to me there’s a tiny piece of him that is still that chipmunk cheeked, red headed baby that I used to pretend to read stories to before I knew the alphabet. The charm level certainly hasn’t diminished over the last two decades. Ben Saletta is the guy that can do everything, the guy that somehow sneaks more into 24 hours than anyone else I know. He’s the guy who’s always honest, always does the right thing, stands up for the underdog, opens doors for ladies, and does his homework on time. And he does all this while maintaining a heavy course-load, his RA job, fraternity leadership, a kick@ss girlfriend, and a gym/running/mountain climbing habit. Oh, and he cooks.
Keeping up that kind of a lifestyle can be exhausting, and, in the rare moments that we see each other, I can see the weight that he carries just trying to live up to his own expectations. I wonder how long anyone can live to his standards without exploding. Then again, he has wondered the same thing about me. There’s a lot I have to learn from my little brother (now, admittedly, bigger than me) and I was thrilled when he decided to answer a few questions for the blog. Disclaimer, these are now a few months old, but I’m sure his answers haven’t changed much.
It’s nearly a week into 2014, and by this point we’ve all spent at least some time thinking about what this new year will bring. Will it be more of the same? Or will it be life changing? Are we filled with hope and motivation or with hesitation and resignation when faced with another 365 days in which to propel ourselves forward into the life we want?
The Limitless Generation is in pre-edit mode. David is piecing together a trailer from hundreds of hours of footage for us to use in fundraising for post-production. This brief lull in my schedule has given me a little time to think about what 2014 means and how we will be moving forward. A few specific directions of thought floated to the top of the “what on earth am I doing with myself” heap and I thought I’d share them with you in case you’re in about the same place. Maybe we can answer some of these questions together.
1. How much of your day do you spend consuming what other people have created? How often do you create?
Truth, the specific phrasing of this thought came from Cracked.com’s super viral “6 Harsh Truths that will Make You a Better Person” article. Not entirely on board with the level of worship with which the author hails the Always Be Closing speech (it IS brilliant though, point taken) but those kinds of challenges get me thinking. How much AM I actually contributing to the world? How much am I really just taking? Everything around us everywhere, the buildings we work in, the cars we drive, the apps on our phones, the furniture around us, the food we eat, the movies we watch, the advertisements we see, the clothes we wear, all of these things are the products of people’s dreams. All of these things are something someone thought of and said, “You know what? I think I’m going to actually get up and MAKE that.” How often does that happen in our lives? What is our consumer vs creator ratio? And for those of us who think they aren’t “creative,” are you creating money, or are you spending it? Are you creating jobs, or are you just filling one? Are you creating value, or are you collecting a paycheck? Creation, the bringing forth of new things, is how the world moves forward. How can we position ourselves to create more in the new year?
(David takes a turn as Mr. Camera Head in New York)
David Applebee :: Director
For me, the biggest takeaway from the last month is incredibly simple. I set out on this journey to discover one thing: What makes a person successful? We spoke to some incredible people on this trip (a 20-year-old developing a cure for cancer, a nuclear engineer solving our global energy problems, one of the youngest men in Congress, the list goes on), but despite all these impressive titles, one thing stood out and for a while I couldn’t explain it.
All of the 30 people we interviewed…seemed pretty normal.
As we settle out of the high of production-mode, we wanted to share with you our thoughts on a process that defined our 2013. Below, find my personal reflections to start the story…
(at home with Courtney Spence of Students of the World in San Francisco)
To the world of incredible people who have contributed to The Limitless Generation Documentary:
4am wake up call people! No turning back now!
I would be lying if I said my stomach hadn’t dropped completely into my heels when I woke up for the eighth time this morning and the clock finally said that it was time to go. It’s been ages since I’ve really gone out on a limb like this and I absolutely 100% had stage fright.
But we got in the car… and we drove to North Hollywood before the sun came up.
Fortunately, Eva Kosmas was the best first interview we could have ever hoped for. She’s a food blogger / recipe curator / food stylist and makes the best salted chocolate ganache EVER. And she makes her own bitters… and kambucha… and has a garden. I’ve been obsessed with her blog www.adventures-in-cooking.com for at least a year now and it was great to sit down and get to know her Greek/Portland background, her husband’s awesome DIY furniture habits and her totally impressive seed collection. (NOTE: She gave me a collection of winter vegetable seeds and all I have to say is y’all better watch out for THOSE vegetable boxes!)
Eva made us the most amazing cappuccino whoopie pies with salted chocolate ganache…at 9am. Ridiculously awesome. Keep tabs on her blog for this recipe for sure!
The handsome cat, Gabel.
THEN… little break, David came up with a bahn mi to rival Red Medicine's (btw this treasure is being discontinued so hurry and get one before they're gone!), and we headed out to Interview #2.
David’s bahn mi
We met LA Galaxy soccer forward, Jack McBean for a quick haircut at Blind Barber, our favorite Culver City speakeasy. David and I both have a long history of memories at this particular joint and Jack is a family friend of David’s so the chemistry worked perfectly. Over beers (Jack a glass of water as he’s only 18!) they discussed Jack’s early draft to the Galaxy team (he went pro at 16), coming of age outside of the traditional college system, and the ups and downs of life in the big leagues.
Overall, it could not have been a better first day. Thank you ALL for the amazing prayers and support - we couldn’t be doing this without you.
A film crew of 3 people.
We might die.
We might change the world.
Because things are about to be a little hectic, we are going to put a brief hold on our series of interviews. We will resume these profiles upon our return. I have found them to be SO encouraging and I hope you have as well!
Instead, we will be using the blog to give you updates on the incredible people that we have meetings with across the country. This blog will be your portal into our adventures in Los Angeles, Austin, Eden (Utah), Washington DC, New York, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco.
We will be filming with street artists, Congressmen, nuclear scientists, medical revolutionaries, bloggers, journalists, branding machines, agricultural game-changers, non-profit founders, tech whizzes and professional soccer players.
We will be filming in barber shops, showrooms, Capital Hill, food trucks, and the homes and offices of the movers and shakers of our generation.
We are so excited to share all of it with you.
Thank you again for your incredible support during this journey. If you would like to help, there are many things we are still looking for:
1. Volunteers - we need volunteers to help film in every city we visit. Each volunteer will receive credit in the final film and get to be a part of our exciting journey as we tell the story of our generation.
2. Shelter - we have a shoe-string budget and will be staying with friends and family and friends of friends and family across the country. We owe an incredible debt of gratitude to those who have offered up their homes. We are still in need for Washington D.C., part of New York, and San Francisco - please let us know if you have an availability!
3. Food - We’re hitting the road with very tight pursestrings. We can make it around the country but any support that you continue to give through the PayPal link on our website will have a very real effect. Again, we are so grateful to those of you who have already contributed - your amazing generosity has made this trip a possibility!
We love you all and thank you so much for all of your support on this crazy adventure!!
We love to hear your thoughts and input! Feel free to drop me a message at any time at: email@example.com
When we first started this blog about a month ago (ps. can we just stop for a moment and take THAT fact in?? All this has happened in ONE MONTH??), I asked the lovely and addicting Kerrianne Rivas to send me any of her friends who were particularly inspiring so I could interview them. She was supposed to answer the questions herself too… haven’t gotten those yet KA!
She sent me to Anni. Anni is a world traveler, photographer, grew up in India, has been published in National Geographic…continue to list bohemian lens-addict accolades and dream adventures here. Now, of all places, she’s landed in Redding, CA and is working her way through school and 113 degree days near (I kid you not) Whiskeytown Lake via globetrotting and camera-work. This girl blazes her own trail without a doubt and I am so happy I got to catch up with her through email and capture some of her thoughts.
If Belle from Beauty and the Beast showed up today as a small-town Texan with a love for broadcast journalism, she would be indistinguishable from Taylor Neville. There has never been a bigger smile, wider eyes, or kinder Southern hospitality than from this young woman. Light up a room? This girl lights up the biggest State in the Union. (Have I given away my girl-crush yet?)
To state the obvious, good broadcast journalism gigs are tough to find straight out of college. Many anchor hopefuls quickly find themselves languishing in a marketing job here, an acting gig there, maybe a little writing, trying to find a way to get their foot into the right door. To make a long story short, in 2012 Taylor moved back to her hometown of Woodlands, TX. There, instead of waiting for opportunity to come to her, she’s grown her own video production company and online channel based right out of Woodlands - it’s tagline? “Embrace the Greatness of Your Hometown.” And guess what? It’s GOOD. Now THAT is a never-say-die attitude.
We’re meeting up with Taylor in Austin next week (next week!!) so you’ll get the full story down the road - but for now, here’s a sneak peek into the mindset of yet another resilient Millennial.