The title of my documentary web-series is decided!! Yankee Doodle Went to Serbia?….. It is one of the most recognized songs in the USA.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwHvyqNDUvE&feature=relmfu It is currently being used as the state anthem of Connecticut. Many Americans look to it as a patriotic song. Most Americans understand it but do you? The song “Yankee Doodle Went to Town” was thought-up during the Seven Years War. It was thought to be created by the British to mock the poorly dressed and disorganized “Yankees” and “Doodle” was thought to represent “fool”. They claim “macaroni” referred to something of “high fashion”. The term “yankee” continued into the Civil War. The southern “rebels” used the term to describe anyone from the Union Side or Northern USA. The term is still used today…..sometimes in a negative context to refer to an American.
I have been unable to sleep well since January! That is when this whole web series idea popped into my head! I sat down one day and devised a route that will take me through many of the smaller, lesser known, tourist sites. It will be a route that will take me on smaller roads and avoid lots of dangerous traffic. Many of you expressed concern because I will be missing manyyyy sites on the East side. Don’t think this is the only thing I have planned!! You might think I am crazy, stupid, etc but I would love to one day visit EACH and EVERY town and village in Serbia! That would be an accomplishment I would treasure always! I might even set a world record!!! ;) I had to start somewhere and this is the path I chose! You can see it below.
My plan and route….
My web series will start in my hometown of Greenup, IL USA. This is where I was born and went to school. It is a historic little town with many unique and wonderful sites to see! I will interview some locals, classmates, show the touristic sites, local sports, talk to my mom and dad.. if they let me! ;) This community went out of their way to assist the local Zrenjanin baseball team. I wrote a letter to the newspaper about the kids lack of good equipment and money to buy new and they published it. The Greenup and surrounding communities BLEW ME AWAY with their support. I had friends, family, businesses and schools donate used equipment for the baseball team! They pulled together so much and made me so proud!! I want to talk to the ones that made it happen!! Next, it is off to Charleston, IL… This is where I spent most of my time partying, working etc… great community and also helped in collection of baseball donations for Serbia! It is also home of Eastern Illinois University. That is the alma mater of Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo. It most famously known for being the home of “LINCOLN LOG CABIN” or the birthplace home of our 16th president Abraham Lincoln. After that, It is off to Chicago. Chicago is home to 600,000 Serbs. The 2nd largest city in the world for Serbians after Belgrade! I will be interviewing some Serbians to find out their thoughts about the USA , seeing how they live and if they have kept their Serbian traditions and talking to some local Serbian business owners! Then it’s back to Serbia! I will make one long episode in Belgrade and Novi Sad and one long one in my “new hometown” of Zrenjanin. FINALLY, it’s time for my bike trip!!!!! I have scheduled this to take 3 weeks… Here is the 500km route that i will be bicycling ……
Subotica to Stari Zednik 18.4KM, Stari Zednik to Backa Topola 16km, Backa Topola to Kula 28KM, Kula to Vrbas 11km, Vrbas to Zmajevo 14km, Zmajevo to Kisac 13.8KM, Kisac to Novi Sad 18.5km, stop in Fruska Gora, Ruma 33.8km, Ruma to Sabac 34.7 km, Sabac to Valjevo 70km, Valjevo to Gornji Milanovac 80km, Gornji Milanovac to Cacak 23.6km, Cacak to Kraljevo 36km, Kraljevo to Raska 80!
We will also veer off to visit the beautiful Tara National Park..I will be stopping in more of the smaller villages along the way to make some episodes too! We might hop of the path and cruise to a few more larger towns on the way! If I get enough funding…. we will come back on the East side and go through all the beautiful cities along that route!!! If I can’t do it this time….. I will have it done next year!!
Kickstarter is a WONDERFUL web-site for American citizens. It is a funding website that promotes artistic, creative works and helps you showcase your idea to the public for donations.http://www.kickstarter.com/ I have had a few friends that successfully funded their music cd and documentary! There are a limited number of projects that are approved and you must meet their requirements. The GREAT NEWS is ….. MY PROJECT WAS APPROVED TO BE PLACED ON THE SITE! My goal was to have it up and running by March 1st but I hit some snags. It will be up next week!
How Kickstarter works.….
Kickstarter is not a guaranteed success! Manyyyyyyyyyy projects will fail! I have faith that mine will be a HUGE success! Kickstarter has many rules in place for those that publish their ideas..You must use the money for project costs only! You can’t use it to fund a “FREE” vacation…..you can’t use the money for charity purposes….it must be for a film project, book, music, invention….it can’t be used to help you start your own business, etc…You must also provide the person that donates with a “REWARD”. Rewards are what gives the person donating the incentive to donate! I have some AWESOME rewards planned to give out depending on the amount you donate!!! Some of mine will include….. Choice of t-shirt, choice of movie poster, copy of my entire web series, bumper sticker, etc!!!! The most important thing about Kickstarter is….. ITS ALL OR NOTHING!!! You provide Kickstarter with a list of your expenses and the total dollar amount you need for your project…… then you select how many days it will take you to reach that goal…30 to 60 days…..according to the stats…. 30 day fund drives are the most successful. If you hit your funding goal or exceed it, the money is yours! Kickstarter keeps 5% and Amazon payments keeps 3% for using their site. If you fall short of your goal… you get nothing and the money is returned to the donor!
I WILL NEED ALL OF YOU……
I am doing this web series for the people of Serbia and to show the rest of the world the beauty, kindness, and unique things about Serbia. I will be uploading all of the 15-20 min episodes for free. There will be approx 30 of them. I realize many of the Serbs that are living here don’t have a lot of extra cash to spend and I wouldn’t want you spending it on me! I have been living here since July and volunteering at numerous schools so I am farrrrrr from rich! A few of the ladies give me some pocket money because they are dolls!;) I live here and am doing everything in my power to help shine a ray of sunshine down on Serbia! It is working!!! I have received hundreds of messages from Americans, Brits, Aussies, Mexicans, French, Italian, etc…thanking me for my blog and videos! It is a great feeling to know I helped someone decide that Serbia would be a great vacation holiday! This documentary series will help me do SOOO MUCH MORE!!! It is going to cost me a lot of money!!! I will take me over 3 weeks and I will have to pay for a rental car, gas, hotel, food for 5, medical insurance, new video camera, sound equipment, extra batteries and memory cards, website development, music production for dvd, dvd reproduction, editing, posters, tshirts, graphic designer, salary for student cameraman, producer, film festival entrance fees, etc!!!! My dream is to have it entered into some film festival and have it air on some American tv stations!!! WITH YOUR HELP I CAN DO THAT!!!!! I will also be using Serbian film students to assist me on this venture! It will provide them with some GREAT experience, help them make a little money and provide me with GREATLY needed assistance!!!
Who can donate?…….
Anyone in the WORLD with a credit or debit card can donate! Serbia does not allow Paypal but Kickstarter uses Amazon Payments as its checkout provider. You don’t need to have an account with them. You can click the DONATE button and it will take only a few minutes to complete the transaction. It will convert any currency into US Dollar. The other great thing…. It will only allocate those funds and not charge your card until the funding goal has been hit!! Once the goal has been hit, it will take the money from your card…… if I fall on my face and do not hit my goal…. the money is not taken from your account!!! Its a WIN WIN situation for you!!! You also get a cool gift from me based on your donation!!! :) The different donation levels I have will be $2, $5, $10, $25, $50, $65, $85, $100, $250, $350, $500, $1000, $2000….With a $5 donation you get a hug :), your name written in my blog post and listed in the credits as a “FRIEND OF SERBIA” on my dvd!! If you are someone able to donate $2000….. You get KING treatment… You will get t-shirts, posters, we wear your picture or name on our tshirts in an episode, dvds, bumper sticker, a full episode devoted to you, you tell me which town to go to , what you want us to do, your name listed in the credits as Executive Producer, etc…. I don’t plan on getting many of those donations! hahahahaha… They say that the most popular donation level is $25.. EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS!!! I have over 5000 Facebook buddies, hundreds of Youtube followers and have had 50K people view my blog in the last 3 months!! I should be able to hit my target goal and make a great product!!!
Kickstarter doesn’t allow the funds to used for charitable donations but IF I EXCEED my goal… that amount can be used for anything!! I think it would be fantastic If I was able to locate a family that was struggling in each town and be able to have money to buy them $100 worth of food or clothing or help them fix their car, house, etc!!! It would show a gesture of goodwill from an average American and help a family in need!! The other excess will be used for shipping the rest of the baseball equipment from my parents home to Serbia! It is very expensive and the kids need it soon!!
Prior to seeing Serbia and Serbians with my own eyes… I had many negative images about their country and people from the years of media, political and Hollywood propaganda. A Google search or Youtube search of Serbia brings up many negative things. I feel the world should see the REAL Serbia that you won’t see in the movies or tv.
* The international media has destroyed the good name of the Serbian people for decades!
* 10 plus Hollywood movies that show a Serb bias and numerous tv shows.
* You never see the beauty of Serbia, great food, excellent beverages, unique culture, beautiful women, athletic and some of the most hospitable and generous people I have ever encountered.
* The Serbs deserve it!! They have suffered in many ways through the years.. the breakup of Yugoslavia, high inflation, 70 day bombing mission in 1999, and having their name drug through the mud for years!
I have received a number of messages from Serbs telling me to leave, you are not wanted , you are doing nothing to better our image, we don’t need a foreigner discussing our country and promoting it because we can do it ourselves……. I think it would be great if the world would listen to a Serbian that is promoting his country and take it to heart! The SAD truth is they won’t! The majority of people in this world grow up to love and adore their country but ignore the faults…. It takes a fresh set of eyes to find the beauty, unique things, bad things, etc…. Many people have asked me to describe the great things about American culture, my hometown, etc…. It takes you a few minutes to formulate ideas because you take so many things for granted when you are born and raised in a location. Foreign eyes are able to notice things that you are blinded by! I am a NOBODY!!!! I am was born in a small town, lived in a middle class household, hated school, etc.. I didn’t come here looking for respect, love, fame, fortune, popularity, nor do I have ANY hidden agenda. I have had a few people tell me that I came here looking for wealth!!! I just about laughed myself into a coma after reading that one!! If I came to Serbia to get rich, I need to be put in the mental institution!!! This is the last place I would have ventured if I was out to make a dollar!! I would have went back to France, Canada, Belgium, New Zealand or stayed in the USA! I decided to come here because I wanted to! Living in Mexico for 11 months was great! I would never give up those months for all the money on the planet! I made so many friend and learned so much from the Mexican people but Serbia had a HUGE effect on me! It is hard to explain how my 2 week vacation in 2010 changed me! I am not perfect nor do I want to be… I just want to live a happy, enjoyable life until I fall down and can’t get up! Serbia is a place I enjoy, have little to no stress, have been able to lower my blood pressure and become a more calm and laid back guy!!! Damn…… I talk too much!! Here are some of the reasons why I feel I can be successful in promoting your country to the world…….
* 5000 Facebook friends! That is the maximum and they are from Serb communities all over the world, and people from every point of the globe!
* 50,000 blog views in the three months I have had it
* 200,000 views on my Serbia videos
* Android phone application made for me….
* Facebook fan page created by my friends with 500+ fans
* Voted # 2 Gentleman of the week on Prva Zene (3:34)
* Prva Exploziv featured me in an episode
* RTS or Serbian National Tv invited me to Belgrade and has had me on the air on two occasions.
* Santos Tv in Zrenjanin shot a 12 minute interview about my involvement in baseball and short interview when I first arrived
* RTV interviewed me twice for their newscast
* KTV in Zrenjanin had me on the air.
* 24 Sata is a free National paper and I was featured on the cover twice http://www.24sata.rs/vesti/aktuelno/vest/dosao-da-vidi-zasto-srbi-mrze-amerikance-i-ostao/12748.phtml
* Kurir is another National paper that featured me on the cover
* Blic is another National paper that featured me
* Politika featured an interview with me
* Danas featured an interview with me http://www.danas.rs/danasrs/drustvo/terazije/zavoleo_srbiju_preko_grupe_mrzim_ameriku.14.html?news_id=224513
* Zrenjanin List featured my story
* Toledo Democrat in Toledo, IL featured my story
*Greenup Press in Greenup, IL featured my story
* Charleston Times Courier and Journal Gazette featured my story
* I have been contacted by hundreds of foreigners to provide additional information, make videos and answer different questions about travel to Serbia
Once again, THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR ALL OF YOUR MESSAGES, PHONE CALLS AND LOVE YOU HAVE SHOWN ME!!! It means a lot!!! Together we can continue to promote your country the way it needs to be!!! Don’t leave it up to your government!!! They have another agenda!!! I will post another blog post to let you know when this project is listed on the site!!!! I need you to donate a few bucks and LET EVERY SERB ON THE PLANET KNOW ABOUT IT!!!!! JA VOLIM SRBIJU!!!!!