There's nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept. —ansel adams
Travis and I started Felt Soul Media in 2005 — a pretty scary plunge into self-employment, but a choice we’ve never questioned. Tremendously influenced by a festival called Mountainfilm, we dreamed of telling stories that actually made you feel something. For lack of a better word, we wanted to make films that didn’t suck. After a decade of trial and error, we’re aware of our strengths, and acutely aware of our weaknesses. I think if someone asked me what we’re best at, I’d tell them we’re state champions at not taking ourselves too seriously. I think that somehow relates to our knack for transforming an obscure subject into something relatable and engaging.
Braggy stuff: We were somehow on National Geographic's 2015 Adventures of the Year list, and we've won 53 film festival awards in 12 years [ Oscar qualified twice ] Ben was featured in the Saatchi & Saatchi New Director's showcase in in 2015 for our film Denali and gave the commencement address at the Telluride High School graduation for some strange reason.
Semi-personal shit: Travis has his FAA drone pilot's license, forces his daughter to listen to reggae, weighs his coffee on a digital scale and has never paid retail price for anything — Ben likes cats and chickens but hates canned peas and just started an anti-anxiety medicine because filmmaking. He lives in Howard, CO and Travis lives in Denver.
We’re a crew of two, but it’s always felt like a bigger family. Below are a handful of our favorite people to work with—all of whom we couldn’t do this without. They all bring a different skill to the table, and we’re so grateful they answer our calls when we need their help or advice. We also really value our strong network of friends at other production companies such as Camp4, Sender and Sweetgrass—it's always an honor to collaborate with these talented folks who we admire so much.
Jim Hurst is one of the most intuitive, self sufficient, professional and creative people we know, period. Whether it’s sound, cinematography, photography or rigging—Jim absolutely crushes all of it. Jim inspires confidence on a shoot, but most importantly he makes everything a Hell of a lot more fun. jimhurstmedia.com
We were fortunate to discover Barry Thompson [our go-to motion graphics legend] back in 2008—I don’t think we’ve done anything since that hasn’t been enlivened by Barry’s undeniable wizardry. Opening up a new QuickTime file from Barry is like unwrapping a big-ass present under the tree that you know won’t disappoint. barrythompson.net
Nick Wolcott's Cinestar Aerial cinematography is unmatched. Nick came from a photojournalism background, so he doesn’t just show up and fly the standard angles—he looks for ways to tell a visual story in the most dynamic possible way—taking light, composition, environment and subject matter into consideration. Nick has a calm nature about him—a unique gift for someone with a relatively stressful job. elevatedproductions.com
Drew Ludwig is our trusted artistic advisor. He’s a freakishly gifted fine artist, street artist, graphic designer, photojournalist, tiny house builder and mountain-guide. Drew’s like a rich mineral deposit of fantastical conceptions, and we embrace any chance to strip-mine his wealth of creativity when it comes time to transcend the norm. drewludwig.com
Ryan Peterson has been a great friend to Felt Soul since we started working with him on Red Gold in 2007. He’s been fighting the Pebble Mine since the very beginning and now he continues to bring needed attention to short-sighted resource development in Alaska. Ryan shoots, edits and writes with peerless thoughtfulness—an invaluable quality when it comes to environmental journalism.
The only problem with George Knowles is that he’ll most likely out-shoot you any day of the week—if you’re trying to impress a client, you may just want to label his footage as yours. Seeing George hone his eye and storytelling ability over the last five years has left us overwhelmed with pride and quick to either recommend him or beg for his help. George’s future is insanely bright, and we’re just lucky to have him on speed-text. goodiepocket.com
Kevin and Kristen Howdeshell are the phenomenal animation team we worked with on DamNation. It was our first experience taking a storyboard from rough concept to reality and Kevin and Kristen were both super patient with our complete lack of knowledge about how the process works. The Howdesell's are based in Kansas City, Missouri. kevincredible.com
Mike Hagadorn of Cloud Level Media is an absolute beast — truly one of the hardest working people I know. We’ve quite literally had to tell him to stop working because we were concerned he might face-plant into a film induced coma. When he’s not making stunning MōVI imagery or flying a RED with his Alta you can usually find him making delicious food for the whole crew without even being asked to do it. Selfless, extremely positive and dedicated — what a gem of a human.