Climbing New Mountains / by Justin Warren

“Joe” is almost “done.” and will be “released" soon.

You may have noticed my liberal use of quotation marks. I've acquired a rather healthy dose of cynicism on this journey, which I try to keep contained. I've learned a hard, but beautiful lesson in life: You’re never actually “done”.

You scale the mountain. You’re full of hope, but midway up you’re parched and running on fumes, only to discover the mountain you just conquered was actually a tiny hill. The real mountain is ahead, with eleventy other mountains looming in the distance. But somehow, because you climbed the hill -- and survived -- you’ve become a teensy bit stronger. So, you hike up your big boy (and/or girl) pants and push ahead. Life is a never ending lesson in the art of perseverance. It’s the climb we’ve got to learn to enjoy. Because the destination is merely a concept. I’m learning to find joy in the grind.

Great news. Joe is sound mixed and picture locked. I literally just shipped the hard drive to our colorist. Please see my "happy face" below.


Wait, Justin, what’s a colorist? I can hear some asking. Let me explain. I’m about to get science-y.

Basically, when you shoot a movie digitally, usually the files look like they do on the left half of the video below.

See the one on the left? Not sexy. Digital cameras record that way because some person way smarter than everyone alive, figured out that recording a “flat” image maximizes the cameras “latitude” or ability to capture a wider range of light values. And then, a tiny army of determined digital ants inside the camera's sensors take that data and they...well...just I -- just trust me. You know. ‘Cause science. A colorist sprinkles magic on the movie and it looks a movie.

(Only, it should look better than this video, ‘cause I did this on my computer in about fifteen minutes while sipping burnt coffee and murdering a cheesy gordita crunch.)

Fortunately, we’re working with some of the best colorists in the business over at WILDFIRE FINISHING. So even if you watch our movie and hate it, at least our little indie comedy is going to look really, really good.

Color should take about month. Hopefully there will be no delays, but hey, there has been a delay at every single step of this process, so I’ve given up telling people when the movie will be “done.” But we are SO. CLOSE.

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The second I get the movie back, I’ll post a video of me partying like it’s 1999, only to stop mid hip-thrust, stunned by the next mountain to climb: Actually getting people to watch this damn thing. The thing I locked myself in my bedroom working on and stressing over for the last two years. Did you know I have gray armpit hair now? Thanks, Joe.

In other news, I recently got to actually SEE MY ACTUAL REAL LIVE ACTUAL BROTHER ACTUALLY IN PERSON. It was an event. I almost cried. It was literally the first time I’d seen him in the flesh in over six years.

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He’s focused and working hard to get his life on track. He was so hyped about Then There Was Joe that we decided to film some behind the scenes stuff that we will share very soon.

Our next video diary features the "real" Joe and will be sent to our email list. To see it when it drops, and to view all our past episodes instantly, please click here and add your name. There will be laughter and perhaps some tears.

What’s crazy is that this film has essentially mirrored our family’s journey with my brother’s arrest. If you want to know the details of what happened specifically, you can read about it here. And FYI, me linking to this article is totally cool with Jamie. When the news broke, our family received literally hundreds of messages so...this whole thing is not a secret by any means.

When we went into production, Jamie went on the run. When we ran out of money during post-production (did I ever tell y’all that?) he went to prison. He was stuck in jail and I was stuck in post (totally not the same, but go with me here!). And when we finally got the money we needed to continue, Jamie was selected to be a part of a work release program, which allows him to live in a group home while he works a full time job, helping him transition back into socieity. When I finally saw him, Jamie -- and the movie -- had a clear path forward. And he is thriving. When my brother puts his mind to something, he can accomplish anything. Here is a letter that Jamie wrote, which the Arkansas Community of Corrections featured on their facebook page.

He gives me hope in the future.

I’ve always believed that movies can change lives. Fortunately, “Joe” has done nothing but bring our family closer together. I sincerely can’t wait to share it with you. Until then, please go hug someone and tell someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time that you love them. Life is too brief for grudges.


We are planning the release right now. It's taking longer than expected to pull everything together, but it's looking like it will be early next year.

If you know of any place we should screen the movie, please click here to fill out our screening request form. These things require lots of lead time, so if you have any leads, please hit us!