Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Hollywood as Home, and Friends Making Movies

Hollywood is a fun place to live. In so many movies each year you see stores, buildings, corners and sites that you drive by every day. It's kind of surreal in that way, the fictionalizing of your reality around you, and I can only imagine what it will be like when Ava realizes that it's actually uncommon to have a film crew take your front yard over to shoot a scene.

Beachbody has its own brush with Hollywood from time to time, as companies license videos and infomercials from us from time to time to fill a TV screen in the background of a scene, or our editing equipment gets repurposed overnight to edit one of our staff's very own shot at filmmaking big time. (More on this in future blog posts)

Currently there's a documentary in theaters which is getting great reviews, and with which Beachbody has deep roots. Chris Paine directed a movie about his enthusiasm for, and disappointment with the loss of, GM's electric car, called "Who Killed The Electric Car."

I met Chris years ago when Tony Horton invited me on a ski weekend, years before Power 90. Chris was one of the five who headed of to Utah. Chris was a brilliant guy, who was thoughtful and fascinated with life in general. He was also running a very successful web-design/development company. As I got to know Chris, I got invited to barbecues at his Santa Monica home, and one weekend he was particularly excited about his leased Electric Car. One by one everyone at the party got a sixty second trip around a parking lot to experience Chris at the wheel with the same comments to each of us -- "It's absolutely silent, you don't even know it's on!" and "Can you believe how fast it accelerates?"

He loved the thing. And I can remember getting an email from him announcing his disappointment with the notice that GM was collecting the cars. I thought it would have ended there.

Chris had just sold his company, an event which was lucky for me, because we picked up the core of our early web development team in Rich Abronson and Erick Hoppe from them, standouts at Chris' company who were looking for the next entrepreneurial mountain to climb. We hired them, and the look and feel of Beachbody.com was born.

Meanwhile, I kept getting emails from Chris. He had begun to investigate and document the demise of his precious car. And what felt like it would be a hobby or pet project that would go away the next time Chris got a big business idea, the email updates kept coming.

It's a couple years later, and I'm reading about Chris at Sundance, Chris in France, and his film is now in wide release, getting paired up with Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth directed by Davis Guggenheim! This is a feat. I've seen dozens of great directors and great films get completely ignored. The filmmaking process is hard, but the film distribution process is almost impossible, so it's incredibly exciting to see a guy take his personal curiosity and interests, and create something magnificent from it that really gets seen.

I hope millions of people see this film, not just because it was made by a good guy who's eye for talent had a significant impact on Beachbody.com, but because it's a well balanced documentary on the fate of the electric car which is entertaining and important to understand. Congratulations Chris!


Monique2 said...

Hi Carl,
I saw the movie Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth and thought it was a great movie. I am looking forward to seeing Who killed the Electric car. I am also so looking forward to coming to camp in LA.


Anonymous said...

Hi Carl,
I enjoyed your Blog this morning as it gave me something to think about. Because of your connections to this fellow alot more people will look into this film. I know I will check it out because I read your Blog.

I also skipped down and read about the Birthday Invitation. I wish I had seen it last week. I turned 50 Saturday and because of my dedication to Beachbody since 10/19/02 I am the fitest 50 year old you've ever seen. The quality of the programs is testament as well. And I'll always remember being a Hollywood 2003 Winner!

Thank you Carl and to all the folks at Beachbody!


psyknife said...

Carl - I'm not sure if there is a way for you to contact me, but I've had sooooooo many issues with all orders I've placed this year and have been bounced around customer service reps like crazy.
For one thing, when I place an order online I receive an email, and in that very email it states I will receive a second email when my order is shipped, which I've never received... so I'm left up in the air as to when I should receive my package, which pretty much has me always having to contact Beachbody after a couple of weeks to check status. Why don't we get emails when our item is shipped that contains either a tracking number or an approx. date of when we should expect to receive our item?
Secondly... for some reason my last shipment was sent out via UPS, which Beachbody has never used on any other order I've placed... for some reason UPS can't deliver to my home address, so my package was returned. This upsets me for two reasons... A.) Beachbody should clearly state what shipping method they are using because I know I'm not the only one who has issues with UPS and FedEx delivering to my residence, B.) Beachbody never called me when my item was returned to them... it took me many emails today and a phone call to even find out that it was, in fact, received in return.
I will say thank you, though, to the person I spoke with on the phone... she went through a lot of trouble to straighten this out for me... but it seems like she had to do a lot of work to figure out something that should've been much simpler to look up. Not to mention that she was dealing with a terrible amount of background noise, which also made it hard for me to hear her.
I appreciate her help, but it's frustrating when it takes me getting to a 4th or 5th person before anyone can help me.
So, as you can see... it's very very frustrating ordering products from you guys, which stinks, because I enjoy your products... but recent issues have left me so fed up that I'm tempted to just get my vitamins and supplements elsewhere.
I don't want to sound rude or demeaning... I just wanted to point out what so many other people are experiencing as well.
I would love to talk to you about recent frustrations I've had and/or suggestions I have (which you may not want to hear, or have already heard).
So, if you can, please email me at psyknife@yahoo.com, because I would love to speak with you personally, on a professional level (I'm not trying to get you to email me to chew your head off).

I'm sorry this has been so long and that I've had to post it to you this way, but I have no clue how else to get a message to you.
Thank you, Carl.


PS - when is the Chicago camp going to be posted? Many of us are trying to plan our time off work and/or travel and expenses... we need advance notice very soon.
Thank you, again :-)