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Help Fund A Geocaching TV Show

There’s no such thing as going too far – especially if you need to finance an extreme geocaching TV show, says Jon Racinskas.

GEOCCo-incidentally, that’s also the slogan for his Geocrashers travel series, which is the subject of a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign as Racinskas attempts to raise US$28,500 (NZ$35,540) to cover its production costs.

Every episode, the Geocrashers crew will travel to exotic places in pursuit of the most thrilling geo-experiences, he says. “Along the way, they’ll explore history, science and culture. We joke about it being Bear Grylls for the internet generation.”

To a tee: Jon Racinskas wearing one of the Geocrashers T-shirts available to his Kickstarter donors.

To a tee: Jon Racinskas wearing one of the Geocrashers T-shirt designs available to his Kickstarter donors.

The award-winning writer, producer and director (GC handle: The Razza) came up with the idea while geocaching in South Korea back in 2010 and started shopping the idea around Hollywood early the next year.

“I remember looking for this cache in the snow on top of this mountain near the DMZ (border of North and South Korea) and thinking: ‘Why isn’t there a show about this?’ Geocachers travel all over the world and have cool adventures like this all the time, yet no one has thought to point a camera in their direction? That doesn’t seem right.”

Racinskas, who also owns geo-clothing label First To Find, has already developed TV shows for North America, Asia and the Middle East but says Geocrashers is his first production to feature the hi-tech scavenger hunt.

As for the show’s name, it’s a term he and his mates have used to define ‘extreme geocaching’ for “a long time now”. “I’m not entirely sure of its origin. Did we come up with it? Maybe (but we drink a lot).”

Joining him on Geocrashers are:

  • Rob: An United States Army veteran who has completed tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The film school buddy of Racinskas will be both a producer and one of the series’ camera operators. “He’s fearless and will do anything to get the shot.”
  • Dan: Another “fearless” camera operator. “He’s done a lot of work for Discovery.”
  • James: One of the show’s hosts. “He was the lead in the first feature film I did, and we’ve been friends since. I introduced him to geocaching when we were killing time at the San Francisco International Film Festival, and he fell in love with it instantly,” Racinskas says.
  • Cara: Another host. The former senior science correspondent for The Huffington Post is currently working on online news show The Young Turks and has a special on the Weather Channel. She’s also developing another series for National Geographic.
  • Jesse: Will host Geocrashers‘ upcoming tutorial series and is the show’s researcher. “He’s also an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California.”
  • Geno: Responsible for logistics. “By day, he is a US Navy Logistics and Supply guy and runs the budget for an aircraft carrier. I think he can handle us.”

For the first season, the team will select 12 difficult caches in a dozen extreme location from Racinskas’ own geo-bucket list. The setting for their pilot has already been narrowed down to three choices, with the winner to be determined by a vote on Kickstarter.

RHVOPTION NO 1: Rainbow Hydrothermal Vents (GCG822)

“The team travel to Arquipélago dos Açores, Portugal in search of a geocache that was placed beside a hydrothermal vent 1.2 miles below the surface of the North Atlantic. To get there they’ll need a Russian Mir submersible and a group of deep-water explorers. Along the way, they’ll learn about the unique life forms that inhabit one of the most extreme environments on the planet. (This cache has never been found in the 10 years since it was placed.)”

Jungle gym: Lamanai High in Belize.

OPTION NO 2: Lamanai High (GC19505)

“We meet the team in the tiny republic of Belize for a trek through the rainforest on our way to a cache placed at the top of a massive Mayan ruin. They’ll have to find a guide and navigate the long rivers full of dangerous creatures. While there, they will learn about Mayan culture, the archeological work being done in the region and the threat of deforestation.”

NukeOPTION NO 3: Hot Glowing Tribulations (GCTA5E)

“The team rendezvous in the American state of Maryland to hunt down a cache in an abandoned nuclear reactor facility. Because the building is still contaminated and falling apart, they’ll need to collect ‘NBC’ suits (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical-resistant), portable respirators, radiation monitors and climbing gear before they make their approach. Along the way, they’ll learn about the Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters and explore whether nuclear energy really is safe.”

Racinskas’ pick is the nuclear reactor cache. “I love the image of geocachers in N.B.C. (Nuclear/Biological/Chemical) protective suits carrying around rappelling gear. You want to draw an audience in? Give them visuals like that. That being said, I think they’d all be amazing locations.”

His crowd-funding campaign expires on June 23rd and, if successful, filming will begin by the end of July. In late August, Kickstarter backers will then be sent a download link for the completed pilot. “They get to see it before the networks do because we want their opinions before our next network meeting.”

Rockin' the boat: From left, Geocrashers' Rob, Jon and Jesse after logging D5/T5 cache The Rock.

Rockin’ the boat: From left, Geocrashers’ Rob, Jon and Jesse after logging D5/T5 cache The Rock.

To this end, Racinskas hopes the support the Geocrashers crew received at this year’s GeoWoodstock XI (GC3K3YB) in Florida is an indication of how the wider community will respond. “We launched it the day before we arrived at the event, so the guys there were the first to hear about it. They got really excited.

“Rumours of a geocaching show have been circulating for years, but no-one in Hollywood had been working on one.”

So far, three American networks have shown interest in Geocrashers, he says. “We’ve got ABC looking to move on it, but both Travel and Discovery want to see the pilot too.

“Selling the show isn’t actually my biggest concern. The real challenge will be to find a network deal that permits us to keep the foreign distribution rights.

“The geocaching audience is global, and a broadcast series here in the States will not provide that global audience the ability to (legally) access our show. It’s really important to me that you guys get that access. If we have to, we’ll cut two versions of each segment. One for the US, and one for the rest of the world.”

If the first season is picked up, Racinskas would like to see it air in the northern spring – though he points out that won’t be his call.

Even if his fundraiser doesn’t reach it’s goal, he vows to continue with the series. “I’ve endured years of ‘no’ on this project, and I’m not going to let something like a Kickstarter campaign stop me now. It’s going to happen. Count on it …”

[notice]It’s Not About The Numbers has pledged its financial support for Jon Racinskas’ Geocrashers project – and we hope you will do the same. Every dollar helps and the more you give, the better the reward you’ll get in return. If you can’t spare any cash, help spread the world about his geo-fundraiser by sharing this link with friends, family and even complete strangers.[/notice]

 *For more information on Geocrashers or to follow the progress of Jon Racinskas’ appeal, check out his Twitter account, Facebook page, blog and First To Find clothing label.

 

 

 

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