by Chad Weber
The team at the Western States 100.
From left to right: Theresa, Addie, Knott, Ryan, Dreama, Chad, and Steve.
I always say you never know what can come from one meeting.
What it can lead to one year down the road. Five years down the road.
In this case - it's led to making a feature length documentary.
In ultra-running - I've learned that you just have to sign up for a race. You have to set goals and put yourself in situations to do things you otherwise wouldn't do. It helps make the unattainable, attainable.
Nobody knew exactly what we were signing up for when we started this project.
Steve, myself, and Dreama included.
Steve Vanderheide is my filmmaking partner in this journey. We met at a networking event shortly after we had both moved to the Denver area in 2019 and quickly found we shared some similarities. We both arrived at similar times. We both shared an interest in documentary filmmaking. And we're both tall...and very often people ask if we are brothers...
By the way, we're not.
Anyways Steve and I had collaborated on a few projects in the past and we were looking for that next project to scratch the creative itch. We had gone down a few paths without any success.
Steve and Chad filming a music video with the band Audible in 2020.
When pursuing a passion project (a project without funding) - I feel it's very important that those involved bring passion to the project. Otherwise - everyone involved is kind of wasting their time. And it's not always easy to find those partnerships. Steve reached out to Corey who worked out of the same co-working space as he did in Denver. Corey is a co-founder of SANS meal bar. SANS has several sponsored athletes and he suggested Dreama might be someone interesting to feature.
SANS Meal Bar
So it starts with one meeting. We hopped on a Zoom call in March 2021 for an exploratory meeting. To learn more. For us to learn more about Dreama. Who she is as a person and her story. And for Dreama to meet us and try to learn about what we were trying to do.
One thing that struck me from the first convo was when Dreama said
she "loves struggle."
I remember that making an impact on me. We felt there was defiantly something "there" with Dreama even with the little we knew about her story.
The first conversation with a potential subject of a documentary film - is always interesting. Neither party is exactly sure if they want to be involved yet. It's about learning. Kind of like a fact finding mission. But also trying to intuit a less tangible feeling about an individual.
It must be even stranger for Dreama. It's not a normal request. And with doc filmmaking - things get personal quickly. Surface level discussions aren't the most interesting. As documentary filmmakers - we're in the business of trying to understand what makes people tick. What influences have shaped the way they view the world? And we've always appreciated Dreama's willingness to put herself out there.
When forming the right partnerships I guess I believe that, for the most part, you can tell if people have the right intentions. You go with your gut. Even if you can't always express why in the moment. You go with the people who give you right right feeling. In hindsight, I didn't really know that much about Steve either. But I went with my gut.
And now I feel grateful to be working on this project with some great people.
Chad filming Dreama at the
Cheyenne Mountain Trail Race in 2021.
Setting up the interview shot at Dreama's Apartment in 2021.
From left to right: Josh Berendes, Chad, and Steve.
We were eager to get the ball rolling and started scheduling shoot dates with Dreama.
Our goal was to create a short documentary. Maybe up to 10 minutes in length. We figured a couple of shoot days would do it. We'd travel down to Colorado Springs, meet Dreama, film an interview and gather some supporting footage, and then put out a film within a few months.
Well I can tell you now -
we didn't know what we signed up for. At all.
But now we're in it. We are making feature film. It's been really hard. It's been awesome. It's been so many things.
It's the biggest learning experience of my career. Both creatively and mentally. Relationships have been tried and strengthened. It's been a journey. And we are nearing the finish line.
It has seemed insurmountable so many times. But once you're in it...once you've signed up for it. There's only one way forward.
One step at a time...always looking ahead.
Chad filming at Trail's End Taproom in Colorado Springs, May 2021.
From left to right: Chad, Dreama, Theresa, and Melissa.
Chad and Steve filming Dreama on the Barr Trail
at Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs.