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Old 03-02-2009, 02:59 AM   #1
johnny111
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will somebody document my record setting solo nonstop drive from NYC to LA?

hello forum, i am not a film maker and have no knowledge of making films in any way. I came here to see if there is any interest anywhere to document a very long distance drive that i already completed and am looking to do again to set/break the world record. My name is John Fourtounis, ive been a NYC cab driver for the last 7 years and im a 27 year old native born New Yorker. I recently completed a 44 hr 46 min solo nonstop Cannonball Run drive from NYC to LA. I only stopped for gas, drive thru food and coffee. I did not stop to sleep or rest at all in any way. It was insane. I left NYC(Elmhurst,Queens) at 10:39 am on Sat Jan 10 and got to Santa Monica pier in LA at 7:25 am NYC time on Mon Jan 12. I was hoping to finish it in under 40 hours using my 2004 Honda Civic but it took much longer with a total of 3181 driven miles for 2 reasons. The 1st reason is that it was snowing along I70 in Penn and Ohio on saturday so instead i took the Jersey tpke-I95 down to Baltimore to get below the snowline and then took I70-I68-I79-I64 through WV-Kentucky-Indiana-Illinois to get to St Louis where i got onto I70 for the traditional fastest and shortest route to LA. That was an extra 1.5 hours i had to drive because those highways are not a straight shot to St Louis like I78-I76-I70 is out of NYC. In New Mexico i lost about 3 hours after i gave up just east of Gallup and started driving back. At that point i was on my 35th hour and I saw that i had about 8-10 hrs to go and i panicked and thought that it would end up killing me. I just felt really bizarre at that time. I was kind of having a "life flashing before youre eyes" moment where i thought about the good and bad times and then thought about my own funeral. So i started driving back on I40 towards Albuquerque and then took I25 south to find a hotel to sleep in. I was planning to go through Dallas on my way back instead of taking the same route back home. As i was driving south on I25 i really started regretting giving up and after some food and coffee I decided to continue on but instead of heading back towards I40 i took Rt 60 towards Phoenix. I then got onto I10 towards LA and finished at the pier. I was in such a state of shock and joy that i did it that i didnt even sleep for 2 hours after getting to the Comfort Inn on Santa Monica Blvd. If i had started on the traditional route out of NYC and didnt give up i could have easily gotten to LA in 39 hours but im sort of happy that it took longer since now i know how much driving i can take safely without sleep. So now i dont know what to do with this and thats why im posting here. Im applying to the Guiness World Record book to somehow make this offficial. Of course i would have to do it again and make it official by having it documented and recorded. If there is a film maker here that would be interested in documenting this please contact me. Guiness though will probably not approve such a drive because when i applied online they mentioned they do not accept records based on long distance drives on public roads that try to beat some time record or speed record. But now that i know i can do a 45 hour drive i can actually do the entire drive and stick to speed limits if there are any legal concerns. It helps that the limit in states out west is 75 mph. The "record" would then be "longest nonstop solo drive coast to coast" and would then not be considered an illegal street race. If someone would be with me in the car while im doing this they would basically need to trust me completely that im safe and know what im doing. The risk of falling asleep at the wheel will be negated by having the film maker act as observer. You can have 2 people in the car watching me. Again, i already did this safely alone with no one watching me and i never got close to falling asleep. No accidents or tickets either. If no one wants to be in the car with me, to document it im thinking some sort of GPS tracking device can be placed in the car and a video camera can be pointed towards the drivers seat so its seen that only i am driving at all times. You can even put an observer in the car with me to make sure i dont fall asleep if that is a legal concern for you. Another camera can be placed facing the road so it can be seen where im going. That camera could be usefull in some kind of time lapse movie of the entire drive where you can speed up throughout the entire 45 hours and shorten it to something like 5 mintues. Also some people must see me leave NYC at the start time and others must see me arrive at the pier.
I know all of this must seem insane but i assure you im a perfectly sane person. I just really love driving and i love challenges like this. I honestly dont know if there is any interest in recording this. A friend if mine told me to consider recording it. My main concern has always been not to hurt anyone in this type of drive and i never have. Never even hit anyone in my years as a NYC cabby. I started that job as the youngest guy on the street at 20 and ive been the safest for 7 years. thanks for reading this if you got this far.

these are a few of my other driving accomplishments:
- 36 hr 28 min nonstop drive from NYC to Chicago-Milwaukee-Mackinac Bridge-Detroit-Toledo-Pittsburgh-NYC.
- completed a roundtrip drive sort of nonstop with a friend from NYC to San Francisco. We did each way nonstop in about 44 hours. We only slept 7 hours in SF before doing the drive back nonstop again.
- once did a 20 hour NYC cab driving shift which was my longest shift ever.
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Old 03-02-2009, 03:23 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny111 View Post
i assure you im a perfectly sane person.
Heh... suuure.

I've done the NY to CA thing a few times (best time: Ithaca, NY to Torrance, CA - 46 hours). One hell of an endurance test, for sure. Would never try it again, though. Older & wiser. Well... maybe not wiser. Just older.

Have you looked at any of the legalities of this, btw? The last thing you want to do is have 24/7 footage of yourself pushing the limits, and getting involved in some kind of incident.
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Old 03-02-2009, 03:57 AM   #3
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did you do the drive from ithaca alone or with another driver where you took shifts driving and sleeping?
i understand the legal issues but i am as close to 100% as possible in my confidence in driving for this amount of time with no risk of accidents. I didnt get into any serious accidents as a cab driver for 7 years aside from a couple of no-damage bumper taps. If nyc cabby work couldnt break me, 45 hours of highway driving wont either. I really am not insane.
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:20 AM   #4
directorik
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I love the idea.

I'm editing a documentary of a guy who walked across the US in
about 14 months - this would be an interesting companion piece.

When are you planning on doing this again?
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Old 03-02-2009, 01:12 PM   #5
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Oh Johnny, you ARE insane! Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Rik, that would make a good companion piece, or you could tie the both together into one documentary. That would be really nice. Would you have a chase car? I'm thinking that, budget available, you have a chase van with at least two drivers, and two camerapeople, where you can switch out say every gas stop, and you've got an awake camera person who can watch Johnny to make sure the nods don't arrive. Maybe wire the car with small cameras so you have a couple of angles.

Sounds like a fun project.

Chris

P.S. And Zen, I'm not sure that it's older and wiser or older and more feeble! I know I'm not really wiser, I just can't do the things I could do when I was younger! It's still in my heart, just not in the rest of my body!

Last edited by cibao; 03-02-2009 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 03-02-2009, 02:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by directorik View Post
I love the idea.

I'm editing a documentary of a guy who walked across the US in
about 14 months - this would be an interesting companion piece.

When are you planning on doing this again?

that is insane! did the guy actually live out there for 14 months straight or did he do it in stages where he would walk to a city and then fly back home and then come back to the spot he left off at? I was thinking about doing another run either this weekend or next. Im thinking of spending a week in southern california cause i only spent 2 days there last time before heading back. If you are in hollywood and i come out in the next 2 weeks would you possibly want to meet? You can see my 2004 Honda Civic with NY plates. Ill even show you my debit card bill online with all the gas stops charged to it along the route so you know i just did it if you need some type of proof. The bill shows the time of the gas purchase and the city and state it was made in. For ultimate proof i can pick up some tumbleweed in TX or Okla. Last time on the way back i picked it up in north TX and put some in my trunk. In Kansas i got stopped for a busted headlight and after the cop heard my bizarre explanation of why i was out here he became convince i was either insane or quote, "transporting guns or drugs". He did a full search of the car and found nothing and then popped my trunk and saw the tumbleweed. He laughed and immediately stopped the search. I guess he finally believed i was just some NYC nut who picked up a souvenir along the way. He didnt even bother to check under the trunk board where the spare tire is held. I could have hidden tons of guns and drugs right there under my tumbleweed.
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Old 03-03-2009, 01:16 AM   #7
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He did it in one, continuos hike. He started in Delaware on June
17, 2007 and finished Nov 5 in San Francisco on Nov 5, 2008. 17
months on the road.


Johnny, I believe you. No need to try so heard to prove yourself.
I’m just gauging if this is something I can afford to do. If you
were covering transportation, I’d do it immediately. But if I have
to cover my costs I’d have to figure out when and how much out of
pocket expenses and what’s in it for me.

I’m always up for filmmaking challenges. I’m not just always ready
to pay to make a documentary.
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Old 03-03-2009, 05:01 AM   #8
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I wish someone would document climbing a gnarly mountain like K-2. These reality shows like Man VS Wild have done everything but.
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Old 03-03-2009, 01:07 PM   #9
johnny111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by directorik View Post
He did it in one, continuos hike. He started in Delaware on June
17, 2007 and finished Nov 5 in San Francisco on Nov 5, 2008. 17
months on the road.


Johnny, I believe you. No need to try so heard to prove yourself.
Im just gauging if this is something I can afford to do. If you
were covering transportation, Id do it immediately. But if I have
to cover my costs Id have to figure out when and how much out of
pocket expenses and whats in it for me.

Im always up for filmmaking challenges. Im not just always ready
to pay to make a documentary.

no problem, i would cover the transportation costs. My car gets good mileage so the total cost now with cheap gas is about $200 from NYC to LA. Aside from that cost there is really no other cost for the drive, barely any tolls on that route either. Think about it and let me know any other concerns you have, my email address is yanni111@bellatlantic.net
Oh, traditionally a cannonball run is done east to west but if youre in LA and all youre equiptment is there than maybe we can do it the other way so ill drive out there and then we drive back to NYC.
I just watched the 1st episode of the hiking guy and i said to myself this guy is going to lose a lot of weight, then i cut to the last video and of course he did. good stuff, guy was even limping at the end
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Old 03-03-2009, 07:31 PM   #10
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There are the costs of food, and the production of the doc.
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Old 03-04-2009, 10:46 AM   #11
directorik
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I’m seriously considering this because it’s around 48 hours. As
you point out - a weekend - not too much time away from paying
gigs. I figure food won’t be more than $8 per meal (less I’m
sure) or about $50.

However, if you start on the east coast I’ll have to pay to get
there and at least one night in a motel. Travel on Friday, spend
the night and start shooting on Saturday. Back in LA Sunday
night/Monday morning.

If you start on the west coast I’ll have to pay to get home.

And there’s insurance. Just in case of an accident, I can risk my
livelihood, my cameras. This is considered a high risk use of my
equipment according to my insurance company and I’d have to pull
a different policy.

So to do this, I’m spending my own money. I have to take that into
consideration.
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Old 03-04-2009, 01:02 PM   #12
johnny111
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if you are considering it then please put together what the total cost to you would be for everything from equiptment, extra insurance etc. let me know what the total cost is and im sure we can work something out on cost sharing. Also when would be a good weekend to do it for you? If you fly to NYC the ticket will be about $100-140. I would really prefer to do it east to west just to keep the feeling of it the same in my mind as last time and because id be sleeping in my own bed the night before. Keeps things more normal for me rather than me driving to LA and then i gotta do it again nonstop back. I would pick you up at the airport so no taxi cost. There is a cheap and decent quality hotel in queens 1 block from my apartment. Gino's pizza 2 blocks away is one of the best in the city and theres other great food in the area so you wont have to eat mcdonalds or some other garbage. The hotel is used often by tourists who dont want to spend manhattan prices but still be pretty close to manhattan. www.panamhotel.com $100 a night. Youre not going to find any cheaper if you stayed in manhattan or really any other place in queens. Id offer for you to stay at my place on the friday night but its small and youd have to sleep on an uncomfortable couch. The benefit of staying 1 block away is that there will be no wasted time from me waking up and when we start driving. I really dont want to waste any time since i will be awake for the next 40 hours. Last trip i had absolutely everything ready from the night before so i just woke up Sat morning and within 20 minutes i was in my car driving. This would help you cause if youre the only camera guy then you will be awake for 40 hours too unless you want to take small naps or even try to sleep saturday night when it gets dark. If you are not personally filming all the time if youre sleeping then i would want some type of camera on the dashboard facing the road so there is a 100% visual record of the drive. Then you could do an awesome time speedup thing with it.
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Old 03-05-2009, 11:33 AM   #13
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Okay...

So you want 48 hours of footage from a camera on the dash (or more
likely a shot over your shoulder). I could use my PD170 for that.

Then I figure to shoot about 2 hours of footage with my JVC.

50 tapes - $430

I’m easy when it comes to a hotel room - don’t really have any
requirements except clean. The Pan-American is fine. and I’m
always ready for NY pizza!

$90 web rate.

Burbank to LGA is about $160
LAX to JFK is $150.

From the map it looks like LGA is better for you and Burbank is
better for me. The $10 is worth it. And I save in transportation,
though I don’t get my Delta miles...

Extra insurance rider for the two cameras is $200.

Transpo to airport $40

Grand total $920

So you can see that it would cost me nearly a grand to make a
movie for you. While I believe it would make an interesting doc
and might help you get into the Guinness World Record book I
don't see a market for it.

Do you see the doc as short? Or do you think a filmmaker could
a full 90 minutes out of this journey?
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Old 03-05-2009, 02:21 PM   #14
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Is it too ridiculous of a suggestion to pitch this idea to something like the Discovery Channel? I mean have you seen some of the trivial (but good) shows they document? They'd pay for everything and it would be filmed in HD. I would think the pitch would have to be something like Taxi Ride from Hell, The Longest Taxi Fare, or even Breaking World Records, or something else like that. Maybe do the whole trip in a taxi, you know something out of the ordinary. Discovery does a lot of shows on events and circumstances affecting the human body, have you seen Fight Science or Secret Warriors? So, like directorik wrote I would imagine you would have to find a market or a "hook" to get someone interested in even watching your trip.
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Old 03-05-2009, 08:30 PM   #15
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Id be willing to split the cost with you or even more. Either way im driving to LA this saturday morning with my brother because hes going back to work at his old job in 2 weeks and he will not get the chance to do a cannonball for a long time after this plus gas wont be this cheap in the future. I promised him we would do it and i have to keep that. Plus we can meet and talk about all the details which is probably a good thing before we get into a car together for 40 hours, hehe. You can see my car and how youd want to set up cameras and it gives me time to wait on the Guiness people to decide whether on not they will approve the attempt. They should get back to me in 2-3 weeks. If they approve it they will give me guidelines on what they need as proof. If they dont approve it i honestly dont care and will still do this if you want to film it. Regarding the length of the docu, i guess well figure it out after were done with it and we see how much footage would be necessary to tell the story. Email me youre email address and phone number and ill call you on monday or tuesday. my email is yanni111@bellatlantic.net
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