3.2

Tiny House, Big Project. {Kickstarter}

Can Living Small Go Big?

“TINY” is a short documentary about one man’s attempt to build a tiny house from scratch, and other families who have downsized their lives to less than 400 square feet.

It began on a frigid day last February. I texted Christopher from work, around lunchtime to see what he was up to.

“Nothing much,” he replied after a while. And then: “Might go up to the mountains.”

He didn’t tell me what he’d really been doing until much later that night, over dinner. He had this half-excited, half-guilty look as he speared a brussel sprout and cleared his throat. “So…I bought some land.”

He didn’t have to explain.  I already knew the vision: the plot of land in the mountains, the small cabin he’d built himself, the pick-up truck, maybe a dog and a banjo in the corner and two chairs on the front porch—it was a dream that Christopher had pieced together over the years since he’d first moved to Colorado, back when he was 18.  The sort of idea that always gets pushed off to “someday”—”When I have money” or “When I have time.” “When I feel like settling down.”

He’d be turning 30 in just a few months and I knew he was thinking hard about the kind of life he wanted to grow into. “I don’t want to put it off forever,” he said that night when he told me about the land. “If I don’t do it now—then when?”

The plot of land is located in a desolate and picturesque valley outside of a town called Hartsel, a town so remote that my iPhone can’t find it when I look up the weather report. And on it? A tiny house. 130-square feet, that would be built on the back of a flat-bed trailer, by Christopher’s own two hands.

The project began. But not before I threw in a twist of my own:

“Great idea,” I said, “Let’s make a film about it.”

Almost nine months later, Christopher’s house is nearly complete and our film is well underway.

“TINY: A Story About Living Small” follows Christopher’s story of building his tiny house from scratch with no prior building experience, and also profiles the lives of other families around America who have downsized their lives into less than 400 square feet.

We’re interested in environmental sustainability—the average house size in America has almost doubled since 1970, which means that we’re consuming more resources than ever to construct, maintain, heat, power, and furnish our home.

And we’re interested in the ways that living small and simply allow people to focus their time and energy on the things that mean the most to them—without having to worry about maintaining a huge house or filling it with stuff.

Most of all, we’re interested in “home”—how we design our most comfortable spots and find the places where we feel at-ease. Throughout the film, we’re asking: What makes a good home?

Christopher’s story, after all, is as much about creating a life that feels right, as it is about the tiny house that will contain it.

Visit our Kickstarter page to back the project.

We’re currently raising funds to pay for post-production of the film (things like editing footage, recording the original score, sound editing, and sending it to a finishing house).

Visit Kickstarter to contribute, and to choose from a list of rewards—such as an invitation to the online premier of the film, access to Behind-the-Scenes footage, a signed DVD—even a weekend in the completed tiny house.

You can also follow our progress on our blog and on facebook.

We look forward to sharing the completed film with you all, in Spring of 2012!

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bruce floors nj Oct 1, 2013 2:44am

..It makes the work feel unnatural, and puts a lot of unnatural pressure on you…

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Merete Mueller

Merete is a writer and filmmaker, and was once-upon-a-time the Managing Editor of elephant journal’s print incarnation, from 2006-2008. Today, you can find her on Twitter @meretemueller and on her blog To The Bones. Her first documentary, “TINY: A Story About Living Small”, about people who have downsized their lives into homes the size of a parking space, premiered at SXSW in March 2013.