Stefan had, on paper, a pretty dreamy set up. He was a successful filmmaker who got to travel the world making inspiring films whilst living a life of adventure. But in our age of comparison and wanting to create a legacy by the age of 25, Stefan developed that common condition we call anxiety. He questioned everything your average twenty-something questions - relationships, careers, tax returns, the meaning of Instagram and the meaning of life.
As his anxiety spiralled, Stefan’s A-type personality led him to systematically project manage all the ways in which he could ‘cure anxiety’. He surfed, meditated, talked it out and danced. It all worked to some extent, but it was a band aid fix. Deep down Stefan wanted certainty. He wanted to be sure he was living a “fail proof” life. But as he thought harder and found no answers the anxiety got worse.
It was when he sat on a cliff one day - overlooking the ocean - that he decided to write. The first five words changed his life.
‘We’re All Going To Die’
He had finally found life’s only guarantee.
On this inspiring whim of existential philosophy, Stefan booked a plane ticket and went off the grid for five weeks, walking alone every day along the Spanish countryside for hours and hours. As he walked he mused on this poem and when he stopped to rest, he would illustrate the words.
Whilst these words became his own philosophy for life, Stefan never thought to share the story with the public. People would think it was stupid he thought. The fear of judgement was too real. Despite these intentions, the poem landed in the lap of a publisher in the US, and the official book was born.
Being a filmmaker, Stefan thought it was only natural to bring the pages to life through his craft.
He dreamt big, worked bloody hard alongside a dedicated team and managed to score the dreamy cast of Hugo Weaving and Jared Jekyll to enact the Dr Seuss-esque poem on screen.
As the message gained traction, Stefan realised that he wanted people to do more than read a poem or watch a short film. He wanted people to fully immerse themselves in the message, the way he did whilst walking through Spain, meditating on what the words ‘We’re All Going To Die’ meant.
So the natural next step was to create an interactive multi-media festival. Stefan had no funding, 62 Facebook followers and no ‘reputation’ as an artist to pull this off, according to “industry professionals”. What he did have was a team of creative friends who believed in the ethos - ‘fear less, live more’. They worked tirelessly to release a Kickstarter campaign that went viral, funding the first immersive art festival of its kind and starting a community that is collectively kicking fear in the nuts.
So why not choose why not?
And embrace the uncertainty?
Because even if you fail it all,
there’s still only one guarantee*
*Excerpt from the We’re All Going To Die Book