Let’s face it—at one time or another, most everyone has wanted to do what Malcolm Freberg is about to do. Starting July 1st, Freberg and a small video production team will take off from Los Angeles on a 20-day loop across America titled “Wayfaring.” Where they will go and what they will do isn’t even within their control. It’s within ours. And we’ll have a chance to see what they do each day almost instantaneously.
During their journey, the team will shoot and edit a short episode every day — meaning 20 episodes in 20 days, each available on the official Wayfaring site the day after it’s shot. Therefore, whatever happens on July 1st is available for viewing the morning of the 2nd, whatever happens on the 2nd is available on the 3rd, and so on until the event is over. Every major decision – what city to visit, what crazy stunt to attempt – is decided by a public vote via social media.
“I’ve been kicking a couple of ideas around for TV shows, looking for something that would be both entertaining and interactive,” he said during an interview in Los Angeles. “I wanted to create something like an interactive children’s book, where the audience is going to control our schedule and itinerary. Our team doesn’t choose where we drive or what we do each day of the road trip; our viewers and followers do.”
Freberg is no stranger to adventure, as millions of viewers of the reality TV series “Survivor” know. He was a contestant on back-to-back seasons of the show—“Survivor: Philippines” and “Survivor: Caramoan.” And he competed in both those seasons with just a two-week break in between. So you’d think a little trek across the country wouldn’t seem too challenging or daunting. Think again.
The “Wayfaring” team, consisting of 13 men and women who will traverse America in a bus and passenger van, have partnered with Zoomph, a social media engagement platform, to host all polls. Each morning, in conjunction with the episode, they’ll announce the choices for that day’s travel. These locations will be assigned hashtags, and followers will post votes to their social media account.
“For example, say one day we’re deciding between riding bulls at a dude ranch in Texas, or playing alien-related games in Roswell, New Mexico (these will not necessarily be choices on the trip),” Malcolm said. “The options will be announced at the end of the previous day’s episode, as well as on the Wayfaring website and Twitter account. They’ll be accompanied by unique hashtags, in this case #WFCowboys and #WFAliens (‘WF’ = Wayfaring), which you’ll use to make your choice. Simply post the designated hashtags to your social media account, and you’ve voted.”
Each poll will have a limited run time. The #WFCowboys vs #WFAliens poll may be open when you wake up and end at 12:30 PM EST/9:30AM PST, but Malcolm and crew will also be announcing quick, impromptu decisions throughout the day.
“Say our crew has to stop for fuel at a gas station in Podunktown, USA — Wayfaring may poll, “What should Malcolm start a conversation about with the clerk: #WFRoadkillRecipes, #WFCommunism, or #WFFlirt?” You will be dictating every step of this journey.” He says it’s possible the trek could come through most anyone’s hometown, within geographic reason, depending in part on the amount of social media activity that community and/or its followers generate. Malcolm will fill in the gaps with his own special brand of nonsense, but he says that never before has an audience had complete control over a living, breathing protagonist before.
“This won’t be a life-of-luxury trip, either,” he said. “We’ll be living off Raman noodles, sleeping in the van and not hotels, and we want it to look and feel gritty.”
The Texas native who was raised in Georgia and graduated from Dartmouth (where he played football) says “this is me catching up on this kind of experience. I had a corporate education background and never did the vagabondish, get-out-of-town thing. But now’s a chance to let go of our responsibilities for a few weeks, have an adventure, get out of our ruts, and let the country drive our journey interactively. What lies ahead and is in store for us is largely dependent on how our viewers and followers direct us.”
One thing the crew does know is that the journey will start in Los Angeles and end in Los Angeles, when the entourage arrives back in town on July 20. In between—who knows?
A number of rewards and incentives are tied in to the Kickstarter program for those who want to support and feel a part of the project. The official Wayfaring website is at http://www.wayfaringlive.com. You can also follow on Twitter: @MalcolmWHM (https://twitter.com/MalcolmWHW) or @WayfaringLive (https:twitter.com/wayfaringlive).