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The Tao Of Yow: Fly Fishing, Filmmaking, And Just Saying Yes

Yow: Icelandic for Yes! from Tributaries Digital Cinema

Despite what you may think, fly fishing is actually cool. Fly fishing in Iceland is even cooler, and not just the temperature. The common perception around fly fishing culture is that it’s a gentleman’s sport, but documentary filmmaker RC Cone wants to change that.

RC is an outdoor enthusiast and Montana native where, as he puts it, “You move there and are basically handed a fly rod and a snowboard.” He became disillusioned by the persistent stereotypes surrounding sports he loved, including fly fishing. A documentary filmmaker by trade, he sought to disrupt the gentlemanly conversation surrounding fly fishing by adopting the mantra of just saying yes… or rather, YOW.

Just Say Yow

RC and his team travelled to Iceland with the express purpose of getting out of their comfort zones and diving deep into fly fishing, surfing, travel, and the concept of just saying “yes,” or, in Icelandic, “Já” (pronounced “Yow”). The team brought a fisherman out to learn to surf in Iceland, and taught an Icelandic surfer how to fly fish.

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“What we really wanted to push forth in this documentary is that it doesn’t matter whether you’re a surfer or a fisher or a hiker,” RC explains, “It’s all about this experience and opening up the world to new things.”

RC had been to Iceland before, but felt like he missed something. So for this trip he and his crew avoided fancy lodges in favor of eating spaghetti and hot dogs from the back of their truck, roughing it, and really diving into all that the Icelandic landscape had to offer.

Crafting A New Voice

RC really relished the idea of crafting a new voice around a sport he loves. The community of fly fishing is small, and by making a film and conducting a film tour with screenings for fly fishers across the country, he gave access to his divergent experiences and attitude.

In the outdoor enthusiast world, people often associate youthful culture with sports like snowboarding and surfing. This can partially be attributed to the wealth of daring and fun documentaries put out by members of the community, from the Banff film festival to the Endless Summer documentary series. These documentaries not only explore the sport, but also the culture surrounding these hobbies. This media drives the conversation and, subsequently, the perception of the sport to viewers both inside and outside of the sport.

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RC wants to provide the same effect for fly fishing. “What I found out about the media around fly fishing is that it’s very young, it’s 10 years behind the snowboarding and surfing media and documentaries,” RC says, “What’s really exciting for me is I have an opportunity to help define what fly fishing looks like presently and in the future.”

Reeling It In

When it came time to reel in their catches and start editing footage, RC said he was lucky to have Trello. A self described “junk show,” he explains he relied on it to keep his distributed team, and, just as critically, himself organized.

“Working with my editor and my writer, I’d finish a rough cut of the movie, add it to DropBox, then connect it to Trello. They would chime in with notes and ask questions on Trello.” RC said it was great for assigning tasks to different people. For example, if he needed header titles, he would just add his editor to the card so he knew it needed to get done.

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 3.56.52 PMThis is a sample board based on RC's filmmaking workflow.

RC and his team created lists for everything. From Post Production to Marketing, he kept it all on one Trello board. He says, “it kept me sane while I was trying to talk to 50 people at once.” He documented all his communication with Sponsors on individual cards, so he could keep track of where he was in the funding process. He easily onboarded interns, because access to the Trello board gave an immediate overview of the progress for any initiative.

“It’s not just a to do list,” he explains, “it’s a process. It’s a great way to disseminate information.”

RC and his crew are taking their story of adrenaline, adventure, and the ability to accept new situations across the country. Yow: Icelandic For Yes! is currently being screened at the 2015 Fly Fishing Film Tour in 185 cities. Their message of embracing challenges and adapting on the fly (pun intended) transcends the sport itself and captures the spirit of their message: whatever the challenge, just say Yes.

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Special thank you to RC Cone for sharing his filmmaking processes and life philosophies.