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Going The Distance: A Honeymoon Adventure
2014, 82m, adventure, documentary
This is the story of a couple who put their relationship to the ultimate test in order to find the secret of everlasting love. Part travelogue, part cross-cultural story-finding, and part scientific experiment, this film tells the story of the couple’s love, insane honeymoon, and quest for a lasting marriage.
Mike and Alanna drove a motorbike and sidecar from Alaska to Argentina and interviewed 120 couples about how to stay together for life. They also subjected themselves to scientific tests, to see if their marriage would last. They found out the results at the end of the road...
10 questions with Going The Distance: A Honeymoon Adventure director, Mike Clear at the half-way mark.
Monday, July 25th, 2016
1Hi Mike & Alanna! Thanks for being a part of our 2016 Summer Festival. First, what was the initial seed that made you want to make this documentary? We just wanted to go on honeymoon. But it needed to have a purpose. I had already driven a motorbike and sidecar across the US, and had always wanted to drive down it. As global routes go, it's one of the best - and only has 2 languages. We're fluent in one of them, so it seemed like a good start.
2How did you meet all these couples? Did you spontaneously meet them all on the road and how did you determine who to interview for your film? We wanted to find couples who represented the area we were in; so through a combination of Google (that's how we found Rigoberta Menchu in Guatemala; a living nobel peace prize laureate) - and through walking into bars and talking to people It was an excellent way of meeting people, and getting a sense of the place we were in, rather than just observing towns from a hotel / tourist trail. We interviewed everyone we could, so 120 interviews in total. Which turns out to be too many for an editor to deal with. I think only 7 or 8 made it into the final cut. We could certainly have been more selective!
3You took a few couple's tests that would determine if you were a good couple or not. How nerve wracking was that and did you have a back up plan for if the test said you weren't compatible? The three test we took were with the best relationship scientists in the world. The first was a DNA test, to see if we were genetically compatible. Then we had a brain scan to see if we were neurophysiologically in love (NYU neurophysiologist & anthropologists looked at all three brains systems, for Sex, Romance & Attachment) , and finally in Seattle we had a day of psychometric testing to see if our personalities were compatible. This last test was particularly nerve wracking, as John Gottman developed a way in which he could tell, with 96% accuracy whether a couple would stay together for life or not - based on only 3 minutes of conversation. The plan for the end of the journey was to have a ship's captain to renew our vows in the harbour of Ushuaia, and a Divorce Lawyer on standby, to divorce us if the results were not favourable. And even now I think that bad results from the experts, or indeed the road itself, would have made us think twice about having a family.
Fortunately for our two boys we came out the other side of the project stronger; otherwise they wouldn't exist....
4Did you two ever have the urge to turn off the cameras, quit the doc and just enjoy your honeymoon? We had 3 days off in 260. We just didn't stop; and although I don't regret it now, there were certainly times when we (I) could have been kinder to ourselves!
5I loved the advice you gave at the end of the film about how to improve your relationship. Do you have any advice on some things couples shouldn't do? So much advice. And so little space in which to write it. 82 minutes is not even enough time to do the advice justice; but it's a start.
All I would say is don't ignore your relationship, and a good starting point for conversation would be to watch this film. There are plenty of opinions in there that you will disagree with, as much as will agree with.
6This is such an ambitious documentary. How long did it take you from beginning to end? 6 years. 6 long years.
Only 9 months on the road, then regrettably a couple of years with the wrong editor - before finally finding the right editor who had the patience and the interest in the project to bring it to life.
7Which stop along your journey do you think is the best spot for a honeymoon? El Sunzal, El Salvador. Maybe.
(Do it all, do the whole damned road...)
8Would you recommend taking an epic adventure on your honeymoon? Of course. Particularly now that we have kids, it's the best thing we could possibly have done with our time before we became parents. We don't have time for anything quite as adventurous now.
It was a fantastic way of preparing ourselves for the adventures of parenthood - the trials and tribulations were essential "dry run". Though nothing can really prepare you for the scale of having children.
9What was the one piece of advice you've gotten that has helped you out the most in your relationship? Just think about your relationship. You have to start somewhere.
And all the cliches you've heard are cliches for a reason.
10What's next? I wanted to do a self-sufficiency urban farming project with the family - but my wife has had enough of massive multi-year documentary projects.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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