Friday night, 2 of the 4 members of “The Buried Life”, Ben & Dave, came to Southern Connecticut State University to talk a little bit about their project. Some of you may know “The Buried Life” from their TV show on MTV. Their project is this: They pose the question “What do you want to do before you die?”. As Ben, Dave, Jonnie and Duncan travel trying to cross items off their own list, they also help a stranger cross an item off their list.
They talked a little bit about how they all met and how the project started. In the beginning, Ben just made a lot of phone calls and was able to get sponsors and donations so they could buy an RV and travel around trying to cross some items off their list. They started small and were persistent – Ben was a Knight for a day, they made it on the front page of the newspaper (twice), and they opened the 6 o’clock news. The next summer they tried to go a little bigger.
One of the items on the list was to make their own TV show. They did get an offer from a Canadian company but they wouldn’t have full creative control so they turned it down. Dave said this was hard to do because they were all broke, but they wanted to do things their own way and stay close to the project since they had created it. A little while later, MTV came to them and they said they wanted full control and wanted to make things happen on their own – not because MTV was orchestrating things. MTV said ok and The Buried Life began filming.
For their first episode they broke in to the Playboy Mansion. They figured they should call Playboy first to let them know that it would air – but Playboy said they would sue the guys and charge them with breaking in entering if they did. They tried to go to the VP but were told the same thing so they wrote a letter to Hugh Hefner. He gave them the OK to play the episode – but also said he was very disappointed in the boys. (Dave, who grew up a Hugh fan said it was cooler to be scolded by Hugh than it was to have broken in to the place!)
If you watch the show – you’ll know that one of the items on the list was to play basketball with the President. The guys are all Canadian so they knew that it would be a long shot, but they found Reggie Love’s number and Obama doesn’t play if Reggie isn’t on the court with him. The show was to be continued because they didn’t make it happen, but they showed us “secret” footage before their talk ended. Reggie invited the guys to check out the White House when Obama was not there. They were in new suits they had just bought and shooting around on the court with a camera they snuck in in their underwear! As one of them is on the phone with a friend bragging they are at the white house – they turn around and in walks Obama! He said he had seen the show and figured he could come shoot some hoops with them! So. Awesome. (There had been news reports out that this had happened – so I figure it is no big deal that I gave this away)
The moral of their story was simple. Help others and don’t stop if you believe in something because there is a way to make it happen. (I mean, who really thought they’d get Obama to play ball with them?) Find sponsors, make phone calls, don’t take no as an answer!