YERT in CA – Full Report!

Dear YERTians,

YERT had a fantastic visit to Los Angeles and San Francisco, just before Thanksgiving. We gave sneak peeks to a few chapters from the upcoming YERT feature film and received extremely positive reviews across the board, from average citizens to industry professionals– from Sony, Warner Brothers, and Disney! Read on for highlights…

While Ben and Scott pulled multiple all-nighters to finish key chapters in advance of our Sony screening, Mark gave 11 YERT presentations in one week, introducing the project to hundreds of peopleĀ– many working in the heart of the entertainment industry. Ben was planning to join me in CA, but a last-minute bout of family flu on the home front kept him in Kentucky to hold down the fort. I missed him on the trip, but his editing efforts at home that week were invaluable…

Here’s a quick outline of what you’ll find in this update:

  • All Saints Church in Pasadena
  • The Great Waste Challenge
  • Warner Brothers
  • Sony Pictures
  • EPA and Berkeley
  • Green Festival
  • Presidio Green MBA Friends
  • Wrap-up
  • ChicoBags for Sale!

All Saints Church in Pasadena
Things got off to a great start with a presentation packed by 50+ eager audience members at All Saints Church in Pasadena. All Saints is a hotbed for activist activity, and the audience was delighted and inspired by the footage and stories from the road trip– so much so that we’re going to try to visit again for another presentation. That event sparked all sorts of interesting activity, including a presentation at USC (University of Southern California) and a private screening for eco-activist friends of Don and Mary Thomas on Wednesday of that week.

The Great Waste Challenge
We also made some headway in the long process of presenting inside elementary, middle, and high schools in the Los Angeles area. A connection through Pittsburgh’s own Carl Kurlander (writer of “St. Elmo’s Fire” and producer of “My Tale of Two Cities” ) put us in touch with Janet Loeb, a parent and green consultant working to bring sustainability to schools in Los Angeles via the “Great Waste Challenge.” They’re working on innovative ways of reducing waste in schools (similar to YERT’s “one shoebox of garbage” challenge), and planning to eventually integrate composting and farming projects to the mix. We love what they’re doing and hope to work together down the road as they bring environmental awareness to schools in fun, creative ways. If it takes off in LA, then we hope to see it expand nationwide!

Warner Brothers
Janet also put us in touch with friends of hers in the media industry, who promptly invited me to their home for a private screening. The husband in that friendly couple is an executive at Warner Brothers, and he was extremely impressed by the YERT project and immediately started brainstorming with me on ways to get our film funded and our footage out into the world. We’ll keep you posted on those efforts as they develop.

Sony Pictures
The Sony presentation was a highlight of the week, and I spent most of the day on-site at their massive studio facility in Culver City. It was a “green Sony day” of sorts, and after lunch with my friendly hosts, I proceeded to attend an event in which they discussed all the ways in which Sony was going green. Kind of amazing to see such a massive business grapple with the early steps of greening their entire organization. They introduced the YERT project by name and encouraged all attendees to go to our screening later that evening! Next I spent a couple hours downloading newly finished film chapters from the all-nighter-pulling dynamic-editing-duo of Ben and Scott, integrated the footage into the presentation, ran through it a couple times, then wandered off to meet my hosts for happy hour, and then on to the screening room for the presentation. I had two full hours in a beautiful screening room– perhaps the most beautiful setting of any YERT screening to-date! I ran through a handful of film chapters, combined with short films, brief video clips, photos and stories. The audience (probably about 25 people) was delighted by the results and I stayed for a while afterwards meeting with viewers who were eager to offer their support and assistance. I’m still busy following up on all those leads as I write this…

EPA and Berkeley
The next big event was a lunchtime presentation at the EPA in San Francisco. I shared stories and videos with the employees there, and made a few contacts with scientists who may be able to help us fact-check elements of the film. Then I drove over towards Berkeley for a private presentation at the home of YERT fans and family Erin and Dio. We had over 20 people that evening, and once again the response was overwhelmingly positive. People laughed and smiled and reflected and talked about what they saw.

Green Festival
I spent the remaining days connecting with friends in San Francisco, including a visit to the SF Green Festival, where I met up with YERT friends Joey Shepp (green new media consultant/entrepreneur – ), Theo Chocolate, Bainbridge Graduate Institute, and a few others. I also found a couple of new things that I felt were worth sharing with you: sells water-soluble dog poo baggies that you can flush down your toilet after walking your dog. Amazing. And, a website that lets you rent items that you own (or want to borrow) (like lawn mower, vacuum cleaner, garden tools, video projector, or other tools that you may use once in a while) for a small fee– helping people do more with less consumption. Everything else was green and interesting, but didn’t jump out like Rentalic and DogFlushies.

Presidio Green MBA Friends and More
I also want to give a shout out to Ali Hart and Ted Ko from the Presidio Sustainable MBA program for helping to spread the word about YERT throughout California. They were instrumental in getting the Sony presentation set up and continue to be thoughtful inspirations and sounding boards for YERTy ideas as they surface. And I also want to thank Damien Somerset ( and for more great connections and helpful brainstorming in Los Angeles.

It is difficult to put into words the support and encouragement– not to mention the joy– that I felt and received from enthusiastic old and new YERT fans during this recent adventure. It put wind into the YERT sails and gives us a good feeling that the film to which we have (yourselves included) dedicated so much time, money, blood, sweat, tears, will make a powerful difference in the lives of those who experience it. All we need to do is finish it up and get it out there– and that will surely come in the months ahead.

ChicoBags for Sale!
We’re still low on funds and need thousands to properly finish the film. Please consider a tax-deductible YERT donation this holiday season: . A healthy, YERTy planet may well be the best gift you can give to your children. We are also sitting on an inventory of nearly 300 YERT ChicoBags, and would love to sell them to continue funding the film. They make great holiday gifts (and gift WRAPPERS) — please check them out and buy a few at our online store: .

Thank you all for your continued enthusiasm and support for YERT and our planet. It’s going to get more and more interesting as these days pass…

YERTfully Yours,
Mark (and Ben and Julie!)

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