Jonathan Huffman just sold all his stuff.
The Redlands native has called San Diego home since the age of 12, but has decided to embark upon a new beginning. In the coming weeks, the musician/filmmaker will move to a commune in Chico, CA, where he’ll write and record a full-length album, all while documenting the process as a weekly web series titled Mr. Huffman’s Opus.
You can watch a video of him explaining the concept here:
We caught up with Huffman, who was in the midst of packing what remains of his belongings, to discuss the project.
How did the idea for Mr. Huffman’s Opus come about?
It started in October when I got really sick. I had a flu with a mild fever and spent a lot of time watching movies (more time than normal). I watched every show I had been meaning to watch in the last couple years and a lot of Netflix Instant View documentaries. The more programs I watched, the more I realized how boring everything is out there and how I could make something just as good, if not better. I needed a premise though. Thanks to the mold, I would have one.
What do you mean by mold?
I found out the reason I had been getting sick so much this year was the mold in my basement apartment. I quickly decided to make a choice and the choice was to move. I wanted a fresh start. I wanted to make something of myself with all the ideas I’ve been saving up in my notebooks. Now that I was a freelancer, I didn’t have a permanent job holding me down and, with no girlfriend either, wanderlust kicked in. I’ve always loved to write and record my own songs, but never felt that I’d created a full album that I was proud of.
And you felt you couldn’t do that in San Diego?
I needed a change of scenery. I needed to be out of my comfort zone. I needed to get away. I felt these urges were a common feeling with a lot of people I know and wanted a way for them to feel like they weren’t alone. That’s where the idea of making it a documentary came from. To try and capture the process of not only trying to record an album, but leaving everything you know and going somewhere else to do it. To inspire others to pursue their own passions and not be afraid to do so. Plus I love storytelling. Hence this giant answer to your simple question.
How did you go about funding the move?
One of my friends started a web series and had raised money for it through kickstarter.com, a website dedicated to helping creative people start creative projects. I thought, “this could be exactly the kind of motivation I need.” If I can get enough support for this project, then I will know that people want me to create something of my own.
Will the web series have a standard form, running time, release schedule, etc., or do you think it will vary?
I want it to have a standard form as much as possible. Although, since I’m not sure what the content will be yet, I’m not sure what all of that will be exactly. Ideally, it will be once a week on the same day, with the same amount of time per episode. That’s if everything goes to plan. I don’t want to get so focused on filming and editing that I take myself out of the experience too much.
Have you already written the album you plan on recording?
No no, that’s a part of the process that will be shown in the doc. I’ve got ideas and concepts I’d like to explore but as far as actual songs at this point, no.
That seems to be part of the adventure: seeing how much your new locale influences the eventual album.
Yeah. The locale, the journey, the people I meet, the trials and failures along the way. Hopefully the successes as well.
Are you planning on moving back to San Diego once recording is complete?
I’m not sure if I’ll be back immediately or not; I think thats for time to tell. Maybe I’ll continue traveling and filming if people really like the program. I’ve always wanted to hop on a train for a month or so, and I hear Chico’s got a great station to do it. Let me put it this way though: If the world was a game of freeze tag, I would like to consider San Diego my home base. I’ll be back.
Follow Mr. Huffman’s Opus on Facebook.