Interview: Dave Lingwood - The Buried Life
What do you want to do before you die? Play basketball with Obama? Catch a fugitive? Or maybe you want to crash the CMT Awards to ask out Taylor Swift? Well, Dave Lingwood has done all of these things and knows exactly what it's like to ask that question of himself. Out of it grew a popular and inspirational reality MTV show where Dave and his three other friends - Ben, Jonnie, and Duncan - travel the country trying to complete a list of "100 things they want to do before they die." For every item they cross off their list, they help a perfect stranger accomplish one of their dreams. Season two saw Dave and his friends crashing a parade, capturing a fugitive, marry a stranger in Vegas and attempting to raise $1,000,000.
SM: Are you still married?
DL: We actually got it annulled. We are still together but we got the marriage annulled just because we didn't ... it was just a little bit too much pressure to stay married. We did it for a little while and we were like "good god we are married" and we actually started liking each other and we actually started dating. So it kinda worked out really well but we actually got it annulled and now we are just boyfriend/girlfriend.
SM: Interesting. Now, how did The Buried Life start?
DL: Buried Life started more from a feeling of being discontent with what we were doing in our lives. The four of us weren't even that good of friends before the project but we all were just frustrated with where we were in our lives and what we were doing. Duncan and Ben met at a bar one night and started talking about doing a film and - we're all from the same neighborhood, I should mention - so Ben knew that Jonnie was really into film (he's Duncan's little brother) and said we should call him and talk about doing the film together. So they called Jonnie, and Jonnie and I had been having conversations so Jonnie said "let me call my friend Dave" and threw me into the mix. And that's how we all met. We just got on Skype and started throwing out ideas and after about two months of brainstorming we came up with the idea of taking two weeks off at the end of the summer and going on a road trip and filming the whole thing trying to cross off a list of 100 things to do before we die, and for everything we did we were going to help a stranger along the way do something they wanted to do.
SM: That's the interesting thing about your show. What made you guys decide to help other people cross off items on their lists?
DL: You know, a lot of people ask that but right from the beginning it just felt selfish if we were just going to go out and do all the things that we wanted to do, so it was just a natural thing for us to want to pay it forward. If people are going to help us go after the things we want to do - because you need help, you need people to facilitate your dreams most of the time - then you have to pay that forward and help other people do the things they want to do.
SM: You just finished your second season with MTV. How did this deal with MTV come about?
DL: Well, we were getting pretty big on Youtube around the time of 2008 and MTV gave us a call. We had actually been pitched to do two TV shows before that MTV deal came around and we said no to them because they wanted to take all the creativity and control away from us and we were just not interested in doing that because we had been doing it on our own for so long. When MTV came, they told us that they would just broadcast it and we could do whatever we wanted. We would edit the episodes, send them the finished product and they would air it. And that's exactly what we wanted to do because we started making this for our friends so that's what we wanted to have the ability to do. Tony DiSanto was really the guy who was like "you can do that," so we are really thankful to Tony DiSanto for letting us have the ability to do it.
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