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I headed back to Idaho Falls, by way of Boise, by way of Minneapolis, by way of Detroit this past weekend. In the final stretch of finishing up the film we needed some more riverside audio from Ross, Colby and Rebecca to round out their stories.

After drinks and dinner Friday night at The Celt with Chris Hunt, Bryan Foresman, Colby, Rebecca and Ross, we all met up at the Fred Meyers parking lot Saturday morning – Ross’ pup, Bobo included- to play follow the leader down the road to Henry’s Fork. We finished the day enjoying steak, sweet potato fries, drinks and laughs with Chris and his kids at their home. Day two found Colby, Rebecca and me heading west from Idaho Falls through the desert for a certain valley and river that rumored some extremely fit rainbows. I cannot confirm or deny any such rumors (all of our phones died while there).

If it hit the mid-20’s during those two days, that’d be a generous thermometer reading. It’s no matter though — we got our audio. And the opportunity to see everyone – and fish of course – made it totally worthwhile. Now, back to the edit.

— Smythe


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I had written before about stories that folks have shared with us regarding how Deliberate Life echoes the changes they’ve made in their life, or has renewed their hope that change is possible. This particular story was the first one we received – and it hit me square in the chest, being an Army Veteran myself and reading about the guts behind his decision. To me – it’s these real-life experiences and the common ground we’re discovering with people that make our project so worthwhile.

The first part is the initial email from Dave. The second is a response from our continued conversation, a month or so later.

This morning one of the shops I follow posted the link to your A Deliberate Life trailer. The video was inspiring and hit close to home, because after 7 years in the Army, a couple of front line deployments, and 3 corporate years in and out of airports running the suit and tie gauntlet, I decided three weeks ago to no longer be that guy. The time has come to pursue my own passion for the outdoors and fly-fishing, versus “the expected.” The decision, completely outside my box and against the safe approach, finally just came easy, as also mentioned in the video. Freaked out and trying to figure out how it’s all playing out, I’m just running with it and seeing what the adventure brings.

Anyway, the only reason for writing is to voice encouragement and to thank you. The video strengthened the confidence in my own personal decision and I look forward to the final video.

Your e-mail was interestingly timed too and I received it on my phone at the gas station on the border of Idaho and Oregon, near the Owhyee River. I had stopped to grab coffee and fuel for my moving truck as I finalized the last leg of my move from Colorado to Oregon. I don’t know about signs, but if anything it was a positive note to see along the journey and made me smile. Some of my friends think I’m crazy to leave the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and move back to rainy Oregon, particularly after being gone for 10+ years, but I love it here. Oregon and the northwest are home, it’s where my heart is, where my family is and if that requires explanation, than I’m not sure they’ll ever understand it, which is ok. Personally, it’s also where I want to chase my passion for the outdoors, particularly fly fishing for steelhead and the laid back enjoyment of the northwest. It’s been an interesting decade and the last 2-years were rough, but when it came down to really looking at what I wanted, it was simple and I just went for it. I put my house on market to free an anchor and amazingly it sold 4-days later, so I packed up my stuff, threw the dogs in the truck and headed west, landing last night in time for Thanksgiving with everyone. The puzzle pieces are still falling into place and I’m figuring a lot of them out as I go, which is way outside the comfort box for me, but other than having a good story about a wrecker having to tow my moving truck the last two hours through wicked rain storms, it’s an adventure I’m enjoying and looking forward to seeing what the next chapter brings.


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Two of the big prizes for the Rochester event from Kast and T&T

Two of the big prizes for the Rochester IF4 screening

The International Fly Fishing Film Festival (and A Deliberate Life) has been logging stops across North and South America since the festival kicked off at the Fly Fishing Show in Denver this past January. You can check out the trailers for the features that have been selected for this year at flyfilmfest.com. Pretty damn cool to know that our work is among such great company, and will be seen at well over 100 venues by the time 2013 is out.

Even so, when everything’s said and done, the big show for us…

May 17th
The Little Theater
Rochester, NY
(show time and tickets available here)

That’s right. We’re bringing the festival to our stomping grounds for one-night-only and screening it at arguably one of the coolest independent film theaters in the country. We’ve already secured generous donations from Kast Gear, Thomas & Thomas Fly Rods, Wide Sky Fly Fishing, Jackson’s Fly Fishing, Angler’s Choice Flies and Pile Cast Flies for the evening’s raffle prizes, plus many more door-prizes (fly fishing and non-fly fishing related) to come. We’re also hoping to release the full-length film for purchase on DVD that evening. Fingers crossed. In the mean-time, you can pre-order your copy (or copies) of the film on the “Shop” section of our site.

That said, as great as it is to watch some stellar films and win stuff, we’re also proud to announce that we’ll be making a donation from the evening’s proceeds to Project Healing Waters in support of their mission to aid in the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veterans through fly fishing and fly tying education and outings.

So, get the date saved in your smartphone, inked on your kitchen calendar or written on your hand — and get your tickets today! They’re available for $15 each through the IF4 box-office, or for $20 the night of the show.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!


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We go through our days living life the best we can. And by our own estimation, there is little that we’d consider remarkable about our lives or ourselves or our stories. We hope that we’re making some sort of difference, leaving some sort of mark – by being good dads or husbands or friends, by treating people fairly, giving back and standing by our beliefs, by doing work we love with people we love being around.

We don’t like to admit that we’re making a difference or doing big things – we’re just making our way like everyone else. So, we’re rarely privy to the impact, if any, we make in the day-to-day hustle and flow of our lives, and just how far-reaching the effect of our actions can be. We don’t seek it out, because while positive change is our hope, it is its own reward and will happen whether we’re cognizant of it or not.

Since we released the first promo for A Deliberate Life last August however, we’ve received a handful of fantastic emails from people in response to the project – many sharing their own moments of stepping into traffic, or simply rediscovering what’s important in life. Quite suddenly, we’re getting to see the effect of our work. It’s humbling, and honestly, emotional to know that our stories do actually matter outside of the small universes we exist in.

To that end, with the permission of the folks who have sent us their stories, we’d like to share parts of them here (one at a time, mind you – not the whole enchilada). This first one comes from Allison Heutsche, about her dad, John Heutsche.

My father sent me the link to the trailer for your film. He LOVED it so much that both he and my mom keep in in their inbox to watch it over and over again, especially on days when they need a little reminder of beauty.

My dad started fly fishing almost 10 years ago and has since become very passionate about the art, relaxation and meditation of the sport. He ties his own flies (I attached a photo of him at work) and spends hours in the rivers when weather permits him to do so. He took my sister and I to a weekend long fly fishing school in PA two years ago to share his passion with us. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget.

John busy at his tying bench


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Don't let the blue skies fool you.

I left a blizzard in Western NY Thursday evening the week before last, bound for Somerset New Jersey – the latest stop for the Fly Fishing Show and screening of IF4. I was looking forward to catching up with some of my East Coast fly fishing/tying/blogging cohort, meeting some new industry folks and seeing the Film Fest again.

The Garden State Convention Center doors opened Friday morning for the show with a crazy long line, blue skies and damn cold temps. The floor was packed the whole day. Of course, a nasty snow storm was forecast to arrive in the afternoon. And it did. Sort of like a Mack truck with lousy brakes. A hearty group of fly fishing film-goers stuck it out though and gathered in the Double Tree ballroom to check out some pretty stellar visuals and story-lines. It was a great evening – and weekend.

Between comments here on the blog, emails and personal response I’ve received from folks at the two festivals we’ve attended (Denver and Jersey), the Silo4 and Deliberate Life team are grateful for all the positive feedback. It’s humbling to know that the film is getting in front of so many people — and having such an impact.

Between Grant, myself, Matt, Dustin or members of the film’s cast (read: Rebecca, Colby and Ross), hopefully we’ll be able to make it to a few more stops as the festival schedule rolls on and meet more of you.

We’re getting into the final edit of the full-length film soon and will be offering pre-order sales of the DVD and DVD/Soundtrack packages here on the site. Stay tuned!

We’ve confirmed the date for the IF4 screening we’ll be hosting in Rochester, NY — Friday May 17th at the Little Theater. We’re also working on another venue in Manhattan. Tickets will be available on the IF4 site soon.

Got your tickets?


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This Thursday, Grant and I will travel to Denver for ADL’s first big-screen appearance at the U.S. Premier of IF4 on Friday evening. We’ll also be kicking around the floor of The Fly Fishing Show, putting handshakes, smiles and beers together with names like Perkins, Cutchin, Block, Yukon, Sanders, Romano, Snyder, Garlock, The Beard and Hackbarth (to name a few). We’ll probably attempt to fish at some point as well – although the prospect of casting #26 midges to picky January-in-Denver trout is probably far less glamorous than it sounds.

Regardless, we’re a bit more than fired up about the itinerary, and I’ll be posting up pics and such as the weekend unfolds. Stay tuned.

…and Happy New Year!



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Sunrise start

We all woke on that first morning with every good intention to get started. Instead we elected to simply sit, enjoy some coffee and quiet conversation and take care of a little last-minute fly box organizing.

Mornings like this – on trips like this – don’t come around all that often. After all the planning and dreaming and and hoping, we had finally arrived. We knew that the moment we started rolling, we’d be one step closer to wrapping up and heading home.

And we just weren’t ready for that.


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We’ve been back from Idaho three months. That’s it. Three. It feels like it’s been a damn year.

But looking back through a stack (OK – Instagram library) of shots I took with my phone while we were out there – I can still smell the sage on the morning breeze with my first cup of coffee, feel the chill of evening fill the canyon as we jet back up-river to the launch, hear the constant churning and rushing song just beyond the pines at camp, and taste the Old No.7 at day’s-end with some fantastic friends. I know it’s just in my mind – but that’s where I count on it always being.

And now we’re off and running on this new adventure with the Film Festival – first stop, Denver in January. We have no idea where this is all going to go, or what any of it means – it’ll be interesting to see just how we wind up at Point B from here.

But we’re damn thankful for the support and encouragement everyone’s given us so far.

It’s mighty cool of you.


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OK – show of hands – who likes getting up in front of a crowd to do a presentation? Not gonna lie – I’ve got both hands up. I just use the old trick of picturing everyone in the room naked (actually, there’s an app for that).

Well, about a week or so ago, Grant and I had the opportunity to present at a monthly networking series hosted by the Rochester Advertising Federation called 20 Minutes and a Beer. Essentially, we rambled on in front of a whole mess of our hometown, ad-community colleagues about our freelance paths and how the Deliberate Life project came to be – then we unveiled the 3-minute promo you’ve seen here.

The evening, the audience, the flow…was fantastic. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we’re wildly fortunate to have the bad-ass group of friends in our corner that we do. They’re a huge part of why this project is possible.

On a related note: IF4 is going to be announcing the full list of filmakers for this year’s festival circuit, as well as dates, very soon. In the meantime, we’re excited to announce that we’ll be bringing the Festival to Rochester, NY on Friday May 17th.

Stay tuned for details and start saving your shekels for the trip up. Spring fishing in Upstate NY is stellar.