LA Filmmaker keeps roots in Chicago in docu-series

When former Chicago Screenwriters Network member and filmmaker Erin R. Dooley decided to make a collaborative self-help film project while walking the The Wicklow Way, an 85-mile stretch through the mountains in Ireland, she immediately turned to her friends back in Illinois.

They told her to take a hike. She did.

The result is a four-episode YouTube docu-series called Wander on Purpose, in which Dooley, joined by other hikers, share thoughts on life and contemplating the effect nature has on them. It was released July 18.

As an avid hiker, I was anxious to check out the webisodes.

Dooley’s friends JC Farris and Vickie Eisenstein were quick to respond to Dooley’s call for people to grab their cameras and film their hikes. The trio had just worked with on a web series called Gaff It Girl when Dooley was in town for Christmas.

“I wrote prompts for each of the seven days to direct what people should talk about,” says Dooley. “Then I crossed my fingers that I’d get some usable footage to piece together!”

Erin R. Dooley

She ended up with more than enough footage from the other 10 hikers, including Farris and Eisenstein.

Farris, a Chicago-area screenwriter and film director agreed because, “It was a great opportunity to force myself to get away from my computer and not only connect with nature, but knowing Erin was doing the same in Ireland, I was also spiritually connecting with my friend.”

Eisenstein, a Chicago-area comic actor and YouTube-r, said, “It’s incredible that at the exact same time I was filming myself taking a walk in suburban Chicago, ruminating on my purpose, others were doing the exact same thing all around the world. It’s really awesome that a film can be made collaboratively like this one was!”

The series explores the positive effect that connecting with nature has on us. Dooley, with her soothing demeanor and voice, encourages others to go for a walk to contemplate the topics discussed in the episodes and join the conversation on the DASH Entertainment YouTube channel. You can see the episodes here. I will watch later as I suddenly feel inspired to go for a hike.

Follow Colin Costello on Twitter @colincostello10.