I stumbled into the Small House Movement by accident of location -- my parents live within miles of the tiny house poster boy Jay Shafer and his 89 square foot home, but within a couple of years I had become a part of it as one of the few, and most likely only, videographers documenting small shelters on a regular basis.
What the mainstream media overlooked
When I first interviewed Shafer five years ago, he was one of just a handful of "Tiny House People" visible to the press. In the past five years I've helped turn a handful of inhabitants of small shelters into micro-celebrities.
- My micro-documentary with Felice Cohen in her 90-square-foot Manhattan home was picked up by dozens of major newspapers worldwide, hundreds of blogs and tv shows like Good Morning America (over four million video views).
- The Arkansas family who left their 2,000-square-foot home for a 320-square-foot "shotgun shack" began receiving calls from international media soon after I posted their short film (1.4 million views).
- My friend Christian Schallert, who I profiled in his tiny, morphing converted pigeon coop in Barcelona, said he felt like Justin Bieber with all the Facebook friend requests he received after his video went viral (3.4 million views).
- My tour of architect Luke Clark Taylor's 78-square-foot apartment quickly passed the one million mark (1.3 million views)
- My first video on the topic: Jay Shafer's tiny home tour now has over one million views.
I continue to discover people who often aren't even aware there's a movement of their type (see Small House Society) of living in shipping containers, shacks, houseboats, converted garages, caves, tool sheds, former pigeon coops, Airstream trailers and treehouses. They don't all think alike, but all those I've interviewed see their decision to live small as a choice, and often as the most direct path to an examined, and happier, life.
faircompanies' first documentary
After filming hundreds of hours of tape, I am now telling my version on the tiny house story in the forth-coming documentary We the Tiny House People (Release date: April 23, 2012 via my youtube channel).
I'm reluctant to claim there's some sort of magic in small abodes. I'm sure some people are watching simply for the "house porn" (as Shafer describes it), but it's obvious these stripped-down shelters reveal for us the essence of home, and for many, make it a bit easier to "suck the marrow out of life" (Henry David Thoreau, 1854).
To be notified on the documentary's release: subscribe to Kirsten Dirksen's youtube channel.