Kevin Costner is aware of a superb story when he hears one.
That is why he stated he was intrigued when he heard about an app designed to alert vacationers of notable, but typically unnoticed, locations of curiosity alongside their journeys.
“I am the man that driving round America … if you see these bronze markers alongside the best way, I wish to cease. I wish to learn what was there,” he stated. “It is one thing of historical past, and I keep in mind being actually thrilled by that. In any other case, you are simply watching the miles click on off.”
An app that might ship compelling, well timed tales straight to him was interesting, he stated, since “a superb story has all the time been one thing that is thrilled me.”
Costner was loosely related to the app’s creator, entrepreneur Woody Sears, by way of their youngsters, Sears stated. Whereas the app was in preliminary phases, Costner agreed to relate a number of tales earlier than ultimately becoming a member of the corporate as a co-founder.
The app — known as HearHere — launched in August 2020, fortuitously coinciding with one of many largest journey tendencies of the Covid period: the resurrection of the street journey.
A ‘street journey story information’
Just like the previous two years, street journeys are anticipated to dominate this summer season, based on a survey by journey web site The Vacationer. Practically 80% of American adults — or some 206 million People — plan to take one, based on the survey of almost 1,100 American in March.
Nevertheless, HearHere — which is billed as a “street journey story information” — was in improvement earlier than the pandemic, stated Sears.
“The concept of journey had modified for lots of people,” stated Sears. “We occurred to open our doorways similtaneously the shift.”
Kevin Costner stated a key a part of the app HearHere is to inform the tales of the individuals who first inhabited North America, a topic on the coronary heart of his Academy Award-winning movie “Dances With Wolves.”
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Costner stated he is been concerned with a number of start-ups, however this one “was within the wheelhouse of what I already do when it comes to storytelling, and my type of love of historical past,” stated Costner.
From “The Untouchables” to “JFK” and “Wyatt Earp,” a lot of Costner’s most well-known films have touched upon pivotal figures in American historical past. A key cause for his involvement with HearHere was his want to inform the tales of the primary individuals to inhabit North America. It is a topic he explored within the 1990 Academy Award-winning movie “Dances With Wolves,” which Costner starred in, directed and produced.
“That was the elemental for me … who’re the primary individuals? — as a result of there is not any right here with out realizing who was there earlier than,” he stated.
The more durable truths
HearHere has greater than 9,000 tales so far, with matters starting from Abraham Lincoln to Janis Joplin, and from Kentucky’s Nationwide Corvette Museum to Nashville’s music scene.
However to Costner, telling the more durable truths about U.S. historical past is paramount too.
“Our story just isn’t all the time an ideal one. There was a lot violence in America. We’re watching violence play out now throughout the globe … to assume that that did not happen right here — it did,” he stated.
Tales about America’s Founding Fathers and its Civil Struggle battlefields are interspersed with histories of Mississippi cities settled by slaves and the disenfranchisement of Black individuals.
“We do not have to be ashamed about it,” stated Costner. “We generally is a little embarrassed, nevertheless it’s extra embarrassing to not know.”
An increase in audio content material
HearHere has been downloaded greater than 400,000 occasions and has subscribers in each U.S. state, stated Sears. The corporate introduced in February it had raised $3.2 million in seed funding, led by the American leisure car firm Tenting World.
Although he is on the forefront of a brand new cell app firm, Costner indicated he is not a lot into tech. He stated most cell apps “fly over my head” and, of HearHere’s Twitter web page: “I do not even know the right way to get on it.”
The co-founders of HearHere: Woody Sears, Kevin Costner and Invoice Werlin. “I am not a figurehead … that is my curiosity,” stated Costner.
“I used to be actually raised with wolves,” he stated. “If I have to develop my life … I’ve to open my ears, I’ve to open my eyes. Once I’m touring throughout the nation, my nostril does not must be in a pc — it must be looking.”
Sears stated so-called “display screen fatigue” is without doubt one of the causes audio content material outpaced video content material in 2021. Audio leisure can be simpler to combine into every day life as a result of it may be consumed whereas “strolling, driving and doing chores, versus video which is primarily watched whereas stationary,” he stated.
Demand for audio companies surged through the pandemic, with corporations reminiscent of Amazon, Twitter and Fb asserting expanded audio platforms over the previous a number of years.
Launching into different nations?
Whereas U.S.-based tales proceed to be added to HearHere, Costner stated the corporate has a mannequin that lends itself nicely to worldwide growth.
He stated the corporate remains to be refining its enterprise and listening to its prospects, however “I like to leap off the web page fairly actually … attempt one thing new,” he stated.
Costner stated he applies the same method to his films.
“It is easy to comply with a development — it is far more troublesome to attempt to be authentic. Traits, or the repetition of one thing common, is a method you make some huge cash,” he stated. “Doing one thing that is basic — that nobody’s felt like they’ve ever seen earlier than — can stay eternally.”