Kevin Costner knows a good story when he hears one.
That’s why he was intrigued when he heard of an application designed to alert travelers of the remarkable places of interest, but often unnoticed, throughout their journey.
“I’m the guy that drives America around…when you see those bronze markers along the way, I want to quit. I want to read what was there,” he said. “It’s something of history, and I remember being really delighted by it. Otherwise, you’re just watching the miles click off. »
An application that directly send her captivating and timely stories was attractive, has he said, because “a good story has always been something that made me happy.”
Costner was loosely connected to the app’s creator, entrepreneur Woody Sears, through their children, Sears said. While the app was in the preliminary stages, Costner agreed to tell several stories before eventually joining the company as a co-founder.
The app – called HearHere – was launched in August 2020, coinciding by chance with one of the biggest travel trends Covid era: the resurrection of the road trip.
A “guide to road trip stories”
As in the past two years, road trips are expected to dominate this summer, according to a survey by travel website The Vacationer. Almost 80% of American adults – or some 206 million Americans – plan to take one, according to the survey of nearly 1,100 Americans in March.
However, Hearhere – which is billed as a “road trip history guide” – was in development before the pandemic, Sears said.
“The idea of travel has changed for a lot of people,” Sears said. “We happened to open our doors at the same time as the shift.
Kevin Costner said a key part of the Hearhere app is telling the stories of the people who first inhabited North America, a subject central to his Academy Award-winning film “Dances with Wolves.” »
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Costner said he’s been involved with several start-ups, but this one “was in the wheelhouse of what I’m already doing in terms of storytelling and my kind of love of story,” Costner said.
From “The Untouchables” to “JFK” and “Wyatt Earp,” many of Costner’s best-known films have touched on milestone figures in American history. One of the main reasons for his involvement with Hearhere was his desire to tell the stories of the first people to inhabit North America. It’s a subject he explored in the 1990 Academy Award-winning film “Dances With Wolves,” which Costner starred in, directed and produced.
“It was fundamental for me… who are the first people? – because there is no here without knowing who was there before,” he said.
The hard truths
HearHere has over 9,000 stories to date, with topics ranging from Abraham Lincoln to Janis Joplin, and Kentucky’s National Corvette Museum to the Nashville music scene.
But Costner, telling the harsher truths about US history is too paramount.
“Our history isn’t always great. There was so much violence in America. We watch the violence play out now across the world…to think it didn’t happen here – it did,” did he declare.
Stories about America’s Founding Fathers and its Civil War battlefields are intercut with tales of Mississippi towns colonized by slaves and the disenfranchisement of black people.
“We have nothing to be ashamed of,” Costner said. “We may be a little embarrassed, but it’s more embarrassing not knowing. »
An increase in audio content
Hearhere has been downloaded more than 400,000 times and has subscribers in every US state, Sears said. The company announced in February that it had raised $ 3.2 million in seed funding, led by the US company RV Camping World.
Although he’s at the forefront of a new mobile app company, Costner said there’s not a whole lot to the tech. He said most mobile apps “fly over my head” and, of Hearhere’s Twitter page: “I don’t even know how to get over it.” »
The co-founders of Hearhere: Woody Sears, Kevin Costner and Bill Werlin. “I’m not a figurehead…that’s my interest,” Costner said.
Source: Listen here
“I really was raised with wolves,” he said. “If I need to expand my life … I have to open my ears, I have to open my eyes when I travel across the country, my nose does not need to be a computer -. Must look out . “
Sears said so-called “screen fatigue” is one of the reasons why audio content has overtaken video content in 2021. Audio entertainment is also easier to integrate into daily life because it can be consumed while “walking, driving and doing chores, compared to video which is mostly watched while stationary,” he said.
The audio service demand increased during the pandemic, companies such as Amazon, Twitter and Facebook announcing extended audio platforms in recent years.
Going to other countries?
While stories based in the United States continue to be added to HearHere, Costner said the company had a model that lent itself to international expansion.
He said the company still was refining its activities and was listening to its customers, but “I like to jump from the page honestly … try something new,” he said.
Costner said he applies a similar approach to his films.
“It’s easy to follow a trend -. It’s much harder to try to be trending original, or repeating something popular, is a way you make a lot of money,” he said. “Doing something that’s classic – that no Felt like they’ve ever seen before – can live forever. »