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The Genesis of the Short Film: Wake Up Denver

A few months ago I made a short film that I debuted at TEDxMileHigh. The film was based around the idea that Denver is doing great economically, but there is a lot of work happening here that wouldn’t cut it in similarly throughout other cities.

My name is Woody, I’m a filmmaker and Denver Native. I’ve spent most of my life in Colorado, except for various trips, projects and travels that have taken me across the United States and abroad — I’m constantly surprised by the quality of creation in far less lauded cities.

Really this came about through a shift in my own personal philosophy. Theres a quote by Tim Ferriss that struck a chord with me “The success of your life can be determined by the number of difficult conversations you’re willing to have.”  When I started making a conscious effort to have those difficult conversations things changed for the better for me. Eventually I realized that the conversation around Denver lacked the same truth and sincerity that had improved my interactions with friends and family. So I felt compelled to facilitate that conversation within Denver.

Everyone I approached to take part in the film, from independent creatives, to companies and organizations all echoed the sentiment that they see an abundance of mediocre work being accepted here in Denver. However, I’ve never seen this concept discussed publicly, so I created this film as a catalyst for conversation about where Denver is at right now.

Also, I think there’s an aspect of achievement by osmosis that happens in Denver. You commonly hear that Denver is great in so many ways that it’s easy to think that by being here and being a part of this community you’re automatically a couple levels higher than where you are actually. The grit and determination that were synonymous with Denver when it was a little known prairie town isn’t as prevalent today.


Ultimately I believe that anyone in Denver right now has an incredible opportunity to establish themselves on the ground floor of a wonderful city that isn’t slowing down anytime soon.  I’d like to personally challenge the makers, creators, and entrepreneurs of Denver to step up and do great work — to keep Denver on the fast track to being an incredible city that can go toe to toe with any other major American city.

I’d love to hear your feedback, let me know what your thoughts are on Denver and the film. You can reach me here.

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