Writer/director Joseph Garner on Craigslist Joe


“I started with an ad on Craigslist,” says filmmaker Joseph Garner about his new documentary that tests one man’s ability to survive in America with resources from nowhere but Craigslist.

That’s how Garner found his cameraman, and then the two of them set off across America for an adventure of survival that would become the film Craigslist Joe. So, what compels a young man to make himself homeless in today’s society? The power of the Internet.

“I’m able to Skype with my girlfriend who’s living in India at a ashram right now. That’s amazing technology,” the writer/director says of the state of the world currently. It’s an exciting moment in human history to be able to instantly connect – with video cameras no less — to someone on the other side of the globe.The technology is fascinating, but at the same time brings about feelings of apprehension, says Garner. Many fear the digital age will lead to constant interaction with technology and no time for real human relationships.

Worried about the state of affairs in our society today, Garner decided to put his theory to the test. Could he survive in American without knowing anyone if everyone is apparently glued to computers?

The result was overwhelming. Garner found friends. A lot of friends. So many, that Garner could barely begin the editing process when he returned home. He had over 80 hours of very thoughtful, exciting, connected stories to tell. “I didn’t even want to look at the tapes. I was so scared of what we got and what we didn’t get,” says Garner, who went from Los Angeles to Seattle to New York and many other cities on a journey that left him feeling overwhelmed at how many thoughtful people he met.

“I was inspired every single day,” Garner says.  ScreenwritingU sat down with this young writer/director to find out how he went homeless in America and made a few friends along the way.

Photo credit: CLJ Films

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