German filmmaker Florian Thalhofer is trying to break down that ever-looming assumption of "the other." You know the trend, right? People hear a news piece or some buzz about a specific group of people or geographic location, and then they create a whole environment in their minds which may, or may not be entirely accurate. Usually, what's different becomes scary, and the fear leads to pretty drastic assumptions. It could be based on religion, race, or even countries -- some are more dangerous, like the assumption that most/all Muslims are terrorists, and some are plain silly -- that all Canadians are polite.

In an effort to thwart his own assumptions, Thalhofer is launching a website and vlog series called 1000 Stories, which might later become an interactive DVD or feature film. He says: "In Germany, it seemed like the US had turned into a kind of paranoid surveillance state, but New York was as I knew it from before. When I asked my New York friends, 'Has the US changed? It doesn't seem so,' the general answer was, 'Yes, the US has changed, but this is not the US, this is New York.' And so I had the idea to go where the US had changed so much, to go off the beaten path."

Thalhofer is going to jump on a motorcycle and travel the states for a month, starting in New York on October 1. From there, he'll go where interested parties take him -- based on who responds to the "Americans wanted" online ad. The site will not only host stories, interviews, and videos from his journey, but also similar experiences by filmmaker Mark Simon, who will do the same as he travels through Germany by car.

It sounds like a pretty neat idea -- both to see how our assumed realities mesh with real experiences, as well as what assumptions people make about us. Occurring simultaneously (similar to his Korsakow system), the experiences won't be estranged by time, but rather day-to-day insight into life. If this is something you'd want to be a part of, and you're in the States or Germany, you can offer your participation at their website.