A Call for Tiny House Portraits, for "TINY", A Documentary Film about Living Small

A Call for Tiny House Portraits, for “TINY”, A Documentary Film about Living Small

Portrait Examples

Guest Post by Merete

Do you live in a tiny house? Send us your portrait to be included in a documentary about the tiny house movement!

For the past year and a half, my partner Christopher and I have been working on a documentary film about tiny houses called, “TINY: A Story About Living Small.” [http://www.tiny-themovie.com] At first, we set out to document our own process of building a tiny house from scratch, with no building experience, in the mountains of Colorado, but we soon realized that we could use this story to tell a larger story about the nation-wide trend to downsize.

As we wrap up the editing process and get ready to release the film, we want to be sure that we can include as many other tiny housers as possible. We’ve interviewed a few key characters (people like Tammy & Logan of RowdyKittens in Portland, and Deek Diedricksen of RelaxShacks in Massachusetts), but we know that the tiny house movement is a widespread phenomenon. We want our viewers to understand that there’s a huge demographic of people out there who find it more satisfying to live smaller and more simply.

If you live in a tiny house (we don’t have a strict definition for a “tiny house,” but are focusing mainly on homes that are less than 400 square feet), we would love to include you in our film.

To be included, please send us a photo portrait of you and your family with your tiny house.

Here are the specifics of what we’re looking for.

What the image should show: A clear view of your tiny house (front, side view, or interior—whichever angle you think is most interesting) and all of the people who live in the house, pets included!

Image size: In order for the image to show up clearly on the big screen, it needs to be a horizontal/landscape image, at least 1920 pixels wide. If you would like to send us a print photo, please make sure that it is at least 4×6 and we’ll scan it. (If you scan a photo yourself, please make sure that the setting is at 600dpi and that the file is saved as “Best” quality or as large as possible.) Feel free to email us at speakthunderfilms@gmail.com if you have questions or need help with the technical stuff.

Other info to include: Please also send us your names, the name of the town and state where the house is currently located, the number of people who live in your house, and the square footage of the house. If your house has a nickname, please include that too. And it’s not required, but if you’d like to tell us a bit about yourselves, how long you’ve been living small, and why you decided to downsize, we’d love to hear your stories!

How to send it to us: Please email images to us at submissions@speakthunder.com. (If the file is too large to email, we recommend sending it through this free website: wetransfer.com) You can also mail images to us at: 1320 Yellow Pine Ave, Boulder CO 80304

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Julie Gartman - July 10, 2012 Reply

I would like to submit photos for the Tiny House documentary. When is the deadline? I live in an especially unique environment where there are four tiny houses in a row located on the banks of the Currituck Sound in North Carolina. I should be able to get pics to you by the end of the week. In the meantime, I thought I’d email you a pic of the grounds that includes all four huts. Thanks and I am SO looking forward to the release of your documentary.

    Merete Mueller - July 10, 2012 Reply

    Hi Julie,

    Great! We can’t wait to see your photo. As long as we can get the photo by the end of this month, we should be able to use it, though the end of this week would be even better!

    Many thanks,


    Kevin - August 16, 2012 Reply

    Julie. Would love to see them. I own lot in Carova, North Swan Beach. Kevin

Laura - July 10, 2012 Reply

Must our structures be complete? We are in the middle of reconstructing ours, which will be 150 sq feet and mobile. It should be finished in the next few months. Is this too late?

    Merete Mueller - July 11, 2012 Reply

    Hi Laura,

    That’s a great question. We actually hadn’t really considered the option of including in-process constructions, but I saw, why not?!

    I think as long as the basic frame of the house is completed, so that people can see the shape and size of the house, it would work. Thanks for commenting, we’d love to see your photo!


Matt - July 10, 2012 Reply

Perhaps you can get your “tiny house submissions” to ALSO explain how they deal with local building codes and health regulations too?

Some states & counties do NOT allow people to “live” in an RV for more than a certain period of time EVEN though they own the land.

Some states & counties do NOT allow people to compost their own waste IE “humanure” and require a septic system.

Permits for everything INCLUDING putting up solar panels as well as a MINIMUM living square footage? Unreal. How about this guy…


I only bring these up because I am selling off my 5 acres and purchasing 40+ acres. When I investigate rules, regulations and other bureaucratic strangulation…these people have never heard of a yurt yet alone why anyone would want to live so small.

If you ACTUALLY have people living in tiny homes…I would SO appreciate it if we could get some practical knowledge to go along with a few pictures too!

    et - July 10, 2012 Reply

    Under the radar is the easiest way to ACTUALLY live in a tiny home.
    Also a good reason not to submit name and address to book.

      Matt - July 10, 2012 Reply

      You have got to be kidding me!

      So people are supposed to get all excited about living with less, living more efficiently and living simply…yet at the same time buying plans to build tiny homes, building their own tiny house, buying equipment, supplies, developing revenue sources (blogging, crafts, selling books, etc.) ALL while living “under the radar”.

      I’m so sure that Kent, Jay, Christina and everyone else in the the Tiny House movement would agree that skirting the legal ramifications is suggested for making your dreams come true too!

      Get Real!

      I’m asking for REAL issues that come up regarding “tiny house” living. Obviously, plenty of people live under the radar…but that is NOT living. That is sleeping with one eye open or constantly looking over your shoulder.

      I would think that people who are considering spending $5,000, $10,000 or even $50,000 on a Tiny House would not be interested at all that suddenly finding out that their little plan of living simply is going to go up in smoke due to some ordinance, zoning or BS bureaucratic issue that they did not care to investigate…because they were too busy spending thousands of dollars in order to be trendy!

    Merete Mueller - July 11, 2012 Reply

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for your thoughts. There are certainly a lot of issues to consider around tiny houses, which is exactly why we are making a feature-length documentary about them. The film will cover all of these questions.

    In our personal experience, our tiny house is parked on 5-acres of land that my partner, Christopher, owns. The county where we are located has a 600-sq. foot minimum size, but since the house is on wheels we’re able to park it as a temporary structure completely legally. The only snafu that we ran into was needing a driveway permit, which we were able to fix fairly easily and cheaply.

    All the best,


      Matt - July 11, 2012 Reply

      Thanks for the info.

      So, since it is “temporary”…that means you are building something permanent?

      Do they have a restriction for time to use the trailer to live in?

      What about hygiene? They let you compost or require a septic system?

et - July 10, 2012 Reply

I live full time, year round in a tiny house. It’s not legal but I do it with full awareness. And I sleep well.

It’s a REAL life, not trendy.

Do Kent, Jay or Christina actually live in tiny houses or are they selling trends? Ask them where they live.

    Matt - July 11, 2012 Reply

    So YOU are living in a tiny house “under the radar” and “illegally”…ok, got it. Good for you.

    Thanks for all your helpful advice!

      Becky - July 11, 2012 Reply

      I live in a tiny house completely legally! I rent a piece of property and the owner has all the necessary legal stuff to rent out her land for RV parking. Maybe its not the ideal picture of owning my land as well as my house but since I don’t pay any taxes, water, sewer (septic) or electricity, I love this setup. It is a mile to school so I ride my bike or motorcycle everywhere.

      Why so negative from you? There are ways to do this, legal or not. Its a personal choice. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. If you want it bad enough you can and will make it happen, legally or not. Its a bonus to have a house on wheels, got some trouble? Move!

Shawn - July 13, 2012 Reply

Legality as defined by local zoning and codes is actually a topic well worth investigating prior to building a tiny house (anything actually). We built a tiny house with the understanding that we’d have two years to build a “real” house within two years. Two years of living on our land and paying no rent more than paid for the tiny house itself and we’re now in the process of building a small 650 sf. house. But locally, even in a vacation community, county code only permits four months of living in a tiny house, which is classified as an RV, technically. In our area, one HUGE issue for the county is a sewer/septic connection. If you don’t have a proper connection, no matter how good you are with a composting toilet, you can forget it. It won’t be possible, period. Inspectors, which visit the neighborhood once a week will be knocking at the door. We’re all for tiny houses, had fun building one, made it worth our effort financially, but understand the limitations of their use (for people in our neck of the woods at least). Speaking of woods, if you have enough of them , you might be able to do the ‘under the radar’ approach. But considering the amount of time and money that goes into a tiny house, it would be wise to be sure you can legally live in one in your chosen place. And not everyone wants to move as a solution. Even some of the popularizers of the tiny house movement no longer live in tiny houses but small houses which, in my opinion, make more sense for ‘settling’ down. For one, it encourages a fidelity to place. They’re more apt to be legal. All that said, both small & tiny houses have their places, and both are wonderful building experiences.

Eran birnbaum - July 14, 2012 Reply

Love reading your blog.
I am myself developing two concept cabin for living and leasure. Please let me know if I can share the sketches with you and get your opinion. Keep it up. Eran Birnbaum architect.

Linda - July 24, 2012 Reply

I can not retreve your web site
I wuld like to submit photos and.. I have traded over 10,000 in barter to build my tiny home. I converted a 12X28 barn into a small house the entire project has cost me les than 8,00
please provide the web site to submit.
Thank you

Abel Zyl Zimmerman - July 25, 2012 Reply

Besides having a tiny house of my own, I know quite a few people who live legally in them. It just happens, the same way that children are born in taxi cabs — and flowers bloom in the aftermath of a flood.

There are alot of things in life that can be contained in the few laws and codes we have written down. And there are even more things that cannot. But they are still OK.

In time to pass, Tiny Houses will create ‘laws’ for themselves in some places, a not in others.

Because something is new does not mean it is illegal. If that was true, we would have nothing new!

Sometimes tiny houses occupy a grey area. But grey areas are not illegal either.

And sometimes, they are perfectly legal in the bureaucratic sense. And if not, it just depends on where you are, and who you keep for neighbors… and how much you believe in what you are doing.


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