Many years ago, one of J.R. Hildebrand’s business pursuits required use of big rigs. He hired a long experienced OTR driver to teach him and his employees to drive in addition to all the nuances of being safe and competent with their equipment. Several years later, J.R. found himself in a sea of medical debt after his wife passed away. To pay the bills, he started driving for some friends who needed a relief driver. Between film and commercial projects, he hauled farm-beds, flatbeds, dry vans, reefers and containers, racking up more than 500,000 “casual driver” miles. Most of those miles were mountain driving.

When he was not driving, J.R. was involved in the production of dozens of national and international commercials. If you watched any TV in the past two decades, you have seen his work. Commercial productions include Chevy, Ford, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, Jeep, Dodge, Volvo, Nissan, GMC, Mercedes, NBA, Kellogg’s, VISA, McDonald’s and the IOC-USOC 2002 Winter Games; Light The Fire Within. Catalogue and fashion photography production includes most of the auto brands listed above in addition to Blair, J-Jill, Talbot, Thompson and Chadwick.

In the turbulent times following September 11, 2001, the Raidian partners concluded that because of the changes in the film and commercial industry, they would have to rely on themselves to remain connected to their creative outlet of film production. That meant finding projects that they were passionate about and that would be of educational and informational value. That search was underway when a chain of unexpected events opened new doors.

In the spring of 2007, a production company that J.R. had a long-standing relationship with asked him to work with them on another car commercial. This time, the company told him they could only pay him a fraction of his normal rate as a line producer / production manager. Their reason was that they had under-bid the actual cost of the project, just to get the job and keep cash flowing, even if they lost money. J.R. responded that he would go “drive a truck” before he would give his talents away in such a losing proposition.

The commercial was never made, and J.R. found himself in a truck. Soon after, the idea for a documentary about trucking was born. In the summer of 2008, with nearly 200,000 additional miles behind him, another series of serendipitous events created not only a need for this project to be launched, but demanded its completion.