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Documentaries. vs. Hands-On Workshops

| 3/1/2012 11:02:42 AM

Recently I was invited to become involved with a documentary that is being made for the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, for my American readers.) I turned them down.  It must seem weird for me to turn down a chance for shameless self-promotion but my dealings with the producer left a bad taste in my mouth and I have learned, with Michelle’s encouragement, to pay attention to my instincts.

 The documentary is actually going to be produced by an independent film company that has contracted to provide it for the CBC. They are looking for “preppers” to interview. For anyone who is new to the term, “preppers” are people who are preparing for TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World As We Know It.) It’s not necessarily the 2012 end of the Mayan calendar scenario when we all get swallowed by volcanoes or hit by asteroids end-of-the-world sort of preparation, since there’s not really much you can do about an asteroid impact. You can dig a really deep bunker, but if the asteroid raises a cloud of dust that blocks the sun, well really, who wants to be around after that? I’d rather just be standing in the yard as it hit.

 Preppers are generally more concerned about a disintegration of civil society that could come from rapid economic collapse, a world war or a rapid collapse of the energy system that keeps our world together, etc. After seeing how quickly chaos developed after Hurricane Katrina, or how close the world came to economic collapse in 2008, I certainly understand why a lot of people are concerned. I wrote my book, “Thriving During Challenging Times,” as a sort of a “TEOTWAKWI Light Version”. I think the fact that we’re past peak oil and that we used up any buffer of fiat currency hope in 2008 means that the system is very tightly wound and a soft landing sort of scenario is plausible. I believe that the 25% of the U.S. population that is un- or under-employed would agree with me because they’re already living it.

The documentary producer wanted two things from me. They asked me to go into a home and help a typical suburban family prepare for a soft landing. From a writer’s/publisher’s point of view this sounded like a great opportunity. Free publicity for my books and my consulting work. The problem was that the family they were going to use is in Montreal (about a 4 hour drive away.) I quoted what I thought was a reasonable fee for my time that day and was quickly informed that the CBC does NOT pay people to be in documentaries. I said “So let me get this straight, you get paid, the camera people get paid, the sound people get paid, the film editors get paid, the owners of your company get paid, but the person who is actually going to provide the information, the person who has researched the topic and really has all the knowledge, gets nothing.” Hmmm… what’s wrong with this picture?

It gave me a new perspective on the mainstream media I am already highly skeptical about much of what I see and read. Everyone has a bias, I understand this. Now that our Prime Minister Steven Harper is appointing most of the private broadcasters to the Senate, we know that they have a conservative bias in Canada. In terms of documentaries, you realize that right off the bat anyone involved is there with an agenda. They aren’t getting paid so they are there to sell something, or influence a decision process. From this point of view it was a great learning experience for me.

My other main hesitation was the fact that this is a documentary about how to survive collapse. So what I’d basically be doing is painting a huge bulls-eye on my house and letting everyone know where to head when the “fit hits the shan.” So that didn’t work for me either. I’m not exactly hiding out, like many survivalist types, since my books and my blog put me out there. But my goal has always been to help others to make themselves ready for what may come. In my workshops I suggest that people should have a rural place to get to in times of disruption. I make it abundantly clear that my house doesn’t count!

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