Okay readers, here’s an official casting call from National Geographic’s American Prepper series. Don't mistake this for the Doomsday Preppers; apparently this is a whole new series with a different focus.
I hope you don’t mind me contacting you. My name is Gabrielle Zieden and I‘m working with National Geographic on a new documentary series featuring Americans who have gone off the grid.
Our filming objective is to capture the essence self-reliance in the American wilderness. Our casting call reads:
If you believe society is failing, and you have skillfully prepared to live the TRUE life of an American Prepper, then we want to hear from you.
National Geographic is going beyond the brief, 15-minute glimpse of basement bunkers, and into the wilderness with a true American Prepper family for an in-depth and intimate look into the lives of these brave homesteaders. In this new documentary series, we want to accompany you off the grid and into your world of committed basic survival, documenting and earning an education in what it actually means to be prepared.
Whether you are planning your move into a remote bug-out now or are teaching others how to do so successfully, this season-long documentary series wants to follow you on your daily journey. Do you know of a family or group who is independent of society, honorably existing on the most basic level, and prepared in the event of a major global crunch? Are you part of a devoted prepper community that is thriving? Do you wish you had the platform to break down the myths about preppers, and show the artistry of living in a survivor’s world?
Please include any articles, photos, or videos that can help us gain a better understanding of your way of life. We are sensitive to OPSEC concerns and your information will be kept in absolute confidence.
If interested, please email email@example.com
If this sounds like something you are interested in, or would like to learn more about the project, please do not hesitate to contact me. I hope to hear from you.
Casting Associate Producer
Curious, I emailed Ms. Zieden and what follows is our emailed conversation.
Me: While I wouldn't mind posting this casting call on my blog, I'm certain one of the first questions readers will ask (besides the obvious OpSec one) is, what's in it for them? Just the fifteen minutes of fame?
If you'll pardon the crassness of the question (because I can assure you, it will be on peoples' minds) I might post the casting call.
Ms. Zieden: No problem for the question! We are able to offer compensation to the people who participate, along with the opportunity to help educate and warn people about the need to be prepping. The more people who we can get prepping, the less competition there will be for precious resources when the time comes!
Me: Thank you for replying. I spoke to one of your reps at a Preparedness Expo in Colorado Springs last May [Note: This rep was from the Doomsday Prepper program, not the American Prepper program; at this point in my conversation, that distinction wasn't clear], and she admitted it was an uphill battle trying to find people willing to participate in the show. She said those responding to the casting calls tend to be from the extreme ends of the spectrum. In watching a few of your shows, I'm inclined to agree. Those of us who are not off-the-deep-end-preppers (but who are merely taking sensible precautions against an uncertain future) are a whole lot less likely to bare our souls on TV, so to speak.
Anything else you want to add to the casting call before I post? I'm all ears.
Ms. Zieden: We definitely understand it's an uphill battle, which is why we're excited for our new show, which will be more documentary style and follow people over the course of several episodes. The longer filming time and longer screen time we're able to show people makes for a more natural, nuanced story.
We find ourselves in a bind when the people who are concerned about us not telling the story they'd like to see also won't agree to be on the show, so if you can think of anyone you'd be proud to represent your community, please reach out.
Me: I can understand the Catch-22 (people who are concerned about not telling the story they'd like to see, but who won't agree to be on the show). On the other hand, speaking as someone whom you couldn't pay enough to be on the show, it's too dangerous a prospect. Who wants to lay bare for all the world to see what should be private matters? Also, wasn't there a case where someone who had been featured on the show later had all his firearms removed by gov't officials? I don't know the circumstances but that sounded scary.
Ms. Zieden: We are more interested in capturing survival and prepper skills on camera so our viewers are able to learn along with the subject of the documentary rather than giving away personal info (such as location or family information) but I understand how this could be a concern. I was also hoping that letting you know that while we are looking to shoot over a 6 month period we will only be filming on 50 or so of those days leaving the rest of the 6 months free for our subject to handle any business or family matters they do not want on television would assuage your concerns a little. Again I would really appreciate any sort of direct connections you could make between me and whomever might be interested in participating.
Thank you so much,
Me: I don't personally know anyone interested in participating, but my blog readership tops around 60,000/month, so I'll post your casting call as well as excerpts from our email exchange and we'll see what happens.
Good luck. I applaud your efforts even though we (my family) wouldn't want to participate.
So, dear readers, that was our conversation. If any of you feel you can reveal your prepping efforts without compromising OpSec, then perhaps the extra money offered by National Geographic may be worthwhile, especially if it helps further your preparedness.
I want to make it clear that during our emailed conversation, I was under the impression this was a casting call for Doomsday Preppers, a misunderstanding which Ms. Zieden soon corrected. The focus of this new series appears to be much more skills-oriented and less invasive of privacy.
If you do chose to apply, let me know! (You can email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org) All other questions will need to be addressed to Ms. Zieden, since this blog post is the extent of my knowledge.