Country Living Series

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Casting call for off-grid folks

A few days ago I received an email as follows:

Dear Patrice.

I hope you are well and don’t mind me getting in touch out of the blue. I am a Researcher at Blast! Films in London England where we are developing a one-off documentary film for the Bio Channel. I hoped that you may be able to help us in our research.

The film will feature in families who are living “off-grid” in North Idaho and surrounding regions, and will explore the inspiring challenges and unique pleasures which this way of life offers. The film will be very positive in tone - a sensitive and layered portrayal of a unique way of life. We are not looking to make a reality-TV type show but rather intend to explore and promote off-grid living as a real possibility. Examples of the kind of intelligent and thoughtful films we have made previously can be seen here:

We want to speak to as many families as possible who would describe themselves as “off-grid” or self-sufficient. We are in the process of having confidential research conversations with families who are interested, with no obligation to be involved in filming.

I wondered if you might be interested in speaking to me further by phone? Or if you might be able to help us in spreading the word to anyone you think might be suitable.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.

Thanks for your time and all best wishes,

Hannah Boyd
Development Researcher
Blast! Films
2 Imperial Works, Perren Street, London, NW5 3ED

Cellphone: 00 44 (0)7899 915 957
Switchboard: 00 44 (0)207 267 4260
Direct Dial: 00 44 (0)207 424 8037

I spoke with Hannah at length by phone about the nature of this project, and she made it clear the filming will be portraying ruralites in an upbeat and positive way. It’s not about “preppers” or “survivalists” or anything sneering or derogatory. Rather, it’s exposure to a largely urban viewing audience what it's like to live off-grid or otherwise self-sufficiently.

And when you think about it, most city dwellers don’t have a clue what it’s like to produce electricity or milk a cow or clean a barn or gather eggs or plant a garden or can peaches. This is all strange and exotic to them. What’s the motivation behind such hard work? Why milk a cow and make your own cheese when dairy products are readily available at the grocery store? Why install solar panels or a windmill when you can just flip a switch? …These are the types of questions this documentary aims to answer.

The filming will be limited to north Idaho and the surrounding areas (eastern Washington or western Montana) because that’s where an existing film crew is already located, so their pool of potential applicants will be more limited. If there’s anyone in this region interested in talking with Hannah about this project, I urge you to get in touch with her. She’s a durned nice woman and will be happy to answer all of your questions.


  1. I would advise anyone considering this to think it through very carefully before participating. All too often I have easily been able to locate the "preppers" I see on the TV shows with just a few mouse clicks.

    This kinda violates one of our personal rules which is to keep your head down lest everyone beat a path to your doorstep to avail themselves of all your hard work.

    It's not worth it...

    Petra in Oregon

    1. That's the truth. I know a guy who is an ex Army Ranger, and he told me flat out. His whole plan in a disaster scenario is to take whatever he needs from whoever he can get it, and kill anyone that attempts to stop him.

    2. Goodness! I know people like that as well sadly enough.
      I've started inquiring about peoples' plans in the event of a disaster and am glad of it, too! Needless to say I've started distancing myself from the ones with answers I don't want to hear. The people that I want around? It sounds crazy to some but I assess them with an eye towards 'Would I want you in my survival party?' If not then what the heck am I doing with them in my circle NOW?

  2. As a Brit all I can say is avoid Claire Bosworth at all costs. This series will end up edited like doomsday preppers to paint the subject as a loon.

    1. Are there many self sufficient folks in the UK? I would think, with the dependence on "green" energy, that there would have to be.

    2. Thousands of us. But the UK is anything but green on energy.
      My own house runs a pelton turbine for electric. Wales has lots of water, lots of hills. And the county I live in has the highest rate of gun ownership in the UK.
      We tend to be known as smallholders here. John Seymour lived not far away, well known for his books on self sufficency. You mighr want to look up a guy called Ben Law. His house was a feature of a program called grand designs. It can be found on youtube.
      To recap on the film makers avoid, avoid, avoid. They have done the rounds over here, they will put you on the map alright, but not in a way you will like.

  3. 'Buyer beware' Sounds fishy .. and if city dwellers want to find out how to can peaches, they can do a google search. Who needs more people knowing about this area.

    1. Yes!
      My mother recently told me about the sheer number of chickens that end up in shelters or running around since they're actually require some work. 'Hipster' types are all over some aspects of the self sustaining life style without appreciating anything other than the fact that it's 'trending'. It'd be one thing if they were sincere but as is, I agree, beware and keep your head down!

  4. "It’s not about 'preppers' or 'survivalists' or anything 'sneering' or 'derogatory.'" And if it were, do you think these people would admit it? Why in the world does anyone want to do a film about off-gridders and those who are self-sufficient, anyway? Especially while claiming it won't be about preppers or survivalists? Isn't that what off-gridders and the self sufficiant do, go off-grid and try to survive? Red flags are popping up all over the place on this. Of course the lady Patrice talked to is "a durned nice woman." Liberal-progressives are experts at lying and hypocrisy. They've learned to be SOOOO nice and accommodating. They are also sneaky, deceptive and manipulative. NEVER trust them and you won't go wrong! --Fred in AZ

  5. Anything entertainment affiliated is to be suspect. I know that you and your family love your quiet life. It won't be so quiet due to more people relocating in to your area and raising the real estate prices. Remember that you are from California and what those folks are like down here, Not all bad But a little out of touch with reality. Colorado found out the hard way. There are some good things that should not be shared .I would hate to see you lose your little bit of paradise. Avoid Media like the plague . Especially the British that criticize our country at every opportunity.

    1. Would that be like some Americans who have to have a dig the British at every opportunity. Though I suppose have such a big chip on each shoulder will keep you balanced......

  6. I too would be leary of particpating. I would first off be this woman's credentials. She isnt from 'around here'. And I would hesitate to 'advertise' where I am. I find this troublesome, as nice as she may have seemed. The fact that she is 'limiting' her filming area made me suspicious from the get go.

    That said, Patrice, you are right, city dwellers have no idea what it is like to live in the country. My family were city dwellers, never camped. But I learned that I loved it out in nowhere, and I know I have a lot more to learn about homesteading/survival. So I get where you are coming from, with wanting to share your knowledge.

    But this whole thing has my hackles up. PLEASE be careful and be wary!

  7. There is a huge difference between being “off-grid” and being "self-sufficient".
    "Off-grid" refers to not having a utility electricity supply and is relatively easily achievable.
    "Self-sufficient" covers just about every area of life imaginable and is a goal to aspire to rather than a realistically achievable goal.
    The fact that this researcher considers the two to be almost synonyms suggests that they don't have clue. If they're not interested in the subject matter of their film then they must be interested in the characters in the film, and the only thing that would sell would be making them out to be tin-foil-hat-wearing lunatics.
    Ask for final editorial approval and see how quickly they say no.

    1. Even if they agree to final editorial approval up front, there's nothing to stop them from spinning the story any way they want after the fact. No individuals succumbing to this intrusion will have the financial power to take them -- and their backers -- to court over editorial content after the fact.

      Caution, extreme caution -- as in run fast and far away from groups like this. It can only end poorly. No upside beyond stroking the ego, with a gigantic downside almost guaranteed.

    2. I disagree that there is a "huge difference" between being off-grid and being self-sufficient. To be totally self-sufficient you have to go off-grid. Even Patrice and her family aren't totally off-grid, so they are not yet entirely self-sufficient, just much more so than most. If they lose power, they can still survive, though, when most other Americans can't.

  8. I'm with Fred and Anon. 1:05 on this one.

    Y'all stay hid.


  9. Sharing information is basically good. And this idea may sound flattering. But BEWARE! Inviting a media company (or any strangers) to your home is a MAJOR violation of OPSEC (operation security/privacy). Some self-sufficiency folks may be comfortable with this and that is fine. But true survival-minded folks would cringe at the thought.

    If anyone is considering this exposure, I'd encourage them to read 'Patriots' and peruse its author's website Then ask yourself one question, "What would James Rawles do?"
    Montana Guy