(Note: Urban Scout wanted me to title this post “Man vs. Wild vs. Rewilding”, but I no longer let him call the shots around here!)
Dear Reality Television Casting Directors,
I have received enough e-mails and phone calls from you over the years that I thought I should just write this form letter so that I could point you to my thoughts, rather than have to explain them every time. For everyone else reading this, to gain a reference for this letter, take a look at the this sampling of typical realityTV show casting e-mails I receive on a regular basis:
My name is Lauren Kalb and I am a casting director for a new extreme survival series on a major cable network. We are looking for elite survival experts who will face situations that require intense, split-second decision-making and instinctual, laser-sharp response. It’s not enough to be a weekend warrior – this series requires experience, ingenuity, and determination. Stripped of even the most basic of necessities, participants will rely only upon their bare hands to survive. Seeking men and women, 20’s – 40’s, who are highly skilled survival experts with legitimate training and experience.
Thanks so much!
Lauren Kalb, Casting Director
I had the pleasure of finally becoming acquainted with your blog today. I’ll admit, I have a man crush! You’re a one of a kind and I’m fascinated with your journey. I’m a TV producer and I’m currently researching rewilder and eco-pioneer communities.
If you’d ever have any interest in exploring the world of television to bring your message to a larger audience,
please contact me.
Hello! Seems like a pretty cool business! I want to go, but wouldn’t last a day. I am a TV producer at Crybaby Media always looking for new shows to bring to air. Currently we are looking for another way into survival camps. I know much has been done on this world (so your are probably tired of these emails), but do you have a new angle with new big characters that you think HAS to be on television? Looking for anything and everything but love your world of SURVIVAL.
We’d like to hear your ideas and unique approach.
First, I just want to say that I am flattered that you have found my site and think I look interesting enough to get thrown into the mix of potentials for reality television stardom. I would be lying if I said I was completely turned off to the idea of becoming the Snookie of rewilding. There was even a time when I went out of my way to create a few audition tapes. That time is past.
I feel that my days of writing under the guise of “Urban Scout” gave you (and many other people) a false perception of my identity. Producers, Creatives, and Casting Directors like you, come to this site, read Urban Scout’s words and think that I would be a great foil type character full of piss and vinegar, ready to stir shit up and “speak my mind”. I’m smart and articulate and sometimes I get carried away. But I’m not the guy you think I am. I’m not actually Urban Scout. I’m not really, as my old signature used to jokingly say, “…nasty, brutish, and short.”
I’m Peter Bauer. I’m a pretty nice guy. I worry about what people think of me. I worry that my internet past as Urban Scout burned too many bridges and that I’ll never atone for my youthful brashness. I lose sleep over it. I’m a sincere teacher, with integrity. I run a little non-profit called Rewild Portland, and I do not want to tarnish our reputation the way I tarnished my own during my twenties. As I’ve grown older I have gained too much self-respect to go on a reality show where people do things like this:
Cody Lundin, Les Stroud, and Ray Mears are at the top of my list of awesome survival show leads. I like to watch Survivorman because it’s the most “real” of the “reality” shows. I like how ray Ray Mears is more of a documentary style show, that actually demonstrates ancestral technology. Dual survivor is okay, because Cody Lundin is awesome and makes the show worthwhile. Overall though, I am put off by the way these shows use nature for its “shock value”. i.e. Bear Grylls eating a living fish, Bear Grylls squeezing the water out of elephant shit into his mouth, and Bear Grylls drinking his own piss. I have a hard time imagining how these shows can connect people to nature, or even make people want to live closer to nature, when they seem to focus more on grossing people out.
I am not an expert the way they are. At best, I’m the guy who would get voted off Survivor Island mid-season. I don’t really practice survival skills. I am a project coordinator first, and a teacher-practitioner second. I spend more time community organizing and building a culture of rewilding than I do playing in the woods. The time I do spend in the woods is not pushing the edge of survival, but working to create a lasting impact of resilient culture. I’m a nerdy artist who makes baskets and teaches children. I’m sorry, but I’m not the star you thought I might be.
In closing, let me say that I would love to bring the world of rewilding to a wider audience. It’s what I spend most of my time doing. However, I don’t think that this is possible through reality television. I could be wrong. The thing is, I don’t want to waste your time, and I don’t want to waste my own. I can’t think of a way to make this work. How about instead of asking me if I have any bright ideas, you present some to me? Perhaps my readership could come up with some ideas? Thank you for taking an interest in my work. Perhaps in the future we’ll come up with the best idea ever for a rewilding reality television show, that will inspire more people to start rewilding!
Peter Michael Bauer