Today I saw The Biggest Little Farm and it reminded me how exciting this factual business is, how far it has come, and how action packed full the future is with opportunity and promise for telling amazing, beautiful, fun, useful stories. It's like we're just getting started.
If you want to see something of how awesome factual story telling can be take a look at the Biggest Little Farm trailer. It's just state of the art. The NY Post called The Biggest Little Farm” an optimistically riveting tour through their first seven years of a family farm. In a time when climate news is near-uniformly depressing, this is a nature program that pays loving and hopeful tribute to the complex web of life — and it won’t scare your kids.
For me it was a long road round to get into the TV business. When I started it was still called documentary. We now call it "factual entertainment" and the new title encompasses so many new ideas and styles. Over the years everything has gotten better; the cameras, the editing, the pacing, the storytelling, the characters, the opportunities for showing and sharing, and the business side of the thing continues to grow faster and farther than any other part of the creative screen industries.
I suppose I saw documentaries as a kid. NFB film strips in school. But it was when we got cable and I saw the original TLC network that I really paid attention. I saw something amazing...
Silver Donald Cameron is golden in my view. Beyond his insights, clever charm, kindness, and genuine curiosity and concern for all things, I think it's his capacity for effort that most captures my attention.
Through his adventures, work and writing he's lived several lifetimes already and the volume of his output seems to be increasing. "We measure ourselves by many standards," said William James, over a century ago. "Our strength and our intelligence, our wealth and even our good luck, are things which warm our heart and make us feel a match for life. But deeper than all such things, and able to suffice unto itself without them, is the sense of the amount of effort which we can put forth." We're all capable of so much more than we imagine.
The sharing of stories predates writing and every other medium we use to share stories. But we know a lot about ancient story telling because, once you look 'under the hood' stories, story telling hasn't changed very much in human history.
Stories have been told since the beginning of human consciousness using a combination of oral narrative, music, art and dance. Stories, at their best, bring understanding and meaning of human existence through remembrance and enactment.
Today may seem different than the ancient past, but the mediums for story telling have changed only a little and architecture of stories has changed very little in all human history.
Because of this we all know a lot about stories. We're born with story sense and we learn a lot more very quickly. We learn the rules, vocabulary and style of story telling fast. By two most of us know as much about story as anyone, and we go on to refine our story hearing skills throughout life.
When I was a kid summer meant road trips wandering the backroads and shores of Nova Scotia. Stopping along any pretty stretch to explore, talk to people, and generally take in the place.
Sometime in the coming months I hope to get on the road with Amanda and Dorothy and start our own dirtroad diary, visit rural friends and family, and return to the roots of Nova Scotia's real wealth.
My ultimate lifetime dream is to spend a summer walking around Nova Scotia.
Writing about life, citizenship, and Nova Scotia.