Monday, August 31, 2009

Weebling through Tough Times

There are a few industries that have been hit harder than most during the recession. I say "during" because though the recession exacerbated the problems faced by these industries, it was not the original cause of their downward spiral. My industry, for example—publishing—has been riding the eye of the hurricane for some time now. And there have been enough mainstream headlines about it that even my hometown knows how dismal prospects are.

However, there are lots of industries we don't readily consider during downturns like this, and one such industry is documentary filmmaking.

Unlike blockbuster films filled with mayhem and celebrities, documentaries serve a different purpose in our world: to reveal truth and encourage understanding. Which I suppose for some viewers and investors is akin to having vile-tasting cough syrup forced down their throats. So even in the best of economic times, documentary filmmakers confront challenges to solvency and distribution.

I bring this up because The Lull has given me time to think about the kind of work that would be meaningful for me, and nature documentaries are on the list. I'm interested both in writing them and narrating them. But then, when  I review my list, most of the work that has meaning for me is lean in the $$$ department. And to try, during a recession, to get into a new line of work that is already inherently lean in the $$$ department seems a tad foolhardy when your household depends on you to feed them.

So I have great admiration for folks who continue against the odds to create documentaries. Especially those with high-minded ideals like the people behind Mind-Made Media. The underlying motive in their projects is to "inspire others to live heartily and successfully." And isn't that what all of us caught in The Lull want?

The producer behind Mind-Made Media, Alexandra Austin, recently paid a visit to Lull and, to my astonishment, enjoyed her visit. (She said so—I'm not making this up!) She writes a blog, The Mind-Made Muse, on which you can view some of the inspiring documentaries from her company and donate to if possible. (Note: Ms. Austin did NOT ask for a plug or a donation link. I'm simply incorporating her into my recent ruminations about getting into her field.)

We "Lullers" are a diverse and widespread lot. And we shall overcome, come what may.

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