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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old July 31st, 2011, 10:59 AM   #1
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Alaska why Alaska?

Hi There,

Seems that Discovery Channel is overflowing with shows about Alaska - we got fishermen, gold diggers, highway patrols, pilots, woodloggers, constructions workers and even shows about alaskian politicians. To that the usual bunch of shows about wildlife, nature and Inuits.

Some of the stuff is quite interesting, but we are sort of overloaded by all these shows.

Now why this great interest in every thing from Alaska?

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Old July 31st, 2011, 11:33 AM   #2
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Re: Alaska why Alaska?

Whoops... don't forget about the Ice road truck driver shows too! ;)

I would have to wonder if Alaska is a very friendly climate for tv production right now? It would seem to me that the state tourism is benefitting tremendously from all the exposure. Also, it is an extreme climate from the rest of the country and not too far a flight from studio HQ in California.... Just my 2 pennies worth...
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Old July 31st, 2011, 11:53 AM   #3
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Re: Alaska why Alaska?

It's simply a programming decision, based on ratings, which in turn determine revenue. Discovery is an American network programmed for American viewers. Well over 3/4's of the US population lives in the eastern and central time zones, and the bulk of that is is urban areas. The fact is that most of the country just doesn't look like Alaska and stuff that's different tends to do really well. Right now the bulk of the country is in the grip of an intolerable heat wave -- as it is most summers, just not this badly -- and shows about cold water and icy mountains and clear blue skies (or blizzards and ice-crusted boats) are an interesting change of pace.

Just like stuff in Hawaii looks really different and does really well in the winter. At CBS we called them "Blue-Sky" shows and we always made sure we had a bunch them on the air in January when the country was locked in deep freeze.

Also, it is quite possible the state of Alaska is offering up generous production incentives. Also also, Alaska is still considered to be the last great frontier here, and that probably adds to the interest as well.
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Old July 31st, 2011, 12:03 PM   #4
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Re: Alaska why Alaska?

Some good points Adam... your comments that Alaska is different than the rest of the country is what I was also getting at with my statement that it is an extreme climate. I don't think I could say it better than you just did though.
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Old July 31st, 2011, 03:10 PM   #5
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Re: Alaska why Alaska?

Because....ALASKA ROCKS! :-)

In reality, I've worked with many outside production crews, and they are always just amazed at it here. It is VERY different than most of the rest of the country. For example. the only part of Alaska that actually has a 'road system' is 'the railbelt' between Anchorage and Fairbanks (and south of Anchorage to the Kenai). However most of the state has no road system, so you have to fly or go by boat to get around. I had one film crew from LA asking me about where to go to get a certain shot, and I told them
'to the end of the road'. They didn't understand.....they asked me if there was a concrete barrier on the road out of Juneau. I told them no, there WAS no road out and the road just ended and they didn't believe me.

I grew up in Alaska....I bet it was different from most childhoods :-)

Years without any electricity/kerosene lamps, carry your own water, hunt and fish for your food and trap animals to make hats or sell for money. Live in a town of 90 people on an island which got barge service from Seattle once a year (try figuring out how much food your family will eat if you can only shop once a year!) Going to 'the city' meant taking a float plane trip to Juneau (population 30 thousand) which seemed very big to us, I remember getting lost as it was too much for me to figure out where everything was.

By the way, summer is a good time up here. Contrary to popular belief it is VERY nice in the summer here. Fairbanks normally is in the 90's in the summer. Most of Alaska is warm (but not hot like it is down in the south) but we have 20+ hours of sunlight a day in the summer, so it's going to stay warm (unless you live in SE where I do, where it rains all the time). Even here, when it gets sunny it is really nice in the summer. It's mainly the winters which suck. :-)

One other thing....our legislature just passed a bill last year that gives pretty decent tax incentives to bigger productions to shoot in Alaska. That has seemed to even increase the amount of shows that are shot up here, as well as big budget movies. I just heard a 27 million dollar film has announced it will be shooting in Anchorage.....which is the 2nd big one in a year or so. They have a really good film community in Anchorage (a lot of former LA film workers decided to buy a 2nd home somewhere that was different from So Cal and how much different can you get) and some of them have started 'branch studios' in Anchorage. A lot of my friends are moving to Anchorage to try to get work with them, it is a good place for industry work right now.

I am actually putting together a DVD about my part of Alaska that I hope to have finished by next summer,.....we will see. So I was running around town yesterday shooting random stuff. If you want to take a look (at the random stuff, not the DVD) here it is:

Juneau By Gabe Strong On ExposureRoom
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Old July 31st, 2011, 03:30 PM   #6
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Re: Alaska why Alaska?

Gas is expensive. While they're there, I guess they have to get their money's worth before heading back?

(Facetious).
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Old July 31st, 2011, 04:08 PM   #7
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Re: Alaska why Alaska?

Gee - Thanks folks for your informative and quick answers!

I live at 55.40 Northern Lat, which I believe is at nearly the same latitude as Cold Bay in Alaska. Here in Scandinavia you have to go a bit further north to get real arctic conditions due to the gulf stream. We have sort of San Francisco weather.

One of the big problems with the all this semi arctic landscape is in my mind the mosquitoes, especially the small ones. I wish that someday somebody would make a real documentary about the annoying things in nature, Just try to sleep when you got midnight sun and 66,244,667,245 d##### mosquitoes in the room. Or take a walk and accidentally step into a cold bog, that looked just like a stable bit of land.. But "the real story about xxxx" would probably never get funding.

Thanks again for your time.
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Old July 31st, 2011, 04:51 PM   #8
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Re: Alaska why Alaska?

It's not exactly about the mosquitos but they did not shy away from showing the hardships of being in the wilderness of Canada in Being Caribou:
Being Caribou by Leanne Allison & Diana Wilson - NFB

Last edited by Les Wilson; July 31st, 2011 at 04:52 PM. Reason: phrasing
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Old July 31st, 2011, 08:15 PM   #9
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Re: Alaska why Alaska?

Why Alaska?

Alaska is really BIG. I live in Sitka Alaska. I live closer to Seattle Washington than I do to Anchorage Alaska! It's not all ice and snow folks. Alaska comprises at least 7 different eco-systems. We have rain forests, deserts with sand dunes, miles of swampy muskeg, and too many miles of pristine ocean beaches to even mention. Talk about culture! Here in Sitka, we have Native Tlingits Indians, Russians, a Filipino Community, Chinese community, Hispanic Community, and lot's of Norwegian Fishermen, and Sitka has less than 9,000 people living on a Island 40 miles wide and 150 miles long. Plan to see more Alaska programming. Why? because there is so much here.

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Old August 14th, 2011, 07:45 PM   #10
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Re: Alaska why Alaska?

The State of Alaska is now offering 40% tax credits and other incentives for companies filming in Alaska.

Here's the link:

Alaska Film Office - home

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Old August 18th, 2011, 09:27 AM   #11
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Re: Alaska why Alaska?

I have collected and listed a very extensive list of links to mostly non-profit organizations that provide excellent opportunities for nature/wildlife filming here in Alaska. These organizations operate "road accessible" nature/wildlife" viewing, research, and education services. You do not need a big budget to film in Alaska. You do not need to travel to the "Bush" to get a shot of a lifetime. The links are on my blog which is now located at: alaskavideo.blogspot.com.

I 'll be adding additional links and new information and tips about filming in Alaska weekly. Including posting a few video's. I'll help anyone seeking information about filming in Alaska, and I''ll try my best to keep everything on the site "FREE".

Dave
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