Our Brush with Fame and the Brush Off

Have you noticed there seems to have been an explosion of reality tv programs revolving around homesteading &/or living off-grid?  I don’t know about you, but we really enjoy these shows, learning many things at the expense of the trials and tribulations of others.

…and it makes us feel less alone in our own trials and tribulations, which only seem to be mounting, but I’ll explain a bit more about that in a moment.

Last fall, we were contacted by a production company casting an upcoming reality-based tv program related to homesteading.  We were intrigued – how in the world did we get on their radar?  That encounter felt so random and they wanted so much personal information without providing us with enough of the same to make us feel comfortable, we decided to pass on the “opportunity”.

Fast forward to late February. A different production company contacted us looking to cast for another reality-based, homesteading series for TLC/Discovery.  This time the encounter felt more personal and legit, so we began the process of applying.

The Series called, “Homestead Rescue” is a home improvement show, profiling several struggling homesteaders who are put in contact with an “expert” who teaches them the skills necessary to create a self-sustaining lifestyle. It’s actually one of our favorite series as we’ve learned quite a few tips and tricks. If one could deal with all the hoops and the pure invasiveness of it all, it really sounded like a great opportunity for our family.

Being Handled

The process of applying was interesting and gave a unique view into “reality” tv.  The casting producer who initially contacted us quickly shifted us over to her assistant, a lovely young lady I began affectionately referring to as our “Handler”.  Our Handler was very engaging, excited and effusive with praise, often telling us, in her southern twang, we were “perfect” and our story was “compelling”, “just what they were looking for” –  seemingly trying to make her enthusiasm contagious. These interactions began to feel forced and slightly manufactured, making me feel rather uncomfortable…and I say this as someone who spent 20 years in Santa Barbara, where people make a living serving up “reality”.

But, I have to admit, the idea of having a homestead expert help us reach our seemingly unreachable goals was more than enough encouragement to continue jumping through their numerous hoops.

Broll & Hoops

We began the laborious task of taking what seemed like a million photographs of our homestead, along with “B-Roll” or “Broll”, which is secondary footage that would be used to highlight the problems we have with our well and our inability to drink the water due the high iron content, the beavers doing their best to destroy our pond and eating the fish in it, the barn destroyed by a fallen tree that unless we can fix, we can’t safeguard our livestock from predators, and about the many predators we’ve encountered from bears, bobcats, raccoons and possums, which may sound small and cute but they are well known for their egg sucking appetites, and various other dilemmas homesteading has presented us with.

This Raccoon was caught in our Chicken pen.
Iron staining just a few days after cleaning with “Barkeepers Friend”, which has become my bew “best friend”!

Once we began submitting Broll, they asked us to reshoot the videos, directing us to not only speak to the camera but to show more character and enthusiasm “because the audience wants to see a person they can connect with”, and asking us to pan away from our faces to the issue we were speaking about. Our Handler: “Talk to the video like it was your girlfriend and you were telling her about the orange water coming from y’alls faucet…”

Our barn after a tree came crashing down on it during a storm.
A closer view of our destroyed barn.

Hoops, I tell you… hoops!  But ones we were willing to jump through for the opportunity of a lifetime!

Manufactured Drama

We even had a skype interview with one of the supervising casting directors, who seemed to want to capitalize on certain aspects of our needs. He attempted to get us to say we were in over our heads because we were inept city folk and would perish if they didn’t come and help us. While it may be true that we are in over our heads, the majority is due to the fact we have limited finances and limits to our physical capacities because of injuries and illnesses. When we bought our homestead, we knew there would be challenges, they just stacked up differently than anticipated making it much harder than originally expected.

He seemed myopic in his attempted to try and get us to say we were “terrified” of predators and being so far from the life we had previously known. He would rephrase our statements in an attempt to get us to repeat them, “So, if the beavers eat all the fish in your pond, you won’t have any food to get through the winter, right?” Uhm… no, we already explained we hunt, have chickens, want to run a few heads of cattle.  Starve?  Probably not, but the truth doesn’t make for “compelling” television, now does it?  Ha!

Some of the damage the Beavers have done to our pond’s outlet.
One of SEVERAL Beaver holes built into the sides of our pond.

They even spoke with our neighbors by skype, trying to get a better understanding of who we were and how “desperate” our plight was.

Medical Emergency

Our Handler mentioned a few times they needed us to complete our BRoll, photos, applications, etc. “soon” as they were creating a “package” to present to folks at the Discovery Channel.  Unfortunately, before this “deadline”, I had to have an emergency appendectomy and was transferred from our tiny country hospital to a larger hospital over an hour away.  We informed our Handler that I might be down for a few days.  Less than a week later, when I contacted her to let her know we were ready to go, she informed us we had missed the “deadline”.  Rather than connect with Mr. Misty while I was recovering from surgery and rather than give us a more concrete “deadline”, they allowed us to miss this “ethereal” deadline, which was a HUGE disappointment to our family.

The fact they found us worth looking at in the first place, is kind of a kick and more exposure to reality TV than I ever expected to see in my lifetime. Mr. Misty and I have spoken at length and have agreed should the opportunity arise again, we’d be game.

And, who knows? Maybe the third time will be the charm! Marty Raney… we’ll be waiting!

Now, what are we going to do about those Beavers and that barn?  If you have any suggestions, we’d love to hear them.  Leave them in the comments below.

They had us take a group photo – which was long overdue. Misty Nana, Mrs. Misty, Super D.O.G. and Mr. Misty

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35 thoughts on “Our Brush with Fame and the Brush Off

  1. A missed opportunity, perhaps, but maybe also a blessing ins disguise. Few of the reality shows are”real” – much of the drama is enhanced and coerced for TV ratings and watchers. And while I would assume there is some compensation, it might not be worth the intrusion into your lives by having someone follow you around all the time. On the other hand, I do watch some, as you do, and I have learned things too!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Right?! We had several close to us praying about it and it really does look like that God has other plans for us… just hoping that it involves fixing the barn because that’s going to take some real doing and some big equipment, which we don’t have. Everything always works out as it should. 🙂 Thanks for the confirmation. ❤


  2. I can totally understand your excitement as well as your disappointment! I have always wondered what it would be like to be “handled” by a TV show. It sounds how I expect it would be….whatever makes for good TV! I watch some of the house flipping shows and I always think that the “reality” of some of the scenes is far from what really happened! Hopefully you’ll get someone in the future that appreciates you for what you are doing 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Ups and downs … my ‘chitis appears to have died and the sun shone for a few minutes the other day. I believe it’s working up to a full day of shining … any moment now … probably … maybe … 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. That was sort of the feeling we were getting as the supervisor was trying to get us to say things in a certain way. I have wondered if we didn’t so much miss the deadline as we weren’t quite the inept participants they were hoping for. Though, I will say it again, the idea of getting help with that barn… boy, howdy! Lol!


  4. We really enjoy the same reality TV shows! While we are “Roughing it Smoothly” in our motor home, we are unplugged from the conventional lifestyle in “sticks-n-bricks” houses. We don’t know where we will end up settling down, but we do like the idea of being self sufficient. Hubby’s brother and family are in the process of setting up just such a homestead. We sure hope you two make it into one of the reality series!
    Sorry, we can’t offer any advice except to pray this for you: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith, without doubting, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:2-6
    Praying for the wisdom you need!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think being a part of manufactured drama/scripted tv gets old after a while for those of us who appreciate natural state of things! Like your dog-that is lovely btw! One thing ends to give the chance to something better.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a fun blog article! I always read your blogs with enjoyment. I don’t have a television so I would not have seen your reality show, however I do think you should WRITE MORE WORDPRESS!!! lol


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