Kris spent a decade in TV news before starting Tight Line Media in 2006. Her first book, My Place Among Men, is available now and her most recent film Ocean to Idaho capturing the migration of thousands of salmon on their return from the Oregon coast to the Idaho wilderness premieres this Summer and you can see the trailer at tightlinemedia.com.
Intro to Outdoors
I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Wasatch mountains were my playground and I always felt comfortable outside. I didn’t grow up hunting with my dad. I didn’t grow up fishing with my dad. I grew up hiking with my dad. And my dad is forever lost. He doesn’t have an internal compass. My mom says I don’t have a danger gene, which is probably true, but my dad doesn’t have an internal compass. And so we would wander endlessly and he would never admit he was lost. But, I found that by following his dusty frame down a little trail forever and ever, that I learned patience, persistence, resilience, and all those things helped me do my job today. I would just follow him when I was little. I didn’t question if we were lost, but I knew darn well we were, and as I got older, I figured that out, but I still knew lost or not that I was comfortable outside. That’s where I feel at home.
All right. So when it comes to the outdoor business, I have a pretty interesting take on it. And it comes from two and a half decades of watching our industry shift. And I’m just so impressed by what I see within our industry as things shift and what matters now, and the way to come at this business. If I were coming at it now would be to look at it from the user’s perspective in every way. And that is because the way we value our natural resources has made a dramatic shift in the last century. And you can see it in the way that outdoor users lay out their expectations and those users are your customers. So a century ago we were, we were mining, logging. Resources to us were, what do we get out of them? What can they do for us with a dollar sign? Now, look at where we’re at today. They’re still mining, logging, drilling, developing a little bit of damming and all that still going on, but you know what? Now there’s a seat at the table for that natural resource as it is. Natural resources hold a value for what they offer us as they are. Or in many cases that you see today as they will be, as they’re put back together, that has a value. Now our natural resources hold, hold value beyond the dollar. And when your customers start realizing natural resources, hold value beyond the dollar, The way to connect to them is to also value those natural resources beyond the dollar.
Oh the Places you’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
Favorite Outdoor Gear
My favorite piece of outdoor gear pushes the hundred dollars mark, pretty hard, but I think it’s still worth it. It’s trail running shoes. So, I’ve tried different brands. And it just kind of depends on what kind. I think it all comes down to cushion. I used to run barefoot, so I’m a minimalist.
Stick your feet in the river, any river, the closest one you can get to. People say they don’t have the access to the outdoors, but you know, don’t you drink water and that water is coming from somewhere. It’s fine. Find flowing water and stick your feet in it. It just makes that connection to our outdoor world.
Connect with Kris: Tightline Media
09:18 – 09:23 Mon Teaser 01:43 – 02:38 Intro to Outdoors 41:18 – 43:09 Advice
Welcome to the outdoor biz podcast. Your home for inspiring conversations with outdoor insiders each week. Author speaker adventurer and outdoor industry veteran Rick Saez. Rick talks in depth with iconic brand founders, sales and marketing pros, product designers and industry rising stars. Listen in when Rick’s guests offer actionable advice to land your ideal industry gig and grow your outdoor career.
[00:00:27] Catch us again when the conversation shifts to the hottest outdoor products destinations and the latest industry insights. And now here’s Rick episode, 256 of the outdoor biz podcast with Tightline media CEO. Chris Milkie brought to you this month by audible crisp in a decade and TV news before starting Tightline media in 2006.
[00:00:50] Her first book, my place among men is available now at her most recent film ocean to Idaho capturing the migration of thousands of salmon on their return from the Oregon coast to the Idaho wilderness premieres. This summer, you can see the email@example.com. Welcome to the show, Chris. Thanks for having me.
[00:01:06] Yeah. Good to chat with you this morning. What’s happening in your world today? Uh, today the sun’s out. We have snow on the ground, but, um, and it as we should, this time of year in Idaho, so yeah. We like that. That’s a good thing. Yeah. That’s a good thing. That means is there’s a little moisture to fill the rivers again, as the cycle goes.
[00:01:25] Yes. As it goes, we want those rivers full. Yeah. We need that hair too. I’m in Bishop and it’s a pretty dry land of little rain as Mary Austin dubbed it. What, uh, what triggered your love for the outdoors and adventure that started at a young age? From what I can tell through your bio? I grew up in salt Lake city, Utah, the Wasatch mountains were my playground and I always felt comfortable outside.
[00:01:53] And I recognized that at an early age and I, I didn’t grow up hunting with my dad. I didn’t grow up fishing with my dad. I grew up hiking with my dad. And my dad is forever lost. So when you like, yeah, that’s a direction a right. Yeah. He doesn’t have an internal compass. My mom says I don’t have a danger gene, which is probably true, but my dad doesn’t have an internal compass.
[00:02:17] And so we would wander endlessly and he would never admit he was lost. But, uh, I found that by following his dusty frame down a little trail forever and ever. That I learned patience, persistence and resilience and resilience and all those things helped me do my job today. Yeah. But yeah, I would just follow them when I was little.
[00:02:41] I did question if we were lost, but I knew darn well, we were, and I, as I got older, I figured that out, but I still. New last or not that I was comfortable outside. That’s where I feel home. That’s very cool. Do you have any, what did you get in any really major, uh, lost events like you had to spend the night or, you know, it took you all night to get home any of that kind of stuff?
[00:03:02] Um, I think, well, as far as last goes, I kept, I don’t remember. I was like needing a rescue now, uh, on a trail race recently they pulled the flags ahead of me and yes, I did get legitimately lost and it took. Uh, some, some people on the ground coming to find me, cause I went in the wrong direction, but when I was little and there was nothing serious like that, I do remember.
[00:03:27] Hiking in the high you winters. And there was nobody there. And we came across in one day during one hike, um, this metal with about five bull moose laying down in it. And I’ve always remembered that thinking, this is it. This is like what you’re going to see every time you hike. And that’s not the case.
[00:03:46] Right. But, you know, thank goodness he was lost. We saw amazing things and I have no idea of how to get to that spot now. And he probably doesn’t either, but yeah, because we kind of wandered, we found some amazing places and in that same trip, we also got stuck in the pouring rain. And I remember throwing everything.
[00:04:06] Into the truck soaking wet and leaving in the middle of the night because we were drowning lost you, you find some pretty cool stuff it’s getting lost is not always a bad thing. Yeah. And so your bio also says, uh, you had a fear of men and beards talk a little bit about that. So I spent a lot of time hiking with my dad without that danger deem that my mom says I don’t want to have.
[00:04:35] My dad did not have a beard growing up. It was a clean shaven household, but I, uh, as long as I’ve been comfortable outside, I’ve always also been afraid of beards. It’s just like being born left-handed I was born and as I got older, I kind of figured out why I was painfully shy and I didn’t want to talk to anybody, but with a beard.
[00:04:57] For sure. It was out of the question. Yeah. And now that I’m older and I’ve had time to kind of think through it, I’ve figured out what it is when I was younger, I studied people. I wanted to know what made them tick. What, what worked in there. Speaking of style. What did it do? You know? I knew I was going to be a storyteller and as a storyteller, I needed to be able to ask questions and get over being shy.
[00:05:21] So I would study people. So when I was shy and I would look away because I didn’t want you to look at me, I would still study you. And if you had a beard, I couldn’t see your facial expressions. And so, uh, as a child, you have to realize what that means. Just like the kids that are dealing with faces that have masks over them.
[00:05:39] Now, a beer to me was kind of like a mask and I couldn’t read that person’s character. I felt like they had something to hide because they were hiding under hair. And so that made me think that there was something hippy. No, no. I run around with beards in the woods all the time, and I realized that the beard does not determine the character, but when I was little, I thought they were hiding something with all that hair.
[00:06:03] Yeah. When you’re a little kid, it’s interesting how you respond to some of the different, you know, looks or facial expressions too. Sometimes it just doesn’t mean what you think it means. That’s interesting. Yeah. Yeah. And so much of that is lost, you know, if we get into this pandemic and like, okay, we can make these adjustments, but.
[00:06:19] Much lost in our face when we can not see half of it when we have a discussion. Yeah. Yeah. So much is lost. You see a lot in the eyes, but not all of it. You got to eat that whole face. Yeah. Have you tested how much you have to smile with a mask on before your eyes? It’s ridiculous. Yeah. I find myself smiling a lot more to just a guy getting my eyes sparkle, you know, so people know I’m not mad at them.
[00:06:42] Right. If you were to take that mask off, it’s a goofy grin. Right. Fully showing exactly what it to meet your eyes. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. You have to put a big old smile on that’s, right? Yeah. Yeah. How did your writing career get started? Did that start at a young age? Yes, I started writing. Um, yeah, I remember even in elementary school I could always write, I like English.
[00:07:03] I understood sentence structure. I understood what worked and how to break it apart and make it work even better. And then through junior high and high school that kind of carried through and you take that test in high school that says here’s what you should be when you grow up. Right. And of course, mine said communicator, and of course, Everyone laughed at that.
[00:07:20] How was the shy girl going to be a reporter? That’s ridiculous. Yeah, but I knew what I was going to be. And I was going to figure out how to get over all my quirks and had to be a storyteller. So I knew my major when I went to college, it was broadcast journalism. I was going to tell you stories on TV and the 10 o’clock news.
[00:07:41] And I never, I never wavered from that. I could always write. And that was my strong point. I learned to shoot. I learned to read script in a voice that sounds like we’re talking and not reading or there’s all these little nuances to it. Yeah. And then I worked for TV stations for a decade, one TV station, another around the country.
[00:08:00] And the whole point was to get to a bigger market. And, you know, I came from salt Lake city. That’s a big TV market. I wanted to get back there. Yeah. And then as I moved around, well, you know, my job was great, but my lifestyle sucked and I worked at 11 o’clock at night and yeah. You know, my husband didn’t like in us, some of the places that we live.
[00:08:18] And so right about the time that the internet was, you know, born, I realized all the mediums were going to mesh. And so after 10 years of TV contracts, I went freelance. And what that did for me was instead of just working for one TV station, I could work for all of them. And I could work for newspaper magazine, radio, web.
[00:08:42] I could work for all of them. Because I could always write, I could write for any medium and because I could shoot, I knew how to frame up a shot for video ads for photo and what needed. I understood the specs for laying it out in paper versus on screen. And so everything kind of translated really well for me.
[00:09:03] But the basic was, I always knew how to write. I have an obsession with words I’m terrible with numbers. Don’t make me do math, but I can write you an essay all day long. And I’m always playing with words in my head. And so, uh, my brother and sister always teach me that I have my own alphabet and I have, since I was little.
[00:09:24] So that’s kind of been my saving grace, where I could always write about anything for any medium. And that has kind of evolved into where I’m at now with Tightline media as a freelancer fortunate too, that you you’d recognize that early on. I mean, that’s huge too, to know that. Yeah. What inspired you to pick up a camera?
[00:09:43] The inspiration for picking up the camera came. When I realized that while I had all of these words and I could put them in perfect order, there was a visual component. I wanted to see what went with those words. And that’s why I chose the video TV medium. When I did right from the get-go video is my base.
[00:10:00] That’s my primary world. And when you see nowadays, there’s a lot of films with a lot of slow-mo in them. I think the reason we’re seeing that slow Mo happen in film is because you have a lot of still photographers shooting videos, and they’re shooting those videos with a still camera. And they’re used to thinking in a single frame of still interesting.
[00:10:22] And I come from the brain, that’s used to seeing action and I want things to happen in real time. And we don’t move in slow mode. So rarely will I put Mo in my videos. Right. And then. Having that base of video be my world. It was a pretty easy transition to learn how to shoot photo I’ve shot video for twenty-five years, I’ve shot photo for 15.
[00:10:47] And I had, I had no problem taking a class from a professional pre-talk photographer to teach me how to use my camera in manual mode versus auto mode and the class wasn’t about framing. I already knew how to frame up subjects and what, how to tell that story. It was about how to use the. Different apertures and shutter speeds.
[00:11:07] Yeah. You know, some of that translates between a video camera photo, but not everything. Yeah. Yeah. So I picked that up, but I’ve always wanted to see what you were showing me and what that means in a story is on video. You know, that the guy that I’m in the fishing boat with is wearing a blue jacket. When I write that for a newspaper or magazine, I have to tell you he’s in a blue jacket.
[00:11:28] Right? So the writing style is a little different. That’s interesting that you picked up on that visual. Where do you think, what do you think triggered that? Is it just the actual experience you had it in telecom? I think that I chose the visual medium right out of the gate, because I’ve always been.
[00:11:46] Obscenely aware of what’s going on around me. And I knew at a young age back clear back when I was studying faces that I had that visual, a desire to see what’s going on versus spell it out. I’ve always liked to write, but I didn’t want to have to always spell out everything. I wanted you to see it right.
[00:12:06] And I can see that in my own kids. Now, you know, when our, when our boys turned 12, they each get a trip with me when they turn 18, they get a trip with my husband. So. When the oldest one turned 12, he chose San Francisco because our boys play hockey and he wanted it to see the black Hawks play the sharks and San Jose.
[00:12:26] And we stayed, we stayed in downtown San Francisco in the financial district and he looked just like you and I was little, we walked around downtown. And when you’re in a big city, people put on blinders. They don’t look at the time. He was probably gobsmacked by all that. It blew him away. And I think that’s one of the reasons we do these trips.
[00:12:44] We live in Idaho falls. It’s pretty small. I want them to be exposed to all different kinds of lifestyles. Right. And you have to go to a different city to get that. And so he was blown away by what he saw. And he said on the first day he said, mom, There’s no one looks at each other. There’s cement everywhere.
[00:13:06] And the only bird I’ve seen as a pigeon. And so he, I can see that that was totally me. When I was little. I was really aware of how people were not connected with each other and not connected with the world around them. Yeah. Yeah. Still, still to this day, even more so maybe in some places. Yeah. Yeah. And so that’s, that’s how I was when I was a little and it’s really neat to see that in my kids.
[00:13:29] That’s very cool. Yeah. Where does your entrepreneurial spirit come from? Are there entrepreneurs in your family that I don’t have a danger gene, but I might have a crazy gene. What it is. I will say this. Um, my father is. By far the proudest workaholic I’ve ever known. And I pick up my workaholic, workaholic tendencies from him.
[00:13:56] What did he do? Um, he is, uh, you’ll love this. My father is an architect, but of a very specific genre. If you walk into a building with my father, he will always look up. And he always looks up because he’s looking for the sprinkler heads. Okay. Gotcha. My dad makes sure your building doesn’t burn down.
[00:14:17] That’s good. Yes. And, um, there were several times growing up, we had it, he had a dad in our basement and time and time again, he would start businesses on his own and try to have his own business of sprinkled fire, sprinkler design over and over and over again. And I remember growing up with that. And so when I decided to go freelance, I honestly, I was really hesitant to start tightlining media because my dad had tried so many times to start and I did not want my family relying on me and then me not being able to really start.
[00:14:56] And so to be at the, be at the Mark where Tightline media is turning 16 years old. Yeah, I had made it through the recession and the pandemic by the skin of my teeth sometimes, but, but, um, that’s significant to me and I also think it’s significant to my father. Uh, but I’ll bet. Yeah, you started then you’re and you’re, you know, you haven’t finished yet, but you’re still going there.
[00:15:20] I mean, you got it off the ground. That’s I can relate to that with, we talked about this before we turned the mic on about the podcast. I mean, it’s in my, I get mine from my grandfather. Same thing. He started, he was always Twinkie, you know? Tinkering with ideas and started this and started that so I can totally relate.
[00:15:36] Yep. That’s where it is. Interesting. And so tell our listeners about what we’ve talked a little bit about your TV news career. What did you like most about that? Oh, the storytelling, what I like most about TB was the storytelling, but in TV news, um, I had to learn, I had to learn early on that I needed to create an instant rapport with strangers.
[00:15:59] Yeah. You have to have a rapport with somebody before they will talk to you. And if you don’t know them, I mean, I’m meeting people, new people every day, and I’ve got to do a story for live, live story for the five o’clock six o’clock, 10 o’clock, and there’s gotta be at least two interviews in that story.
[00:16:15] That’s six new people a day that I had to develop an instant rapport with and get them to tell me their secret, that easy, you know? And so I liked, uh, I can, I’m intrigued by challenge. I think. That’s something that becomes pretty obvious in me. When you talk to me about my work, when you look at my stories, I’m pretty obsessive about what I do and I can, are you out with my, uh, overeager sense of being when it comes to covering the outdoors and doing it in a proper, proper storytelling manner?
[00:16:50] And so the idea that I could tell a story. And frankly, tell that story in two minutes, because of a newscast it’s gotta be within two minutes, pretty phenomenal. So you don’t waste words, you get right to the point. Yeah. That’s a great skill. So even when a magazine will say, we need you to write a thousand words, that’s a lot.
[00:17:10] And a book, 50,000 words, that’s a lifetime to me. And when I come from a world of two minutes news, I’m not going to waste any words. So even if you put me on a thousand word magazine story or a 50,000 word book, every single word has purpose in there. There’s no fluff because I come from two minutes of news where you did an add any extra fluff.
[00:17:35] So do you think it’s harder for you to write, like in those big, long magazine articles and books and stuff because of that, or you just have to work harder to, you know, make it a detailed story? I find that writing, um, length longer than 500 words is harder for me. And I know why it’s harder. It’s because I come from where you did quick, fast turns.
[00:17:58] Yeah. You shot at wrote edited the same day, probably within a two to four hour timeframe. And I’m used to that pace. It’s hard to get me to slow down and work at a longer pace. Uh, even while magazines that might have, like, you know, they’re planning a year out right now. Yeah. If you give me an assignment right now, I want to work on it right now.
[00:18:20] I don’t want to work on it in may or an August issue. Right. So I’ve had to learn to pace myself a little better. And I think that’s been a good thing to learn because as I’ve learned to pace myself, I’ve also learned to tolerate the pieces. And there is no doubt that was in a lengthy piece. You are a stronger writer because you add to it things that you can not fit into many
[00:18:47] Yeah. Yeah. I was going to say, yeah, the story is more important because you put more detail in it. You don’t just put fluff in it. It’s, it’s relevant, very relevant to the story. Whereas a lot of people write these things. It’s like, well, you could have said that in three words, you know? So when I wrote my place upon bed, I sent him my first draft and it was 15 one, five, 15,000 words.
[00:19:10] Oh, I’m spent, that’s like the most I’ve ever written because the Austin, my editor cut that in half, sent me back. 8,000 words said not good enough. Dig deeper. Yeah. And I had no idea that I had deeper in me, but I did. And it strengthened my writing to a whole new level. That was so obvious that the year my book came out, which was last year, um, all the outlets that I was working for, we said, wow, Your writing has advanced so much.
[00:19:43] And I knew exactly why it’s because I had to push to reach 50,000 words and make every single word count. And then your writing goals to a whole new level, when you have to meet that type of challenge, and it shows up in all your other work. Yeah, boy, it sticks with it. Yeah. Once you do that, I’ll bet he wrote everything.
[00:20:01] You’re right. Yeah. Well, good on the editor. That was awesome.
[00:20:06] So I can take a criticism and then I just suck it up and move on with it, but we’ll do it dig in. Yeah, I hear you. Yeah. We’re willing to do that in the show notes. That’s I look forward to getting that book. Sounds like a great story. Is your time in TV? The inspiration behind Tightline media is that where that came from?
[00:20:23] My timing TB was. In a roundabout way and inspiration for Tightline media working, um, you know, about two years at a time under contract for one station or another, I worked for every station, but CBS that’s kinda just how it worked out. And so, um, you, you learn a lot about the industry. You work in small markets where you have to do every job from running the teleprompter to editing your own stories, to whatever happens.
[00:20:50] It has to happen up by you because small markets, that’s how it goes in bigger markets. Everyone fights about who has to do what, because no one wants to do anything. And so that was weird to me. I just wanted to work. I just wanted to tell stories and yeah. And TV. I had to cover crops and crime and whatever else was on the police scanner for the day or down at city hall.
[00:21:10] And, uh, I would, I know that from the very beginning, I was always shoving outdoor stories into people’s TVs. There was not an outdoor beat, but I wanted there to be. And I know that those stories mattered. It doesn’t matter if you hike, bike, hunt, fish, whatever it is you do outside. The reason that opportunity exists is because something’s going on, that’s conserving our natural resources to the lab to make it so that you can recreate.
[00:21:37] And so those stories really matter to me. So I would shove them in your TV anyway, under, and I’d figure out how to make them the top story of the night. It was some kind of news hitch. So by the time I decided to go freelance, Yes. I knew video was going to be my base, but instead of being general assignment, I niched out 95% of what I do is outdoor related.
[00:21:59] And that’s a conscious decision when I went freelance. It was because I didn’t want to cover crops in crime anymore. Yeah. Those still come into my stories. You know, if we’ve got crime, it’s used to poaching wildlife trafficking crops, certainly that matters. We’ve got deer running through corn fields, right.
[00:22:15] So. Those elements still matter. And I liked having to learn how to cover every possible beat. But I wanted to really hit the outdoors. So I, I niched down to that when I started testing. That’s pretty smart. That’s pretty smart. Yeah. That’s uh, they say the riches are in the niches, so it’s, you know, I haven’t experienced that yet, but it’s coming.
[00:22:37] I don’t think I’ve experienced it either, but if I wanted to make a lot of money, I would, I had a fatter wallet if I’d had done something else. Well, yeah, we’re, we’re on the outdoors because we love it. That’s for sure.
[00:22:51] The flexibility of my lifestyle. Yeah. The opportunity for fresh air that, that you can’t be placed with just a fatter wallet. If I have a bad day and I start to gripe, my husband will just quickly say, you know what? We can shove you back in a cubicle. Do you want to do that? Find that there’s problems.
[00:23:11] Yeah. Yeah. That’s, that’s a, that’s a good thing about the outdoors. We can just go out and blow off some steam and. See everything and anything we want to see. Yeah. And I, but I do think there’s a, on the flip side of that, everyone thinks it’s just fun and glamorous to work outside. I’m telling you right now, a 15 hour day in a wildfire where my nose bleeds all day and hundreds of miles from decent food and a bathroom.
[00:23:35] Those are not glamorous days. Right. And there’s a lot of work that goes into those shots. You know, the guy that’s fishing, he’s having a great day of play. Me trying to shoot footage of him. Fishing is not play. It is work. Yeah, no, it is. It’s all work. I think that’s the thing that we all, whatever you chose choose to do as a vocation, there are going to be parts of it that are work.
[00:23:55] I don’t care how much fun most of it is. You know, I, I have two degrees in recreation and, you know, made a choice early on to make the outdoors, my vocation. But there are days when is your sales guy or you’re a product guy or whatever that they’re, it’s work and just the nature of the beast, I think. Yeah.
[00:24:13] And I think that there’s a real tendency by people that want to especially get into the outdoor work that will do it for nothing. And I worry about that because this isn’t a hobby for me. This is how I feed my family. And I have to make money or I have to do something else. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. There was a lot of that.
[00:24:32] People are selling their services for lower amounts and I think that they are doing it, the service through a lot, a lot of the outdoor pros. And eventually they’re going to find out that, you know, there. There is they’re going to come to a point where they’re not going to go to that lowest bidder because they want to make some money too.
[00:24:47] So it’s you muzzle start out making a decent, you know, charging a decent amount so you can continue, but that could be a whole nother. Maybe that should be a whole nother episode. Actually. That’s a good one. That leaves a good one. Then I think a lot of the reason you’ll see that under cutting of. Value across the industry is people are doing this on the side of some off of other office jobs.
[00:25:08] Yeah. Or they just want to break into it and they think that’s the way to do it. Yeah. Yes, yes. You know, I helped mentor my neighbor’s grandson. She came over to the day and she was so excited and she’s like, he graduated, he’s out of college and he’s writing for this newspaper and I’m so glad you helped him.
[00:25:23] And I said, Oh, I’m so happy to hear that. I’d love it. And she said, yeah, he’s getting paid in beer. I said, Oh no, that’s not how this goes down. He is not going to be able to feed his family on beer and the beer is going to wear out, you know, pretty quickly. Yup. Yup. Beer and gear. You can’t, you can’t make, make a living and feed your face beard gear.
[00:25:44] So yeah, you need dollars in there somewhere. Folks. We’re going to take a little break, give some love to our sponsor. Hey, do you love to read, but don’t always have the time to sit down with a good book on the same. And sometimes I just feel like having someone else tell the story. Well, if you use audible, then you know, if not you’re missing out, it’s like having a library in your phone.
[00:26:04] And I use it a lot. Auto helps a mile slot by when I’m on the road. As I’m enjoying great books I discover or recommended by friends. Get your free audio book, download and a 30 day free firstname.lastname@example.org slash the outdoor biz podcast. There are over 180,000 titles to choose from. Go to audible trial.com/the outcrop is podcast and start your free 30 day trial with audible today.
[00:26:26] And now back to the show. So he talked a little bit about your new film ocean to Idaho. I saw the trailer this morning. That looks pretty cool. Oh, I’m glad you saw the trailer. I it’s very likely you’re the first person to see it because I just finished it. It’s kind of coming. Like everyone is going to learn soon that it’s out.
[00:26:45] So I’d love that you got to see it. Um, okay. So the, that comes out in 2021 is ocean to Idaho and it follows salmon migration from the Oregon coast to the Idaho wilderness and the magic behind all that actually started. In early 2020 when I went on the road to follow that migration route. So it’s a multi-year project and that’s an unusual for me to spread something out like this.
[00:27:12] But I wanted one year where I actually shocked that migration is how it had to be done. And then the next year is when it comes out. Because by the time the migration is done, we’re into snow and people don’t want to watch. Something like that. And they want, I want them to watch this story when the salmon are moving through the area again, and it’s the longest piece I’ve ever edited for videos.
[00:27:35] So it’s, it’s quite a crunch on time, but the reason so many people know about ocean to Idaho already a year in advance is because I let them follow me virtually on the road trip. Smart. Good, good. Yeah. And so everybody was at home. You know, I knew this was what I was going to do. I said, I’m going to follow salmon migration from the ocean to Idaho.
[00:27:57] I said that October, 2019, by March of 2020, my plans were down the drain. And I said, I’m going to follow the salmon migration from the ocean to Idaho. That Dennett be damned. And so what I had to do was dump all my plans and figure out how to follow these fish because we were not moving, but the fish still work.
[00:28:18] Right. And I wanted to follow them safely and responsibly. And that meant living out of a truck and a camper all summer, following the migration route through Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Did you do that? Solo solo all by myself, I had masks. I had a temperature chart. I had to take my temperatures for several weeks in advance before I even stepped foot in Oregon.
[00:28:44] And. Um, I started following the migration in June and I’ve finished with the last few dozen Chinook salmon that make it to mile 850 in central Idaho wilderness in September. Wow, very cool. And it was, it was, uh, alone. There is one stretch within that 850 miles. That is all wilderness and there’s no road.
[00:29:07] The only way to navigate that as a raft. And I, I navigated on a raft because somebody that I know in Idaho picked up a permit because everyone from out of town could come use the tags they drawn. Yeah. And so there was that 80 mile stretch of the 850 mile route when I wasn’t alone because my family was with me and we run a raft with other families on their rafts and we did whitewater rafting through that wilderness stretch.
[00:29:33] Well, that’s cool. Other than that I was alone. And, um, I shoot with five cameras and I shot the five cameras by myself. I lived out of a Toyota Tundra and a four wheel camper on top of that. I had to learn how to run everything in one day and when everything kind of fell into place and I said, I’m going, and I’m going to have to do it in a way that isolates me.
[00:29:58] Toyota stepped in with, with wheels, but will camper stepped in with the house on top of the wheels? And I knew I was going to go and I just, yeah. Needed somewhere safe to keep me and my gear and to isolate no one was allowed inside my camper or my truck and I wasn’t with anybody unless I was interviewing them.
[00:30:19] And then they were six feet away. I was totally self-contained. I didn’t go into any, that’s a story right there. And it’s in and of itself. Are you going to tell her how you’re going to tell that story or is that part of the film? That’s that’s a great question. Is that, do I tell that story in the film or not?
[00:30:34] And right now, Here’s where I’m at, letting people virtually follow me while they were stuck at home. During the pandemic really caught fire people really liked seeing what was going on in the world. Through someone who has to cover it accurately and fairly. And yeah, I don’t, I don’t paint it pretty. This is what’s happening.
[00:30:59] Yeah. Yeah. Well, we all like to live vicariously through others sometimes. So that was, yeah, I think during the pandemic that people really attached to that. And so I quickly took that road trip and morphed it into what became a kind of its own standing identity. There’s this whole library of episodes and they came out twice a week.
[00:31:20] People watched. I had a biomarker for miles zero to eight 50. And I’d say we’re at this mile. Marker. Here’s why we’re here. This is the first of eight down. That’s why we’re right here. And then that would be on Thursday and on Tuesday it was behind the scenes. Here’s my temperature chart. Here’s my masks.
[00:31:39] Here’s what happens with my camera breaks. Here’s what happens when I fall out of my camper and. You know, here’s what happened. This is why my face is taped up on camera at the end. It’s cause I have stitches in my face and know that got to like live all that with me. That you can’t plan that. No, that’s, that’s, that’s a story too.
[00:31:57] That’s a film too. That’s I think my thing. So, so I’ve made all those episodes and people kind of seem to like the idea of binge-watching those now that they’re all together. So that’s fun. Yeah. But when I started to edit the film and I had 25 hours of footage, And I needed to fit it into a 26 minutes show.
[00:32:15] It takes some serious prioritizing. And as a journalist in the truest sense of the word, there is no I story perspective. Yeah. Yeah. And it’s all about every person I have. Every person along that migration route and what that water means to them. And what’s going on here that helps fish what’s going on here.
[00:32:38] That hurts fish. You have to involve all looks perspectives. I wanted everyone’s perspective in this issue and I took it as my responsibility to cover it fairly accurately balanced. You know, you start talking about dams, should they stay or should they go, you damn well, better get both sides of that story.
[00:32:59] So I decided in the film itself, I pulled myself out of it as a personality. And it’s strictly coming from the perspective of everyone that lives along the migration route. And then I’m going to create a director’s cut that, pulls it out and says, Oh yeah, here’s the spot where. I broke my camera. This is what happened that day.
[00:33:22] Right. And here, Oh, let me tell you about these, you know, this part here I showed up. At mile eight 50 was stitches Haggard. Yeah. God, I can’t imagine. Yeah. Yeah. I think that’d be a good story right there too though. I think there’s a lot of people that like to know, you know, the behind the scenes and that just got verified validated by all the people that followed you.
[00:33:42] Yeah. And I think, you know, it’s pretty uncomfortable to watch yourself fall apart as you’re watching this fall apart. And at the end, the fish died and I didn’t. And so now I have to decide how all that gets to roll out. The film itself won’t have me in it, but the director’s cut. Well, the road trip episodes definitely have in them.
[00:34:03] Wait to see it. We’ll link to that in the show notes too. It’s called ocean to Idaho and there’s a trailer there. That sounds super fun. I’m looking forward to that. Yeah. I got to go to the bank film festival a few times, um, back when I was with Eagle Creek and it just, all those kinds of films that you’re talking about, and I really was inspired.
[00:34:20] Not only by the film, but then some of the backstories when you got to go back and talk to the, the director and the filmmaker. And so I think there’s, there’s an opportunity to do both of those things. Yeah. Yeah. I’d agree. And I think even more so now the one thing that social media has done is it has changed the expectations on the audience’s side.
[00:34:38] Yeah. Yeah. You know what I was in news, I could do a live shot at 10 o’clock and tell you what happened on the TV screen. And you would watch me in your living room, but you couldn’t tell me anything. You could call the district. If you wanted to complain or say, I need to know something else about this, but with social media, you can actually connect with that person more.
[00:34:57] And so your expectation grows. You want a more personal connection with that journalist. Yeah. And I realize now that that, you know, halfway through my career, That was a significant shift and I needed to be open to the idea that people wanted to know what it was like to cover this story and not just know the story.
[00:35:15] They’re more advanced now. They want more than just the story they want the backstory. Yeah. I think they’ve realized they can get it now. Right back in the day they couldn’t get it. They had no way. Well, I shouldn’t say no way, but very few ways to reach out to the producers and the filmmakers. But now, like you say, it’s just, it’s right there.
[00:35:32] It’s on social media. Just call them up, you know, send him an email, you know, whatever it might be. Yeah. Do you have any desire to make a feature length film? Do I have any desire to make a feature length film? I thought hard about this question for a long time. Uh, you know what I mean? When I say I come from two-minute news, the longer things get.
[00:35:54] The more of a lifetime, they feel, but they also, the challenge intrigues me. Uh, of adding lanes. I honestly didn’t think I could pull off a book. I do not have the attention span to sit down that long, but honestly, I broke my leg in three places, coaching kid hockey, and I was on the couch for four months growing bone around a rod.
[00:36:22] And I had to sit down, I was on drugs that made my muscles hold still. And so. You can crank out a pretty decent chunk of word count when you have to do that. Yes, you can. Now I don’t want to do that to create a feature film, but, uh, 26 minutes for ocean to Idaho will be the longest. I have ever produced.
[00:36:43] When I produce shows Freido public TV, they are for a half hour format, which is 26 minutes. Most of my other films have hovered around the 10 minute Mark, you know, uh, on the internet. Shoot. I still turn out two minutes movies. Yeah. That’s what people want to watch then all the time. Yeah. But you know, as we talked about the audience expectation growing, I think that when someone says that they’re going to make a feature film.
[00:37:08] Your first instinct is to think, well, no, one’s going to watch that it’s too long. But think of the other side of that, our audiences education level and expectation level is growing. You know, they will sit down for it. Even if it’s long is good enough. Well, they will. And they do. I mean, look at the explosion of Netflix and Amazon prime video and all these places, YouTube, where we watch all these things, especially now in the pandemic.
[00:37:31] But even before the pandemic people, I think they liked the story part of it. Like I was saying about the, the backstory, the director’s cut, if you will, of, of ocean to Idaho, that’s going to be a phenomenal story. That could be an interesting film. Yeah. And I think that there’s the, the intrigue of a feature film.
[00:37:51] But I think it’s only there for me now because I’ve grown into it. Yeah. There was no way back when I was doing two-minute news that I could have seriously considered a feature film. And now I’ve cranked out 50,000 words for a book. So Hey, maybe feature film might be the next lane. There you go, folks.
[00:38:11] You heard it here? Well, let’s sit with the 26 minutes. I haven’t come out yet. Yeah. Let’s see how that goes. Yeah. And one thing at a time. Yeah. Okay. Let’s get back to some other questions. Um, so you, you do a lot of outdoor activities. Do you have a favorite, favorite outdoor activity? Something that you, and when you’re not filming, when you just need to go out with the kids or just blow off some steam, do you go fishing to go hiking?
[00:38:37] What do you do? Fly Fisher. I am a trail runner. I am a rafter, a hiker, a biker. I’m all those do it all. Yeah. Yeah. If I get a day off and um, I want to get out, it’s not so much about what I’m doing. It’s where I’m doing it. That’s what matters to me. The farther away, the more rewrote mode it is, the more enticing it is to me.
[00:39:05] And I think you. Even if I’m there like a high mountain Lake, you’re not going to catch a big five-pound lunker and you’re going to work your butt off to get up there and you’re going to catch maybe something as long as your hands. Yeah. But that fishing to me is so much more rewarding because I worked so hard to get to it.
[00:39:21] And there’s nobody else around. Yeah. I tend to do okay. Farther away. And Trevor means the same way. I’m an ultra. So I run distance. And man, you get me back in there on the continental divide, which is deep wilderness in the Idaho Montana borders. Uh, I’m gonna, I’m gonna really feel like I’m in my element because no one’s around me.
[00:39:42] Whereas other runners, particularly women, they feel more comfortable running where there’s people. Well, I feel better running my there’s no people. Yeah, I’m the same way. I, I, I do better when there’s, I mean, I’ve been this way. My parents have, since I was a kid, I don’t talk to anybody. I don’t always play by myself.
[00:39:59] I still do that. I still find that I would much like Bishop. There’s a bunch of places that I can go fishing, but I don’t like to go there cause there’s, you know, you gotta find an open piece of water. I want to go somewhere where I can just go fish and, uh, or hike or whatever it is. So it’s interesting. I never heard it put that way though, but that’s.
[00:40:17] Crystallizes it for me too. Yeah. Yeah. You’ll see. You’ll see me doing any of those activities. Yeah. Uh, I, I work in the hike and bike world and the hook and bullet world. So I’ve got to be pretty versatile for all of it. Um, and my kids have been exposed to all of us. They’re little river rats. They, the ones that heck of a runner, he is so much faster than me now, but I can go farther than him.
[00:40:40] So there you go. That’s good. Yeah. So, uh, let’s shift gears a little bit here. Do you have any suggestions or advice for folks wanting to get into the outdoor biz or grow their career or the filmmaking biz? Ooh, which one do you want to hit? Outdoor? Um, let’s do outdoor height. Let’s stick with outdoor.
[00:40:58] Cause that’s pretty much what I ask everybody. And do you want to get into outdoor outdoor as a business? Well, yeah, outdoors of business. I mean, I think outdoor, I think a lot of folks, you know, that listen to this show, they listened for the stories, but they also either are in the business or looking to get in the business and, yeah.
[00:41:18] All right. So when it comes to the outdoor business, I have a pretty interesting take on it. And it comes from two and a half decades of watching our industry shift. And I’m just so impressed by what I see within our industry as things shift and what matters now, and the way to come at this business. If I were coming at it now would be to look at it from the user’s perspective in every.
[00:41:51] And every way, and that is because the way we value our natural resources has made a dramatic shift in the last century. And you can see it in the way that outdoor users lay out their expectations and those users are your customers. So a century ago we were, we were mining, logging. It’s really pretty cavalier about the other space.
[00:42:20] Yeah. Sources to us were, what do we get out of them? What can they do for us with a dollar sign? Now, look at where we’re at today. Yes. They’re still mining, logging, drilling, developing a little bit of damning and all that still going on, but you know what? Now there’s a seat at the table for that natural resource as it is.
[00:42:40] Yeah. Natural resources hold a value for what they offer us as they are. Or in many cases that you see today as they will be, as they’re put back together, that has a value. Now our natural resources hold, hold value beyond dollar. And when your customers start realizing natural resources, hold value beyond dollar.
[00:43:03] The way to connect to them is to also value those natural resources beyond dollar. I like it. Yeah. That’s a good point. And that’s a good thing. As we, as the world gets more populated and you know, these places get more crowded, it becomes more important to think about those things. I think. Yeah. You know, it was amazing to me.
[00:43:23] I don’t live very far from the DMV in Idaho falls, Idaho, and, um, It’s downtown. Everyone passes by downtown, but it was amazing to me to see how many out-of-state plates were in the parking lot of the DMB, getting licenses for Idaho during the pandemic, California, Texas, Colorado. Plates from everywhere coming here.
[00:43:44] And I live about an hour and a half from Yellowstone. So we already get an influx of travelers, but the people, the, the travel, you see the people on the river and they’re usually tourists and they stop and they visit, and then they moved to Yellowstone. But the people in the parking lot at the division of motor vehicles, all those out-of-state plates were coming to stay.
[00:44:03] Yeah. And so, yeah, you’re starting to see that push there’s that, you know, the animals. Start to shift with climate change. There’s that whole shift in the migration routes is the temperature shifts. But you’re also seeing with humanity, they’re pushing into places that have space to have resources. Yeah.
[00:44:23] You’re starting to see that. And even if people don’t realize that’s what’s going on and that’s what it is, they’re pushing them to safer places to be. Yeah. Yeah. With more space. Yeah. I think you’re right. And people are leaving in the country too. Yeah, that’s a, we see it up here. In Bishop, but more from a recreation perspective because the land is all pretty much owned.
[00:44:41] You can’t, there’s no, you know, they’re not going to build more. The city and Bishop can’t get a lot bigger because the land is around them as already owned by department of water, power and, and other folks. So that can’t happen. But, um, you see them out here recreating. That’s interesting though. I never thought of that.
[00:44:57] I never, you know, I haven’t been to a small town. Like Idaho falls. So that makes sense though, because you’ve read about it in the news and people are talking about it all over. People are looking to leave the country, leave the state. I mean, they’re itching to get out of California because it’s crowded and you know, the, whether you believe or support the politics or not, it’s just weird.
[00:45:15] So yeah. You know, you see all those, the devastating wildfires in California, you may want to run away from that. Right. Well, when you get a fire of that size in Idaho, wilderness, no one lives there, right? Yeah. It’s it’s it’s, uh, I mean, it’s fired a grand scale and I happen to more places in California. The problem in California is that people live there and hopefully it won’t, it won’t impact.
[00:45:40] I’d hope people will not miss more people go there. We gotta make sure that we don’t let them live there. They shouldn’t live there in my opinion, because it’s a tricky thing. Yeah. It’s tough. So, but, but, so he’s got to call it right. Someone’s got to say, no, we can’t do this. You know, and we let him, we have these big fires in California and then.
[00:45:58] The burns all these places now that we rebuild them right. Where they were. And it happens again, it’s like same thing on Florida with flooding, same thing. You’re not supposed to build in this zone. Don’t rebuild in this. Don’t you think that would make sense, but you know what, someone’s home. It gets crazy.
[00:46:14] I get it. It’s their home. Yeah, you’re right. And some of these places in these, in these, you know, remote towns and stuff, people have lived there for hundreds of years. So it’s in their ancestors home, you know, I saw a bumper sticker the other day, uh, you know, the whole, it was the shape of Idaho, the state with the pan handle.
[00:46:34] And it said fr we’re full. A lot of folks are saying that, yeah, a lot of folks are saying that as California. And so, you know, I mean, the world said that the U S and the pandemic, they don’t want us, you know, coming in. So they. Wouldn’t accept passports. And I’m sure States are saying that to you for the same reason, similar reasons.
[00:46:53] Anyway. Yeah. It’s definitely going to make things interesting. And there’s so much that has shifted lifestyle wise because there’s a lot that people aren’t seeing yet. And that’s one of the things I think people aren’t really quite seeing. Yeah. Not just visiting the river and the trails as they pass through there at the DMV getting a license, they’re staying right.
[00:47:16] That’s going to be a different farm. Yeah. Um, how about favorite books? Do you have any favorite books or do you have a book? You give us gifts, your book? Of course, I give my book a lot. I find that writing a book puts you in this whole new realm. My place in my man is decades of the most dynamic. News stories I’ve covered with my perspective added to it.
[00:47:39] And so I know that people like to read that. So when you read my place among men, you’re reading a legitimate news story with the perspective put into it, that shows you what it’s like to be in that moment. Right. And that can apply to every age, race, gender. And so people are really, I mean, I’ve got 12 year old, little hockey kids reading it, and I’ve got my neighbor that’s 85 reading it.
[00:47:58] So it’s cool that, that matters. And if you can make a book like that, I’m drawn to those, but you know, an editor’s going to tell you that that’s not the best way to write if you niche down and it sells better, I’m already in it’s down. Cause I’m in the outdoors. So there’s some of that. If I have to pick, you know, if I’m going to pick a book that I want to give to someone, honestly, it’s not a classic novel style book.
[00:48:25] It’s a book that fits more to my two minute attention span. And that’s all the places you’ll go by Dr. Seuss. Oh, cool. I love it. That’s a good one. Yeah. I loved the way he plays with words. I love the way he breaks all the rules on what we think, things look like and sound like, and that he does it in about two minutes.
[00:48:46] He was an amazing writer. I mean, you know, to a P to get a little kid, to sit down and write a book like that. And then even adults, like you say, some of those books, you read them as adults. Like, ah, never S I never read that before. You know, I never interpreted that way before. That’s cool. How about your favorite piece of outdoor gear?
[00:49:03] Under a hundred dollars. My favorite piece of outdoor gear pushes the a hundred dollars Mark, pretty hard, but I think it’s still worth it. It’s trail running shoes. So, um, I’ve tried different brands. And so there, it just to kind of depends on what kind of, I think it all comes down to cushion. Yeah. I used to run barefoot, so I’m a minimalist.
[00:49:22] I want as little as I can get on the bottom of my feet. I like to feel the ground and, uh, I don’t run barefoot anymore. I think after 15 miles, that’s not a smart idea. It’s be hard on the knees, but here’s what I find about trail running shoes. I wore hiking boots forever. And when I, my leg in three places, one of the breaks was the hockey puck hit my shin and then just kind of shattered the bone in every direction from there.
[00:49:49] And so where a hiking boot rides up higher on your shin, that’s a total no-go for that seam where rods and screws are inside my rebuilt Lake. Yeah, I can do it, but I don’t like it. So I stopped wearing a high rise, hiking boot. And I had trout runners in my closet because I run trail. I started wearing that instead, and now I wear my trail runners when I’m not running.
[00:50:14] My old pairs are my mowing shoes. I go through several pairs a year. And so, uh, the bottom wears out before the top. So I just following them. But I find that I’m also. Uh, we went scouting for elk a few weeks ago and I wore trail runners and we weren’t, we weren’t even on a trail and we were bushwhacking and I found a hole, the hole, I found like a moose graveyard.
[00:50:38] It was like the whole remains of a moose and it’s racking, everything. Wow. Totally undisturbed. And so we were way off trail and I was only in trail runners. So. A trail runner with a Gator guard to keep up the gravel. Yeah, I find is so versatile and works in so many situations. If I need to get in the river, they dry out quick.
[00:51:00] So I picked trail running shoes because they. Are versatile way beyond trail. Yeah, no, I agree with you. I don’t wear hiking boots, either stiff souls or any of that stuff. Nope. I wear lightweight and oftentimes trail running shoes just because I have really bad knees, but I agree with you. I mean, it’s lighter.
[00:51:16] It’s, it’s, you know, less work on your leg and if you can get a good trail running shoe, you get the support you need. So I totally agree with you. Yeah. And I would say that maybe with a heavy pack, you know, a multi-day backpacking trip where you’ve got your house and your back, or my camera pack on my back for extended time.
[00:51:32] Maybe that’s not the best idea with powered ankle support, but by and large, I’m doing fine without wearing a big, heavy, stiff, clunky hiking boots. My mother hit mom the same. Yep. Um, as we wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to say to our audience or ask our audience? I would ask you to do this.
[00:51:52] Stick your feet in the river, any river, the closest one you can get to people say they don’t have the access to the outdoors, but you know, don’t you drink water and that water is coming from somewhere. It’s fine. Flowing water and stick your feet in it. It just makes that connection to our outdoor world.
[00:52:10] That much more important to you if you can connect with it. And that’s a simple way to do it, you don’t need a lot of expensive gear. You don’t have to drive far. Yeah. But just find a way to connect. And for me, that’s the sticking your feet in the water. Perfect. I love it. That’s a good one. That should be a t-shirt.
[00:52:24] Maybe I’ll make a t-shirt and if people want to reach out to you, where’s the best way. Where’s the best place for them to find you the best way to reach willing to all your social? Yeah. We’ll link to all your social feeds. Yeah. So the best way to find me would be to go through my company website, Tate line, media.com.
[00:52:44] Okay, cool. We’ll link to that in the show notes too. Well, it’s been great talking to you. I look forward to seeing you at one of the OWA events soon, and whenever we, whenever we get back together, we will. That’s coming. And if, and if there’s an Orr, we got to do that, we should for sure. Make sure that there’s an in-person event where we can actually see people we got to meet.
[00:53:05] Yeah, we will connect. Definitely. Well, thanks, Chris. I look forward to letting you know when this goes live and, uh, talking to you next week on the webinar, maybe your next month, I guess he was on that webinar. Yeah, thank you. All right, thanks. Have a good day. Have a good holiday. Thank you for joining us.
[00:53:21] On another episode of the outdoor biz podcast, be sure to visit our website, the outdoor biz podcast.com where you’ll find show notes with links to everything we talked about and more subscribe to the show on Apple podcasts. Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. So you’ll never miss an episode. And while you’re at it, if you found value in this show, you’d appreciate a rating on iTunes or spread the word and tell a friend about the show that would really help us out to be sure to tune in every day.
[00:53:50] And thanks again for listening to the outdoor biz podcast with Rick Saez.