Funding for filmmakers wasn't prevalent — it was more like a far-off futuristic vision, especially for those separated from major markets by miles of trees and lakes — and working in a genre that didn't exist made it that much more challenging.
True to the character survival TV fans have grown to know and love, Stroud persevered.
“The risk-takers are on the ground,” Stroud, also known as Survivorman, said.
Making a go of a career in the arts, in a sea of others vying for the same few lucrative spots in the market, is far from a walk in the park.
Achieving success in an art field that has yet to be invented isn't easy either. Stroud said he wasn't sure which presented more challenges — he simply said they were both hard.
“They both have their inherent problems,” he said. “You've got difficulty no matter what.”
When he started the Survivorman concept, he said no one was interested in it. Certain he was on to something, he didn't let the criticisms slow him down; after all, the benefits that could result from it were too appealing.
“When it pays off, it's beautiful,” Stroud said.
Staying true to the concept he believed in also took a certain amount of effort on his part.
“If you're trying hard to run your own game, and it's the same for everyone else playing, you may have to sell out a lot,” he said.
However, it was not something he was willing to do.
Most know that holding to his guns paid off — while he does love the job, Stroud said he was eventually able to “make it” by not leaving a thing to chance.
“I made the jump with really hard work,” he said. “I do love what I do, but don't kid yourself — it is hard work.”
That's not meant to be discouraging, though.
“As long as it's attainable and realistic, it's achievable,” Stroud said.
There may be more opportunities available now, but that doesn't mean it's any easier to break into the arts and entertainment market. Knowing how to take advantage of the opportunities can be advantageous, too.
This weekend, Stroud is speaking at the Music and Film in Motion Awards Conference and Gala. Throughout the weekend, he and other panelists from rural parts of Ontario will share their stories, and offer up advice to those looking to pursue similar paths.
Tickets to the conference are now available by phoning 705-674-9954 or visiting thinknorth.ca. A full lineup of panelists, a schedule and a
list of nominees for the awards gala are also available online.
Posted by Arron Pickard