Joe McGinniss in response to a request for help in 2013.
“Given the sorry state of publishing today, I see no possibility of getting a contract that would let me work with you on this.
I regret that, because I’d like to. But if I presented a proposal today for what became Going to Extremes, I wouldn’t even be rejected – I’d be ignored. Likewise, a proposal for a book about “fishes and the environment.”
Reading is on the way out. The visual image is replacing the written word as the basic unit of communication.
Let me put it this way, and I mean no disrespect: in the current publishing environment (and it will only worsen, not improve), even I can’t get a book deal. That’s after twelve books, six of which were NY Times best-sellers.
I’m rooting for you, but there’s no way I can help you.
I would advise you to apply your considerable and valuable energies elsewhere.
And I wish you the best, Joe”
(click here to find out who Joe was)
This is a story about an unknown and unassuming fish biologist living in the middle of nowhere living a life no different than Dr. Joel Fleischman of the Emmy winning show Northern Exposure of years gone by. This biologist is perversely driven to make a difference by reaching the masses in a way that gets the individual to fully contemplate their place in the environment – and world – and never see themselves the same way again.
Ultimately, it’s a story about the need for the human race to “get in charge of itself psychologically” in order to avert unimaginable widespread ecological and social disruption.
I Need Help
- I’m not a screenwriter or a director, but have an entertaining, funny, and quirky story to tell that I believe humanity would benefit from hearing.
- However, I need a talented screenwriter to help me craft a compelling and effective narrative that piques the interest of an environmentally conscious producer and/or director…or more realistically, a billionaire environmentalist like Tom Steyer.
- James Joyce wrote, “In the particular is contained the universal”. I invite you to spend a week with me in “bush” Alaska to find out the particulars of this endeavor, and if you take me up on the offer – I guarantee that you’ll agree with the sense of urgency and potentiality for a possible game changing film.
The Big Picture
I’ve included here many of the letters I’ve written, or videos I’ve made, with the hope of enticing someone talented to help me get this big-picture, paradigm-shifting message out to the masses.
Welcome to this site about a special part of Alaska and my efforts to get a game-changing environmental message out to the masses. This site originally started with just my photographs from around the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Region, but has now morphed into mostly getting that all-important environmental message out.
I’m hoping that you’ll have an enjoyable experience as you navigate through it. As time goes on, I’ll add more pictures, videos, and environmental-minded blog posts with potential cynical and irreverent rantings from a fish’s perspective, a fish by the name of Cyprinid Cynicalis.
I have a degree in Surveying Technology from Penn State and Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation and Management from the University of Wyoming. I worked on the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Northwestern Wyoming and the Nez Perce National Forest in Central Idaho prior to moving to Bethel, AK in 1998. As a fish biologist at the Jackson National Fish Hatchery in Jackson Hole, WY, I regularly scraped fish feces from the raceways in the shadow of the Tetons and Sleeping Indian Mountain of the Gros Ventre Range while the elk frolicked in my front yard – the National Elk Refuge. I spent four years in Bethel as the first fish biologist that the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge ever had; that refuge is approximately the size of S. Carolina. Following that I was the first fish biologist that the Kuskokwim Native Association in Aniak ever had. And I guess I’m the first professional photographer to live in Aniak.
More recently I served as the Invasive Plant Coordinator for the Mid Yukon-Kuskokwim Region. Sadly, invasive plants are rapidly spreading even to remote sections of this pristine land. I was also the Environmental Director for the Native Village of Napaimute, located 30 miles upriver of Aniak as well as the Solid Waste/Water Quality Coordinator for the now defunked Kuskokwim River Watershed Council.
Because of an abundance of relentless ecological stressors I had planned on writing a book about my concern for the environment…and had worked on that endeavor for over ten years! However, after having that effort go no where, and giving it much thought, I realized that a book just won’t cut it these days; subsequently, there is the need for something that is highly informative yet can reach the masses in an entertaining way. Hence, the need for a full-length feature film. (Please click on the Game-Changing Movie tab under Project History for more information)
In an effort to get my all-important environmental message out, I’ve had three articles in Best Self Magazine, a digital publication with a focus on “inspiration for authentic living”, titled A Fish Story: One Biologist’s Call To Environmental Action, The Environmental Cookie Thief: Our Environmental Liability, and Mother Nature’s Hourglass: A Biologist Reminds Us That Time Is Running Out.
Considering the gravity of the situation, there will be humor somehow interjected in the film because Oscar Wilde said, “If you’re going to tell people the truth, make them laugh…otherwise, they’ll kill you.” Not to sound hubristic, but this movie would be based heavily on my life – my often crazy, quirky & convoluted life. For those of you familiar with Carl Hiaasen’s zany novels that often deal with fish, or fishing, as well as the environment, my life has mirrored some of his works. At times, my life is no different than a Garrison Keillor Lake Wobegon yarn. If you work through this site, you’ll come across some of those whacky anecdotes.
I enjoy fishing, boating, camping and photography or basically being outdoors as much as I can. The subtle beauty that abounds here in Southwestern Alaska simply enthralls me.
As a photographer, one of the harshest lessons I’ve learned is that you can’t get em all! That’s in regards to striking sunrises, sunsets and moonrises. Another lesson is that photography is like those never got-to things in life; the photos you remember most are the ones you wished you’d taken but never did.
Hopefully some of my pictures will give you the inspiration to go out and not miss that one you wished you’d taken and the environmental posts will get you never seeing nature and your place in the environment the same way ever again. I’m also hoping that these photos will help entice a Hollywood producer or director to come visit and hear more about this film that I’m pitching (the plot involves a biologist/protagonist sitting by a campfire with a producer/director explaining – with flashbacks – why a his life is interesting enough to have a film made of it).
My photos have appeared in publications by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, the American Fisheries Society, Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim Sustainable Salmon Initiative, Army Corps of Engineers, The Anchorage Daily News, The Delta Discovery, The Tundra Drums, Younglife Relationships, and the Nestle Purina Pet Care Company.