The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Before you click away, we have something to ask you…

Do you value independent journalism that focuses on the issues that matter? Do you think Canada needs more in-depth, fact-based reporting? So do we. If you’d like to be part of the solution, we’d love it if you joined us in working on it.

The Tyee is an independent, paywall-free, reader-funded publication. While many other newsrooms are getting smaller or shutting down altogether, we’re bucking the trend and growing, while still keeping our articles free and open for everyone to read.

The reason why we’re able to grow and do more, and focus on quality reporting, is because our readers support us in doing that. Over 5,000 Tyee readers chip in to fund our newsroom on a monthly basis, and that supports our rockstar team of dedicated journalists.

Join a community of people who are helping to build a better journalism ecosystem. You pick the amount you’d like to contribute on a monthly basis, and you can cancel any time.

Help us make Canadian media better by joining Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
Arts and Culture

The Bear

Americanface will be right back after this important message.

By Andrew Struthers 23 Dec 2009 |

Andrew Struthers is a filmmaker and writer in Victoria.

MTV saw my "Spiders On Drugs" clip and called from New York to ask if I wanted to make a series of "nature shorts" for them. With my history of biting off the hand that feeds me I was extremely skeptical about working with a mega-corporation, so I made outrageous demands: cash up front, creative freedom and flexible delivery dates. They went for it. Ironically, they were great fun to work with.

My producer was a cheerful fellow called Dave, who was like a cleaner from the mob in that he made problems go away. Need the rights for a Duran Duran hit? Done. Archival footage from Getty? Done. But mostly we talked about Kubrik movies.

The big problem I faced creating the series, which I called Hinterland Tales, was that I didn't have a series of ideas. Just one. And it involved bears.

Specifically, it involved a study I read in Scientific American debunking the myth that bears hibernate; actually they fall into a profound slumber, from which they occasionally awake to forage mid-winter. That got me thinking.

In addition, I had practical experience with bears, having been treed by a grizzly up North, and frequently raided by a black bear during my first winter homesteading in the woods.

One night I came home to find that the critter had washed down a pound of espresso coffee beans with a gallon of extra-virgin olive oil. Messy. To stanch the pillage I installed a hatch, because local wise guy Brian Kimola told me bears wouldn't dislodge anything over their heads. It worked.

All this practical experience convinced me bears would be much harder to corral than spiders. Fortunately, various Tofino friends now run bear watching boat tours. When I told MTV my plan they tried to hire one of the bear watching outfits for a whole day, plus everyone on the hill behind Rollie Arnett's boat shed, and sign them all to draconian contracts that guaranteed we got bear footage.

My plan was simpler. I bought a bottle of wine for my friend and hung around the dock until a tourist didn't show up for his bear watching cruise. I got so close to those critters I could have patted them on the head.

When MTV saw the footage they were horrified. Dangerous activity releases were faxed like snow. Meanwhile, I shot the disembowelment scene by using the bear skin from the back of Lana Gisbon's couch like a giant puppet.

Amazingly, this guerilla film technique worked. Now all I needed was a second idea.

[Editor's note: the comment section is close for the holidays and will re-open Jan. 4th. Thanks for all your thoughtful commentary this year. Looking forward to more of the same in the next!]  [Tyee]

Read more: Video

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free


The Barometer

Tyee Poll: Are You Preparing for the Next Climate Disaster?

Take this week's poll