Behind the Scenes of “In Search Of” . . . Sinkhole Episode!
Growing up as a military brat has so many fond memories. We were a tight-knit family who relocated to a new military base every few years like a band of gypsies. Television was a staple in our lives and even today we are bonded by childhood reruns. I was born almost a year after Star Trek changed the SciFi landscape on television. Captain Kirk and Spock were a tandem mesmerizing the audience with their odd pairing of styles.
Space was really the backdrop to unique relationships between the crew on the bridge and Spock always stood out. Leonard Nimoy played Spock so well he became typecast and perceived as an intellectual. Who would not have wanted to be Spock? He could read your mind, fight, was super strong and could place you in a grip which caused instant unconsciousness. I have tried it on my own children to no avail.
When Leonard Nimoy left Star Trek the television series I found him on, “In Search Of” and I was hooked. I remember watching and hearing him narrate about Bigfoot and later a bit worried camping as a Boy Scout. Nimoy covered the Lochness Monster and his analysis always seemed plausible because you were really hearing Spock break down an investigation.
While music is the soundtrack of your life, television are the images leaving an indelible trail of memories cherished among families. I started RevelationNow.net with the noble cause of spreading truth and investigating the supernatural. I never dreamed or had aspirations to be on television. This all changed for me with an instant message on FB from a young and talented producer named JB Zimmerman. His production credits include, “Race to Escape” and “The Skeptic’s Guide to Wellness.”
In January 2018, Mr. Zimmerman explained his position as Producer on the new series “In Search Of” and a future episode on sinkholes. The shows production team was interested in learning about sinkholes mentioned in the Bible and other ancient prophecy surrounding them. Of course, I was intrigued because how many times do you have a Producer reach out to you on Facebook? I responded to Mr. Zimmerman and set up a time for a phone chat.
Mr. Zimmerman called on schedule and educated me on the vision of the show and the particular episode he was interested in me speaking. He explained to me the format and tentatively set up logistics. I shared with him my current situation where I was in the process of finishing my book, “Thy Sun, Thy Rod, and Thy Staff” and raising my three sons as a single parent. I shared with him I recently lost my beloved wife to breast cancer and I had not been away from sons since she passed away.
Honestly, I was reticent about accepting because I did not want to be away from them. Since my wife passed away we all became closer and relied on each other for emotional support. I know I sound like a complete wimp, but Mr. Zimmerman had to do some talking before I agreed. When he shared with me Zachary Quinto would be the host I could feel the excitement brewing. I was introduced to Zachary Quinto on the series Heroes (save the cheerleader, save the world) as the mutant antagonist Sylar.
Mr. Quinto brought an intensity to the role that made you worried every time you saw him in a scene. Then Mr. Quinto took over the role as Spock and most agree he knocked it out of the park. Knowing Mr. Quinto would be filling Mr. Nimoy’s shoes certainly was a plus and it seemed like a natural fit. Mr. Zimmerman then shared filming would be in Los Angeles and the thought of being on a plane that long did not sound enticing. Plan B was filming in Missouri which sounded a lot better because it was a shorter flight.
Mr. Zimmerman explained the company would pay for the flight, hotel, and expenses. It was an informative call and we both shared some commonly shared personal experiences in our lives. I hung up the phone realizing I was dealing with a decent and professional person and I could learn quite a bit about production from him. Later Mr. Zimmerman scheduled a conference call where I spoke with another producer named Heather and they both queried my Biblical research on sinkholes as well as other ancient prophecies.
They both agreed I appeared to be a good fit for the sinkhole episode and I had one more hurdle, which was a Skype video call. Which I equated to them wanting to see me before they committed and make sure I did not look like a cracked out homeless man. The Skype call included a recap of previous questions and everybody seemed to be on the same page. From that point on I patiently waited for the next steps in the booking process.
Lucky for me Mr. Zimmerman contacted me later with the contract and filming would be in Missouri. He informed me of the dress code and no labels promoting brands and I thought that should be easy. Since my wife passed away my clothing attire is a cross between a P.E. coach and a Jedi. Having no desire for desire certainly makes the clothing budget much cheaper! Needless to say, I had shopping to do. After my wife passed I put on the depression pounds and then blew my knee out!
Official book trailer for “Thy Sun, Thy Rod, and Thy Staff”
I hoped to find a men’s store called “Today’s Hippo” but I settled for K&G and picked a blazer and a shirt. I did not want to wear a tie because after decades in corporate America I am part of the #notie movement. I tried to be as responsive as Mr. Zimmerman was with me and signed everything he requested and emailed it immediately. The February filming date crept up on me quickly and my son’s helped me pack. I made sure they knew where the trust and will were located.
I could tell my sons were just as nervous as me leaving them, but my concerns were more about them killing each other (without the referee) or burning the house down. My oldest son promised me he would “hold it down” and not to worry. I did have faith because I figured out “Peace in the Middle East” could be achieved by giving them their own XBox One in their room. I left after three hugs and a hand lick from our pit bull.
My journey into television had begun and I left with enough time to navigate through rush hour traffic. I got to the parking facility and jumped on the shuttle to the airport. Making sure to keep track of every receipt per instructions from Mr. Zimmerman. I packed light and dropped one bag off for check-in. Everything was going according to schedule and my oldest called me to make sure I got to the airport safe. I thought how lucky I am to have these sons.
I had a cup of coffee and worked on my book (Thy Sun, Thy Rod, and Thy Staff) as I waited in a lounge area. Soon I checked in and surprisingly TSA did not molest me because I had to walk through some futuristic machine from the movie “Contact” to be scanned. Where I am sure they see you butt naked in digital form. The TSA agent asked me to open my laptop and I told him, “These aren’t the droids you are looking for.”
That did not go over to well and the TSA agent said, “Just turn it on.” Soon after I boarded the mid-size plane and when I got to the seat I realized I made a horrible mistake. When Mr. Zimmerman queried me about my flight preferences I did not think that through. When I sat in my chair I realized I was a mountain gorilla in a high chair. I was seated in the very last row of the plane and counted the minutes until I landed.
There must have been mold on the plane or the fuel smells played havoc on my sinuses. I deplaned and schlepped my bags to the next phase of the journey…Uber. The planed landed in Ridgefield, Missouri and I had an hour drive to Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, Missouri. I could not get my Uber to work so I called my son and he recommended Lyft. I set up my account and twenty minutes later my driver arrived in huge SUV. We chatted up a storm on the way there and barring some trouble finding the registration it was a snap.
I had no idea I would be staying on a resort and that really made me wish sons were with me. I was all alone and had yet to connect with the production team. Mr. Zimmerman sent me a text later in the day and told me to be ready the following day for filming. I called my number two writer at Revelation Now and we discussed the filming and other future posts on the site. I was awake at 6:00 AM and opened the door and filled my lungs with the cold, fresh, sweet country air.
I called the shuttle and was taken to breakfast, then soaked up some of the magnificent views on the property. February was the off-season at the Big Cedar Lodge and there were not too many people there. Everybody in the area seemed to be a fan of Johnny Morris the owner of the lodge and Bass Pro Shops. The production team was covering a massive sinkhole on the property. It looked like a mini Grand Canyon.
Johnny Morris even turned the sinkhole into a win and used the dirt to build up other areas of the golf course; as his contractors searched for a connection to the existing cave system. I would say the Big Cedar Lodge is the Disney World of Missouri and now it was getting additional publicity from the massive sinkhole. I crashed early that night and took my first television appearance very seriously. I was up early again and checked on sons who were doing great. Early afternoon I saw Mr. Zimmmerman coming up the steps to his room. We finally introduced ourselves in person and I invited him to my room to approve of my wardrobe.
He said they looked like good choices, but had me bring more options just in case Heather did not approve. Around the filming time, Mr. Zimmerman picked me up and drove me to the filming location. Unfortunately for me, it was a quite of bit of walking and my surgically repaired quadriceps began to ache. We passed the sinkhole and I was amazed. It appeared to be over 1,000 feet deep and big as a city block! Sinkholes are dangerous and they are known to claim lives.
We got inside the building overlooking the sinkhole and Heather gave me thumbs up for wardrobe. She said, “I like it. It works.” I felt confident she approved and walked into the filming set. It was just like on TV with all the lights and two cameras, with one on a rail and one on a tripod. There was no makeup artist or slimming camera for me, just a lonely chair. I was not prepared to just sit in a single chair and chat. It felt like you were in an interrogation with all the lights in your face.
They wanted me to take off my glasses (because of the glare) but I told them my brain works better when I wear my glasses. The sound man configured my shirt with the mic and then I met the director Eddie Schmidt and Lady Audrey. I could tell Mr. Schmidt was a seasoned director and he had a laid-back style, probably from years of experience. I later learned when it comes to documentary projects he is very accomplished, distinguished, and held in high esteem among his peers.
Mr. Schmidt, sat to my left as I sat in the chair and calmly fired off questions. My natural inclination was to turn to him and answer him. The goal was for me to talk to the camera which proved to be more difficult than I imagined. On top of being uncomfortable sitting in the chair, I had to develop a connection with the camera. At one point Lady Audrey stopped production found a piece of paper and drew a face on it and taped it to the camera. It helped a little bit and I trudged through one hour worth of questions.
Mr. Schmidt was very educated on the sinkhole phenomenon and a few days before my filming Rome had a sinkhole the size of a city block. I answered so many questions and made sure to leave them with Biblical scripture to reference the sinkhole connection in the Bible. I felt everyone in the room was concerned with this prophecy because extreme weather and Earth-changing events have been ramping up. Including great earthquakes and massive sinkholes. There is a relationship to sinkholes with not just the heavy rains, but with earthquakes; because earthquakes change the “plumbing” of the Earth.
I explained to the production team. orally passed down over the Ages there is a cataclysm at the end of each Age. We are currently in limbo between the 4th and the 5th Age and awaiting our cataclysm. The Bible does in fact address this time in prophecy and Jesus called this time the Beginning of the Sorrows. Earth is going through a birthing process and many will perish, but humanity will move forward. I never sell doom and gloom because history has shown us mankind finds a way survive, as does the Bible.
“I went into the episode we did on sinkholes with a lot of uncertainty as to how that would be interesting or why that would be dynamic, and that was the episode that probably surprised me the most, just in terms of how emotional it was. We encountered people who lost loved ones, who lost homes, and people in an entire neighborhood in Florida that was being compromised by sinkholes. That one, for me, was much more unexpected and moving than I ever thought it would be.” – Zachary Quinto
It does not mean many will not perish, but many will also survive and thrive. At the end of the interview, the sound man approached me and said, “Thank you for sharing all of that great information with us.” I felt a high degree of gratitude and I apologized to Mr. Schmidt for being so nervous. He looked me in my eye and said, “You speak very well.” He also shared with me he has an uncle in the Seminary and they often discuss these topics. I could tell the production team was a tight-knit group and I enjoyed sharing time with them all. I will tell you if you plan on getting into television production be prepared to work hard and long hours!
Mr. Zimmerman drove me back to my room and settled some of the expenses. He left and went back to work. I believe it was his birthday and I hoped he found a way to let off some steam later. I believe this crew was working 16 hour days and traveling across the globe. I went out to dinner and met a nice couple and we chatted for some time. The next morning I took a shuttle to have breakfast and ate in solitude.
Appreciating the opportunity to participate in such a historic television legacy was an honor. I paid my bill and waited for the shuttle. In stepping on to the shuttle I bumped into Zachary Quinto and I totally fangirled and said, “Heeey!” and he replied, “How’s it going?” and kept moving. I wanted to talk to him more, but I did not want to crowd him not knowing what his morning ritual was. I was happy to have bumped into him! I made it home safe, sound, and there were no fights or fires while away! All in all, it was an excellent experience!