A Warning in a cable news show

After The Peak: the end of cheap oil was inspired by my personal research into the issue of oil supplies. It turns out that oil in the ground is the product of ancient history and geologic cooking. In other words, there is a finite amount of oil in the ground. The huge economic and social problems don't come when oil is completely gone; they arrive as soon as oil production must begin to go down. While demand increases - and so far, so has production - but production begins to decrease, the cost of oil begins to skyrocket.

I had written a draft of this film and put it aside but when gasoline prices at the pump first reached the 4-dollar range, Darrell Parker mentioned that I should consider pulling that script out of the folder and into production.

After The Peak is a dramatization. I could not attempt a documentary on such a huge global topic; my eyes glazed over at the thought of endless graphs and talking heads. Instead, I took a very local look at the possible problems. WNOC "news of orange county" was born at that point. The film is a version of local news...from the future.

The cable news format was perfect. After all, an "in-depth" report on TV is 90 seconds, rather than 15 seconds. This allowed the film to look at many different aspects of the problems that will arise when we come to the end of peak oil. We were most fortunate in getting access to the TV station at Elon University which we transformed in WNOC.

For a number of years, we maintained the website "Afterthepeak.com" but that ended recently. The film, originally shot on MiniDV, sold over 200 DVDs.

About the film

Pulling off the complete "news broadcast" required the support of many different folks.

First, our news team had to be assembled. Anchors were played by Will Stutts and Jackie Marriot. The commentator and news analyst was played by John Honeycutt, Sports news was handled by Theo Wormley and our field reporter was played by Meagan Douglas. Stutts and Honeycutt had both worked with Turnip on Touching.

One of the fascinating aspects of this project was that the sports segment ended up with the deepest feeling about the losses we will see when we reach the end of peak oil.


The WNOC News Team

Using the gear in Elon's news studio, we had a full staff of folks to capture the TV News broadcast. Pictured below, from left to right, Wayne Pecinich, Lea Ann Walden, John Teague (teleprompter), Jim King (control room), Ajit Prem and Donald Hughes. Not pictured, Judy Dunn who did makeup.


Our Studio Production Staff

There are roughly fifteen individual news "segments" in the broadcast. Many actors and friends portrayed the ordinary people whose lives are changed by the end of cheap oil, including realtors, school administration, farmers, supply chains for grocery stores, law enforcement, health care, auto racing and others.


Actors in Our News Segments

And the score for the "news broadcast" was composed by Tommy Dwight.