This is something very different from the usual review, because it’s a review of a ten minute, all-but-dialogueless webisode of a video that’s meant to be sort-of infotainment for preppers and those considering making preparations for family survival in the event of disaster accompanied by failure of Rule of Law.
And further webisodes may never be made; it’s on Indiegogo now, and it’s dying on the vine there, perhaps from a paucity of promotion.
The show is also unusual in that it is sponsored by a gun shop, the Savannah River Armory from Georgia, and an unusual one in that its manager and workers are veterans of the recent unpleasantness.
Georgians now have the emergency survival problem that people in built-up areas like the Northeast and Southern California have long had: most of them live in urban environments that hang together only by the rule of law and its fair and firm enforcement. In the event of a collapse of lawfully constituted authority (which is not as far off as you think; in 2005 the New Orleans Police Department evaporated into nearly half no-shows and nearly half who joined the looters) the dependent masses, particularly youth that are already feral, become a hazard to everyone in town and out.
Uncertain Tomorrow aims to show us, through the actions of a small band of determined survivors, how such a calamity can be survived with confidence and integrity.
The story begins with our survivors in sub-optimal positions. One, a former military sniper, is in the long chains of cars that have become stuck in jams leaving the city. He opts to walk to what turns out to be a preset rendezvous point.
Another has a problem — he’s not just trying to flee himself, but protect his womenfolk as well, as the city collapses into riots. By the end of the episode, they’re established in the countryside, but now have to deal with unprepared people seeking help.
Acting and Production
Before we comment on it, we’ll embed the 10-minute pilot for your edification.
The acting seems okay for what appear to be amateurs, but there’s no dialogue in the pilot episode, which they tell us cost $1k/minute (and they also tell us, that’s about standard for a production these days. To us, it seems low).
The episode has decent production values apart from its unusual “silent film” nature (it’s not really silent, as there are sound effects, unintrusive music, and ambient audio). Edits are snappy, camera angles interesting, situations don’t stretch plausibility more than any of these films do. (For example, why did the solo guy have to give up his vehicle and walk, while the family were able to drive from the burning inner city out successfully?)
Accuracy and Weapons
By and large their guns are sensible for the situation, and their use of them is much more realistic than the full-zombie-assault movies that are currently in vogue.
In some specific cases, the survival techniques looked unrealistic to us. The lone survivor, building a White Man’s fire and sitting staring into it? Not a real great policy; the forest is neutral but the people in it all have to be considered red forces until proven otherwise.
Also, snappy, squared-off patrol movements are easy to do in the first ten minutes after you pick up the gun. These guys never show what it’s like after ten hours under a ruck, and in this situation, ten hours is unfortunately a warm-up.
Driving right up to a building, even your own camp, that’s in an unknown security state? No; not in this situation. Your property may well be occupied by armed, scared squatters. You surveil it, then clear it, with someone providing support from a covered and concealed position. The folly of “just driving up” is driven (no pun intended) home later in the webisode, when Sumdood drives up and finds himself having to trust the survivors’ willingness to play, “Hand up, don’t shoot.”
The building-clearing techniques are asking for trouble against armed resistance, but to clear a building properly and safely you need more people and more training than these survivors have. If you don’t have that, you’re better off surveilling the building than trying to clear it. (A small band of survivors hasn’t really got the sand in its pockets to surveil a large building around the clock, either).
And the overall idea — when things go sour, drop everything and head to your woodland redoubt — may be a case of too little, too late with respect to sensible survival. A better approach, if survival in rule-of-law regressive times is your objective, is to do as James Wesley, Rawles practices (and preaches) and relocate now to a defensible remote location. Given that human beings are by definition social animals, very, very few people will do that. Instead, they’ll run the risk — also a reasonable decision, but know the decision you’re making.
As we’ve pointed out, Hog Manor is six miles from a certain nuclear first-strike target generally to our north and about ten miles from another in the opposite direction, and is set between the grey Atlantic to the east and suburban sprawl to the west. We’re two days’ march (for shambling city folks) up the highway from a conurbation packed with people who already riot over sports scores, many of whom are on Year Eight of the Undergraduate Experience® and are about as societally useful as you’d figure, from that.
We’re running a hell of a risk in the event of societal collapse — but Your Humble Blogger is also a few months’ medication interruption from sudden death from one thing or agonizing disability from t’other.
Personally, we believe the best prep is gradual, realistic and risk-based. Remember that risk is a product of probability and severity, so start with being ready for the things that are very likely to screw your life up for a few days (loss of power, severe weather of the sort common in your area), then start planning for less likely and longer lasting problems. Yes, it’s intimidating to set aside rations for a year, but could you put three days’ foods (things that your family already eats) in some shelf-stable format in a Tuff Box in your basement? It wouldn’t be hard. (A kid can get adequate nutrition for a week from two or three cans a day of spaghetti, beef stew or hash, plus a multivitamin. And, if no power, can eat right out of the cans. The cans store damn near forever and if you pay $1 each you weren’t shopping the sales).
The bottom line
Uncertain Tomorrow is on Indiegogo and it is poorly subscribed to date; maybe they need to promote it more widely, maybe they need to shake up their campaign or up their rewards, or maybe the potential audience for this film has all their cash tied up in Krugerrands or something. We’ll consider this coming week whether we want to throw in on it; we’ll tell you on Friday or Saturday what we decided. Right now, we’re leaning towards a contribution, because we’d like to see more episodes of this. Yes, we’ve criticized some of what they show in the current brief episode, but they got us talking, didn’t they?
They are not, however, planning to make money with it, at least not directly, and that’s probably what’s going to hold them back more than any lack of contributions. Still, have a look at it!
For more information
None of the usual sites related to this particular film apply here. You’ve simply got:
- The Savannah River Armory Uncertain Tomorrow page; and,
- The Uncertain Tomorrow Indiegogo crowdfunding page.
Kevin was a former Special Forces weapons man (MOS 18B, before the 18 series, 11B with Skill Qualification Indicator of S). His focus was on weapons: their history, effects and employment. He started WeaponsMan.com in 2011 and operated it until he passed away in 2017. His work is being preserved here at the request of his family.