Mick Dodge has his eyes on future; West End reality show star plans to explore new program

“The Legend of Mick Dodge

“The Legend of Mick Dodge

PORT ANGELES — Mick Dodge says he quit.

Citing creative differences, Dodge said he has decided not to renew his contract with the National Geographic Channel — essentially ending any possibility of a new season of “The Legend of Mick Dodge,” filmed around Forks.

National Geographic Channel did not respond to multiple requests for comment, but according to a report published by RenewCancelTV on Dec. 24, the cable network canceled the show after deciding not to move forward with a fourth season of the reality series.

Contract expired

Dodge said his contract expired late last year.

“That made me free and clear,” he said during a recent interview in a yurt he was occupying in Forks.

“They knew I wanted more creative control of things. They would have maintained control, which is sad,” he said.

During his time with National Geographic Channel, Dodge appeared in 32 episodes spanning three seasons.

The pilot episode, “Meet the Legend,” aired Jan. 7, 2014. The final episode, “Road Trip,” aired Feb. 17, 2015.

“They are still doing reruns,” Dodge said.

Dodge said he is exploring the possibility of a new series — one that would depart from the scripted reality of “The Legend of Mick Dodge” and instead focus on education of nature and physical fitness with him acting as a guide to the wilderness rather than the main focus of the show.

“It has always been my intention with that,” he said.

“There are so many characters up here. Let’s get off one guy and do it on many people.”

He said he is working with a producer on a pilot, which will be submitted to networks.

Dodge is now splitting his time between the Peninsula and Lake Tahoe.

He and Jacquie Chandler, who lives on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, operate Earthgym, which uses rocks and trees as exercise equipment.

Focus on Peninsula

Now that he is a nationally known figure, Dodge said he intends to use his star power to attract attention to the beauty of the North Olympic Peninsula.

“Hooking attention is good,” he said.

“We’ve got it. But now we have to ground it into intention, take it to the next level.

“We are going to be showing more than a story. I am running a vision, and I am not running this vision alone. I just happened to get up in the billboard.”

Reality versus fantasy

It was during the “Twilight” movie series craze that Dodge said he began considering using the medium of television to bring additional attention to Olympic National Forest.

“It was right after that when all the television [crews] started showing up” to talk with him, he said.

The National Geographic Channel found Dodge through Seattle’s Screaming Flea Productions studio.

They started working on a television project with Dodge after getting videos from a group of young women who had trained with him on Whidbey Island.

When National Geographic Channel approached Dodge about reality TV, “I’m thinking it must be more than reality,” he said.

Disliked scripts

However, Dodge said he came to learn that was not the case, adding he has never been on board with the scripted nature of his show.

“I kept getting this same line: ‘We just want to follow you around,’ ” he said.

“Then they showed up with scripts. The scripts they were coming up [with] were not making any sense, and it wasn’t me.”

Dodge said he turned to humor during filming of the second season to highlight the ridiculousness of the story lines he was directed to follow — and with the reality TV genre.

As far as reality TV is concerned, “I think it should die,” he joked.

Dodge said he had hoped exposure to the immaculate beauty of the area would have inspired his producer and writers to change the focus away from that of survival to a message about the importance of reconnecting with nature.

“My intention was to show off this land, show off the mountain,” he said. “That part was getting there.”

However, that message “was not getting through” to the production staff, he said.

“They had their agenda. It is all storytelling.”

While Dodge said he appreciates what National Geographic Channel has done in focusing a spotlight on the Olympic Mountains, “I think they treat people with a tremendous amount of arrogance. They come out, they shoot and then they take off and run.”

And while National Geographic Channel has “a right to tell the story they want to tell,” Dodge does not have to go along with that message, he said.

Just a man, not a legend

Dodge said he is not a legend, just a man following a philosophy grounded in martial arts and a love for the outdoors, and that he wants to “blow some holes in this perception of survivalists,” he said.

“This survival [malarkey] — people are so unreal about it. It is like either/or: If you are a survivalist, you can’t use a cellphone. It is a . . . tool. I have never been against tool using.”

That includes using shoes, which Dodge — known as the “barefoot sensei” for his love of running without footwear — said he does wear when appropriate.

Homegrown but unknown

Since first appearing on the show, Dodge said he has gotten flak from Forks-area residents who say he must be a fake because they don’t know him.

“Why don’t people know me in this town?” he asked. “It’s because I have always kept to myself.”

Dodge said he has been “going in and out of this mountain, and I think people get a little dug in their heels thinking they are this entire mountain out there.

“What, am I supposed to check in with them? Is there a [roster] I am supposed to sign? Are they hall monitors or what?”

Dodge, who was born in Port Angeles, said his grandfather’s house is right across from the school in Forks and that his father “was constable in this town.”

Favorite parts

When asked what his favorite parts of the series have been, Dodge replied that he has seen only one episode.

He said he imagines that the parts that were left on the editing room floor “are probably the most humorous” and entertaining.

“It was because I would look into the camera” and talk to the crew, a big no-no in the world of film, he said.

“You tell me not to do something, and I am going to start doing it. It is just reality,” he said.

________

Reporter Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or cmcdaniel@peninsuladailynews.com.

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