Saturday, July 5, 2014

Filmmaker Pays Strangers to Quit Smoking

It's the equivalent of earning a token $2.73 (Canadian) per day. And while this reverse version of a smoker's addiction-costs is not going to make anyone rich, a half-dozen folks have now taken up Bruce Robinson on his unorthodox walk-up, quit-smoking-for-a-year challenge.

Robinson, a native of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, is working on a documentary about his approach. He recently told Times-Herald reporter Mickey Djuric that the latest person to successfully quit smoking for a year to earn his $1,000 just completed the challenge.

The doc, titled 1,000 Excuses to Quit, has been in production a couple of months. At press time, there is also a Kickstarter campaign winding down to deadline, but it does not look as if Robinson is going to secure anywhere his puff-it-forward goal of 45 X 1K.

Robinson (pictured) has, as part of these ongoing 20-year efforts, heard a lot of good excuses from smokers as to why they cannot quit. One in particular, as mentioned to Djuric, stands out:

The most absurd excuse he has heard was a guy telling him he can't quit because he gets nervous when he's fishing. "That's my number one best excuse so far," he said.

Robinson is part of today's new breed of digitally emboldened, rookie documentary filmmakers. Preceding his filmmaking efforts, he has done many things:

I am just a hard working guy. I've been working for myself for the past 40+ years in various businesses that I have started, run and sold. I have always liked construction equipment and have owned two paving companies, an indoor golf facility, a pool hall and a land development company. I've also sold solar panels for golf carts world wide, sold and installed GPS on golf courses and been involved as a major shareholder in a couple of inventions, and these are just a few of my adventures! I’m happily married the second time with four kids and eight grandkids. Wow, what a pain in the butt when they all show up!

If that last choice of word was a pun-wink to 1,000 Excuses, well done. Robinson operates on the honor system with his challenge participants, taking their word over the course of 365 days that they have not fallen off the nicotine-wagon.

In the Kickstarter promotional video, Robinson estimates he's made the 1K offer a thousand times. With six people making good on the challenge, that's a less-than-1% success rate.

[1,000 Excuses to Quit]

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