The Thrive Questionnaire//

Why This T.V. Producer Says Email Will Own You If You Let It

Chris Dorsey shares the book that changed his life and the first thing he does when he gets out of bed.

Image courtesy of Monty Nuss Photography. 
When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global:
What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Chris Dorsey: Look for deer and elk out my bedroom window; love Colorado. Then I get a cup of coffee and check these sites religiously (and not necessarily in this order): Cynopsis, C21, Wall Street Journal, and Fox News, because I don’t know anyone else in media who reads fnc.com and I figure they’re still serving a big slice of the republic that lives between the coasts–places where we like to find TV talent and ideas.
TG: What gives you energy?
CD: Projects that elevate us and appeal to what’s best in us. Despite popular belief, most of the country isn’t dysfunctional and people still do amazingly kind and helpful things for others–often complete strangers.
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
CD: Getting inside political campaigns and communication, but it’s not a real life hack! I am forever intrigued by how politicians communicate with the masses and how people react to what politicians are telling them…echoes of P. T. Barnum?
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
CD: The Lost Ways, which captures the methods and techniques that our forefathers employed every day to stay alive. How to trap, hunt, catch and grow food…all facets of hunter-gather-farmer survival methods. It makes me realize how tenuous the thread of civilization truly is, but I don’t think of myself as a doomsday prepper–just an alert prepper.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
CD: I am seldom more than 10 feet from my phone and email, but the ability to stay in contact almost anywhere allows me the freedom to travel almost anywhere. But I occasionally go off grid on shoots and there’s a bit of separation anxiety to be sure…electro-detox.
TG: How do you deal with email?
CD: You have to develop your own filter to deal with what only you can deal with and push the rest off to others as much as possible. Email is an invaluable tool, of course, but it’ll own you if you let it.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
CD: Call a friend or family and try and remember that my work isn’t my identity. There’s life after the grind, even if you love the grind.
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
CD: When I was running magazines because no matter how great the ideas and execution, the medium was in decline and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it except make the shift into other platforms.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
CD: When I focused too heavily in one lifestyle content area (a genre that I personally loved) when creating TV concepts. I had to accept that the model for that lifestyle was transportable to many lifestyles that represented larger market segments and more growth for the company.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
CD: “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” I think it was George Burns who said it. 

Chris Dorsey is the founding partner of Denver-based Dorsey Pictures (formerly Orion Entertainment), one of America’s leading producers of unscripted television programming and one of the world’s largest producers of outdoor adventure programming. Dorsey Pictures, a part of the Red Arrow Entertainment Group, was recognized as one of the Global 100 unscripted production companies by Realscreen as well as celebrated for its 15-year anniversary by Variety. The company’s list of popular series include Tiny House, Big Living (HGTV), Building Alaska (DIY), and it has produced well over 1000 hours of TV programming for a variety of major cable networks. For more information about Dorsey Pictures, visit: www.dorseypictures.tv.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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