Winning for a Living is a ... winner. According to this documentary the CBC airs Thursday March 6th 2008 at 9:00 P.M. in its Doc Zone program the pot of gold is not at the end of the rainbow but under the rrrrrolllled rrrrrim of a Tim Horton coffee and many Canadians are padding their nests with free goodies won in advertising contests. 2 out of 3 companies run contests and 2 out of 3 Canadians participate at least once.
Winning For A Living is a very interesting and serious documentary on Canadian contesting. It seems many contest winners are real losers. The guy who fills out ballots while stopped at a red light may not seem that weird at first. The self-titled Contest Queen who feng shuis her home to increase her odds of winning her very first big TV and has trained her daughter to go garbage picking and also taught her to expect to get things for free is rather disturbing. The lady who applies the rules of The Secret to improve her luck -you will win if you are a good person-- is no prize winner. There is an even sadder story told here.
There are bright -ish moments here. I was thrilled to hear The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio is alive and well and living in Canada. Rosemary Chu raised her three sons with what she got from entering contests. The movie ends on a down note as it seems companies found a way to screen out professionals. Well, according to Winning For A Living the battle is still on and has done a 180 as skill is once again more important than luck. This was one of the many interesting segments in this show.
This documentary is very thorough. The segment on on-line contests and its Big Brother approach to information gathering is especially fascinating and scary. People are willing to tell a computer information they would not share with a neighbor (the documentary doesn't say that but the marketing guy pretty much does).
Perhaps this CBC documentary would have been a bit better if it had been a bit more linear in its story. For example, it cuts up the information on the win a visit from the Stanley Cup contest into bits here and there and it would have had more impact as a block. I'm just being difficult though.