The Last House Standing with George Siegal
Episode 7315th February 2023 • Construction Disruption • Isaiah Industries
00:00:00 00:46:13

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“There’s always something, a peril in your area. And are you willing to do something to help you survive it? You should always say, what does it take? I’m going to be around when it’s over. -George Siegal, Documentary Filmmaker at Move the World Films and host of the Tell Us How to Make It Better podcast.

 

In the wake of Hurricane Michael, filmmaker George Siegal was creating his second film, The Last House Standing. Driven by bad experiences with builders and building codes desperately needing an update, the storm’s aftermath was a stark call to action.

 

Especially after Hurricane Ian, the film’s message rings true for homeowners. No matter where you live, George believes that “everybody could do something better to improve their house,” no matter if you deal with snow, tropical storms, wildfires, or earthquakes. Until building codes and builders put more time and care into homes, homeowners should do what they can.

 

Listen along as George gives us insight into his award-winning documentary, the fight to build better homes, and the lessons he learned interviewing victims of major disasters.

 

Topics discussed in this interview:

- George’s start in broadcasting

- His motivation in making The Last House Standing

- The story behind the Sand Palace

- Building to code in hurricane-prone areas

- Choosing the best build possible

- The human costs of disruption after a storm

- George’s personal experience with builders

- Spreading awareness of the film’s message

- The aftermath of Hurricane Michael

- Updating codes for future storms

- The value of experience and skill

 

Media mentioned: The Parent Test on ABC

 

Watch The Last House Standing on their site or through Tubi TV. Also, catch episodes of George’s podcast, Tell Us How to Make It Better.

For more Construction Disruption, listen on Apple Podcasts or YouTube

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This episode was produced by Podcast Boutique http://podcastboutique.com



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Transcripts

George Siegal:

:

I think those individuals you're talking about that got into the business and they know why they did it. Hopefully it's for love and passion for it. They're also making money, they're business people. But the person that takes the charge and says, I'm going to really put safety first, I'm going to put lasting forever first. I would think they would have a huge marketing advantage over everybody else.

Ethan Young:

:

Yeah.

George Siegal:

:

I think that could be something that would work in their advantage.

Todd Miller:

:

Welcome to the Construction Disruption podcast, where we uncover the future of building and remodeling. I'm Todd Miller of Isaiah Industries, manufacturer of specialty metal, roofing and other building materials. Today, my co-host is Ethan Young. How you doing today, Ethan?

Ethan Young:

:

I'm doing pretty darn good, Todd. How about you?

Todd Miller:

:

You know, I wish, I've had better days. I'm not quite sure how to explain this to our audience, but I have to share that I accidentally swallowed a whole bunch of Scrabble tiles earlier today.

Ethan Young:

:

Oh, really? Are you going to be alright?

Todd Miller:

:

I don't know. The next trip to the bathroom could spell disaster. I'm sorry, I'm still stuck in fourth grade. You've noticed that about me, haven't you?

Ethan Young:

:

That's alright, I like it.

Todd Miller:

:

Well, let's go on with the show here. So today's guest is George Siegal. George is president of JEL Productions, based in Tampa, Florida, and he is also founder and CEO of Move the World Films. His background is in film and producing documentaries and marketing videos, including also various types of production films and television programs with Move the World Films. George's mission is to tackle those issues in society which impact the safety and security of children, the elderly and the environment, while also offering clear solutions to improve people's lives. George often quotes one of his father's favorite quotes, which is Archimedes Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place that, and I shall move the world. I love that quote. I'm not sure where I'm going to find the lever or the fulcrum, but fantastic quote. The impetus for inviting George to share with us here on Construction Disruption is his recent award-winning documentary film The Last House Standing. The inspiration for this film is a house that is very familiar to most of us who are in the design and construction industry, and that is the lone standing metal roofed house that is photographed on Mexico Beach. And it was photographed there on Mexico Beach shortly after the devastating Hurricane Michael all but destroyed that area in October of 2018. For many of us in the construction industry, I think that is just an indelible image burned into our brains that's immediately recognized by most of us. And the documentary that George produced tells the story of that house and explains the critical need for more resilient housing. George, thank you so much for joining us here on Construction Disruption. I know that I'm anxious to hear your story.

George Siegal:

:

Hey, thanks for having me on. I appreciate it. You know, you said something interesting when you were talking about your podcast and the theme of the future. That's one of the things that frustrates me the most about the construction industry is a lot of people are just building for today.

Todd Miller:

:

Yes.

George Siegal:

:

And I had a guest on recently who said, if you go to a builder and they tell you I'm building to code, you should run, because code today is not the code tomorrow. It's not the storm that's going to wipe you out in five years. And so this stuff is just a passion of mine, to try to wake people up. I've been involved in building several houses, I've never had a good experience dealing with a builder. And I know there's good ones out there, I know there's great builders out there, there's great architects, there's great designers. But most people don't know the questions to ask. They don't know what they're getting into. They have no idea what's going to happen to their house when the big storm hits. So that's what drives me to try to make a difference and wake some people up.

Todd Miller:

:

Well, that's good stuff. And yeah, I really do want to delve into The Last House Standing and more about that, but I'd really like to first hear a little bit more about your own story. I mean, what motivated you to start Move the World films?

George Siegal:

:

I used to be in front of the camera in television news. I was a TV weatherman for a number of years, I was a morning show host.

Ethan Young:

:

Okay.

George Siegal:

:

I did sportscasting. I kind of dabbled in all that stuff for 14 years, as I said. And then I got out of the business and I wanted to try to see what my skills translated to. And as most broadcasters, it doesn't translate to much. So I said, Well, let me try to make documentary films and see how that goes, because I like telling a story, showing a problem, and then showing a path to making it better, to improving it. So I felt that was a good way to do it and I love making the films. It's challenging because you have to raise money for them, you know, unless your last name is Prince Harry or Meghan Markle, it's hard to have people throw millions and millions of dollars at you when you have absolutely no skill. So it's a challenge, but when you can do it, it's very rewarding.

Todd Miller:

:

Very good. Well, I know that you also do some podcasting. Tell us what your podcast is and a little bit about what you do there.

George Siegal:

:

You know, it's kind of a theme in my life. It's trying to make things better. And so my podcast is called Tell Us How to Make It Better. And so every week I interview somebody who is doing something in their life or in their job to make things better for everyone. So that could be from trying to improve things in the environment, the way you construct houses, saving trees that people use to just kill them. Now there's an organization that helps you plant them somewhere else so they survive.

Ethan Young:

:

Interesting.

George Siegal:

:

Pretty much anything goes. In terms if you're out there with an idea trying to make a difference, I like to interview you on the podcast and the theme is make it better. Tell us how to make it better, don't complain. Everybody complains, right? It's easy to complain about stuff. What are you going to do to make it better?

Todd Miller:

:

Well, I've checked out a couple episodes of it. It's a great podcast, so we certainly recommend folks check that out as well.

George Siegal:

:

Thank you.

Todd Miller:

:

Doing good stuff there and thought-provoking stuff as well.

George Siegal:

:

Appreciate it.

Todd Miller:

:

So like I mentioned earlier, a lot of us are familiar with that image that came out of Hurricane Michael, of that lone house standing amidst the rubble and the destruction that occurred there, at Mexico Beach in the panhandle of Florida. I know that I've actually seen that image used a lot by an organization we're involved with, which is the Metal Roofing Alliance, because that house now sort of famously ended up having a metal roof on it or has a metal roof on it as well. And, you know, after being introduced more to all of this by you, I now know that that house is called the Sand Palace. It was built by a Dr. Lebron Lackey, and he really did design it to withstand a storm similar to the magnitude of Hurricane Michael and he was successful. What really struck you as a story, as you know, this was a story that you wanted to tell.

George Siegal:

:

Well, we were in the process of starting the film when that hurricane hit. So I didn't have an anchor for it. I didn't have an image that I thought really told the story. And then I saw the picture of that. And then it took me a while to reach out and get in touch with with Dr. Lackey and get him to be gracious enough to invite us up there. You know, after a disaster, everybody wants to talk to you. And if you're in his position and he was kind enough to welcome us there and I was just fascinated by the thought process that he, and I believe it was his uncle, when they built that house, they weren't thinking to code because the code in Mexico Beach was old. The code was, you know, heck, 40, 50 years old or more. You know, that was an older community with wood structures and houses built at sea level. And he said, no, we're not going to build a house for that. Let's think of the worst thing that could happen and how could we survive it? And it's a great example that they were able to pull that off. The thing that's frustrating for some people is, they may not have the resources to do that, you know, not everybody can put a house 40 feet into the sand and build it up 20 feet and do all the things he did. But there's a lot of things everybody can do. You guys know that as as industry guys. There's always things you can do to build a house better. And the problem is the builder has a different goal then, and it's sad, I don't understand why, then the homebuyer does. The builder's goal to make money, it's business. My goal is to I'm putting my family in this. I want the safest house possible. Yet most of the people I know couldn't even tell you the first thing about the safety features in their house or whatever. And because those guys put such a high bar, I wanted to anchor the film around it. And it's just a powerful image, it's fascinating. It'll be interesting when we see from Hurricane Ian the houses that survived that were the last houses standing there, because that should always be the goal. You know, you should always say, what does it take? I'm going to be around when it's over.

Ethan Young:

:

Yeah, and I ended up doing some research about the the Sand Palace after watching that part of the documentary and it's fascinating. Like you said, it was very intentional on their end. They knew, this is what code is and I think they aim for almost double the code with the wind rating, like they were aiming for something crazy, like 250 mile per hour resistance to that. And they very much knew what they wanted to do and went out and did it. And their house, you know, basically survived. I think, you know, there were some like utilities damage or something, but compared to all their neighbors who were flattened around them, you know, they they really came out on top.

George Siegal:

:

Yeah, It's interesting. This is an interesting example of how you don't have to spend a fortune to do that. But maybe you're not right on the water. You know, his house is right on the water, it's waterfront. You're going to have certain challenges with storm surge there. But we interviewed some people that have Habitat for Humanity homes that were further inland. And those homes, what do they cost? Usually between $75,000 and $125,000. People volunteer time to help build it, but they put a lot of detail and they put a lot of extra features in. They actually care about the people they're building the house for. Those houses all survived. They had metal roofs, they were anchored properly. They didn't flood, they didn't blow away. And so it's an example of how you don't have to have a lot of money to do something well, you just have to want to do it well.

Ethan Young:

:

Yeah, okay.

Todd Miller:

:

So how long was the Sand Palace standing before Hurricane Michael came along? I think I missed that.

George Siegal:

:

They had just finished it and they hadn't even had a summer there yet. I mean, I think they just wrapped it up towards the end of the summer and then that storm hit and I felt so bad for, first of all, I feel terrible for all the people that lost everything. There's no replacing that. But now imagine you build that house there and everything around you is gone. You know, if you guys ever saw the Twilight Zone episode of the guy that goes into the bomb shelter and he comes out and he survived, but nobody else did. Now he's the last guy left in the world. You know, some people say, well, I wouldn't want to be the last guy left in the world. I just want to smack somebody like that on the side of the head and say, Really. I want to be the last guy. You give me a choice of losing everything or having a house that's still standing, and maybe I'm disrupted for a while, but I'm not starting over. I'm choosing that path.

Todd Miller:

:

Sure. So I thought it was interesting, and I had missed this also. So you had actually started the documentary focused on resilient housing and climate change before Hurricane Michael happened?

George Siegal:

:

Yeah, years ago, I was involved in a business where we were trying to start building concrete homes. And whenever I've seen construction, I like the different techniques that they're using to try to make houses survive in parts of Europe, they only build out of concrete. They're not building out of wood. And I live in Tampa, Florida, now, and I just drove by a house the other day. I took some pictures of it, it's all wood. Even the ground floor is wood. Most of the houses here, even the multimillion dollar houses, are doing wood on the second floor. So when you talk about building and construction, I mean, it's something that I'm just fascinated by because most people what that's our biggest investment you got in there, you're putting everything in that. All your chips are in on your house. Why do you not want to do everything you can to save it? But it's so competitive, you know, it's like, well, if I don't buy this house, somebody else is. Don't do that, don't reward somebody else's mediocrity. What we do is we keep passing it along. You know, I quit it two years ago, I worked with a guy who was the worst employee we ever had, and the station fired him and didn't give him a bad review. So then another station hired him and then another station hired him and he keep getting passed down like a well-kept secret. That's the same with houses. Nobody talks about how poorly built it is, so it goes from one to the other to the other. It's like musical chairs, boom, the storm hits, it gets wiped out, never goes well, how'd that happen? But you had a house that was crap.

Todd Miller:

:

Well, I have to say I really enjoyed the film. I just sat there and watched. You know, I thought, Oh, I'll just have this playing in the background and doing some work here. And I just couldn't take my eyes off of it. It's extremely well done and a great story that you're telling. Our audience members here at Construction Disruption are folks who are in the design and construction and remodeling business and of course we're gonna be encouraging them to check out your film at thelasthousestanding.org. But what would you hope would be some of the main things that they would walk away from viewing the film as far as new information or inspiration or encouragement?

George Siegal:

:

To build something that isn't going to be just for today. And that's hard because let's say I'm a designer and you come to me because you just want different floors. It's not my job to tell you your house is going to blow down the next time the wind is strong. But if you're further along in that process where you're somebody that can make a difference, make a difference. It's like if we were told we had the cure for cancer, but nah, let's not do it, as some people say that, by the way, because the cure is in the medicine, right? That's what I almost think about sometimes in the construction industry. It's like, well, we can just build it again. So why do we have to bunker it so it's not going to be destroyed because we can just build it again. But it doesn't work that way because as the film shows, what happens to your life when that disruption hits you, It's not just you go and you call somebody in your house is rebuilt. You have to live with that mess for months while you fight with your insurance company and fight with all the burglars that are now showing up to try to make money off of you in your lowest point of your life. And then you might have to find another job and you might have to send your kids to another school and you might have to be living in a hotel. There are so many disruptions that aren't calculated into the cost of a disaster that those people in the film are experiencing in their life. And it's horrible. So my point is, we know we can do it better, so why aren't we doing it better? And it's not going to start at the top. You're not, we're not going to get politicians to do anything. You know, we could get rid of all of them and start over, and I think we'd be better off. So we have to start at the bottom where all of us say we're not going to take it anymore. We want things done better. And I think those individuals you're talking about that got into the business and they know why they did it. Hopefully it's for love and passion for it, they're also making money, they're businesspeople. But the person that takes the charge and says, I'm going to really put safety first, I'm going to put lasting forever first, I would think they would have a huge marketing advantage over everybody else. I think that could be something that would work in their advantage.

Todd Miller:

:

Absolutely. And you had mentioned that you've been through some home building experiences of your own that didn't go so good. You know, undoubtedly that kind of played heavily on you as well. But, you know, how would you describe those experiences? What didn't go good? Was it, did you know during the process that it wasn't going well or did it happen after the house was built? And gee whiz, I missed that, or they missed that or what did that look like?

George Siegal:

:

Well, there's always stuff you miss because many times the house is done, you hire an inspector to come in. You know, a lot of times the builder has a list of inspectors they don't want on their property because they know they're going to bust their balls and make them have to fix stuff. So the inspector comes in and says, yeah, socket isn't attached properly. That window is a little whatever. It's the stuff you find after you move in. Where, yeah, all the arches are crooked, all the windows aren't plumbed properly, all the floors aren't level. Really go over that house during the construction process, have inspections during the process. Don't wait till the end because then everything's buttoned up. You know, I know people that when I was in the news business, when there'd be floods or fires and then they would tear open the walls, all the food wrappers and garbage and beer cans and crap that people would just throw in there. A construction project is only as good as the person on the job watching the guys doing the job. And I had one house where I showed up at the end and the foreman says to me, It's my last day with the company. I knew we were screwed because he didn't care. And everything he didn't care about has now been something that we've had to deal with as a problem. You can find the areas they didn't give a darn about and it always costs you. And also think about when you're when you're buying a house, think of what you think the boils are and imagine now you're selling it. That's always the first thing the next person finds. You know, is there not enough closet space? There won't be closet space when you sell it either. It probably looked a hell of a lot more cluttered, you know. Is the backyard too small? Is it too near a highway? People just don't think about this stuff because we get sucked into the the eye candy, the granite countertops, the range, the outdoor barbecue. Don't get fooled by that garbage. You want the nuts and bolts of the house. What are the bones of that and how much did they put into it? Can the builder tell you why his house is safe or can she tell you why her house is safe? Have them go over that. And if they don't want to deal with you, you don't want to deal with them. If they're too busy to answer your questions, run. It's not worth it.

Todd Miller:

:

It's not going to get better later. You're right. I know, while we rarely talk about roofing here on the show, even though that's what our business is. But, you know, one of the things that we get a lot as a homeowner, we'll have a roof installed and they'll send us photos and say, does this all look okay to you? And, you know, and we're like, Well yeah, from what we can tell. But yeah, there's so much that happened when that roof was being installed that we can't begin to see from the after pictures. So you're right, that in-progress stuff is so important.

George Siegal:

:

I have horror stories about roofing, and I also made a video for a metal roofing company in San Antonio. The guy was great, his customers loved him, he did a super job. So, you know, it sounds like I just want to bash everybody in the industry. I think there's a lot of great people. But in Mexico Beach, one of the women that we interviewed, she told him this in the film about an inspector came out when somebody said they were fixing a roof of a friend of hers and they found that the whole thing was crooked. There were nail pops everywhere, they hadn't done everything properly. Instead of using waterproof barrier stuff, they just filled the gap with paper. I mean, the stuff that people will do. You know, I had a roofer come out here one time. We had a little water problem and the guy just looked up there, he didn't even see what the problem was. He goes, Yeah, it's going to cost you $2500 to 3000 to fix it. And I said, To fix what? I go, How can you tell me down here what's wrong up there when you're not up there? And there's a lot of people that would have paid that money and nothing would have happened because the guy didn't even know what he was doing. So it's the bad guys that make your job tougher because or maybe it makes it easier because when you walk in and present well and answer questions and actually look at things, you're probably ahead of most people. Because I've had some of the biggest losers in any industry that come out here to bid on jobs. And they think we're all stupid.

Todd Miller:

:

Yeah. Yeah, it's a shame. You're right, but you're right. There are good players out there and that's the key. The challenge is to find the good players. So I'm curious, as you learned about and dug in to the Sand Palace and learned about some of the things they did to make it withstand a Category Five hurricane, what really stands out to you? What are some of those things that you recall that they did that you know, really stands out to you?

George Siegal:

:

The first is how deep they went into the sand, because what's one of the most damaging things from any major storm by the coast? It's storm surge. And when you look at Sanibel Island and all those beautiful houses that were right on the water, a lot of them were not elevated. So once water gets in your house, you hope they tell you you have to rebuild it because the damage. I had a basement when I lived in Detroit where our sump pump broke and the disruption and the damage from two feet of water in our basement took months to fix. Now, imagine 15 feet of your house is underwater, or even worse, it's washed away. So the fact that they anchored that so securely. Because you see other videos of houses that blow over because they may put it on wood stilts. What does that do? These guys anchored it into the ground. That house wasn't going anywhere. The beach would have gone somewhere before that house did. And that impressed the heck out of me and it's their mindset that impressed me is how they thought about the problems in Mexico Beach. After a Category Five hurricane hit, they changed the building code, but it won't survive another Category Five hurricane. You know, they raised the wind rating to 140 miles an hour. I think they got 165 mile an hour winds, 15 to 20-foot storm surge. So those guys thought they had a plan. They put it in action and it worked and I love that.

Todd Miller:

:

That's good stuff. Well, you made a point earlier and I also heard it, of course, in the film as well. And we've actually had previous guests here on the show who made the same point, and that is that building codes are just the starting point. You know, that's the bare minimum that you have to do to construct a building. Are there any key areas of construction that stand out to you where really any homeowner, let alone someone who may be in a hurricane zone or a prime wildfire area or the ever broadening tornado alley? Are there any key areas of construction where you would tell a homeowner you definitely need to go above code in this area?

George Siegal:

:

Absolutely. And I know some people will argue with me about this because I actually called a builder about this who's building a it looked like a $6 or 7 million house right on the water. And he's doing wood on the second floor. And I said to him, why? I called him, I said, Why are you putting wood on the second floor? He goes, That's what the homeowner wanted. And he goes, We have techniques now that we can anchor it pretty good to make it safe. And I go, But isn't concrete safer? And he goes, Yeah, it is. Then why didn't you talk him out of it? They had a design where they wanted some bump outs in the front and, you know, with concrete you can't have, everything has to sit on top of something else because of the weight.

Todd Miller:

:

Sure.

George Siegal:

:

It's worth it. You want the most secure house, you want concrete on both floors, and it's not that much more expensive. It just might change the look of what you're doing. So I think people should understand the code, but also really understand the hazards that could affect the area where they are. We saw a house my wife and I were walking the other day and we saw a brand new house being built that would look like it was at sea level. Well, the flood level in our neighborhood is ten feet, so I don't even know how they're going to get insurance. I wish somebody was there working because I would have asked them. I'm like, why is this guy walking by asking those questions? But I would have said, why is this house built so low? You know, find out what the standard is, but then also find out how bad it can be. Everybody in Tampa should be scared to death, seeing the blueprint of what happened from Hurricane Ian because that was the poster child for what would happen here. They even did a study and showed that 60% of the businesses would be destroyed, 2 million people would be injured. The amount of homeless people, bridges washed out, lives disrupted. And I had on, I have a guest coming on my podcast next week, Hank Ovink, who was in the film, and I got him back to be on my podcast and he talked about things communities need to be thinking about infrastructure-wise and how they're going to rebuild and what the plan is. He's not a fan of everybody fortressing their house like in Mexico Beach, because not everybody can afford that. Yeah, he's a lot smarter than I am. I'm not even presuming to tell him how to do his job. I just scares me when I see the damage. So if I was going to build a $6 million house, why would I not want to spend a little more to make sure it was going to survive? And if I'm building a couple hundred thousand dollar house, I would look at the Habitat for Humanity blueprint and say, How are these guys building houses that survive? And then I would say, Let's do that. They're using extra nails, are using extra brackets. You know, they might have wood on there, although they're trying to get more into concrete in storm areas. Follow what other people are doing that have chose the road of safety and try to be more like that rather than I watched a story, buddy of mine sent me that was on ABC News from 2016 and it's everybody should look up and look it up on YouTube. ABC News 2016 and you'll see the nightmares with D.R. Horton and all of these people in their neighborhoods where their houses were falling apart. And it's heartbreaking to see the frustration on people, their faces, and what it does to their lives when they're getting ripped off like that. So I don't want that to keep happening to people. That's why I ask questions. And, you know, no builder probably likes me either. They probably say that guy's a pain in the ass, they ask too many questions. I had one builder yell at me and go, I don't need another foreman on my job site. And I said, I'd be the only foreman on your job site because you're not doing your job. And I would think that they want to work with people. Even the pain in the ass people, because they should care.

Todd Miller:

:

Sure, and it's like you said, that's how a contractor can really differentiate themselves and stand apart from all the others also.

George Siegal:

:

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I think that showing you care, having a good crew, having a good leader of the crew, being responsive. I had another guy on, who a few weeks ago who developed this software called Nuttnest.

Todd Miller:

:

Yeah.

George Siegal:

:

And what it does is it has all the contacts and everything for all the people on the job. So the homeowner or the buyer can know who to get to to answer questions. And the builder doesn't have to sit there answering the phone and deal with people like me. And I thought it was brilliant. And those kind of things are important to have people have a good experience. And even I may sound like I've just had bad experiences. Most of the people I know have had bad experiences, so you hear very few people say, Yeah, come on over. We're having beers with my builder in the backyard. You don't hear that very often.

Todd Miller:

:

That's and that's interesting because we also featured Nuttnest on a previous episode and yeah he's on to something good there.

George Siegal:

:

It's great, I love that guy.

Ethan Young:

:

Yeah it was a it was a great interview with him.

Todd Miller:

:

So I know that you created this film, The Last House Standing, because you want to have some sort of lasting impact. I mean, your passion and how you care about this as a parent, how would you kind of sum up that impact that you would like the film to have?

George Siegal:

:

It's a work in progress. It's not easy to get people to go sit and watch an hour documentary film. You know, people's lives are busy. Everybody says, Yeah, I'll do it, you know? When is Hurricane Awareness Week? It's usually right before hurricane season. This is the time to sit down and watch the film. This is the time to find your vulnerabilities and start addressing them. It could be as simple as putting a hurricane blanket on your front door so your front door doesn't blow in. Having vents in your garage, so your house doesn't flood. I just want people to to see the film and that's the challenge as a documentary filmmaker. And if most filmmakers will tell you this, they spend all their time making the film and you don't have a tremendous amount of money at the end to market the film. And that's really the most important part. And it's hard to get a film on Netflix, it's hard to get a film on Amazon Prime. You have to know somebody, be somebody or have a last name that that rings, you know, that I won't even throw out the names of all the people that frustrate me. But so it's tough to do that. So I have it on my website. It's on Tubi TV, T-U-B-I TV, people can watch it for free, which is great. So you don't have to pay me $3.99 to watch it on my website. But I'd love for people to see it and just weigh in. We're working on another film now that's going to take it a little further into the process, but it's just something that I really care about and I just it breaks my heart. Those people in the film that talk to us, I was so grateful that they gave us their time. And it's so personal when you hear them talking about all the things that have been lost in their life. And you know, it's not just rich people, it's poor people. The rich person who loses everything their family ever gave them is in pain, too. You know, the money doesn't replace those things. And it's just I want this to stop happening. But it's going to take a lot more than my film.

Todd Miller:

:

Yeah. Have you had any good stories come from folks who watched the film that you could share with us?

George Siegal:

:

I think it's created, yeah, people have told me it created an awareness. It gave them a lot of questions to ask. I'm sure you guys offer people resources. I have on my my website the lasthousestanding.org, there's a form you can download that says Questions you should ask your builder or the person you're buying a house from. Just little things that people have appreciated the tips or hearing the stories. Because if you know somebody that's been through that, you're a little closer to it to understand the pain. When we just see it on the news, when you just see on cable news, you see the disaster, they're there during the storm, the Weather Channel is out there, you know, doing their thing. Once the storm's gone, everybody's gone. That story's over, it's now gone on to the next breaking news story. But those people's lives are disrupted for 5 to 10 years before it's normal again. And I think people appreciate hearing the message. Now, the question is, will they do something about it? You know, there is a path to doing it better. Everybody could do something better to improve their house. We said that in the film. Everybody that was a victim could have done something. It might have been as simple as insurance, better evacuation plan, fireproof paint. I mean, there's things everybody can think about and do something which is better than doing nothing.

Todd Miller:

:

Very good point. Well, I know I've had the opportunity over the years to visit a couple of ground zeroes after hurricanes. The last one was after Hurricane Harvey when it came ashore at Corpus Christi. I'm curious, have you been down in the area that where Ian came ashore yet, if you visited down there?

George Siegal:

:

I have not been down there yet. I met a guy from Naples a few weeks ago who was in an area right near downtown. And his house was was wiped out by the storm and I got to see the anguish he was dealing with. But we used to go down there every summer for a week. So I'm very familiar with Sanibel and sure, Fort Myers. And that whole area is just such, Naples, I love that's my favorite part of Florida. And, you know, it just breaks my heart because when we were there last summer, you know, because of what I do, I would always say to my wife, I can't even imagine what a hurricane would do to this area and it's unimaginable what happened. And what happened there was supposed to happen here in Tampa. And so, you know, then you have kind of survivor's guilt is like it was supposed to be our storm. They weren't even thinking it was going to hit them. So the whole thing, it's that roll of the dice we take for, they say, the cost of living in paradise. And, you know, it's interesting to talk to people and say. Was it worth it? Was it worth the price?

Todd Miller:

:

Well, I remember when I was at ground zero after Harvey, you know, it really struck me that newer homes that were built to the more current codes definitely did better. I mean, everything had some destruction, it seemed like. And, you know, even here coming out of Hurricane Ian we've seen the same thing. We've had a number of calls from homeowners down there that, you know, had our roofs and, you know, did extremely well through the storm or maybe they had a little damage from windblown debris or something. I guess my point is I feel like to some degree we are starting to win the challenge slowly that codes are getting better, but it just doesn't seem that can happen fast enough.

George Siegal:

:

Because it's so political to change building codes. I know in Texas I lived there for 19 years. The building lobby runs that state. You know, they're not going to change the building code. You can't even sue your builder. You can only take them to arbitration when there's a problem. Well, that doesn't do anything. Can you imagine? And I understand that. What builder would want to sit in front of a jury? You know, they would lose everything. And when they do lose everything, they just change the name of their business and they open up the next day with a different name. So it's almost like it's rewarding crummy craftsmanship so the homeowner is automatically at a disadvantage. And, you know, when you look at what happened in Harvey, all those poor folks who had flood damage, they weren't even living in a flood zone. They could have purchased flood insurance for very little money. It wouldn't have cost that much. So when I say there's always something you can do if you live in an area unless you're 20 feet up in the air, maybe flood insurance is just something you're going to buy instead of going out for that nice bender on the weekend and you're going to have that security in your pocket. So if the dam does break 20 miles from you and your house floods, you can rebuild your life. So it's examining everything that can happen and then doing something about it. But yeah, in every place, every when you think about everywhere in the country, we all have a spot. They all have their different disasters that could hit them. And, you know, we're seeing it in Santa Barbara right now in California, Montecedo with all the flooding. We see it with the tornadoes in Alabama. You see it with ice storms in the Northeast. You know, it's just there's always something, a peril in your area. And are you willing to do something to help you survive it?

Todd Miller:

:

Well, I certainly applaud what you're doing and the message you're getting out there, and we want to do anything we can do to help. But I'm curious, though, about other projects you've undertaken with Move the World Films or perhaps future projects. I'm just, I'd love to hear more about what else you've done.

George Siegal:

:

Well, my first film was called License to Parent, and it was about the parenting problem in this country and how anybody that wants to can be a parent. You can have a baby to be a parent. You want to adopt a kid, you gotta jump through a lot of hoops. But anybody can create one naturally. And parents are so underprepared and so overwhelmed. And it costs society billions of dollars every year. If there was a statistic that the gentleman we interviewed in the film said, if you have a a normal, well-producing child that goes out into the world, they're worth $1.4 million to society. But if they're bad and get in trouble, they cost society $2.8 million. And then he forwarded that and gave statistics about why that happens and how bad it is. So parents that don't do their job are really letting loose somebody on society that affects everybody. And I just wanted to create an awareness about that and let people understand, you know, it would be great if everybody had to take a test right before they were parents and maybe you don't get the job. This guy is not qualified. We're not giving Siegal those kids, he's a moron. You know, it's like that would be, save a lot of problems. And then I'm working on another version iteration of The Last House Standing that will go into a little more depth and detail. And we're in the process of getting that cranked up. And then I'm always looking for ideas, so. That and podcasting.

Ethan Young:

:

I do want to ask, just maybe me a little selfishly, I've done a little tiny bit of work with TV and video production stuff. What was that like for you transitioning from the broadcast to actually doing it on, you know, doing the production side of things?

George Siegal:

:

Initially it was good because people knew who I was. So it gave you a leg up on other people. But then it's very competitive. You know, people want, the person who wants the video, wants it for as less money as possible, and they think that that's a bargain. A great story, it was guide dogs of Texas. The guy came to me and wanted me to make a video for them and I put together this proposal and it was going to cost $9,000 to make the video. He comes back to me and says, Hey, I got a nephew who says he can do it for $1,000. If you match that, would you do it? The job is yours. And I looked at him, I said, Do me a favor, please. When that video is done, can you show me what $1,000 video looks like? Because there's no way anybody that cares. And if your nephew is going to have the time to knock that out in a few weeks, are you going to get this two years from now? And so everybody now has an iPhone, everybody has a home camera. So everybody thinks they're a film maker, they're a producer. They can make these videos and sure you can. You might stumble onto something, you might be good at it. But, you know, I always told people I'm not going to be the cheapest. I'm not going to be the most expensive. And then somebody will go, well, can you match this other bit? It's $1,000 less. And I'll say, Sure, but we have to take away a camera. We have to take away the lights. And, you know, these things take time. You're paying for somebody's creativity and their ability to get the job done quickly. So it's very challenging and now it's so competitive. It's like filmmaking. Everybody's a filmmaker, everybody's a producer, everybody's a director. And I think social media with Tik Tok and Instagram makes it even tougher because people get videos, they get thousands and thousands of likes that took nothing, you know, and a woman bending over to pick something up off a table gets 200,000 clicks. I do something that I think is good, you know, maybe 100 people see it. So it's maddening.

Ethan Young:

:

Yeah, I was just reading an article today about algorithm-driven entertainment versus kind of effort-driven and that kind of thing and how, you know, putting in the effort, sometimes we're just feeding the algorithm, you know, which one is going to give you more reward? Kind of how a lot of our social media is designed more around the algorithms.

George Siegal:

:

And well, it's interesting how you monetize that. Like, I don't know how the guy that has his wife wear a tank top and no bra and gets, you know, a million clicks. Well, what did that get them? I don't know.

Ethan Young:

:

Yeah.

Todd Miller:

:

You know backing up a tiny bit where you're talking about the film you did on parenting. There's a television series out right now my wife has been watching and I can't even tell you what the name of it is. But they are looking at different families and different parenting styles and they give them each a challenge and then see how they overcome it or how they work through that challenge. And it's really very fascinating. I kept thinking, my goodness, I wish I could have seen this when I was in those age of having a young child, because it's really quite informative to look at the different styles.

George Siegal:

:

Oh, sure. And you know, there's so many things coming at parents and it's the film's not really about bashing parents. It's about we need to support parents more. You know, when we were out watching Hamilton last night and there was a kid behind us making a lot of noise and my kids were getting really mad. And I told them afterwards, I imagine those parents felt pretty bad about that. You know, when the kid's crying on the airplane, the parents feel bad, too, in most cases and when they're screaming in the supermarket. And so but we were so quick to judge parents and point out what they're doing wrong, especially people who don't have kids. They're always the most judgy. And, you know, parents don't need that. They need support, they need skills, they need techniques to handle things better. So we need to help, not criticize.

Todd Miller:

:

Yeah, and that's kind of what this TV series is all about. It's it's really done in a very positive, helpful way. It's pretty interesting.

George Siegal:

:

Sounds good.

Todd Miller:

:

If I find the name of it, we'll throw it in the show notes, maybe so.

George Siegal:

:

Yeah, please do. I'd love to check it out. I mean, I'm always ,if I could pick up a tip or two along the way, I mean, I know that I don't consider myself a great parent. I always want to do better. So if somebody has ideas for me, I want to hear them.

Todd Miller:

:

Well, this has been great. George, thank you so much. We really are close to wrapping up sort of the business end of things. Is there anything we haven't covered today that you'd like to be sure to share with our audience?

George Siegal:

:

Well, I think we touch on if they can go to thelasthousestanding.org or Tubi TV, T-U-B-I TV, watch The Last House Standing. And you know, my podcast is Tell Us How to Make it Better. And you know, if people just want to check it out, have any ideas for somebody they know that would be a great guest or just to weigh in with their thoughts or just learn something about somebody that they might find motivating. I'd love to have them check it out.

Todd Miller:

:

Sounds good. Well, that's fantastic. Well, before we close out entirely, I have to ask you if you're willing to participate in something we call our rapid-fire questions. So these are seven questions, they might range from serious to maybe a couple are silly. All you have to do is provide your off-the-cuff answer to each one. And our audience understands if George agrees with us, he has no idea what we're going to ask him, so.

George Siegal:

:

Not a clue. Sure, let's go for it.

Todd Miller:

:

Are you feeling up to the challenge? Well, we will alternate asking questions. You want to go first, Ethan?

Ethan Young:

:

Yeah, I can go first. Okay, question number one, what would the eight year old George Siegal have said he wanted to do when he grew up?

George Siegal:

:

He would have wanted to be in broadcasting.

Ethan Young:

:

Interesting.

George Siegal:

:

Because my father was in broadcasting and when I was seven, I got to meet Walter Cronkite.

Ethan Young:

:

Oh, wow.

George Siegal:

:

So I wanted to be in the news business.

Todd Miller:

:

Awesome. Question number two. And you have a choice here, so what's either the best or the worst piece of advice you've ever been given?

George Siegal:

:

Oh, wow. I've been given a lot of bad advice.

Todd Miller:

:

Well, that would be fine.

George Siegal:

:

The best advice, I think, is what my dad used to always encourage me is just don't complain. Do your job. You know, basically, there's a lot of people that complain all the time, and I was guilty of it early in my career. There's people that probably worked with me and go, that guy was an asshole. So you learn along the way and you try to evolve into something that understands you're there to do a job and not be part of complaining. So it's just a focus on what you're doing and be in the moment and not get into those big sessions around the water cooler.

Todd Miller:

:

Good stuff. Good advice.

Ethan Young:

:

Alright, question three. Do you prefer the top or the bottom half of a bagel?

George Siegal:

:

The bottom.

Ethan Young:

:

Okay. Interesting.

Todd Miller:

:

So what's your reason for that?

George Siegal:

:

I like it when it's a little crunchy and the way it toasts. So the top par,. You know, I don't know. I just it doesn't toast as well because the bottom of the top can get burned, the outside and the inside is still not toasted properly, so the bottom is easier to work with.

Todd Miller:

:

Question number four, in a zombie apocalypse, who is one person you definitely would want on your team?

George Siegal:

:

The Rock.

Todd Miller:

:

There you go. Good answer.

George Siegal:

:

Because he's always around at the end. He takes care of business.

Ethan Young:

:

Alright, question five. Ultimately, what would you like to be remembered for?

George Siegal:

:

The guy who tried to make a difference.

Todd Miller:

:

Good deal.

Ethan Young:

:

Yeah, that's admirable.

Todd Miller:

:

Moving, changing the world. Moving the world. Good stuff. Okay, next to last question. I love this one. If you had to eat a crayon, what color would you choose?

George Siegal:

:

Aren't they also flavors, some of the crayons?

Ethan Young:

:

I think, yeah maybe.

George Siegal:

:

Vanilla, a light color, a light-colored crayon.

Todd Miller:

:

There you go. Okay.

George Siegal:

:

Because it wouldn't get on my teeth. It wouldn't stain.

Todd Miller:

:

Good answer.

Ethan Young:

:

Alright, last question. What would your bucket list vacation be?

George Siegal:

:

I sort of did it in Lake Como in Italy, because it's just the most incredible, beautiful place I've ever seen. And it would be to just go and have a house there and just finish up my time. I would just love to be there.

Ethan Young:

:

Yeah. I got the chance to go to Italy last summer. First time overseas, it's beautiful, so it's just wonderful to see all the history and just it's a pretty amazing place.

George Siegal:

:

Oh, it is. And the wine there. I mean, you go into a restaurant, any restaurant, you can order the worst bottle of red wine off the menu from some little winery on a hillside. And it's better than anything you're going to have, and I mean, it's just incredible.

Todd Miller:

:

Good stuff. Well, George, again, this has been a real pleasure and very eye-opening as well. So for folks who might want to get in touch with you or just remind us again of where they can see the film, can you share your contact information?

George Siegal:

:

Yeah, thelasthoussetanding.org, there's also a contact form on there. I also have, I'm on LinkedIn, George Siegal, I'm on Instagram, Facebook, you know, The Last House Standing and also Tell Us How to Make it Better. So at tellushowtomakeitbetter.com. You can go there and reach me as well and there's no staff, it's just me. So I get all my messages and I try to get back to everybody as quickly as possible because I, I know you're busy too.

Todd Miller:

:

Well this has been great and very informative. Thank you so much for being with us today, George. This has been fantastic and hopefully we push some more people both to your podcast and to watch the film as well.

George Siegal:

:

Awesome. Thanks, guys. I appreciate you having me on.

George Siegal:

:

Todd Miller: And I want to thank our audience for tuning in to this episode of Construction Disruption with George Siegal of Move the World Films and also producer of The Last House Standing. So I encourage you, please watch for future episodes of our podcast. We're always blessed with great guests. Don't forget to leave a review on Apple Podcasts or YouTube. Until the next time we're together, change the world for someone, make them smile, encourage them. Simple yet powerful things you can do and we can all do to change the world. God bless, take care. This is Isaiah Industries signing off until the next episode of Construction Disruption.