Guru Independent Documentary

Why would a quiet, polite person spend five years of his life following around a loud, aggressive, eccentric motivational speaker?  I still have trouble answering that myself.  Piston Pumpin’ Peter Scott, as he’s known by his clients, hired me in 2004 to make him a promotional video.  I went with him to one of his pyrotechnics-filled guest service rallies at a casino in New Mexico.  He’d talked me through the event beforehand, but nothing he said prepared me for the enormous scale of the energy and charisma that he expressed on stage.  He swallowed fire, ran at full speed (not easy for a man of 250 pounds), danced, joked, and dazzled his audience.  It was quite a contrast with the mellow Peter Scott I’d met in my office back in Tucson, Arizona.

In GURU I tried to answer my own questions about Pete.  He’s chronically depressed and dysfunctional, but he makes a living offering advice about dignity and excellence.  Does that make him a hypocrite?  Is his life a wreck because he has bipolar disorder, or is his illness an excuse for bad habits?  Does his disastrous life have more to teach us -- by bad example -- than the “life lessons” expressed in his leadership seminars? The answers are equally funny and tragic. After watching my documentary you’ll either sprint away from the next motivational speaker you see or run toward him and give him an understanding hug. 

Jonathan VanBallenberghe

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