Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Travel Channel Academy Shoot-- Pairing Wine with Film

This weekend I expanded my communication skills considerably by attending the Travel Channel Academy in NYC. This four day workshop is intense and expensive ($2,000 not including MAC laptop or camcorder rental), so you really need to be serious to consider doing this. However, for those of us for whom time is more valuable than dollars, this course provides the perfect quick and dirty intro to shooting and editing.
Heavy-hitter TV production team Michael Rosenblum and Lisa Lambden led the long days, which took place in a third floor conference room at CUNY’s School of Journalism. Part of the value for dollar was making contact with top level Travel Channel execs like Lori Rothschild Ansaldi. When she dangled freelance video projects in front of us, it was like watching lions circle for the kill: we salivated over the thought of being paid $1000 to sell off exclusive rights to our two minute travel pieces.
Our first projects were harried: we were quickly taught video basics and thrown onto the streets of Manhattan to shoot about 20 minutes of tape, which we later edited down to a one minute clip. In the screening, our feelings were not spared as we were subjected to, as Michael called it, Public Humiliation and Public Praise. I felt slightly terrified of the prospect, but, in the end all of the criticism was tempered with humor, and our work was the better for it.
For the second shoot, we were required to find a character. Where in NYC would I find someone who came across well on camera (their requirements) and was involved in wine (my requirements)? Thinking about the wine shops, restaurants, and bars I’ve been to, I remembered meeting Jean Luc Le Dû, proprietor of Le Dû’s Wines in the West Village.
I made quick contact with him Saturday morning, and, even though Jean Luc was moving his apartment that day, he made time to meet me at his store. While I waited, I met his associate Yannick, an enthusiastic wine lover who is currently in the process of pursing his Master of Wine from the Court of Grand Sommeliers.
When Jean Luc arrived, he was all quick movements and fast talk in his melodious French accent. Following him around the store was a bit of a challenge, but, in the end, I got some great footage of him tasting wine that was poured for their Saturday wine tastings, talking about wine with his associates and customers, and telling stories about Romanée Conti for the camera.
It was a lovely visit and made a great subject for my two minute video. If the Travel Channel doesn’t buy this clip, you’ll see it posted here within a few weeks.

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