Friday, May 28, 2010

The Un-Road Trip: Coming to a TV near you!

It looks like it's really happening. The Un-Road Trip is going to be a television show. These things never move very quickly, though this process has been pretty darn speedy. It all started in October when I happened to meet a voice over artist who told me about some spots she had just recorded for Halogen, a new cable channel. The network sounded pretty cool- as they say on their website:
Halogen is a television network featuring empowering entertainment that targets and activates a generation that is willing and ready to give back. With shows, documentaries and short-form films, Halogen offers a variety of lifestyle programming that aims to motivate viewers to leave their mark and make the world a better place.

It sounded like a good fit for the Un-Road Trip so I emailed the head of programming and after a few months of emails and phone calls we decided to make a deal. A few weeks ago we really got things moving when I spent a week at their offices right outside Charlotte, NC. I worked side by side with my newest buddy Todd who will be producing the show (with my assistance, of course). We started the week by digitizing all my footage from the Un-Road Trip and importing it into the Halogen mega-computer. Then we went through every single clip- and there were a lot of them- and I talked Todd through every city, vehicle, person, and mishap on the journey.

Editing at Halogen

That part took a long time. About three and a half days to get through the nearly thirty hours of video. And then on Thursday afternoon it was time to get creative. We started filling up the white board in Todd's office with every city and major mode of transportation on the trip. And then we started talking about them in terms of episodes so we could break them up into bite-size 30 minute chunks. Although in television 30 minutes really means 22 minutes. And 22 minutes actually means four separate 5 minute segments. Which isn't a lot of time to squeeze in a 12,000 mile journey. We broke the trip into 10 separate episodes- which is more than I initially expected- and suddenly it started to feel pretty real.

Planning out the episodes

And it got more exciting from there. Todd and I spent Friday discussing the framework of the individuals episodes. How would they be introduced? What would the graphics look like? How would the narration work? What kind of music would we use? I wanted to make some interesting choices and create something that would look/sound/feel unique and incredibly Todd was thinking the same thing. One of my primary goals was to figure out a way to host the show without talking to camera and doing cheesy introductions and segues. We talked over a lot of options and I think we found a solution that seems more casual, genuine, and hopefully funnier. I'm not going to go into our scheme quite yet as we're still figuring out details, but hopefully it will turn out cool. And if not I might have to blame it on Todd.

The week flew by and I was back in DC before I knew it. I've been emailing and talking with the folks at Halogen and everything seems to be moving along amazingly well. It's hard to believe that this TV show is really happening. I'll be meeting up with Todd again soon to film some of the introductory pieces and record some narration and hopefully I'll find out our premiere date soon.

I always hoped the Un-Road Trip would have a second life after the journey and it's beyond exciting to be able to share the story with a wider audience with help from Halogen. I have no doubt that we're going to create something that's engaging, unique, and fun. Hopefully it'll be good too.