ƒ Curious Travelers Television: 'The Best of Buenos Aires" - Continued

Saturday, August 20, 2005

'The Best of Buenos Aires" - Continued

OK. So the first program 'The Best of Buenos Aires" is finished for acquisition and I send it off to the Travel Channel acquisition department.

It usually takes two months for a network such as the Travel Channel to get back to you. When they did the news wasn't what I had wished for or, to be honest, expected. They decided for the moment not to acquire it, although of course they might buy it later; however, based on my submission they must have regarded me as a producer they might want to work with in the future, as they put me on their email list for updated information about their programming needs. The news wasn't all that bad. I had tried to hit a home run but felt I had singled. At least I was in the game.

Of course this was a mostly a disappointment.. I was starting a new business, the fifth new business in my life - all of which have been successful to a greater or less extent. More over I had invested a good deal of money, and more importantly, time in creating a program what I thought was a very well crafted product, something that my intended client the Travel Channel would buy.

Also frankly I surprised that they didn't buy it. It was a definite setback for my ambition to create a travel film company that produced the very best travel programs.

I felt I had given them what I thought was exactly what they wanted. When I edited the film I put one of their "World's Best" programs in the editing timeline, directly above my program. I realized that this type of program followed a strict format, so strict in fact that it could be produced using an an assembly line. With writer/producers altering each narration slightly, the production crew shooting the same list of shots and editors putting it into its final format.

For example most - if not all - of these programs has the following characteristics:

1. A total length of 43-45 minutes. The reminder of the hour is devoted to commercials
2. Four segments of 5-10 minutes, with breaks for commercials.
3. Each segment had two to three "bests" in the countdown format, with a summation of the top five in the middle segment and the top ten in the final segment
3. An introduction of 1.5 minutes.
4. A hook at the end of each segment to get the viewer to return after the commercial and a lead in at the beginning of the next segment.
5. First rate video, sound, graphics and music
6. Approximately three short sound byte interviews
7. A standard unoriginal narration spoken by a first rate voice over artists reading, making it sound better then it was written.
8. The narration was particularly trying to write, as they always describe things in tourist brochure generic terms: every beach is breathtaking, every sunset spectacular, every view beautiful, etc.
And also the same phrases in practically all the "World's Best" programs, as if they took one episode and just used a word replace function to differentiate it from other episodes: For example:

"With so many things to do how do you decide which one the right one"
"We were invited behind the scenes (in the restaurant kitchen, etc)...."
"We studied all the options and have come up with this list of the Ten Best"

Anyway I studied the genre and I had nailed it.

So what had I done wrong? Why weren't they buying?