Thursday, 14 August 2008

The waiting is over!

Well at last I can reveal what my 'secret' project is all about. Through my contacts in the film and media industry I am going to be presenting a new survival series! Yep, that's right - a new series - not a Ray Mears clone, nor a Bear Grhylls fiasco but little old me doing my best.

There is a small band of us involved in the project. We aim to keep full control over every aspect of the production so it doesn't get hijacked by well meaning but clueless TV execs. This means as well as presenting the show I'm having to write it as well. No pressure then! We are starting more filming in September and aim to finish the bulk of the first series by Christmas. At the moment there is no guarantee that it will be aired on telly but we do have contacts at the Discovery Channel which could help considerably. The main aim is to produce a quality product that can be sold on DVD or bought as downloads from the internet, getting on TV would be a bonus. The whole thing is being shot professionally using the latest camera equipment and in full HD to broadcast standards. It's not being shot using consumer level equipment - very serious stuff indeed!

There is a trailer available for viewing which lasts for about 4 minutes. It's a big file so the first play through is always very jumpy until the whole file has buffered down to the machine - second play should be a lot smoother (almost as smooth as an Italian gigolo). Please take a look and let me know what you think!

Follow this link to the website and then click on the Vimeo link just above the contact form.

I really hope you enjoy it and like it - I'm taking quite a gamble on this :)


sam_acw said...

I liked the camera work on this video as it was much more stable and patient than anything by Ray Mears.
The music was ok, I'm not a huge fan of music in TV programs but at least it wasn't too obtrusive.
The scenery was nice, things generally looked well thought out in terms of shot etc.
The delivery was good, very "BBC" in style but I didn't like the narration that much.
You need to be careful with the content to avoid falling between two stalls. Whilst bushcrafters will probably watch anything relevant there is a huge market hole for anything instructional- aside from Mors Kochanski's 4 DVDs and Ron Hood I've come across very little that would interest people with more than a basic skill level. On the other hand getting TV play becomes harder the more specialised you go.
Good luck with it all, I'll be staying tuned.

Jon said...

Thanks Sam - that's what I need - good honest feedback.

I'm not ecstatic about the music myself at the moment and that will probably change. I originally did the voiceover myself but was outvoted about getting a professional to do it. I'm still not convinced that it was the best move.

Well it's all a learning experience and your comments are very valuable. Many thanks again.

Pablo said...

Well done Jon. What a great project!

I liked the trailer and agree with some of what Sam said. The pieces to camera were very good. You bring out your passion about the subject but to be honest, you'll have to work extremely hard to convince your target audience that this is better or different than something done before (have you defined the target audience?) Keeping the filming in the UK will be a definate bonus though.

The photographic work is excellent; but it did give the impression of a wildlife series more than a survival series. Things like the chaffinch at the end. I think you will have to keep scenes in context.

The narration was actually ok but there wasn't a great contrast between your voice and the narrator's (same intonation and accent) Perhaps something you could consider.

The music could be a lot better (take it from a very amateur muso.) There's a guy on the Woodlife Network called Wato (Gary). He writes film scores for Warner Bros (no kidding) who might give you some advice.)

All in all, Jon, a great start. You should be delighted with this. Now, if you need any extras... ;) The wilds of East Anglia will challenge any survivalist - trust me!

All the best (see you at the Gathering?)


Jon said...

Pablo - thanks for the valuable comments. I agree about the voice over and the music (I didn't have a lot of choice on those!).

Again, you are right about the target audience. In order to get it broadcast or have reasonable DVD sales we might have to appeal to a wider audience and sneak the survival in the backdoor, so to speak. Once, I'm established and people know what I can do then it will be easier to produce a more pure bushcraft/survival programme.

The TV world is a funny place and I do have my work cut out for me! I'm aiming for the middle ground between Bear and Ray and also aiming for a wider audience of people who just like to go out for walks.

As they say 'nothing ventured, nothing gained'!

Might not make the Gathering this year :(