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Under Water, Over Land
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Old September 9th, 2007, 11:31 AM   #1
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Travel Channel Academy

I ran across this while watching a show:

http://travel.discovery.com/academy/index.html

A film making workshop that they run. Looks interesting to my novice eyes. Has anyone taken this course and care to offer comments?

Forgive me if this is not the best forum. Feel free to move it if it fits better elsewhere.

Bob
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Old September 25th, 2007, 10:33 AM   #2
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I Did it and it's Great

I went ahead and attended the most recent course, in the Washington, DC area. I'd start by saying that I'm not affiliated with them, just a very satisfied customer. You can find a link to the school off the Travel Channel Website.

The course is pricey. I was expecting some TC folks to give talks about filming. What you get is a professional videojournalism consulting group that specializes is training people to be citizen journalists. In this instance, the emphasis is on making content suitable for the TC. There is a focus on technical skills, story development, editing in Final Cut and managing audio. It's a 4 day, 10 hour-a-day course. I can't do it justice in two paragraphs other than to say it was one of the best educational endeavors I've done. If you follow their instructions, you WILL make quality short films.

The course is divided into classroom presentations, shooting assignments, editing and group screenings. There's plenty of talk about how to use your content commercially if you want to, but I was there to acquire skills and it definitely met my expectations.

You can pm me if you want info on the instructors etc, as I don't want to appear to be shamelessly plugging the consultant that runs the workshops.

I hope this helps someone looking for info on this course. By the way, I was in group 104, so they've been doing this for awhile.

Bob
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Old October 9th, 2007, 03:44 PM   #3
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Travel Channel connections?

Do you feel that a person who takes the course will indeed be more likely to do business with the Travel Channel as a result of the knowledge gained about their format and style and as a result of having established contacts within the company? Or is that just marketing hype designed to lure people into taking a course that has no real connection to TC?

Dave
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Old October 11th, 2007, 06:15 PM   #4
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It's hard to say. I went there to acquire skills and can honestly say I got more than my money's worth. I just finished a 5 minute educational piece for my job and output it to DVD. It's not perfect but it looks great to me and the people who commissioned it. I couldn't do that this time last month, before I attended the course. FC has a learning curve and I might have avoided it but for the course.

I can say this. About a week after the course, they had our videos up on a private web portal and asked us for our gear lists and sent along electronic copies of their releases. I thought "this could be a gimmick to make me feel better about the price."

Then this past Monday they sent out an assignment to shoot some stuff for one of their shows. They listed locations within 100 miles of our homes and said "First six to confirm have the assignment." To my eyes, that doesn't sound like a gimmick, it sounds like they are really interested in buying (or at least screening) footage made by their graduates. I have no idea what the compensation rate is, since I could not accept the offer.

So my gut tells me it's probably a real opportunity for some. Someone asked me in a PM if I'd spend the money just for the contacts: NO. But I have a day job that pays well. Would I take an assignment near by for the shear satisfaction of knowing I created something tv-worthty: Yes but again I wouldn't pay $2500 for the opportunity.
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Old October 11th, 2007, 06:25 PM   #5
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I'd add one more thing. If you want a flavor of the course, you can hop over to rosenblumtv.com. That's the company that runs the course and Michael is Very entertaining and genuine. I'd pay to watch him read the newspaper!

Or look at this months HD Video Pro magazine on page 88. There's a story about Dirk Halstead's Platypus workshops. I nearly bust a gut when I read it since the format and content (right down to "rules" of shooting") sounds very close to the TC Academy. Both of these guys are teaching discipline, camera control, story telling and editing. TC is simply providing a portal and potential freelance employment if you take the course.
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