Saturday, February 27, 2010

Travelling to Wonderland

Me and Rachel and the kids have now all been interviewed by a researcher from the BBC’s Wonderland series who want to film a doc about families travelling a long way to a UK holiday this summer. We didn't go looking for this, the farm we're going back to in Cornwall suggested us. The series has one-off films like Seven Pups for Seven People and The British in Bed and doesn't seem to be in search of freaks.

My question, which I’d appreciate your advice on, dear reader, is this: are we about to become the latest victims of a TV stitch up and a national laughing stock? And will our children hate us for evermore for humiliating them on TV as a film crew capture hissy fits, puke and tantrums? Or will it be OK and a bit of fun? What shall we do?

9 comments:

Howard Roberts said...

You're already a public figure and therefore you're willing to take the lumps that come with such a position. In my own industry I have a fairly high profile as I work for the market leader which sets trends for the rest of the industry.

However, despite the fact that I have a professional public profile I try and keep my personal life very separate from it by not referring to my family during any pitches or presentations. I don't believe that there would be any benefit to my family by my using their images or annecdotes about them in a [semi] public forum.

When on television you open your family up to exposure to millions of people. You will be judged by people who know nothing of you, your wife and your children and at the mercy of the programme editors. Whilst it may end up painting you all in a positive light, you can be sure that all the children at your childrens' school will be watching it, their parents will be too and making judgements on you from a few minutes of television.

I'm sure that no one will be out to stitch you up, but you will need to make a judgement on whether the pleasure that the kids will get and the kudos among schoolfriends of their being on TV will be offset by the possible negatives. Should one of them have a major tantrum and you have to deal with it, that episode will be out in the public domain for the rest of the world to see. In the digital age, that sequence will never go away.

As someone in the media, you will be aware of how easily editing can change a story. I bet you won't get full editorial control of how it all looks.

Paul Smith said...

Film crews never really want 'normal' so if you are (which I'm sure you are) you will probably be edited until you aren't

George Dearsley said...

Paul makes good point. Can you get anything out of it? I mean benefit not cash. If not don't bother.

Steve Saul said...

Well, you cope with the fame of Manchester Business on BBC Radio Manchester! Will be a great holiday video for family members etc. Seriously though, ask how intrusive the cameras and producers will be.

Richard Bond said...

Will it impact on the quality the holiday itself? If lots of "can we try that again" re-shoots then it might get tiresome for you all.

Michael Taylor said...

Thanks for these everyone. Really appreciate your kind and thoughtful advice. We're not going to be rushed into anything, but the protection of our children is of paramount importance.

George Dearsley said...

To add to my Tweet....what I meant is that these shows are made by complete twats who needs drama/bizarre/abnormal to make it work. Think Kerry Katona and double it! Mr and Mrs Normal sadly these days doesn't make for good TV. If, on the other hand you think it might raise your profile and you are prepared to "bend" the rules and do a bit of play acting for the camera....then it might be worth considering. But unlike the TV interview (where you can have a fair degree of control) on these shows you'll have hardly any control at all....the kids will love being on TV and will show off to their mates. But what if they act up for the camera? How do you control them when the video is rolling? And if you can't you'll end up looking a pillock.

I've seen this type of thing work for people who are trying to sell something...(for example like the show No Going Back where a couple bought a hotel in Austria. The TV exposure was a God send for bookings). But I don't see the pay off for you here. Where media is concerned I've learned never to do ANYTHING unless there's something for you in it.

It always ends in tears.

Just my opinion.

Sandy Lindsay said...

There's always a risk with these things. There's nothing interesting (enough to make 30 - 60 mins of
TV) about everyone getting on and being calm and interesting. TV cos are looking for humour and civility but also trauma and strife.
Otherwise their viewers have 300 other channels to choose from? But recently I've noticed a bit of a switch away from 'stitch up TV' with programmes like Secret Millionaire and How the Other Half Lives; programmes that seem to want to show the good in people as well as the challenges? Maybe something to do with TV/media in general trying to offer a much needed pause from the doom and gloom of the market? Only advice is to (as it looks like you have already) look at what else the company behind the programme has done and see how you'd feel about you and your family being depicted in that way? It is an interesting experience - I did a BBC thing last year and it was fascinating.

Michael Taylor said...

Wow, thanks again. Lots to think about.