"Food: Science, Art, Passion, Pleasure, Adventure & Exploration"

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Are the Cameras Rolling Yet?"

A set of cooking utensils in a commercial kitchen at Surfas

What does it take to have one's own cooking show? Would it be an easy thing to do? Have you ever thought about it?

I sure have! I've always wondered what it would be like to have my own cooking show. Online media has expanded and developed so much, that now it's very possible for just about anyone to build an online presence in so many ways. Video presentation is exploding and the trend is not one that seems like any fad. I think sites like YouTube have truly revolutionized the way that people browse, socialize, and tune in online. Anyone can have a voice.

I've daydreamed about having a cooking show for a long time. I think  if I were to really analyze my strengths and weaknesses objectively, with the right resources and much practice, I'd be great at such a venture.

In workshop with Clemence teaching her baking workshop with macarons and being filmed for a local Asian channel

The reality? I don't feel I am in any current position to start such a venture, at least not adequately, but as inferred, it's long been on my to-do list. The steps I am taking now are all building up to that particular plan. I started an entry a while back on wanting to set up a food-based site with all things I do related to food featured on the site. Well, I am still working on that behind the scenes and it will take awhile because, at times, it can actually feel like a daunting task. Doable, but lots of work. The vision is there but there's so much content that I have to build and work on in order to make sure the site has substance. It might be that I'll have my site up with everything else and plan to incorporate the video section later, when I am ready.

I haven't even come up with a title for the site or even my persona. Do I go by my own name or do I create something very catchy and stylish? If it's the latter, then it must be something that captures the essence of my voice and personality. That's one of the harder things to do.

So where does a cooking show fit in with all of this? Well, it's one section I'd be thrilled to have on my food site. I'd want viewers to be able to learn from things I discover and feel passionate about. I'd want viewers to be able to get to know me in an intimate but professionally down-to-earth sense. When you put an actual voice and face to an online presence, you get multidimensionality and that's what I'd like to offer eventually.

So what would be needed to start my own cooking show? I've taken time to think about this and these are some necessities that stand out right away:
  1. First and foremost, a solid plan which addresses cooking show angle and theme, title of the show,  filming schedules, recipe line up, tutorial set-ups, target audience, budget, and so forth; basically the entire vision detailed in all of its glory.
  2. A reasonably authoritative knowledge in food (whether it is with desserts or savory cooking or some subset of either of these two broad categories or both. One doesn't need to be Alton Brown, but a cook show host should certainly know what they are doing and talking about in order to build plausibility and a good reputation)
  3. An authentic personal style in front of the camera; a unique voice and point of view
  4. A dedicated kitchen or any other related filming location that will be steadily used for filming of the show
  5. Video recording equipment and film editing software (definitely something like Final Cut Pro), props, and lighting. (Good thing I do know Final Cut Pro, After Effects, Flash, LiveType and the like; a bit rusty in some of these, but the knowledge foundation is there)
  6. Weekly rehearsals and practice sessions in front of the camera before final filming
  7. Good short scriptwriting or storyboard skills
  8. A lack of inhibition, or a willingness to overcome performance and social inhibitions over time.
  9. Assistants and small, accessible work crew; people who can help film, set up, prep during cooking edits, and cue (can't do everything on one's own; well maybe, but why make things harder?)
  10. A marketing and social platform to upload videos and promote the show online in a viral fashion
  11. Friends who enjoy food, both cooking and eating it. (It's great to have people on the show as guests or as other personalities to mix the viewing platform up a bit)
These are just some of the things I can think of that are must-haves for starting a cooking show.

As for the inhibition item, I think that's quite important to consider. I certainly have my own inhibitions and I look forward to a chance to overcome them and to grow. It's part of getting to know yourself and to see how you thrive. I feel you can't truly find your place and footing unless you stick your neck out there like a turtle and take a risk. All of those cooking personalities we see on TV had to overcome a lot of uncertainties and shyness.

I think it is also good to network with a bunch of people in the food industry. The more people I know, the more I'd be able to do video interviews, which people love watching. I naturally enjoy asking people questions about their motivations, their backgrounds, their passions, and their interests. I would certainly have fun doing some videos like that.

Not all of the videos would have to be cooking show tutorials or how-to's. Some of them, as already mentioned, could be interview sessions with various restaurants owners or bakeshop entrepreneurs. Some videos could be simple info-sessions about the nature of a particular ingredient or culinary travel location. I think it would be quite entertaining to feature and film a small dinner party or get-together around a table. Everyone could bring food they've cooked to feature on the show. The video would capture comments on food around the table, entertaining chit-chat, lively interaction and basic interpersonal chemistry between everyone at the food gathering. We see a bit of this in Giada at Home, and with certain episodes from Barefoot Contessa when Ina cooks for friends and her husband.

I was thinking a few months ago that if I had the means, I'd fancy having a get-together that involved a few people in a mock-Chopped competition. The rest of the gathering would be a mix of judging and watching but two to three guests would be chosen for competition in the kitchen with randomly matched ingredients in a box. I guess the challenge of such a video would be that, unlike on the set for Chopped, each competitor wouldn't experience the luxury of having their own cooking station, so that everyone could cook simultaneously and effectively.

There are a bunch of platforms for uploading videos and creating viewing channels for them. Vimeo is still going strong, but YouTube is most popular. I really dig iTunes because of the video podcast (or vodcast) sphere it provides. There's an insane amount to discover in podcasting. I think once you get used to video subscriptions for anything food-related, you just don't go back to simple voice. I think it makes sense, in most cases, to provide something visual for the audience for a podcast cooking show.

Who wants to learn about roasting a turkey without seeing anything? Doesn't make much sense and I bid any subscriber trying to painstakingly learn from that, a hefty dose of good luck. LOL

But if someone were to provide a show merely about food triva, food-related commentary, or food facts, video might not be so necessary. It still never hurts, though.

I am not sure when I'll be able to accomplish such a goal: creating my own cooking show. But I'm working on it and building up to that point. I am getting all of my ducks in a row so they can begin quacking in harmony and in beautiful rounds.

        No comments:

        Post a Comment