Thursday, 15 November 2012

Invisible Paris on CNN

At the end of October I was filmed by a team from CNN for a travel show on Paris. Considering the standing of the other guest presenters involved, it was an honour to be included, and an all-round interesting experience.

One thing I quickly learned was that television is not a natural medium for me! With this blog I have become accustomed to writing at length about sometimes tiny details, but this is simply not an option with such a visual medium. 

>>You can watch the film here (I’m after Frenchie chef Gregory Marchand).<<

My brief had been to present three places that have significance or importance for me, but as I was representing my blog it was quite a challenge to choose these places. My blog focuses on the invisible, but here the necessity was to select places that would be interesting visually for the camera. Secondly, this was a travel show, so the chosen spots should be places that people might theoretically want to visit and see for themselves.

I finally decided to have three places that could be linked by a theme, with this being the edges of the pre-1860 Paris. I would talk about the villages – Belleville, Charonne and Gentilly (including the Bièvre river) – that were annexed into Paris, and what traces they have left in today’s city.

That was the theory anyway. Despite preparing myself a script, on the day of shooting the realities of filming became apparent. The angle of the sun made one shot impractical, cars constantly interrupted recording on another, and at the third the owner of a café told us that he didn’t want his establishment being filmed. As this last place – on the corner of a grafitti-filled street – is not at all my favourite bar in the city, I was quite happy to move on to another spot.

With all this, and with shots being recorded several times from different angles, my train of thought got a little bit lost. At the end of the day’s shooting, I wasn’t even sure what I had actually said anymore, and that was before CNN did the editing.

Looking at the result, I think it looks great. The CNN Go city series is genuinely interesting (albeit very fast moving), and I thoroughly recommend their guides to other cities. Even in Paris, the eclectic choice of guest presenters (a chef, a designer, a DJ, a musician, a tattoo artist…and an English blogger!) is quite audacious for such a mainstream channel, and shows a city far from traditional tourist guides.

However, it is also quite frustrating to see that many filmed segments didn’t make the final cut, elements that I think would have made my presentation clearer and more complete. For this reason, I have put the script I wrote online here. You can just imagine how it may have looked on screen, and perhaps I’ll one day try to film these parts again!


I would like to thank Lidz-Ama, France and cameraman Sylvain for choosing me, and for their efficiency and good humour which made me feel very at ease - despite being filmed for ‘a potential audience of 300 million people’!

10 comments:

Starman said...

Thank you for including the links to the show(s). I tried to find it on CNN, but could not.

Philippa said...

You were brilliant. I loved it when someone went into the gates behind you just after you'd said you couldn't get into Le Mobilier National! I shall share this link with every Paris-o-phile I know.

Lost In Cheeseland said...

Super call Adam, congratulations!

Tim said...

Thanks for sharing the script. Just a slight frustration now that we didn't get to see the "David Attenborough-style" shots of you looking at plants... ;-) That won't detract from the fact that it's a great few minutes of TV, there's a nice atmosphere about the report and Philippa's right: the way it ends with that person walking into that impenetrable building is sheer perfection!

Adam said...

Tim - frustrating for me too, because the nature section wasn't even filmed. Thinking about it now, it would have been more David Bellamy than David Attenborough!

Kiki said...

woaw.... what a great trio of films about Paris-fanas! and you were just as lovely/brill/cool/convincing like any of the others. Loved the inputs from all sides and shall read your script another day when I'm less tired (just back from a nearly 800km car trip).
thank you Adam; great post and fine links!

uzoma eze said...

I first watched the film on cnn yesterday, then decided to google your blog invisible paris :), must say you did quite well brother

Irina Raileanu said...

Been a long time since I've seen a good piece on Paris, and this was brilliant! Well done, will we see more?

ams009 said...

Enjoyed that clip - great job!

landscapelover said...

Adam - rather belatedly caught up with this after you mentioned it on my blog. From my recent behind-the-scenes brush with TV, I sympathise about the way TV makes you reduce complex details to a simple sentence!

It looks a great experience, to work with CNN, and your choice of places is fascinating. For my sins, I do not know any of them, even having lived in Paris for four years...

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