Last Tuesday I ushered my parents out of their living room and put Eastenders on mute to take a call from Hollywood.
It had started with an email the previous Saturday morning. I was munching on my cereals and skimming through emails on my iphone. I paused mid-mouthful when I spotted an interesting looking message. The subject line was “TV Enquiry: 40 before 30.” The short note from an “Emmy award nominated production company in LA” said they were looking to make a programme about people attempting to complete travel challenges before they were 30. Was I interested to chat, they asked. Damn sure I was!
A few more short emails were exchanged. The question of exclusivity came up. Had my story, the story of 40 before 30, been covered in other media outlets? (I have a story?!)
With no clear idea of what I was getting myself into, a telephone interview was arranged between myself and a researcher for 8.30pm UK time on Tuesday. I gave them my parents landline number as I am currently living at home (paying rent on a London flat seemed foolish when I am home about 1 weekend in 4) and the mobile reception out here in the sticks is pants. This led to the comedy scenario of me, a 20-something who lives at home, asking her parents to kindly to leave the room and mute the TV so she could take a call from Hollywood.
The phone rings. The friendly, American accent on the other end of the line wants to know how 40 before 30 came about. Why 40 countries? How do I pick countries? What counts as part of the challenge? What have I learnt? What can I say about ‘my journey’?
And I am flummoxed. I waffle. I drone on about readers and community and ‘staying true to myself’. (Yes really, makes you want to vomit doesn’t it?!) I go on about my job. How people don’t realise that I run this site in my spare time, squeezing trips around a full time job. How it’s my favourite hobby. And I completely miss the point. For whilst I think I am being interviewed to appear in a documentary about travel blogging, at the end of the call I am told this.
We are a docu-reality TV company. We make fly-on-the-wall travel programmes. We don’t incite drama like the Kardashian’s, for example.
(Here I interrupt – “I LOVE the Kardashians”, I squeal. I know I squeal as Mum tells me she overhead this bit from the other room. “Yes,” the researcher replies, “well we all have our guilty secrets.”)
She continues. We are looking for a traveller to follow on their challenge, perhaps 2 depending on who we find. How would you feel about a TV show following you on your travels? Probably just a producer and a cameraman to join you on trips?
And I am flummoxed again. They want to make my blog into a TV show? My own TV show? WHAT THE *BLEEP*?!
I mutter something about this being ‘cool’ and the call comes to an end. I start giggling uncontrollably as I try to describe to my mum what that call was all about. I immediately realise I did the worst job ever to convince a production company that my life would make a good programme. I cling, optimistically, to the hope that for a better and truer idea of what I do and why, the producers will go by my blog and not that call. I text a few friends and update my Facebook status about the surreal scenario; a travel addict from Berkshire getting a call from Hollywood.
Two days later I get an email. The production company are “exploring other avenues.”
Oh well, it makes a great story. I’ll dine out on this one for a while.