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2 Continents: 7 Time Zones in 10 Days
“I took the road less travelled and it has made all the difference” said Robert Frost and the Trans-Siberian journey have got to be the road less travelled. The Trans-Sib is a wonder because it’s built in 1891 as ordered by Russian’s emperor Nicholas the First and the total 62,000 miles railway is the largest as well as the busiest railway in the world. The railway passes a total of 88 cities, the world’s deepest lake; Lake Baikal, the world’s biggest country; Russia and the biggest lake in the world; the Caspian Sea and Russia is the home of the first man in space; Yuri Gagarin and a lot more. Russia is indeed the land of wonders. However, the route isn’t your average, conventional route but a rough and messy route where anything is possible. What was once called on idiot box is now considered a modern storyteller that engages and enchants its audiences as well as a medium for disseminating culture said Cohen (2008) and according to Gerbner (1994) television should either inspire, educate and entertain. According to Hill (2005) television is a versatile medium and genres can be collaborated to create new hybrid genres.
The genre of the television programme is documentary-travel and it mainly contains historical and cultural elements to engage its audiences. Documentary films span from Super Size Me to Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 while lifestyle shows are about educating the audiences on culture and are rampant in shows like MTV’s Real World as mentioned by Arthur (2005) Documentaries generally appeal to the masses because they’re true to life and it narrates the story of one’s life experience according to Cury (2002) while travel programmes appeal because it portrays the way of living of another culture.
The television programme is titled 2 Continents: 7 time zones in 10 days because the television programme hopes to show the audiences that the world is full of possibilities including the experiences of going through 7 different time zones. The beauty of the world from the traveller using the road less travelled. The programme is about an upper class young adult who travels from Beijing, China all the way to St. Petersburg, Russia using the Trans-Siberian Railways. The reason the title was chosen because no other form of travelling will enable the traveller to travel through 2 continents, 7 different time zones in 10 days. There is also a possibility for a second season to
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document the travel from Russia through Europe using Eurail to discover countries such as Cyprus, Belarus, Albania, and others. The programme is a cross between The Simple Life (Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie), A Long Way Down (Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman) and Globe Trekker (Megan McCormick) because it incorporates the awkwardness of two rich socialites in an environment that they aren’t used to as well as the adventures using unexpected modes of transportation such as a motorcycle and the exposure to new experiences, culture and adventure.
Demographics that might enjoy the programme would be young adults between the ages of 18 to 30 years old, middle to upper class, educated, adventurous and enjoys travelling. Most likely to be in a gap year and those who have just started working and with limited funds but just enough for a holiday. These people generally want to see the world before finally deciding to settle down. It will also appeal to the upper class society because they might connect with the host and would like to experience a lifestyle different from theirs. Abercrombie (1996) stated that women spend the most time watching television especially those who are employed. They spend an average 103 minutes watching television than anything else. Ever since women are more educated, they are delaying the time to settle down and instead focus on themselves first. These women have the money, time and are hungry for the experience. The female audience will be inspired
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because women generally don’t believe in roughing it out and are more vulnerable to threats compared to a male. The appeal to the target audiences, the hosts of the programme has to be two female from the upper class that has not experienced life in a train or the desert. People enjoy watching the hosts suffering and that’s why shows like Bizarre Food with Andrew Zimmern have a huge fan base. To accommodate the target audiences, the programme will be aired once a week between 10pm and 11pm because these women are either working or studying and they generally a very sociable group where they’ll only get home at night after dinner with their friends or from work. Since the nature of the programme is travel and lifestyle based, television networks that will be interested in the programme would be cable television and on Discovery Travel and Living since similar documentary lifestyle programmes such as Globe Trekker and America the Wright Way.
PILOT AND EPISODES
The television programme spans 10 episodes excluding the pilot and it technically documents the Tran-Siberian journey from Beijing, China to St. Petersburg, Russia. The journey starts from Beijing to Ulaan Baatar to Vladivostok to Khabarovsk to Irkutsk to Novosibirsk to Ekaterinburg to Moscow before finally arriving to St. Petersburg. The pilot episode will focus on the hosts informing their families that they’ll be going on a Tran-Siberian journey and facing conflicts from 4 | Page
their parents, friends, boyfriends, colleagues and relatives. An excerpt of the pilot episode’s script would be something like this. Set in the mansion of the host with their parents. Host: Mom, Dad, I’ll be going on a Tran-Siberian journey. Parents: What’s a Tran-Siberian journey? Where are you going? The pilot will technically show the hosts packing, getting over the issues that travellers will face and travelling to Beijing, China where they will begin their adventure. The pilot also shows their brief time in Beijing such as Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven and maybe even the Bird’s Nest Stadium. There will be 3 episodes on the lifestyle on Gobi desert which is Asia’s largest desert region and Lake Baikal where the hosts will spend 2 days riding camels, diving into the deepest lake in the world, sand surfing, living in a tent on the desert, eating desert food and just following a nomadic desert family’s lifestyle and travel 1200 years back to the time of Genghis Khan to temples where they worshipped the sea and the sky.
ECONOMY AND SPONSORSHIPS
Since the programme aims to educate, inform and entertain the audiences about the rich history and culture of Russia, Mongolia and China, sponsors will be the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Heritage of all three countries as well as the Trans-Siberian Railways. This programme will portray the cultural heritage of each country as well as promoting the food, lifestyle and language of all three countries. 5 | Page
Besides that, advertisers such as Eastpac Backpack, Sigg Waterbottle, NIKE or Adidas shoes and maybe 100 Plus would be interested to advertise during this programme because these products are essentials for such trips. The hosts will definitely need to lug a backpack and a water bottle as well as durable shoes and isotonic drinks to refresh themselves.
LEGAL AND ETHICAL
In legal terms, as long as filming doesn’t depict and enforce the stereotypes of the country and the people it shouldn’t be an issue. Besides that, filming shouldn’t touch on the politics or the current political situation of the country and hosts will not use discriminatory words to refer to the country, people, food, culture, language and no profanities shall be used in respect to the media law of the countries. Ethically, the hosts will follow customary rights especially in Russia where it is conservative in certain parts. They will adhere and respect local customs and values. Altogether this programme is a combination of Cameron Diaz’s 4Real where she travelled to South America, Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman’s A Long Way Down, Megan McCormick and Ian Wright’s Globe Trekker and Samantha Brown’s Passport. Such programmes are very popular because it helps the audience to plan their next adventure and they know what to expect. Ratings for programmes such as travel documentary especially Globe Trekker has an estimated audience of 30 million according to CNN.com.
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In Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, he stated that, “The world’s my oyster” and one can never think that the world is boring or tire of it. The world has so many fascinating things to do, people to meet, stories to tell and that is why the genre of travel documentary has its allure. This programme isn’t about trying to sell just another television programme; it’s selling an adventure and inspiration. It shows the audiences the wonders of the world, the possibilities of travel and most importantly, to live and appreciate life even more.
Abercrombie, N. (1996) Television society; Polity Press. Arthur, P. (2005) Extreme makeover: The changing face of documentary; Cineaste; Summer; 30, 3. Cohen, J. (2008) What I watch and who I am: National pride and the viewing of local & foreign TV in Israel, Journal of Communication; 58,1. Cury, I. (2002) Directing & producing for television 2: A format approach; Focal Press.
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Gerbner, G. , Gross, L. , Morgan, M. & Sinorielli, N. (1994) Growing up with television: The cultivation perspective. In J. Bryant & D. Zillman Media effects: Advances in theory and research, Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Hill, A. (2005) The rise of reality TV; Reality TV-Audiences and popular factual television, Milton Park; Routledge.
Globe Trekker: RUSSIA (2004), Tracy R. West, EFP. The Silk Road: An Ancient World Of Adventure (2000), Graham Loveridge, EFP. A Long Way Down (2009), David Alexanian, EMI. 4Real (2007), Sol Guy, Haddock Entertainment.
4REAL is a show hosted by Cameron Diaz when she visited Latin America.
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Real life actors Ewan McGregor & Charlie Boorman travelled around the world in their motorcycle.
The hosts will be 2 best friends from the upper class society that are used to the luxurious lifestyle.
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